Topic: “Desperately Humiliated”; Burnsides
When: Monday, May 8, 2017
Location: Brock’s Riverside Grill
Times: Social Begins 6:00 pm, Dinner 6:45 pm,
Meeting Begins 7:30 p.m.
our Scheduled Speaker for May 8, 2017,
Our scheduled speaker on
May 8th will be Frank O’Reilly, who will discuss
Burnsides Mud March.
book, The Fredericksburg Campaign; Winter War on the Rappahannock,
released through LSU Press in December of 2002, highlights this
event. O’Reilly received a nomination for the 2002, Pulitzer
Prize in Letters for his book and his book did win the 2002, Capital
District (Albany, NY) Book Award; the 2003, James I. Robertson, Jr. Book
Award; the 2004, Daniel Laney Book Award; and the 2004, Richard
Barksdale Harwell Book Award.
O’Reilly, received both
a BA and MA in American History with a concentration on Early American
Military History and on Civil War Studies. He did his undergraduate
work at Washington and Lee University, prior to joining the U.S.
National Park Service at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National
Military Park. O’Reilly, did work briefly at Independence Hall in
Philadelphia, PA, but then returned to Fredericksburg as an Historian in
1990. He has also served as an Historical Consultant for the city of
Frank O’Reilly, has
written articles on both the Civil War and the Mexican War for national
and international journals; and personal introductions to many books.
He released his first book on the Fredericksburg Campaign in 1993,
titled Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg. O’Reilly, has
appeared in a number of documentaries, and he has lectured extensively
on military history to audiences around the world, including conferences
in the United Kingdom at Oxford.
Currently, O’Reilly, is
doing research for a book on the Battle of Malvern Hill and the
Seven Days Campaign around Richmond.
"Civil War Soldiers
by Mac Wyckoff
A review of our April
10, 2017, program by Greg Mertz
Mac Wyckoff, is a
founding board member and a past president of our round table. He gave
a presentation on Civil War soldiers who wound up in the Pacific
Northwest after the Civil War. The stories of two of these soldiers
actually had further developments since Mac had agreed to present the
program about a year ago.
appropriately began with a soldier who had been born in Fredericksburg,
Isaac Williams Smith. Who had graduated from the Virginia Military
Institute in 1846, and the following year Smith saw service at the Siege
of Vera Cruz in the Mexican War. As an engineer, Smith was later
engaged in surveying boundaries for railroads and building lighthouses
in the Pacific Northwest. When his native state of Virginia seceded
from the Union, he fled the country to British Columbia, working there
until he earned enough money to travel to Richmond and there offer his
services to the Confederacy. Assigned to the engineers, Smith helped
construct the defenses of Richmond and Petersburg. After the Civil War,
Smith went back to Mexico to build a railroad from Vera Cruz to Mexico
City. Eventually he returned to the Pacific Northwest, where he became
the father of the Portland, Oregon water system. He was included on a
list of the ten most prominent people in Oregon’s history. A Sons of
Confederate Veterans Camp was named in his honor, and he is buried
in Portland’s River View Cemetery.
Another Civil War
soldier buried in River View Cemetery is Virgil Earp. His father-in-law
did not approve of Earp’s marriage to his daughter,
Ellen Rysdam. When
Earp left home to serve as a soldier in the 83rd Illinois, Mr. Rysdam
deceitfully reported to Ellen that Virgil had been killed in battle.
When Virgil returned home from the war, his wife and daughter were
gone. His post-war career as a U.S. Deputy Marshall took him to
Tombstone, Arizona where he was famously involved in the 1881 gunfight
at the OK Corral. In 1898 Earp learned that his daughter was living in
Oregon and he established a connection with her. Earp died and was
buried in Oregon in 1905.
Jewett Williams likewise
had an unusual relationship with his wife. Williams enlisted in the
famous 20th Maine regiment in October of 1864. Williams divorced in
1871, only to remarry just a couple of months later. Then during a span
in which both he and his wife were both alive, they each strangely
reported themselves to be widower and widow. Williams lived in Everett,
Washington (hometown of our own Marc Thompson) in 1892 and in 1922, he
was admitted into the Oregon State Hospital for the Insane, where he
died three months later. His remains were cremated and kept in a copper
canister. In 2004, the remains of more than 3,000 former mental
patients were discovered in storage. The remains of eighteen veterans
were interred in a nearby National Cemetery, but since the 20th Maine
was so prominent, a historian of the unit suggested that Williams be
buried near others of the regiment. Plans were then made for his
reburial in the
Togus National Cemetery near Augusta, Maine. The Patriot
Guard Riders motorcycle group transported the remains in a 3,200 mile
relay from Oregon to Maine in August of 2016. However, at the last
minute, a pair of distant cousins expressed their desire for Williams’
remains to be buried in a family plot. Williams’ was instead laid to
rest in the Hodgdon Cemetery in Maine beside his parents and a sister on
September 24, 2016.
Another soldier covered in Mac’s program had a final
chapter that ended even more recently than that of Williams. James
Powers had joined the 12th Michigan in 1864, mainly guarding railroads
in Arkansas. Powers farmed in Michigan, but suffered a stroke in 1915,
and moved to Oregon to be near a son. Powers died there in 1921.
Similarly to the story of Jewett Williams, the remains of Powers and his
wife were practically forgotten; their remains were stored in the
basement of a Unitarian Church, and later in a community storage unit in
Seattle. Finally on December 10, 2016, their remains were buried in
Tahoma National Cemetery.
Major Granville Owen Haller had a unique experience
connected with the Battle of Fredericksburg. The Pennsylvania
native desired to attend West Point, but future Union Grand Division
Commander at Fredericksburg, William B. Franklin received the
appointment for which Haller had applied instead. Haller entered the
army in 1839 without being educated at the Military Academy. His
extensive military experience included significant service in the
Pacific Northwest. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Haller found
himself in command of the 93rd Pennsylvania, the army headquarters guard
of George B. McClellan. After McClellan’s tenure with the army
concluded, Haller served during the Fredericksburg Campaign and in the
aftermath, he and two other officers had a hot toddy involving a toast
on December 17, 1862. One of the officers present, U.S. Navy
Lieutenant Commander Clark Wells, indicated that Haller expressed
disloyal sentiments, and Haller was dismissed from the service in July
of 1863. The real reason for his dismissal, though, was likely his
association with McClellan. Not until 1879, would a court of inquiry be
convened, and the third person at the gathering, Major Charles Whiting
provided testimony leading to Haller’s exoneration. Haller moved to
Seattle, where he died and was buried in Lake View Cemetery.
Thomas Jones Thorp served in the 85th New York, being
wounded at Seven Pines, and in the 1st New York
Dragoons and being captured at Trevelyan Station. Thorp, then
escaped from the Confederate prison camp. In 1891, Thorp moved to
Oregon and while living in Corvallis, met Confederate veteran John
Richard Newton Bell.
Bell had been a member of the 26th Virginia and had also
been captured during the Civil War – he had been captured by Thorp’s
regiment! Bell was an ordained minister and he officiated over the
funeral of his former captor. Bell is said to be the first ever
football mascot for Corvallis College, the school that would become
Oregon State University. Bell also established a major social event for
the school by gathering after football victories to throw his hat across
the river. Former track and field and football stadiums had been named
in Bell’s honor.
Benjamin Lee Arnold was
a member of the 14th Virginia and a participant in Pickett’s Charge in
the Battle of Gettysburg. He became the second president of
Corvallis College and had the corps of cadets wear uniforms of
Confederate gray. He hired a fellow Pickett’s Charge veteran of the
38th Virginia, Benjamin Hawthorne, to chair the school’s agriculture
department. Hawthorne later went to the University of Oregon to found
their psychology department.
Wyckoff, now residing in
Eugene, Oregon, after retiring from working as a park historian at
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park blended the
skills of his profession with the history of his retirement home to
present a unique program to us, telling the stories of a variety of
Civil War soldiers who ended up living in the Pacific Northwest.
The following events
already occurred prior to this newsletters publication
RVCWRT Honored by
the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT)
At the April 10th dinner
meeting of the RVCWRT, Tom Van Winkle, President of the CVBT announced
their new Dr. Michael P. Stevens Preservation Award, he displayed
the award trophy and then announced that the RVCWRT had been selected as
the very first recipient of this award. The 2017, award was presented
at the CVBT Banquet and their Annual Meeting on Saturday evening, April
29th. The award is named in honor of their past president,
Dr. Michael P. Stevens, who was also a past president of the RVCWRT.
came with two tickets to each of the four CVBT events at their 2017,
Annual Meeting Weekend: a bus tour on Friday, April 28th; a bus tour on
Saturday April 29th; the annual meeting banquet on Saturday April 29th
with speaker Gordon Rhea; and a bus tour on Sunday April 30th.
had auctioned off one ticket to each event and added supplemental funds
to the award donations to: Friends of Cedar Mountain; Friends
of the Wilderness; and the Brandy Station Foundation for
battlefield preservation. A second ticket to each event was donated to
local NPS Interns and to local history teachers.
is extremely honored and grateful to receive the very first Dr. Michael
P. Stevens Preservation Award
contact Bob Jones to order dinner in advance
reservations: Telephone Bob Jones @ 540-399-1702 or send an e-mail to
maintains a special bulletin board that is placed against the right side
wall where guests enter the dining room. This Bulletin Board is
utilized during each of our dinner meetings. Members will find many
different articles about the Civil War placed there. These are there to
be requested by members for personal reading. Also, there is
information posted on the bulletin board on upcoming Civil War related
events, along with various items of interest. Along with the various
posted announcements, Civil War articles and related material will be
placed there. These items may each be requested and borrowed to take
home to read.
THE RVCWRT 2017 BUS
Saturday, May 20th, 2017
Determined to Stand and
Fight: The Battle of Monocracy
The National Museum of
Civil War Medicine
Prior to May 1st, for members and their guests the cost is reduced to $
After May 1st, for members and their guests the cost will be $100.00
necessary site fees at Monocracy Battlefield, handouts and a
scholarly lecture at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in
Frederick, MD, titled “Mythbusters” The True Story of Civil War
Bus departure: Bus
leaves from the Gordon Road Commuter Lot at 8:00 a.m. on
May 20th, returning at 6:00 p.m.
Ryan Quint and Marc Thompson will be our Tour Guides for this trip.
• For information or
reservations contact Bob Jones @
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-399-1702
The Civil War Round
Table of Fredericksburg
By Bob Jones
As a courtesy
the RVCWRT is providing as a regular feature every month, the ongoing
scheduled speakers for the CWRTF’s Program Year. The Civil War Round
Table of Fredericksburg normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of
every month (except for the meeting being held on the third Wednesday in
June 2017). Their Dinner Meetings are held at the MWW’s Jepson Center
located at 1119 Hanover Street, Fredericksburg, VA, dinner cost is
$32.00 for each person. Reservations should be made by telephoning
below, the scheduled speaker for the upcoming April 26, 2017, program
will be Teresa Roane. Ms. Roane will be presenting
in the Confederate Army.”
For the 2017 Program
MAY 24, 2017 PATRICK
A. SCHROEDER, NPS - Pardons and the Amnesty Oath and The Oath of
of Confederate Soldiers
JUN 21, 2017* SHANNON.
PRITCHARD – Collecting the Confederacy
(*This date occurs on
the 3rd Wednesday during the month of June)
Moments from the
Battlefield and the Homefront
All-Encompassing Civil War Living History Event
Students of the
American Civil War:
weekend of May 6 – 7, 2017, our National Park Service, in
conjunction with multiple Living Historian Organization, will
present to the public a full spectrum event that will cover unique
aspects of the Battle of the Wilderness.
Having never been
brought together into a single location, these interactive activities
will allow for a new understanding of what occurred here before, during,
and after the battle. Taking place at Ellwood and the Tapp
Farm Field the public will be able to take advantage of the NPS
interpretive programs and the in-depth Living History
presentations to learn what happened.
Each month a
new article will be posted that will highlight a different Living
History Organization who will participate in this event. The
presented information will allow the public to have a better
understanding of what will be made available to them when they arrive on
either day. These multiple programs are perfect for the serious student
or someone who is new to the area and wants to learn something about our
Civil War. Regardless of how much they knew before they arrived, it is
hoped that upon departure all participants will have a better
appreciation of what occurred on this sacred ground.
the first featured unit will be Company K, 1st South Carolina
Infantry, Provisional, "Irish Volunteers". On both days of this
event you will find the Irish Volunteers out at the Tapp Farm
where they will participate in multiple NPS led maneuver and firing
demonstrations. To learn more about them, please continue to read on.
1st South Carolina Infantry, Provisional, was a unit whose members came
mostly from the Charleston area. The unit was known as the Irish
Volunteers and it was originally formed in 1787, as a militia unit.
The Irish Volunteers remained a State Militia unit up until the
Spanish ‒ American War.
was organized into the Confederate service on June 25, 1861, and fought
in almost all major battles in the Eastern Theatre with the Army of
Northern Virginia. It was led by such notable commanders as Maxey
Gregg, Samuel McGowan, Edward McCrady, and C.W. McCreary. The unit
distinguished itself at the Battle of Gaines Mill on June 27,
1862, and again at the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864.
Civil War unit had a total of 2,120 men serving in its ranks during the
four years of civil war and had a total of 18 officers and 101 men
surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
The mission of today’s
Irish Volunteers is: To preserve and protect the memory of those
men who served in the company from 1861 ‒ 1865 and those who fought and
died for South Carolina and The Confederate States of America.
As civilians of the company, to portray the families of those men who
served, to honor preserve, protect, and honor the memory of all those
who fought on both sides in the War for Southern Independence. Preserve
and honor their memories and ensure that the families, too, are not
forgotten. To accurately portray the trades, occupations, and pastimes
of the period. Aid in the preservation of battlefields and all other
sites and objects relevant to the War for Southern Independence.