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Program Change for October!

The Mississippi River Squadron with Dwight Hughes

This month we welcome Dwight Hughes, a public historian, author, and speaker of Civil War naval history.  Dwight will present to us information relating to theUnion“brown-water” navalflotilla known as, TheMississippi River Squadron.

Our speaker writes, “History offers few examples other than the Civil War and Vietnam of extensive operations on inland shallow waters involving specialized classes of war vessels commanded and manned by naval personnel. The struggle for the Mississippi River, the spine of America, was one of the longest, most challenging and diverse campaign of the Civil War.”

Dwight graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1967 with a major in history and government. He served twenty years as a Navy surface warfare officer on many oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam (Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart).

Dwight taught Naval ROTC at the University of Rochester, earningan MA in Political Science, and later completed an MS in Information Systems Management from USC. Hissecond career wassoftware engineering, primarily in electronic mapping for the U.S. Geological Survey. Aridge in Antarctica isnamed for him in recognition of contributions to Antarctic databases and information services.

Our speaker’s current calling melds a love of the sea and ships with a lifetime study of naval history and a fascination with the Civil War. His commitment is to advance understanding of our Civil War heritage and to communicate that heritage in an educational and entertaining manner especially for new generations.

Dwight is author of A Confederate Biography: The Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah (Naval Institute Press, 2015) and contributing author at the Emerging Civil War blog.  He has presented at numerous Civil War Roundtables, historical conferences, and other venues. See http://civilwarnavyhistory.com/ for a list of previous presentations and summaries of presentations available for interested audiences.

Dwight lives with his wife, Judi, in the woods near Nokesville, VA, just down the road from the Bristoe Station battlefield.

We look forward to Dwight’s presentation, and hope you will join us!


Thursday, November 1, Bobby Wilcox, Topic TBA


2018 marks the 200 anniversary of the John Brockenbrough Mansion in Richmond.  Over the years, it has served many roles, most famously that of Executive Mansion of Jefferson Davis and his family from 1861-1865. While those four years cemented the house's importance in history, it also was a private residence (1818-1861), a headquarters of Union occupying forces during Reconstruction (1865-1870), the Richmond Central School (1871- 1894), home to The Confederate Museum (1896- 1976), and the fully restored White House of the Confederacy (1988-present). It was one of the first places designated as a National Historic Landmark.

 The American Civil War Museum will mark this bicentennial with a series of monthly programs that focus on the broad sweep of the house’s history and the people who made it. The programs will feature a variety of formats, from panel discussions to interactive tours to “eyewitness” storytelling sessions. The bicentennial programs will be held within the house itself at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. They are free to Museum members and $10 for the general public (includes museum admission). A series subscription for the year is available for $100. All proceeds go directly to the White House of the Confederacy.

See our website, and click on the links below for more information:


If you have an interest in becoming more involved with the PCWRT, or have a special skill to offer, why not consider volunteering? New ideas and new people are the life-blood of any organization, and the PCWRT is no different. We need new volunteers with new ideas to move forward into our second decade. To get involved, please see one of our Leadership Committee members at our next meeting.


See our website’s FAQ page for a list of our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question addressed there? E-mail us at PowhatanCWRT@gmail.com  

THIS MONTH IN THE CIVIL WAR 1864 - Courtesy History Learning Site

October 1st: President Lincoln met with his Cabinet and senior army figures such as McClellan to discuss a major operation against the Confederates along the east coast. Ironically, Jefferson Davis was doing the same in Richmond regarding an attack against Unionist positions in Virginia as the public in the South were also expecting a major military campaign against the enemy.

October 3rd: Governor Thomas More of Alabama banned the export of cotton to Europe. He hoped that this would pressurize the governments of France and Great Britain to recognize the Confederate government. Soldiers fought at Greenbriar, western Virginia, which resulted in over 100 Confederate dead while the Unionists lost just eight killed but also captured a large number of horses and cattle.

October 4th: The Confederacy signed a number of treaties with Native American tribes that brought these tribes into the war on the side of the Confederacy.

October 5th: The Cabinet in Washington DC signed a contract for a new type of warship – the Ironclad. The first was called the ‘USS Monitor’ and had a pair of heavy guns in a revolving turret.

October 6th: The Confederacy started a campaign to find crossings over the Upper Potomac that, if successful, would have allowed them to outflank the Unionist force in the capital.

October 7th: Lincoln sent the Secretary of War to Missouri to investigate what exactly was going on as more reports reached Washington, DC about the incompetence of General Frémont. What Secretary of War Simon Cameron found was that it had taken Frémont 17 days to organize troops in an effort to retake Lexington. The news was not well received by President Lincoln.

October 8th: William Tecumseh Sherman was appointed commander of the Union’s Army of the Cumberland. Sherman replaced the ill General Robert Anderson.

October 10th: Jefferson Davis, while discussing the fact that the South has a smaller population when compared to the North, ruled out using slaves in the Confederate Army.

October 12th: Two commissioners from the Confederacy left the South for Europe. Their task was to increase trade between the South and the UK and France. In Missouri many people, opposed to Frémont’s harsh rule, took part in clashes against Unionist forces.

October 14th: President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. Though he did so reluctantly, Lincoln felt that such a move was necessary to the war effort.

October 16th: Lexington in Missouri was back in the hands of the Union after Confederate forces withdrew from the town.

October 18th: Union gunboats started a move down the Mississippi River.

October 20th: McClellan believed that the Confederacy was planning a major move against Washington, DC.

October 21st: A Union force suffered heavy losses at Ball’s Bluff. The Union force, commanded by Colonel Edward Baker, believed that it was attacking a small Confederate force. In fact, they advanced into four Confederate regiments. In the confusion that reigned in the Union ranks, many men tried to swim across the river at Ball’s Bluff but were drowned, resulting in the death of 223 Federals, 226 wounded and 445 taken prisoner. The Confederates lost 36 men killed. There was an outcry in the North but the Confederate leader at Ball’s Bluff, Nathan Evans, was hailed as a hero by the Confederacy.

October 22nd: Lincoln’s Cabinet met to discuss the disaster at Ball’s Bluff.

October 24th: Lincoln decided to replace Frémont as Union commander in Missouri. He appointed General David Hunter as his replacement “with immediate effect.”

October 29th: A major naval force sailed from Hampton Roads – 77 ships. The ships carried 12,000 troops commanded by General William Tecumseh Sherman. Deliberate leaks make the Confederates believe that the naval force will target Charleston or New Orleans. In fact, it was heading for Port Royal, South Carolina.

October 31st: General Winfield Scott, head of the Union Army, retired at the age of 75. He was replaced by General George McClellan.




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