Over a span of 43 years from August 1934 until November 1977, the newspaper cartoon character Li’l Abner periodically proclaimed “No man is an Ireland [sic].” That was true before Dogpatch and its denizens became famous, and it’s still true. Individuals and nations do not exist in a vacuum, and the actions they take—or don’t take—affect others, sometimes at a great remove in both time and place.
Those who attended Kent Wright’s presentation on February 13 were reminded that the American Civil War had repercussions far beyond the shores of America. The sun never set on the British Empire. Great Britain was vitally interested in the causes and consequences of the American conflict. Gigantic forces which would shape the future of world history were at work. Wars are complex affairs.
On March 13 we will welcome Gordon Rhea, whose topic will be “Cold Harbor”, one of the final battles of the Overland Campaign. It’s often overlooked, but the battle had significant effects. The war would continue for almost another year, and the casualty lists and financial and political costs would mount. This will be another interesting, educational evening.
The Eighth Annual Civil War Lecture Series continues at McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee. On Sunday March 25 at 2 pm, Dr. Joan Markel will present “South of the River: Developments in Knoxville’s Historic Preservation Effort.” For 35 years our Roundtable has supported the preservation and historical interpretation of Fort Dickerson. Now Legacy Parks, the Aslan Foundation, the City of Knoxville, and other groups are increasingly adding to our efforts and saving land for public use and edification. This is a good opportunity to learn more about our history and its preservation.
The Civil War Preservation Trust sponsors an annual Park Day. Volunteers clean up after winter and prepare Civil War sites for increased public visitation and usage during the warmer months. Director of Preservation Eric Wayland has scheduled a work day at Fort Dickerson for the morning of Saturday April 7. Mark your calendars, and join fellow Roundtable members for a few hours of making our community better.
Also note that in April we’ll observe the 35th Anniversary of the Roundtable. Our speaker, Dr. Bud Robertson, will present his thoughts on a complex, provocative, and often controversial topic, and we’ll have a few special events to mark the occasion.
Other important future dates include Living History Weekend at Fort Dickerson October 26-28, and a special Missionary Ridge Battlefield Tour on Saturday March 17. This field trip has been organized by members Neil Williams and Norman Shaw, and will be expertly led by Jim Ogden. Due to the government shutdown in January, the Stones River tour had to be cancelled, and will be rescheduled.
At its regular meeting on February 6 the Board approved funding of up to $500 for the second Dot Kelly Preservation Award. Director of Community Activities Stan Sech and other Board members are aggressively publicizing the award and seeking applications. The grant will be announced at the Annual Meeting of the East Tennessee Historical Society in May.
The Board continues to seek ways to improve the monthly meeting experience for our members and guests. Recently a random one-table-at-a-time numbering system has been used to ease congestion in the buffet line. Member feed-back has been overwhelmingly positive, so this system will be continued.
Finally, remember that the Roundtable is a volunteer organization. There are opportunities to benefit the club and the community at multiple levels of talent and time. Be a Volunteer!
John Burkhart, President