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Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

CVBT Executive Director Terry Rensel and CWRTF guest speaker Kevin Pawlak

Harriett Wang and CVBT Assistant Executive Director Sarah Kay Bierle

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President Notes

It was beautiful autumn day in Northern Virginia and a fine evening at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center as we met for this year’s second meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Despite some initial technical difficulties, the loss of a US flag, and my failure to bring the coveted gavel, all came together for a pleasant dinner and interesting presentation from guest speaker Michael Shaffer. Michael is the author of “In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas W. Colley's Recollection” published in 2018. Thomas Colley, the subject of the evening’s presentation, was a Confederate soldier who served with the 1st Virginia Cavalry under J.E.B Stuart. Wounded several times, Colley’s service ended before the war. Years later he began a journal that included recollections during and after the Civil War. The presentation was well received and many questions were asked. On behalf of the club, I want to thank Michael Shaffer for making the trip from Kennesaw, GA to speak to us. I hope we see him again.

We had 78 attend our October meeting. The dinner list included 17 guests. I had the pleasure of sitting with my guests, Bill and Harriet Wang, as well as Paul Scott and his guest, Sarah Kay Bierle. Sarah Kay is the Assistant Executive Director for the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. She is also Managing Editor of Emerging Civil War and an author. Alex Laifer, our NMPS Intern, was with us as well. Alex was presented with a check for $550 from the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg to help defray the cost of living expenses. Alex is hoping to extend his stay in Fredericksburg before eventually returning to his home in Washington, CT. I thank all our guests for sharing the evening with us.

It was good to see Jeff and Wendy Frazier back. I hope we will see more of you two. Thank you for inviting the Grovers.

We also recognized two of our newest members, John and Carol Kirlin. Welcome to the club!

Remember, members will be voting in November’s meeting on proposed amendments to the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg Constitution and Bylaws. You must be there to vote.

Please join me this month as we welcome guest speaker, Dr, William Freehling, PhD. Dr. Freehling is the author of Becoming Lincoln, the subject of evening’s presentation. His book won the Lincoln Group of New York’s 2018 Award of Achievement (prior winners include Eric Foner, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Harold Holzer). This award is given to the “individual or organization that has done the most to encourage the study and appreciation of Abraham Lincoln.”

Previous biographies of Abraham Lincoln―universally acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents―have typically focused on his experiences in the White House. In Becoming Lincoln, William Freehling instead emphasizes the prewar years, revealing how Lincoln came to be the extraordinary leader who would guide the nation through its most bitter chapter.

Please make your reservations for our January 22th meeting by Friday, November 17, 2020, by signing into our website at, calling (540) 361-2105, or emailing Late reservations can present difficulties in food preparation. Our caterer prepares our meals based on our expected attendance and we do not want to be short of food.

We still had several members no show without cancelling their reservations, while several others arrived without reservations. Fortunately, our numbers balanced. I can’t over- emphasize the need to make dinner reservations by the Friday before our monthly meeting. If you have made a reservation and realize you will not be able to attend, prior to the dinner, please call or email Beth Daly immediately so the club does not have to assume the cost of that meal.

                                           For the Good of the Club

Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery: Before the end of 2019, our club is poised to install flat markers for 31 soldiers in the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery. The greatly increased number this year is possible through additional donations from private individuals, Maury Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans, Fredericksburg Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. Another plus is that Architectural Stone Products is now handling production of the stones making them less expensive than in the past.

Originally, individual grave markers surrounding the cemetery’s sentinel monument were wooden posts. In time, these were replaced by Georgia granite markers. Maintaining the historic cross-of-honor design is paramount to the Ladies’ Memorial Association, owner of the cemetery. For this reason the granite headstones will remain. To any that have become unreadable or that convey unintentional misinformation, flat stones are being added. In time, each of the granite markers is expected to need the addition.

The Ladies Memorial Association just received a $2,250 grant to pay for 10 more. They will order those to arrive in the spring. A second order will be made later in the year with 2020 donations.

The Ladies Memorial Association relies on our members to help install the markers. I’m confident we will continue to provide our expertise and manpower. Carolyn Elstner and Mike Burns will let us know more on delivery and installation dates.

Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.’s 49th Annual Candlelight Tour: Looking for something special next month when there is no Round Table dinner meeting? Circle December 14 and 15 on your calendar for Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc.’s 49th Annual Candlelight Tour. Visit five houses on upper Caroline Street (1308, 1309, 1310, 1513 and 1517) and the gift shop, at 1414 Caroline. Some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11 – 13, 1862, took place in this neighborhood. Each house will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and hosted by docents. Tour tickets are $20 for HFFI members, $25 for nonmembers, and $30 day of the tour. The Saturday night tour (6 – 8 p.m.) includes a special opening of the Rising Sun Tavern followed by cocktails at Brock’s Riverside Grill (7 -10 p.m.) Tickets for the evening tour are $60 or two for $100. Tickets are available at HFFI - 1200 Caroline, the Visitors Center - 706 Caroline, or the Spotsylvania Visitors Center - 4704 Southpoint Parkway. The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg is a sponsor of the Candlelight Tour. Details at

Have something you would like to share with our members? Send me the information and I will include it in the next issue of Hardtack.


Membership continues to grow. Today’s membership is 118. We still have some that have not paid dues for this program year. Please do so at your earliest convience.

Join me in welcoming our newest club members.

Kevin & Debra McCarthy- Kevin & Debra moved to Spotsylvania seven years ago. They joined us to learn more about the Civil War. The McCarthys attended our September meeting as guests of Quentin and Kathleen Macmanus.

Albert Peacock.- Albert is a retired Pharmaceutical Consultant. He lives in Ashland and enjoys Civil War seminars and field trips. Albert attended several meetings last year as Kevin Holmes’ guest

Harlan Norris- Harlan is retired and living here in Fredericksburg. He enjoys visiting battlefields. Harlan has attended several meetings as a guest of Phil Parrish.


This is the section in our newsletter where I continue to plea for volunteers to help with membership, advertising, newsletter, website, Facebook, or Heritage Award selections. Please feel free to contact me anytime. I can be reached by phone at 719-650-8135 or email at Help!

Your Obedient Servant,

Roger L. Leturno


Upcoming Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg Meetings

Program Year 2019-2020

The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table meets on the second Monday of each month at Brock's Riverside Grill, Sophia Street at Lafayette Blvd. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m., dinner begins at 6:45 p.m., and the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Reservations should be made by emailing Bob Jones at (Preferred) or call (540) 399-1702.

2020 Program Schedule

CWRTF Website, Facebook and Email Address




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