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Presidents Corner

November 2017 Newsletter

Our November program is our third meeting of the 2017-2018 Program Year. Our theme of "Confederate Connections" continues with Robert Lee Hodge's presentation on “Filming the Civil War with Historical Accuracy: Part II. Mr. Hodge presented the first part of this fascinating talk in November of last year.

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 only several 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 II, 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a principal Civil War researcher at Time-Life Books for 5 years where he learned to comb through archives looking for unpublished information mostly related to the soldier experience.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 Hodge 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. The book rocketed to the top of the New York Times best seller list.

Not only will Hodge 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.

October 2017 Program

Our October program, Eric Buckland, spoke on “Mosby Men” which captured the talented and unique men who served in the 42nd Virginia Cavalry under Colonel Mosby. We appreciate his knowledge and experience in assisting us to understand the Virginian’s of the Civil War period and its aftermath.

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

Last summer the Executive Committee approved the design of new brochures that were printed and distributed throughout the city retail establishments, libraries and local museums. 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 several new members already join us this year. However, we also have many who have yet to renew their membership. To keep our club strong and continue last year’s momentum I ask those who have not renewed to please do so at their earliest convenience.

We consistently have 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.

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.

Our membership roster will be circulated at November’s meeting. Please review and update as appropriate. Those who have not provided their cell phone number to our secretary, Beth Daly, please do so. You can also sign in our website and make changes online.

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.

CWRTF Resolution March 23, 2016

Non-cancellations after reservations have been made creates a financial difficulty for the club since the club has the responsibility for the cost of that meal with our caterer. As this is an ongoing issue, the round table passed the following resolution at its March 23, 2016, meeting: "In the future, short of an emergency (classified as a personal unforeseen emergency event, which is reported by the member to the treasurer within five (5) business days post- meeting), the treasurer shall be authorized to invoice such member for the meeting/dinner cost incurred, who fails to honor his/her reservation(s) having missed the schedule CWRTF meeting/dinner event."


Please make your reservations for our November 15th meeting by Friday, November 10, 2017, 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 will see you all at the November 15th 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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