New schedule for meetings: Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:15


With the September meeting, the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable begins a new schedule, with all meeting events a half hour earlier than with the previous schedule.

Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The business meeting and program will begin at 7:15 p.m., and the speaker will generally begin at 7:30.

Meetings should adjourn at about 8:45 p.m.

Make a note of this schedule change, and don’t be late for the September meeting.

Living History weekend at Ft. Dickerson set for Oct. 29-30


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Fort Dickerson, the Civil War earthwork atop a hill on Knoxville’s southern riverfront will once again be populated with soldiers in blue and gray as the Knoxville Civil War
Roundtable and the City of Knoxville present a Living History weekend on October 29
and 30, 2017.

Local re-enacting units, historians, and authors alike will commemorate the Siege of Knoxville that took place in November of 1863.

The free event is sponsored by the City of Knoxville’s Parks and Recreation Department and hosted by the Civil War Roundtable. Fort Dickerson Park is located just off Chapman Highway in South Knoxville at 3000 Fort Dickerson Road.

The Living History Weekend will run from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday, October 29, and from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, October 30. Activities will include living
history campsites, infantry drilling with rifle firing demonstrations, a Civil War medical
and surgical exhibit, ladies fashions, battle reenactments, cannon firings, and a salute to all veterans.

Visitors are invited to park for free at Disc Exchange across from Shoneys, where they can ride a free shuttle to Fort Dickerson.

Fort Dickerson was one of sixteen earthen forts and battery positions surrounding
Knoxville that were built by the United States Army during the Civil War. It was one of
three constructed upon the heights across the Holston (now Tennessee) River from
Knoxville, the other two being Fort Stanley and Fort Higley.

The middle fort was named for Captain Jonathan C. Dickerson, 112th Illinois Mounted
Infantry, who was killed in action near Cleveland Tennessee.

For more information on this event as well as Civil War History in Knoxville, contact Event Coordinator Tom Wright at 865-482- 1680 or Re-enactor Coordinator Perry Hill at 865-283- 1691 or

Tentative schedule of activities:

Saturday, October 29, 2017
10:00 am – Camps open to public
11:00 am – Ladies Fashions
11:30 am – Mustering in/Infantry Drill
12:00 pm -Civil War Arms

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2017

Jim Lyle tours Ft. Dickerson in these three videos



KCWRT’s Jim Lyle conducts a short tour of Ft. Dickerson in Knoxville.

Thanks to Val Lyle for these videos.

KCWRT welcomes Greg Biggs as August speaker


Greg Biggs has studied military history from the Spartans to modern wars for over 50 years with concentrations on the Napoleonic Era, the Civil War and World War II.

Greg Biggs

An expert on the military flags of the 18th and 19th centuries, Greg has consulted with museums, collectors and auction houses on Civil War flags and has written several articles on the topic in SCV publications, North-South Trader and Civil War News, Battle of Franklin Trust Magazine and others.

Greg is also a text editor and author for the scholarly Flags of the Confederacy web site (  He has done research for several Civil War authors and has written articles for Civil War Regiments journal, Blue & Gray Magazine, Civil War News, Citizens Companion, Hallowed Ground and some online publications.

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August at KCWRT: “The Question of Supplies” – The logisitics of Sherman’s Atlanta campaign



Join us as historian Greg Biggs examines the nuts and bolts of Sherman’s logistics including the errors that were made in the process. 

(Meeting details on the left side of this page.)

No army in history moved without a secure line of supplies especially if it moved into enemy territory.

If an army got cut off from its supplies calamity usually followed, often ending in defeat and/or destruction.

When William T. Sherman set his sights on Atlanta he prepared for the supplying of his army in a manner that surpassed every other Civil War general.  Rebuilding railroads and confiscating locomotives and cars to haul supplies, Sherman set daily goals for shipments to his forward base in Chattanooga.

Ruthless in making sure that only supplies got on the cars, Sherman also had to worry about protecting the line of rails that ran back to Louisville, Kentucky from Confederate raiders.

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Memorial Day photographs from Dennis Urban

KCWRT announces preservation grant award

The Knoxville Civil War Roundtable (KCWRT) awarded the first annual Dot Kelly Preservation Grant to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Chapter 89 (UDC 89). The $500 grant was presented May 2 at the annual meeting and awards of the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) held at the Foundry. The grant was to repair the pool and fountain at the Bleak House, Confederate Memorial Hall in Knoxville. The over 100-year-old concrete fountain was in disrepair due to leaks and cracks in the base.

In December 2015, the KCWRT created the grant to honor past president and long-time board member 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, is given to a group, individual, or organization for a Knoxville area Civil War preservation project. Beginning in 2017 and in future years, the annual grant information and application is included with the ETHS Awards of Excellence announced each February.

Accepting the grant check from KCWRT past president Dennis Urban and Dot Kelly was Karen Blevins, 3rd vice president of UDC 89. Also present was John Stegner, president of the KCWRT and Carlene Johnson, president of UDC 89.

Bleak House is a Victorian mansion built in 1858 by prominent Knoxvillian, Robert H. Armstrong. Slave labor was used to mold the bricks for the house on site. During the siege of Knoxville and the Battle of Fort Sanders in November and December 1863, the home served as headquarters for Confederate Generals James Longstreet and Lafayette McLaws. Three soldiers using the house’s tower as a sharpshooters post were killed there by Federal cannon fire. A comrade sketched their likenesses on the wall of the tower. Two cannonballs are still embedded in the walls. Artillery was also set up on the lawn to fire on the Federals. Tours of the house and grounds are offered. Refer to the UDC 89 website:

Bud Robertson to speak to KCWRT on ‘four-legged soldiers’ in May



Come join us for an unforgettable evening (Tuesday, May 9) with the redoubtable Civil War historian and luminary, Dr. James I. (Bud) Robertson, as he addresses…    

      ~The Four-Legged Soldiers in the Civil War~

It is easy when studying Civil War history to forget that an army existed, and functioned, solely because of horses and mules.  They were not merely the property and province of officers and cavalrymen. Every wagon, every ambulance, every artillery piece was immobile and, for all intents and purposes, useless in the absence of horsepower. While the human cost of the war was horrendous, far more of the silent servants died than did humans.  Yet one scarcely gives their sacrifices a passing thought.

What they did–and gave–will be the first half of Bud Robertson’s talk.  He will then “switch horses” and focus on regimental mascots, who were so invaluable in boosting troop morale, providing companionship, and promoting love to soldiers on both sides in the chilling atmosphere of war.

James I. “Bud” Robertson

James I. Robertson Jr., one of the country’s most distinguished Civil War historians, is the author or editor of more than 25 books including biographies of Gens. Robert E. Lee and A. P. Hill, several works on the common soldiers, and three studies written for young readers. His massive biography of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the basis for the characterization of Jackson in the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. mega-movie, “Gods and Generals”, a film for which Dr. Robertson served as chief historical consultant. For the sesquicentennial, The National Geographic Society published in 2011 his book The Untold Civil War based on stories and vignettes from his popular and long-running weekly series on National Public Radio. His latest book, After the Civil War: The Heroes, Villains, Soldiers, and Civilians Who Changed America was published in October of 2015.

Dr. Robertson served as Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission in the 1960s and worked with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in commemorating the war’s 100th anniversary.  He then taught 44 years at Virginia Tech, where his upper division course on the Civil War era attracted 300 or more students per semester and made it the largest class of its kind in the nation.  At his retirement in 2011, the University named him Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History.

The Danville, Virginia native holds a Ph.D. degree from Emory University and honorary doctorates from Randolph-Macon College and Shenandoah University. A man of many talents, he is the lyricist of the Old Dominion’s newly adopted traditional state song, “Our Great Virginia” which the governor recently signed into law.

The recipient of every major award given in Civil War history, and a lecturer of national acclaim, Dr. Robertson is probably more in demand as a speaker than anyone else in the field of Civil War studies.


Civil War Trust Annual Conference, June 7-11, 2017

Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields   |
Annual Conference


In north Georgia and south Tennessee, Union and Confederate armies clashed during the fall of 1863 in some of the hardest fighting of the Civil War. The prize was Chattanooga, a key rail center and the gateway to the heart of the Confederacy. This summer, you can join Civil War Trust members with some of our nation’s elite historians as we delve into the battles that one Confederate soldier ominously called, “the death-knell of the Confederacy.”

At our 2017 Annual Conference, you can explore the battlefield as never before. Our lineup of expert tour guides and speakers includes Keith Bohannon, Michael R. Bradley, Peter Cozzens, Parker Hills, James Ogden III, and the Trust’s own Garry Adelman. Our tours will give a detailed look at the Battles for Chattanooga and the Battle of Chickamauga, and cover themes such as William Tecumseh Sherman versus Joseph Eggleston Johnston in North Georgia, and how George Thomas earned his enduring nickname. The complete list of tours can be found here.

The conference will take place June 7-11. Space is limited! Register now to reserve your spot at the conference and to sign up for your tour preferences. See you in Chattanooga!

Lee's Headquarters
Special Events at Lee’s Headquarters!

We have events planned throughout the year where you can visit the newly restored Lee’s Headquarters at Gettysburg. Save the date for an open house in 2017.

Learn More


Tell Your Story
Why Do You Support the Civil War Trust?

Tell us about why you are passionate about Civil War history and battlefield preservation. Please share your story on our website.

Share Your Story


Shiloh Animated Map

April 6-7 marks the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. To commemorate the event, you can view the entire engagement from start to finish, from sunrise on April 6, 1862, to Grant’s Counterattack. Watch »

Park Day
Park Day Photo Contest

If you attended a Park Day Event last weekend, please enter your favorite photo from the day for a chance to win! Enter »

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President’s message: Ft. Sumter


Thank you to everyone who attended the March meeting to hear Curt Fields speak on “Appomattox: The Days before the Surrender”. His appearance and presentation as General Grant was commanding as well as enlightening. Total attendance for the lecture was an even 100. There were sixty-three diners, nine who were non-members. Also attending were an additional thirty-seven members and six who were non-members to hear the presentation. Thank you once again for your support and interest in the Round Table as this is the best attended event of the year.

Remember to make your dinner reservation by 11 a.m. Monday April 10th to hear Scientist, Attorney, Historian and Author Scott Mingus speak on “Extra Billy Smith”. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at the April meeting.

Looking forward to the May 9th dinner meeting, please mark your calendar to hear Bud Robertson’s presentation on “The Four-Legged Soldier”. You will not want to miss Mr. Robertson, who is an outstanding speaker, historian and author.

Fort Sumter

It is 4:30 pre-dawn in Charleston Harbor. The date is April 12, 1861 and a single mortar round is fired at a fort in the middle of the harbor. The shell explodes over Fort Sumter, a Federal Fort. The mortar round is fired by the Confederate States of America under the command of Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard. Major Robert Anderson is the commanding Federal officer of Sumter. The American Civil War has begun.

The battle of Ft. Sumter

Surrounding the harbor, all of the Federal installations and Forts had been surrender to the Confederacy except for Sumter. Strategically and geographically Sumter can control all ships coming and leaving Charleston. The South for the past several months has been demanding that the fort be evacuated and surrendered. On the afternoon of April 11th, Beauregard sent a letter of ultimatum to Anderson demanding its evacuation. Anderson replied “I regret that my sense of honor, and my obligation to my Government, prevent my compliance”.

Beauregard was informed by friends in Washington that an expedition was on route to Charleston to relieve Anderson and a force would be landed to overcome all opposition. On the eve of the 11th, masts of the Federal ships could be observed forming off shore. Anderson sent word to Beauregard that he would evacuate the fort on April 15th. With the expedition force offshore, Beauregard could not wait. At 3:20 a.m. on Friday, April 12th, he sent word to Anderson that he would open fire within one hour.

By 5:00 a.m. gun batteries from Fort Johnson on James Island, Morris Island, Mount Pleasant, and Sullivan Island were firing on Fort Sumter. In Charleston, Mary Chestnut, the wife of Colonel James Chestnut, was awaken suddenly by the bombardment. She wrote, “I sprang out of my bed, and on my knees prostrate, I prayed as never before”. Spectators circled the harbor to watch the shelling of the fort. Concussions of the shells hitting the walls of Fort Sumter could be felt in downtown Charleston and the sound of the guns could be heard more than forty miles away. It most certainly must have been a spectacular site.

The assault on Fort Sumter ended with Colonel Anderson’s surrender at 2:30 p.m. on April 13th. The bombardment lasted for 34 hours with more than 70 Confederate guns and over 4000 shells fired. Although the fort had suffered considerable damage, no one lost their life.

The firing on the fort united a formerly divided North behind President Lincoln’s mission to preserve the Union. On April 15th Lincoln proclaimed a state of insurrection rather than war and issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to quell the rebellion. Officially, the Civil war has begun.

John Stegner, President
The Atlas of the Civil War edited by James M. McPherson The Union Is Dissolved by Douglas W. Bostick
The Everything Civil Book by Donald Vaughn