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2016 2017 Confederate Connections

September 28, 2016

Topic:  Building a Battlefield Park
Speaker: Eric Mink
Historian and Cultural
Resource Manager
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania NMPs   

Welcome to our 2016-2107 Program Year. Our speaker for our September 28, 2016, meeting is Eric Mink, Historian and Cultural Resources Manager at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. His program will be "Building a Battlefield Park." Two thousand sixteen marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (NPS). One of the units of the NPS is the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. The movement toward a local battlefield park covered decades and involved veterans of the battles as well as local citizens who not only saw the need to preserve these places, but also saw the economic benefit in the tourism they generated. Eric will present a program on the early efforts to establish a battlefield park in Fredericksburg as well as its evolution and development through the 20th century. He will touch on the veterans' reunions, local battlefield preservation efforts, the Civilian Conservation Corps, segregation and some of the more curious episodes in the park's history.   

Paul Scott, President

October 26, 2016

Topic:  The Confederacy's Collapse from Within                         
Speaker:  Calvin Zon, Historian and Author

Welcome again to our 2016-2017 Program Year. Our theme for the remainder of this program year will be "Confederate Connections." Each program will contain a facet of the Confederacy from resistance, filming, commerce raiders, attacking, sharpshooting, minorities in the army, oaths of allegiance and finally collecting Confederate artifacts. We have a very unique schedule of speakers furthering our knowledge of the Civil War, its participants, the glories, as well as the tragedies.

This month's speaker, noted historian and author will discuss "Divided We Fall:  The Confedracy's Collapse from Within" the title of his second book.  He will provide a state-by-state account of the active opposition to the Confederacy in the eleven seceded states.

The Civil War News writes "certainly this volume will deflate the idea of a solid front in the South. It is highly recommended to readers interested in knowing more about the South's internal politics during the Civil War." Active and passive resistance to government authority was widespread, even within the Confederate capital. Resistance ran the gamut from disgruntled soldiers, dirt farmers who were upset that wealthy slaveholders got special treatment, opponents to slavery, and loyal Unionists. Some opponents organized guerrilla bands that fought Confederate forces, and some provided crucial intelligence to Union authorities. Calvin provides numerous insights into the many-faceted resistance to Confederate authority and the role it played in its ultimate collapse.

Calvin earned a BA from Davidson College, where he majored in American History, and an MA from American University. He was a staff writer for the Washington Star daily newspaper for nine years, later a staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and organizer for the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild and a copy editor for Bloomberg BNA's Daily Labor Report. He has written for The Civil War News, The Civil War Times, The Progressive, The National Catholic Reporter and In These Times. He served for six years in the U. S. Army Reserve.

Paul Scott, President

November 16, 2016

Speaker: Robert Lee Hodge

Topic: Trying to Get it Right: Filming the Civil War with Historic Accuracy

With our November program, we are well into our 2016-2017 Program Year. Although our theme for the remainder of the program year will be "Confederate Connections," Robert Lee Hodge will address filming of the Civil War from both sides.

For over 45 years Hodge has had a keen interest in what he calls "visual history" – trying to understand what the Civil War looked like. "Thankfully, with the advent of photography, there are hundreds of thousands of photos from the Civil War," said Hodge. "However, our visual understanding is still compromised. For instance other than photos of the dead and some prisoner photos there are just a couple images of Confederate soldiers "in the field of operations," which I find odd. There is much mystery as to what the Rebels wore."

For decades Hodge has delved into Civil War photography, period drawings, paintings, sculpture, and original items to understand what the Civil War looked like.

This quest for accuracy led Hodge to look at the authenticity, or lack thereof, in historical movies. "Since I was in elementary school I thought the validation of history through film was important because that was how the masses could learn about a subject in a medium that is very palpable. For example, HBO's WWII drama 'Band of Brothers' and its antecedent "Saving Private Ryan" did wonders for the memory of World War Two, making it pop-culture, and having a level of visual authenticity that really put the viewer into the story. I would love to see that impact in a Civil War film – but rarely does Hollywood even get close when it comes to almost any historical genre."

Hodge, an Emmy Award winner and Civil War reenactor, will show clips from some of his Civil War films that have been compared to Ken Burns. Hodge said, "Ken Burns rarely uses reenacted scenes because, in part, often reenactors lack believable authenticity. On the other hand Burns doesn't have a trained eye for the detail of material culture of the soldier from that period, which is typical of most directors of history, regardless of it being a drama or a documentary."

Hodge was also a principal Civil War researcher at Time-Life Books for 5 years where he learned to comb through archives looking for unpublished information mostly related to the soldier experience. "I often have filmed reenactors for scenes but I try to make sure they look the part, not only with authentic clothing and equipment, but including avoiding gray hair and expanding waistlines."

But it was with the 1998 book "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horwitz that he became a household name. Being a reenactor extraordinaire, Hodge spent a couple of years taking the Pulitzer prize-winning Horwitz on an eclectic and memorable Civil War tour-de-force of historic sites, and indoctrinating him into the Civil War culture. He became a major subject of the book and a photo of him was even used on the cover, as you see above. The book rocketed to the top of the New York Times best seller list.

Not only will Hodge also show photos, paintings, drawings from the Civil War to illustrate his quest for "what it looked like" he will also have authentic uniforms and equipment for display and discussion. We are excited to have Robert Lee Hodge as our November speaker, which will prove to be entertaining and fascinating.

Paul Scott, President

January 25, 2017

Topic: The Cruise of a Ship is a Biography

Speaker: Dwight Hughes

With our January program, we are well into our 2016-2017 Program Year. Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Dwight S. Hughes, our speaker for our January 25, 2017, meeting.

Dwight Hughes graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1967 and served twenty years as a Navy Surface Warfare Officer on many oceans and ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Viet Nam (Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart).

"The Cruise of a Ship is a Biography" wrote the Confederacy's foremost sailor, Raphael Semmes. The CSS Shenandoah serves as the central character in its story. From October 1864 to November 1865 the CSS Shenandoah carried the Civil War around the globe, through every extreme of sea and storm. Her officers represented a cross section of the Confederacy. Among these men were a nephew of Robert E. Lee, a grand-nephew of founder George Mason and a son-in-law to Raphael Semmes. They considered themselves Americans, Southerners, rebels and warriors, embarking on the voyage of their lives, defending their country as they understood it and pursuing a difficult, dangerous mission in which they succeeded spectacularly after it no longer mattered. As a commerce raider, Shenandoah invaded the North, the deep cold of the Bering Sea and fired the last gun of the conflict, setting crystal waters aglow with flaming Yankee whalers.

I have read this "biography" and it is one exciting account of Civil War history.

Paul Scott, President

February 22, 2017

Topic: Attack at Daylight and Whip Them

Speaker: Greg Mertz

With our February program, we are well into our 2016-2017 Program Year, which is from September 2016 through June 2017. Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Greg Mertz, our speaker for our February 22, 2017, meeting.

Greg Mertz currently serves as the Supervisory Historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He is presently writing a book for the Emerging Civil War Series on the Battle of Shiloh.

"Attack at Daylight and Whip Them" – that was the Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston's plan on the morning of April 6, 1862. The unsuspecting Union Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Major General Ulysses S. Grant, had gathered on the banks of its namesake river at a spot called Pittsburg Landing, ready to strike deep into the heart of Tennessee Confederates. Johnston's troops were reeling from setbacks earlier in the year and had decided to reverse their fortunes by taking the fight to the Federals. Join us as Greg takes us through this epic battle.

Paul Scott, President

March 22, 2017

Topic: The Selected Letters and Papers of Major Eugene Blackford, CSA

Speaker: Fred L. Ray, Historian and Author

With our March program, we are well into our 2016-2017 Program Year, which runs from September 2016 through June 2017. Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Fred L. Ray, our speaker for our March 22, 2017, meeting, whose talk is entitled "Sharpshooter: The Selected Letters and Papers of Maj. Eugene Blackford, C.S.A.".

Eugene Blackford was a native of Fredericksburg, and the family house still stands. Blackford has quite a bit to say about the Battle of Fredericksburg, damage to the town and about visiting local plantations (e.g. Santee Moss Neck, etc.), so this will be of special interest. A Virginia officer in an Alabama regiment and commander of the Army of Northern Virginia's elite sharpshooters, Blackford's correspondence spans nearly the entire war and allows the modern reader to see this turbulent era through the eyes of someone who lived it. The battles, however, are only part of the story. Blackford also wrote about camp life, food, foraging, the hardships of the picket line, as well as the marches. He makes candid comments on his leaders at all levels and prays for those he admires.

This should provide us with another fine, unique learning experience.

Paul Scott, President

April 26, 2017

Topic: Minorities in the Confederate Army

Speaker: Teresa Roane

Teresa Roane of the United Daughters of the Confederacy is an African-American descendant of a black Confederate soldier. She will be speaking and presenting a slide show about these men. She was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and earned her B.A. in History at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked at the Richmond Public Library, the Valentine Museum Library and as an Archivist at the Museum of the Confederacy and the U.D.C. She has served on the boards of Friends of the Richmond Public Library, Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods and Historic Richmond Foundation. She has received numerous awards from the National SCV, the North Carolina SCV and the Virginia SCV Camps.

Mrs. Roane will provide us with another fine, unique learning experience.

Paul Scott, President

May 24, 2017

Topic: Pardons and the Amnesty oath/Oath of Allegiance of Confederate Soldiers

Speaker: Patrick A. Schroeder, NPS

With our May program, we are well into our 2016-2017 Program Year, which runs from September 2016 through June 2017. Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Patrick A. Schroeder, NPS Historian at the Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park. He spoke to us last year on "Myths About Lee's Surrender" which was an enlightening lecture telling what really happened at Appomattox – separating myth from fact.

Patrick will give the details about how the Confederate soldiers were paroled at Appomattox, how the paroles were printed and what they were used for. He will also discuss the amnesty oath/oath of allegiance that made the Southern people United States citizens again.

Patrick is a fine speaker and this will be another unique and interesting program for us.

Paul Scott, President

June 21, 2017

Topic: Collecting the Confederacy

Speaker: Shannon Pritchard

Our June program is our final meeting of the 2016-2017 Program Year, which has run from September 2016 through June 2017.

Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Shannon Pritchard, renown expert and collector of Confederate artifacts. Shannon has authored numerous articles relating to the authentication, care and conservation of Confederate antiques, including articles for North South Trader’s Civil War, The Civil War Courier, The Civil War News and other War Between the States periodicals, and is the author of the definitive work on Confederate collectibles, the widely acclaimed Collecting the Confederacy and Confederate Faces in Color. He is the current Vice-President of the Civil War Dealers and Collector’s Association board of directors and chairs the education committee. Shannon does consultations for the Museum of the Confederacy, the Virginia Historical Society, Tredegar National Historic Site and Historic Hanover Tavern, as well as private and corporate consultant and appraisals for authenticity and market value.

Paul Scott, President
Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.

Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.
Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.
Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.

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