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DISPATCHES FROM THE POWHATAN CIVIL WAR ROUNDTABLE NEWSLETTER

 

MARCH 2019

JOHN V. QUARSTEIN – THE H. L. HUNLEY

We are excited to welcome on March 21st, our dear friend, historian, preservationist, lecturer and author, John V. Quarstein, who will explore the legend of the Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley.

John is the Chief Development OfficeratThe Mariners' Museum and Park,Director of the USS Monitor Center and Foundation, and Historianof theCity of Newport News.    John served as director of the Virginia War Museum for over thirty years and, is always in demand as a speaker throughout the nation.

John has been involved in a wide variety of historic preservation initiatives including the creation of Civil War battlefield parks like Redoubt Park in Williamsburg or Lee’s Mill Park in Newport News as well as historic house museums such as Lee Hall Mansion and Endview Plantation. His current preservation endeavors feature the Rebecca Vaughan House, Lee Hall Depot, Causey’s Mill, Big Bethel Battlefield and Fort Monroe. John Quarstein also serves on several boards and commissions such as Virginia Civil War Trails, Virginia War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Advisory Council and the Newport News Sesquicentennial Commission.

Our speaker is the author of numerous books, including Fort Monroe: The Key to the South, A History of Ironclads: The Power of Iron Over Wood, Big Bethel: The First Battle, and The Monitor Boys: The Crew of the Union’s First Ironclad. His newest book is Sink Before Surrender: The CSS Virginia

He also has produced, narrated and written several PBS documentaries, such as Jamestown: Foundations of Freedom and the film series Civil War in Hampton Roads, which was awarded a 2007 Silver Telly. His latest film, Hampton From The Sea To The Stars, was a 2011 Bronze Telly winner. His more recent film projects have been Pyrates of the Chesapeake and Tread of the Tyrants Heel: Virginia’s War of 1812 Experience.

John is the recipient of the national Trust for Historic Preservation’s 1993 President’s Award for Historic Preservation; the Civil War Society’s Preservation Award in 1996; the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Jefferson Davis Gold Medal in 1999; and the Daughters of the American Revolution Gold Historians Medal in 2009. Besides his lifelong interest in Tidewater Virginia’s Civil War experience, Quarstein is an avid duck hunter and decoy hunter and decoy collector. He lives on Old Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia, and on his family’s Eastern Shore farm near Chestertown, Maryland.

We hope you will join us on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at the County Seat Restaurant!

MENU OPTIONS

The County Seat offers our members and guests a main course, or the soup and salad bar.  Please specify your dining preference when you submit your pre-paid reservation, which is due the Tuesday prior to each meeting.  This month’s main course is corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes and dessert.Reservations must be received by March 19th.

NEXT MONTH

Thursday, April 18, 2019, Speaker and Topic TBA.

IN MEMORIAM

With heavy hearts we must announce that William Garnett, a long-time PCWRT member and volunteer, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 18, 2019. William was the first person in his family to attend college when he began at Hampden-Sydney College.  After transferring to the Medical College of Virginia to complete his pharmacy degree, he was selected as a member of Rho Chi Academic Honor Society in Pharmacy, and graduated in 1969.

William was introduced to the beautiful and intelligent Mary Anne Thompson by his pharmacy school roommate. They married in 1970 and after working as a pharmacist at MCV, he pursued further education to receive his PharmD from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. Upon graduation, he became a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three years.

In 1976, an opportunity arose to return to the Medical College of Virginia as a professor and he returned home to the state he loved. William loved his work, but it did not define him and he was a very humble man. Many of his friends outside of pharmacy circles may never have known that he had a national reputation in his field.  His research primarily focused on epilepsy and gastroenterology and he was an important part of introducing a large number of the pharmaceuticals to market which are still helping epilepsy patients today.

He loved teaching, researching, writing and advising many students in their doctoral work as MCV transitioned into VCU. Through it all, he loved puns and his eyes twinkled when he was telling a joke, which was most of the time.

We at the PCWRT valued William’s dedication, and are grateful for the many excellent speakers he scheduled for us.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Mary Anne, and his family.  He will be greatly missed. 

CIVIL WAR QUOTES

What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!I pray that, on this day when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace. …My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.

Robert E. Lee, December 1862

LOCAL EVENTS

American Civil War Museum’s HHH

Elizabeth Van Lew and the “one absorbing desire of her heart”

Program Date:Monday, March 11, 2019 - 6:30pm

Location: 23rd and Main

One of Richmond’s unsung heroines is also one of its most reviled villains. Explore the life and legacy of this Richmond native, slaveowner, abolitionist, and spymaster. How did she infiltrate the Confederate government? How has her image evolved over time?

Speaker: Tally Botzer, ACWM / Cost:Free

REMINDER: 2019 ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES

Your Membership Dues for 2019 are due.

Individual Membership - $25.00  / Family Membership - $35.00     

THIS MONTH IN THE CIVIL WAR 1865 - Courtesy History Learning Site

By March 1865 the situation for the South was hopeless. Despite this obvious military point, Sherman continued with his policy of destroying anything that might assist the South.

March 1, 1865 - To hinder Sherman’s advance, Confederate troops destroyed bridges over the Middle Shenandoah.

March 2, 1865 - Custer led a successful attack against Confederate positions at Waynesboro, Virginia. This victory all but ended Confederate military activity in the Shenandoah Valley.

Lee sent a letter to Grant that proposed a meeting.

March 3, 1865 - In a sign that many believed the war was coming to an end, Congress created a Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and Refugees. Its task was to supervise ownership of abandoned land and providing work for the displaced African American population.

Grant received a message from Lincoln forbidding any meeting with Lee in case discussions drifted into political issues.

March 4, 1865 - Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term in office. Still failing to face reality, the Confederate Congress met to discuss and approve a new design for the Confederacy’s flag.

March 6, 1865 - Sherman marched his army into North Carolina with his main target being Fayetteville. Union forces controlled the port of Wilmington, therefore supplying Sherman’s large army was relatively easy. The food issue that had a devastating impact on Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was much less of a problem for Sherman.

March 8, 1865 - The Confederate Senate voted in favor (by 9 to 8) of using slaves as troops.

March 11, 1865 - Sherman’s troops entered Fayetteville.

March 12, 1865 - Sherman continued with his policy of destroying any building that might have a future military use. This time it was Fayetteville’s turn to suffer as shops, machine tool shops, arsenals, foundries, etc., were all burned down. Sherman’s rule was that no inhabited civilian homes should be touched, but no one then could effectively control a fire once it had started and much of Fayetteville, as with many other towns and cities, had wooden based buildings.

March 13, 1865 - Jefferson Davis signed into law the act allowing African Americans to become soldiers in the Confederate Army. It was assumed that any slave who volunteered to fight would be given his freedom once the war was at its end.

March 16, 1865 - Sherman’s men clashed with a Confederate force near Averasborough, North Carolina. The South lost 800 men while Sherman lost 650. However, the Confederates were forced to retreat.

March 17, 1865 - The North started a major campaign to capture Mobile, Alabama. Major-General E Canby commanded a force of 32,000 men, against 10,000 Confederate troops commanded by General Maury.

March 18, 1865 - The Confederate Congress met for the very last time.

17,000 Confederates led by General Joe Johnston concentrated at Bentonville, North Carolina in an attempt to stop the advance of Sherman.  In the immediate vicinity Johnston faced 17,000 Union soldiers, but the remainder of Sherman’s army and other Union units in North Carolina – an extra 90,000 men were not far away. Johnston’s task looked hopeless.

March 19, 1865 - Johnston commenced his attack against Union troops. He had initial success but news of the fighting compelled Sherman to move nearly 45,000 Union troops to Bentonville.

March 20, 1865 - Sherman’s army easily outflanked Johnston’s army, and Sherman decided to concentrate his attack on Johnston’s center.  Johnston had to withdraw his army two miles and lost over 2,600 men. Sherman lost 1,500 killed and wounded.

March 22, 1865 - A Union force commanded by Major-General James Wilson started its march to Selma, the last manufacturing city in the Confederacy.

March 23, 1865 - The combined might of the Union Army in North Carolina joined at Goldsborough – 90,000 troops in total.  Sherman’s advance north had served another very important purpose – supplies collected in the Carolinas and due for Lee’s army around Richmond, never got there as they were captured by the speedily advancing Union army. Sherman described his advance as “like the thrust of a sword through the heart of the human body.”

March 24, 1865 - Lee could only muster 35,000 fit men at Petersburg.  He decided that they had to break out if they were to live to fight another day. He ordered General John Gordon to lead the breakthrough.

March 25, 1865 - Gordon started his attempt to break out of Petersburg. It was a failure. The Unionist defenders near Fort Stedman, the scene of the attempted breakout, lost 1,500 men killed and wounded. However, the Confederates lost a disastrous 4,000 men – many of whom surrendered.

March 26, 1865 - Grant planned to trap Lee’s army once and for all by placing his men around Petersburg so that Lee could not initiate any other attempted breakout.

March 27, 1865 - Lincoln met with Grant and Sherman at City Point, Virginia. It was at this meeting that, according to Sherman, Lincoln agreed that any Confederate soldier would become a US citizen immediately after surrendering his weapons.

Mobile was besieged by Union forces.

March 28, 1865 - Grant prepared the Army of the Potomac for what he assumed would be the last offensive against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Grant had an army of 125,000 men while Lee could muster a total of 50,000 men. But many of those in Lee’s army were far from fit enough to fight in battle. Lee still harbored a desire to break out of Petersburg and march to join up with Johnston’s men in North Carolina. It was a plan that he was not able to carry out.

March 29, 1865 - Grant started his attack against the Army of Northern Virginia.

March 30, 1865 - Lee’s army, aided by torrential rain, coped with the attacks. However, Lee had over-extended his army along their defensive front so while he could defend more ground, his line was very thin almost everywhere and very open to a successful assault. For example, near the Dinwiddie Court House, Lee’s men who numbered 10,000 faced 50,000 Union troops.

March 31, 1865 - Confederate forces faced with overwhelming odds started to withdraw from some   of their entrenched positions outside of Petersburg.

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