Scout’s Report, April 2019

4-2019 Scout FINAL

Reopening the Tennessee River Civil War Tour, Saturday, March 23, 2019

by Neil J. Williams

Please join us on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019, as we tour the locations and places important to reopening of the Tennessee River during the early stages of the 1863 Chattanooga Campaign, we will learn more about the actions that led to the establishment of the famous Cracker Line that fed the Army of the Cumberland which had been bottled up in Chattanooga following their defeat at Chickamauga. We are pleased to have return as our guide, Jim Ogden, Chief Historian at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This tour will start at 9 am in Chattanooga and end about 5. We will meet up at 8:30-8:45 am at a location in Chattanooga that will be announced at a later date.

This will be the KCWRT’s fourth trip with Jim Ogden covering different portions of the Campaign and Battle of Chattanooga. The first tour covered Sherman’s army’s approach and eventual attack against Cleburne’s men on the northern portion of Missionary Ridge at Tunnel Hill. The second tour was at the opposite end on the Union line covering the Battle of Lookout Mountain, where recently arrived soldiers from the XI and XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac under Gen. Hooker clashed with Confederate soldiers from Cheatham and Stevenson’s Divisions of the Army of

Tennessee. Last we toured Missionary Ridge and learned about the Army of the Cumberland charge of the steep slopes. This year we will learn about the operations to reopen the Tennessee River and establish a supply line into the city of Chattanooga, that would later be named the Cracker Line. Once established supplies and rations began to follow into the bottled up and starving Army of the Cumberland, prior to the opening of the Cracker Line, the soldiers were down to receiving four pieces of hardtack/bread and a quarter pound of meat every three days.

We will meet up at 8:30-8:45 a.m. in the northeast corner on the Walmart parking lot located at 3550 Cummins Hwy in Chattanooga. We will start our tour from that location and will consolidate into as few cars as possible, any volunteers for drivers in the car caravan would be greatly appreciated. Those who have already volunteered as a driver for the tour, thank you again for volunteering. For lunch I would encourage many of you to bring your own lunch, we will try to find a nice location to eat lunch similar to last year’s Missionary Ridge tour. If you want to grab fast food, you will also be free to do too. This tour will take place rain or shine, please dress appropriately for the weather.

For some good reading on the Battle of Chattanooga and the actions on Missionary Ridge, see Blue and Gray Magazine’s 2013, #6, issue written by the late Wiley Sword; “The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battle for Chattanooga”, by Peter Cozzens; or visit the Civil War Trust’s web page which has extensive information on the battle and some of the people who fought it in.

If you plan to go on the tour of the Reopening of the Tennessee River, please send an email to Neil Williams at, so I can add your name to the list.

President’s message, March 2019

My father-in-law was a Marine Lieutenant who engaged in some of the heaviest fighting of The Second World War on the Pacific island of Okinawa. After the war he returned to the civilian world where he raised a wonderful family and enjoyed a successful career as a top executive with a major corporation. He also experienced recurrent nightmares for the rest of his life related to his platoon’s defense of its position against a Japanese banzai charge. Like so many brave combat veterans, the war for him never completely ended.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, has been described as a delayed-stress syndrome which is caused by exposure to combat or other high stress factors.

Characterized by symptoms of rage, guilt, flashbacks, nightmares, depression, and emotional numbing, it can culminate in a wide variety of escalating social and psychiatric problems. The syndrome has its roots in antiquity and has been referred to by many different names over the course of recorded history. In the Civil War, it was referred to as “Soldier’s Heart, Nervous Shock, Melancholy, Dementia, Hysteria and Cowardice.”

In 1981, PTSD, officially found a medical home when it was added as a medical diagnosis to “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” The Manual describes a lengthy constellation of symptoms and sets forth the requirements for diagnosis.

The murderous excesses of the Civil War created a perfect storm of conditions for the development of PTSD. The description of handtohand fighting in the trenches of Spotsylvania horrified its participants and set a new benchmark for savagery. Compounding matters, medical officers had little understanding of the manifestations of battle-induced psychic trauma and could offer little in the way of treatment.

Broken in mind and spirit, many returning soldiers retreated into opioids and alcohol in order to blunt the physical and psychic pain brought on by the war.

Alarmingly, some returning veterans deteriorated mentally, often overwhelming family resources. In 1860, approximately forty state and federal mental asylums existed in this country. By 1880, the number of such

institutions had soared to 140. Tragically, over two-thirds of these patients were Civil War veterans. Many surviving post-war amputees also fell prey to substance abuse and mental infirmities. The majority of men who fought in the Civil War were from the lower economic classes, and educational poverty represented a huge obstacle to overcome.

Returning home, they discovered that

farming and most positions in the blue- collar labor field could not accommodate their special needs. Essentially, they had been condemned to a life-time of unemployment. Union veteran records reveal some interesting findings regarding the coexistence of post-war physical and mental problems. Comorbidity issues were found to be statistically higher in veterans sustaining battlefield injuries. Witnessing the intense trauma of death on a daily basis impacted surviving POWS in a terrible way too.

Surprisingly, research revealed that the younger the soldier, the greater was the potential for comorbidity and substance abuse issues surfacing in later life. Other PTSD stressors reported were witnessing the death of comrades, dismemberment, killing others, hand-to hand combat, percentage of company members killed, and the feeling of being absolutely helpless to prevent the deaths of fellow soldiers. Tortured souls all, these poor men were condemned to endure the unendurable for the rest of their lives.

-Jack Spiceland, President

The Scout’s Report – March 2019

The Scout’s Report – March 2019

3-2019 Scout2

Haversacks, hardtack, and unserviceable mules

In April 1861, a patriotic young man by the name of Webster Colburn heeded Lincoln’s call and enlisted in the Union infantry for three months as a private. Five years later, with a few more stripes and thousands of miles behind him, Major Webster Colburn, a Union quartermaster, mustered out of the army in June 1866.

His story is that of one man’s private war to survive a year in the infantry and artillery and four more in the demanding job of a union quartermaster. Providing the federal army with everything from socks to horseshoes and haversacks to horses was critical to the survival and success of the Union army. Quartermasters kept supplies coming even when railroad bridges were destroyed, wagon trains captured, and crops burned. The details of Colburn’s journey across Tennessee with the Army of the Cumberland during the Civil War emerged when 6,000 original documents, letters, diaries, orders, and monthly reports preserved by his family came into the hands of Dr. Nancy McEntee who shaped them into the narrative that became Haversacks, Hardtack, and Unserviceable Mules.

Come join us as Dr. McEntee shares the story of Colburn’s struggles at Shiloh, Stones River, Chattanooga and Knoxville and examines his difficulties and mounting responsibilities through times of starvation, loss and victory.

In the process you’ll learn about the thousands of mules and horses that were unserviceable and destroyed, the job of digging up and re-burying hundreds of victims from the Fort Pillow massacre, and the details of another massacre in Memphis in 1866 that history has all but forgotten.

Dr. Nancy McEntee

As a private pilot and lover of history, Nancy McEntee is the author of numerous articles on women pilots and local history. Her first book, Pilots, Pinballs, and Politics: The History of Naples Municipal Airport, became part of a PBS special on aviation in WWII. The Smoky Mountains of Southeast Tennessee are now home for her; a region rich with Appalachian lore and historical characters. Here is where she found the subject of her second book, Molsey Blount: The Colonial First Lady of Tennessee, the life of Gov. William Blount’s wife. Her latest book, Haversacks, Hardtack, and Unserviceable Mules, leaps forward from the Revolutionary period to the Civil War and tells the story of Webster Colburn, a Union quartermaster, whose job it is to feed, clothe, arm, mount, and sometimes bury his fellow soldiers. Because Colburn was with the Army of the Cumberland as a private soldier at Shiloh and Stone’s River, and as a quartermaster at Chattanooga and Knoxville, the book represents a significant contribution to the literature on the Civil War in Tennessee.

Interestingly, Dr. McEntee earned three college degrees later in life…a reflection of a late bloomer and an optimist.

She never planned to become an author yet learned quickly the joy of writing in finishing her PhD in 2003.

Now retired from numerous careers and pastimes, she volunteers in Cades Cove with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a former USMC Woman Marine, she also volunteers with the East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard, honoring deceased veterans as they are laid to rest.

President’s message: February 2019

The classic story in American literature is the novel entitled Gone With The Wind.

Written by Atlanta newspaper reporter Margaret Mitchell and published in 1936, the 1,037-page book swept the nation by storm and was at the top of the bestseller list in both 1936 and 1937.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, the novel was made into a movie in 1939. Since that time, book sales have exceeded thirty million and the movie has become one of the highest grossing films of all time.

It is considered one of the greatest American films ever produced and has become a cultural icon.

The novel itself is a confusing swirl of myths and facts about the aristocratic side of plantation life in the South and the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War.

It is a tale of unrequited love, social and cultural upheaval, economic destruction, lost hopes and dreams, and the tragedy of human suffering and bondage. For the South, the character of Scarlett O’Hara represented its struggle with the war and reconstruction. Her struggles were symbolic of the South’s own resilience and its indomitable will to survive and never give up. Mitchell’s book and the subsequent movie had a pull on Southerners that was simply irresistible. It gave verbal and visual expression to a lingering, frustrated anger and resentment that had remained bottled up since the “starving times” in the years following the war.

On December 15, 1939, over 100,000 people lined the motorcade route to welcome arriving GWTW actors and actresses to Atlanta for the Premiere of GWTW. The governor declared the day a state holiday and proms, parades and other festivities were held. That evening, the movie stars attended the Premiere of the movie at the Loew’s Grand Theatre.

The black cast members, including Academy Award winner Hattie McDaniel, were not allowed to attend the Premiere because of Georgia’s strict segregation laws.

There were many inherent problems with the movie. Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard were all citizens of Great Britain. Clark Gable, America’s heart throb, possessed a full set of dentures and was paranoid about having them accidentally dislodged in his “up close” kissing scenes. Hattie McDaniel, an accomplished songwriter and star of both stage and screen, was from Colorado and had to be tutored to speak in the dialect of a North Georgia slave.

The movie was filmed on the back lot of a studio in Culver City, California. The dirt on the set was dyed red to resemble Georgia’s red clay. Tara was a facade built by the studio and the exterior of Twelve Oaks was a matte painting. Nothing was filmed in Georgia.

It was “tinsel town” at its finest and Southern mythology at its best. It was about as authentic as Harry Potter and The Hogwart’s School of Magic. The movie, like the book, should have been entitled “Life Styles of The Rich and Famous,” since it only represented the aristocratic slice of southern culture.

The rest of the South was left out.

To compound matters, Atlanta was a railroad and industrial town with no Spanish moss and very few Greek Revival mansions. Following the Premiere, the town was compelled to completely reinvent itself to fit the film’s image and subsequent explosion in tourism.

Hattie McDaniel died in 1952. She asked to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery in California. Her request was denied because the cemetery was segregated. Even in death, Ms. McDaniel found no comfort. Despite the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, 650,000 deaths in The Civil War and the 14th Amendment, Ms. McDaniel still had no place at the table.

Jack Spiceland, President

Forty Days in Hell: Grant’s Overland Campaign

Battered and bloodied at the Battle of the Wilderness days before and now engaged in a titanic struggle at the “Mule Shoe” at Spotsylvania, Ulysses S. Grant doggedly affirmed his intentions in a dispatch: “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”

And fight it out he did. Day after day, battle after brutal battle, the Overland Campaign raged for 40 consecutive days between May 4th and June 12th, 1864. The campaign pitted the Union’s best general, Grant, fresh from the West, against the Confederacy’s best, the legendary Robert E. Lee, for the first time in the war.

Weeks of savage fighting in the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Court House, at the North Anna River, and at Cold Harbor, where 7,000 Union soldiers fell in just thirty minutes, exhausted the resources and tested the will of both the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. On the home front and in the capitals North and South, a great hue and cry arose as casualty reports were posted and the scale of the carnage became manifest.

The war had entered a new and even-deadlier phase. Through it all, Grant remained implacable. Though the Overland Campaign failed to deliver the knockout blow he had hoped for, Grant had succeeded in stealing the initiative from Lee. The oft-beaten and much-maligned Army of the Potomac would not retreat again.

Come join us on Feb. 12 for an unforgettable evening as General Grant himself addresses his assumption of command of all Federal armies, his build-up for the Overland Campaign, and why he chose to go through the Wilderness rather than around it. He will speak to the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania and the deadly dance between the armies up to and through Cold Harbor to the beginning of the siege of Petersburg.

Welcome to Knoxville, Curt Fields

Dr. E. C. (Curt) Fields, Jr., is an avid and lifelong student of the American Civil War. His interest in portraying General Ulysses S. Grant was driven by that study and his deep respect and admiration for General Grant. Dr. Fields is the same height and body type as General Grant and therefore presents a convincing, truetolife image of the man as he really looked. He researches and reads extensively about General Grant to deliver an accurate persona of the General. His presentations are in first person, quoting from General Grant’s Memoirs, articles and letters the General wrote, and statements he made in interviews.

Dr. Fields holds a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education from the University of Memphis. He later earned a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Curriculum from Michigan State University. He is a career educator who taught for eight years at the junior and senior high school levels and then served for 25 years as a high school administrator. He also has taught as an adjunct Sociology Professor at the University of Memphis and in Education for Belhaven University’s Memphis campus.

Dr. Fields is now an educational consultant and living historian. As a consultant, he has worked in leadership development as espoused and practiced by General Grant with several corporate and civic groups. As a living historian, Dr. Fields portrayed General Grant at the 150th Sesquicentennial observations of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Raymond, Vicksburg, and at Appomattox Court House in 2015. He has portrayed the general on film, as well starring as General Grant in the Visitor Center film shown at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park and in the Discovery Channel’s three-part documentary series “How Booze built America.”

Dr. Fields also was featured as General Grant, giving his life story, on the Civil War Trust website. A frequent contributor to “The Civil War Courier” (A Civil War monthly newspaper), Dr. Fields is a member of The Tennessee Historical Society, The West Tennessee Historical Society, The Shelby County Historical Society, The Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society, The Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association, The Appomattox 1865 Foundation, The 290 Foundation (dedicated to the Civil War Navies), The Civil War Trust, and the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

KCWRT – Scout’s Report February 2019


2-2019 scout final

McClung Museum Hosts Ninth Annual Civil War Lecture Series


Knoxville1864, 1500x1000
View of Knoxville, Tenn. Knoxville Tennessee United States, 1864. [Photographed , Printed Later] Photograph.

The ninth annual McClung Museum Civil War Lecture Series begins January 20.

Throughout the series, McClung Museum Civil War Curator Joan Markel will shed light on the individual lives of Knoxvillians during the war. This social history is one of the first community-level studies devoted to the origins, conflicts, and aftermath of the Civil War as it played out in an established all-American city.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, are held on one Sunday each month from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the museum’s auditorium.

The opening lecture on January 20, “Knoxville’s Civilian War: The Caregivers,” looks at the women of Knoxville who served as de facto physicians, ministers, press representatives, and domestic caregivers—all of the roles people looked to for expertise, advice, information, and counseling when life-altering decisions were made.

Other lectures in the series include:

  • February 17: “Knoxville’s Civilian War: The Lawyers.” Since its earliest days, our city has had a robust legal community, with many lawyers particularly visible in civil service roles. Examination of the sides chosen and the course of political careers over the war years and beyond reveals a complex interpretation of loyalty.
  • March 31: “Knoxville’s Civilian War: The Financiers.” With the coming of the railroad in 1855, new and established merchandising and distribution firms prospered in Knoxville. Many of the old families and the new money cast their lot with the promising economic prospects of the Confederacy. For some of these families, the war brought eager promise followed by economic ruin. Yet others maintained—and even grew—their wealth and status.
  • April 28: “Knoxville’s Civilian War: The Common Man.” The stories of many young men from working-class families come to light through well-documented military records supplemented by diaries, letters, and books detailing wartime routines and ordeals. When the fighting ended, many former Rebels never returned, going west or to the Deep South, while many former Union soldiers moved permanently to Knoxville to prosper with the town in the second half of the 19th century.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Free parking is available on the weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is available via the Knoxville Trolley Orange Line. See the museum’s website for more information about family programming, parking, and collections and exhibits.


Joan Markel (865-974-2144,

Zack Plaster (865-974-6750,

KCWRT – Scout’s Report, January 2019

1-2019 Scout