February at KCWRT: John Bull, Uncle Sam, and King Cotton: Conflicted Friendships


The Civil War may have been a distinctly American affair, but the guns that rocked America shook the world. In England and on the continent, the war touched close to home as vested interests clashed, bonds of friendship frayed, and business ties were torn asunder.    

What Jefferson Davis’s foreign policies meant for Southern independence and ties to Europe, and, conversely, what Lincoln’s policies meant in preventing Southern independence and keeping Europeans at bay is one of the least understood and potentially most consequential aspects of the war. Because the navies were the primary instruments for projecting power in the nineteenth century, international conflict often played out on the high seas.

Come join us Tuesday, Feb. 13 as naval historian Kent Wright addresses the British “X” factor in the war. Backed by 30 years of research, Kent will discuss how British interests were tied to the war from start to finish and how these interests affected major policy decisions and the handling of one crisis after another on both sides of the Atlantic.  

Kent Wright, Huntsville, AL

Nebraskan turned Alabamian Kent Wright is a veteran of the nuclear navy and a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In civilian life, he was a nuclear plant startup engineer and senior reactor operations training specialist for the General Electric Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

He and his wife Elizabeth, from Vicksburg, MS, are now living in Huntsville, Alabama, where they moved in 1986. During his five years in Vicksburg, he reignited his lifelong interest in Civil War history while merging it with his knowledge of steam plant engineering and propulsion. While there, he made many visits to the raised Union gunboat, USS Cairo, which started his course of learning on Civil War naval history.

After moving to Huntsville in 1993, Kent joined the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table (TVCWRT) and became an active member as the program chairman. Throughout the years, he has published articles and given talks to Civil War Round Tables and various other interest groups concerning the role of the US and CS Navies in the Civil War. He is currently working on two manuscripts which he hopes to get published.  


McClung Museum hosts Civil War lecture series

The eighth annual UT McClung Museum Civil War Lecture Series kicked off on January 28, 2018Throughout the series, McClung Museum Civil War Curator Joan Markel and guest contributors explore the places and people of the Civil War in East Tennessee and beyond.

Each Sunday lecture will be held at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the UT McClung Museum at 1327 Circle Park Drive.

February 18: “History on the Ground: An Armchair Tour of 1863 Knoxville.” Our modern landscape is only a click away from the sites and structures of the Civil War era. The latest technology will allow a comfortable armchair tour of diverse locations rich in Civil War history; the route follows the troops from Farragut down Kingston Pike then around the easily identifiable downtown streets.

March 25: “South of the River: Developments in Knoxville’s Historic Preservation Effort.” Recent preservation efforts at Fort Dickerson, Fort Higley, and the Battlefield Loop section of the Urban Wilderness solidify and highlight events of 1861–1865 on the south side of the Tennessee River in Knoxville.

April 29: “Soldiers and Civilians: History as Documented by the Social Life of an Occupied City.” Knoxville was not just a military post; throughout the war it was the center of social life in East Tennessee. Military personnel and civilians interacted to a significant extent, and surviving stories are of lasting interest. Recent Civil War programming at Blount Mansion will be highlighted by Executive Director David E. Hearnes.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Free parking is available on weekends.

President’s message: the reason for all wars, and more

As I compose this epistle, snow is falling, and so is the thermometer, which is forecast to reach single digits within a few hours. These circumstances lead to increased contemplation on the vital role of logistics and economics in warfare. Several recent speakers at our monthly meetings have touched on the support required to keep an army in the field. In addition to feeding, clothing, sheltering, and arming the troops, the horses and mules required immense amounts of accouterments, fodder, and water. One of Jerry Patterson’s article reprints at the January meeting reviewed some impressive numbers for the animals. Of course, winter weather often magnified logistical difficulties due to cold, snow, mud, and agrarian unproductivity. Wood became fuel and shelter. The armies often needed more of everything, and got less of it. It all cost money, and lots of it. Winter must have been very unpleasant if not miserable for Civil War soldiers, and for civilians too.

When I was a callow youth, a history professor startled my class by stating that all wars were based in economics. He went on to say that almost all armed conflicts had primary if not total economic causation, although higher-sounding excuses such as religion or culture were often advanced. Furthermore, economics generally determined the victor, especially if the conflict was prolonged. I’m sure there are exceptions to his rule, but the area is worthy of much more study and attention than it usually receives.

Join us on February 13 as Kent Wright explores the complex web of cotton, economics, and politics both domestic and international in the 1860s. This is an unusual but timely topic and should be of great interest to all.

The 108 who attended Michael Shaffer’s presentation on January 9 heard new perspectives on Civil War maneuver and fixed fortifications. 71 members enjoyed dinner together and were joined by an additional 31 members for the lecture. We also welcomed 3 non-members for dinner and an additional 3 for the program.

Continue reading

2018 Dorothy E. Kelly Preservation Grant – now accepting applications

In December 2015 the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable (KCWRT) created the Dorothy E. Kelly Preservation Grant to honor long-time Roundtable member and Past President Dot Kelly for her many years of service to the KCWRT and her tireless efforts towards the preservation of Knoxville’s Civil War history and historic sites.  This annual grant, in an amount not to exceed $500, will be given to a group, individual, or organization for a Knoxville Civil War preservation project.  Beginning in 2017 and in future years, the annual grant information and application will be included with the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) Awards of Excellence which are usually announced each February.

The grant information and application is now available through the KCWRT, the KCWRT website, our Facebook page, or the East Tennessee Historical Society.  All applications are to be submitted in writing to the KCWRT and mailed to P.O. Box 52232, Knoxville, TN 37950-2232, marked “2018 Dorothy E. Kelly Preservation Grant”.  Submissions will be reviewed and awarded by the KCWRT.  The winner will be announced at the ETHS Annual Meeting on May 1, 2018.  The application submission deadline for 2018 is to be postmarked no later than April 2, 2018.

Questions should be submitted by email to zachsam@yahoo.com ——Stan Sech_

Download the application by clicking the link below:

2018 Application

Farragut Museum Features Battle of Campbell Station Exhibition

From the Town of Farragut website:

A new special exhibit – “The Battle of Campbell Station” – will open January 22 at the Farragut Museum.

The exhibit features items from the personal collection of local community member Gerald Augustus, including artifacts from the battle, fought Nov. 16, 1863, on the land surrounding the Farragut Town Hall.

The exhibit is open through Friday, June 15.

A special “Friends Only” exhibit preview will precede a lecture by Augustus on Sunday, January 21. Friends are invited at 1:30 p.m. for refreshments. General admission begins at 2:30 p.m. If you are not a Friend and wish to join, you are welcome to register during the preview. The lecture on the battle begins at 3 p.m.

The Farragut Museum is committed to preserving the heritage of its East Tennessee community and features a remarkable collection of artifacts from the area, including an extensive collection of the personal belongings of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, first Admiral of the U.S Navy and hero of the Civil War. Housed in Farragut Town Hall located at 11408 Municipal Center Drive, the museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and offers free admission. For more information about the museum or the exhibit, please visit www.townoffarragut.org/museum or contact Historic Resources Coordinator Julia Barham at museum@townoffarragut.org or 218-3377.


Maps available for purchase

KCWRT member Jim Tumblin has asked that you be informed about Charles Reeves’ maps at http://ReevesMaps.com

For instance:

The Bachelder-Gettysburg Map is here:


One other map I recall us discussing is the city map of Knoxville, but not sure the CWR members would be that interested in it.  We also talked about a 1930 map of the city at McClung.

The Hess on the “Battle of Ft. Sanders (Knoxville” book is here:


Of note is that this is a new copy of the hardback first edition, not the current paperback.

Charles Reeves, Jr. – reevesca@tds.net
10812 Dineen Dr
Knoxville (Farragut), TN 37934-1809

Thanks, Jim.

Not Just Antietam – September 17, 1862 In Perspective

A good point, well made

Emerging Civil War

Wednesday, September 17, 1862. is rightly classed as the bloodiest day in American history. In that 24-hour period, more Americans fell killed, wounded, captured, or missing, than in any like 24-hour period before or since.

This contention rests almost totally on the Battle of Antietam outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, where 23,726 (12,410 US and 10, 316 CS) soldiers fell in essentially 12 hours of combat that day.

But that horrific number does not cover all the losses on September 17.

View original post 122 more words

2017 Year Ending Financial Report for Knoxville Civil War Roundtable

Your Knoxville Civil War Roundtable would like our membership to know that our financial records are open and available for all members. Although we operate on a Fiscal Year that begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year, a brief Calendar Year ending report might serve better to illustrate our revenues and expenses and total financial picture.

With our low membership dues and dinner charges just over our costs, your Board has done everything possible to keep your costs at a minimum.

As many of you know, our primary source of revenue is membership dues and we collected slightly more than $7,000 in dues this year. Our Membership Chairman, Jerry Patterson has done an outstanding job in building our membership to about 240 members. In addition, Eric Wayland, our Preservation Chairman, brings in about $1,000 from the sale of magazines and books generously donated by our members.

Since we pay Bearden Banquet Hall $13 for each member who dines with us and charge only $15 for that member, we do not make any money from our dinner collection, especially after we pay for meals for our speakers, their guests and any other guests we invite. We are also faced with having to pay dining expenses for members who call in a reservation, but do not come to the meeting.

As a Roundtable, the largest expense we incur is for speaker expenses. We pay no honorarium to our speakers, but we do pay for travel, meals, lodging costs and the cost of small gifts which are presented to them. I believe each of you will agree that our Program Chairman, Jim Doncaster, does a splendid job of recruiting knowledgeable and even exciting speakers. This year we spent just over $4,000 for speaker expenses.
Our second largest expense is for our support of Ft. Dickerson. With our upkeep of the park and the expense involved with our Living History Weekend, we spent just over $3,600 this year.

Additionally, other expenses we incur are for printing and mailing the “Scout”, telephone, post office box rental, office supplies and other equipment such as the new laptop we purchased this year.

As you can see, we operate on a very tight budget and your Board is very frugal with your money.

Our bank balance beginning in January, 2017 was $11,067 and at year’s end it was $9,722.

Questions about this financial summary are welcome.

Stones River (Murfreesboro) battlefield tour, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018

—by Neil J. Williams and Norman C. Shaw

Please join us on Saturday, January 20th, 2018, as we tour the Stones River Battlefield and learn about this important battle and the men who fought it. We are lucky to have as our guide, Jim Lewis, who has been a Park Ranger at Stones River National Battlefield since 1997 and has acted as the de-facto Park Historian for Stones River.

This will be an all-day event, rain or shine, that will begin at 9:30 a.m. (CST) at Stones River Visitors Center and will end about 5 p.m. (CST). Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring or wear comfortable walking shoes.

People who have decided to carpool from Knoxville will meet at 6:45 a. m. in Walmart’s large parking lot in Turkey Creek, near Chick-fil-A, and depart at 7 after consolidating our numbers into as few vehicles as possible. For people who have elected to drive separately, we will meet you at the Stones River Battlefield Visitors Center a little after 9 a. m. (CST). People will have the opportunity to use the bathrooms at the Visitors Center.

We will have one hour for lunch and will restart the tour immediately after the hour. We suggest bringing snacks and drinks, for the lunch break people can either get food from nearby fast food chains or may pack their own lunch to eat.

We currently have 28 people signed up for the tour. If you plan to go and have not yet contacted one of us, please send an email to either Neil Williams (njwilliams85@gmail.com) or Norman Shaw (shawclan4@bellsouth.net) so we can add your names to the list. Should you need to cancel after signing up, please let Norman or me know as soon as possible.

Missionary Ridge battlefield tour, Saturday, March 17, 2018

—by Neil J. Williams and Norman C. Shaw

Please join us on Saturday, March 17th, 2018, as we tour Missionary Ridge and learn about this important Union victory that forced Bragg’s Confederate army from Chattanooga. We are pleased to have returning as our guide, Jim Ogden, Chief Historian at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

The Battle of Missionary Ridge, fought on November 25, 1863, was a key battle in the Chattanooga Campaign, which followed up on the Union victory at Lookout Mountain the day prior. This battle ended the siege of Chattanooga that began shortly after the Confederate victory at Chickamauga the prior September.

If you plan to go, please email Neil Williams njwilliams85@gmail.com or Norman Shaw shawclan4@bellsouth.net.