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Liberty University Civil War Seminar—Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Liberty University Department of History will be hosting its annual Civil War Seminar on...
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Presidents Corner

January 2018 Newsletter

Happy New Year! Our January program is our fourth meeting of the 2017-2018 Program Year, which runs from September 2017 through June 2018. Our member, James R. “Rusty” Neal will present Civil War Prisoners of War and will focus on the prisoners’ conditions and perspectives. He will examine how prisoners reacted when captured and how they related their experiences traversing the enemy’s country to prison. Letters and diaries prisoners wrote while they awaited release can tell us about their prison experiences. He also explores prisoners’ principal hopes for release through a system of prisoner parole and exchange the belligerents established and the less well-known route to freedom that the vast majority of prisoners refused: taking the oath of allegiance to their enemy. Finally, Dr. Neal will talk about the darkest aspects of the prisoner condition: death at the hands of their captors and the grueling conditions that existed in Civil War prisons, which too often deprived prisoners of adequate food, shelter, sanitation, and the most rudimentary necessities for health, resulting in the deaths of at least 56,000 Union and Confederate prisoners through starvation and disease.

Rusty holds a Ph.D. in Nineteenth-Century U.S. history and an M.A. in Medieval history from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). From 2007 through 2013, Dr. Neal taught Humanities courses at Morrison University in Reno, NV as the senior humanities professor. His primary historical research interests include the American Civil War, the German Empire, Medieval Europe, and Sumer. He is currently engaged in ongoing research in these areas as an independent scholar and recently published “‘We Were Surrendered’: Civil War Prisoners and the Trauma of Capture” (2016) in the University of Virginia's Academic Journal, Essays in History. His master’s thesis, “Defining Power in the Mercian Supremacy: An Examination of the Dynamics of Power in the Kingdom of the Borderers” (2008), and doctoral dissertation, "Surrendered: The Prisoner-of-War Condition in the American Civil War" (2015) were both completed at UNR.

Dr. Neal served in the U.S. Army (Infantry) for eleven years including a tour in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), a tour in West Germany guarding Pershing II Nuclear Missiles, and three years in the National Guard. He currently works as a Program Analyst with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., and previously served as a Management Analyst, Training Manager, and Veterans Service Representative at the Reno Regional Office.

Dr. Neal and his wife are founding members of the Fredericksburg-Este Association and he has given numerous lectures to that organization on topics related to Italian literature, culture, and history. In addition, he has presented to the American Revolution Round Table of Fredericksburg on the topic of Revolutionary War Prisoners of War. Dr. Neal is currently working on preparing his dissertation on Civil War Prisoners of War for publication.

Dr. Neal lives in Stafford, VA with his wife, Helen, and their three dogs: Henry (a Golden Retriever/Pekingese mix), Otto (a Brittany Spaniel), and Blue (a Corgi mix).

November 2017 Program

Our November program, Robert Lee Hodge, spoke on “Filming the Civil War with Historical Accuracy: Pt II”. We appreciate his knowledge and experience in describing the difficulty in providing historical accuracy in films.

The Program Committee

The Program Committee consists of Pat Quinn, Scott Boyd and Paul Scott. I wish to personally thank Paul, Pat and Scott for their knowledge, input and the contacts made to the prospective speakers and for arranging such unique and interesting programs for this calendar year.

The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

As a reciprocal courtesy, we provide a regular feature each month of the speakers for the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table's current program. The RVCWRT meets 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.

Brochures and Community Contacts

Our new brochures have been printed and distributed throughout the city retail establishments, libraries and local museums. It is available on our website and paper copies can be picked up at the meetings. Please take some and give them to interested persons. The Executive Committee also approved the design of professional cards for our officers and general membership. Special thanks goes to Ted Watkins for his expertise in designing the brochures and professional cards. Front Porch publication continues our ads each month. Notices of our meetings are printed in Alan Zirkle's History Alert, The Civil War News newspaper, North South Traders Civil War magazine and the History Calendar of the Town & County Section of the Free Lance-Star.

Website and Facebook

The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg website is and our email address for general correspondence is Our Facebook page can be found at

Please take the time to check out your media sites. If you have stories, pictures or other items of interest you would like to share, please forward them our webmaster Roger Leturno at

Membership and Roster

We have had numerous new members join us this year. We have consistently had guests at our meetings. Some are members' guests and some come on their own. Please make our new members feel at home and our guests welcome by introducing yourself and inviting them to sit at your table. Bring your friends and acquaintances as guests to our meetings and solicit their membership in order to continue the growth of the club.

Rather than having an officers' head table as we have had in the past, the officers are sitting with the membership to facilitate getting better acquainted. Besides the speaker, we have also endeavored to seat some guests and new members at the head table. So take the opportunity to ask your fellow members about themselves, their backgrounds, their history, whether it be professional or military or whatever, and you'd be surprised at the "history" of each person.

The roster of our current membership has been completed, but we are adding new members monthly. Those who have not provided their cell phone number to our secretary, Beth Daly, please do so.

50/50 Raffle

Please buy raffle tickets for the 50/50 raffle in order to support the projects of our club at the table just inside the Rappahannock Grand Ballroom.


The entrance table also contains brochures and printouts for other history related events, and is available for such bulletins as members may wish to place. Books donated to the club may also be placed there by members.


Please make your reservations for our January 24th meeting by Friday, 19 January, 2018, by calling (540) 361-2105, emailing or responding to this newsletter by email. Late reservations can usually be accepted, but it 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. If you, subsequently, find that you cannot attend, please be sure to cancel your reservation in a timely manner so that the club does not have to assume the cost of that meal.

Thank you, members, for your attendance, participation and input in our club. It has indeed been a pleasure to see and experience the passion and interest of our members both in the study of the Civil War and in sharing it with others by bringing guests and new members on board.

I look forward to seeing you all at the January 24th meeting.

John Harris

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

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