Topic: “Civil War Soldiers Go West”
When: Monday, April 10, 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 April 10, 2017,
Our scheduled speaker
for the April 10, 2017, dinner will be our own Mac Wyckoff, visiting
from Oregon. Mac graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville,
Oregon, with a degree in history. He worked thirty years, as a
historian for the National Park Service, including working the last
twenty-two years here in Fredericksburg, VA. Mac is one of the initial
co-founders of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table and he has
served as president, vice president, and for many years as the
newsletter and website editor. In 2008, Mac retired in order to return
home to Eugene, Oregon. Moving there, to provide care for his aging
parents and to also attend University of Oregon, athletic events.
Mac has studied Joseph
Kershaw's South Carolina Brigade for twenty-seven years and he’s written
books on both, the 2nd and 3rd South Carolina regiments, as well as,
several journal articles on the South Carolina Brigade. Mac’s latest
book, The Letters of Alexander McNeill, 2nd South Carolina was
published late last year by the University of South Carolina Press.
While in Fredericksburg, Mac wrote columns for the Free Lance-Star on
the Human Side of the Warrior.
In April, Mac’s
presentation will be mostly about five Civil War soldiers and he will
more briefly focus on several others, who each went west after the Civil
War. All of these men led interesting ‒ and in some cases important
lives ‒ in the Great Pacific Northwest. The stories of the five major
soldiers Mac will discuss have a surprise twist ending or two to their
stories and all of the stories have a connecting thread. Two of the
stories have actually continued to develop within the past year. Mac
has had to stay on top of these two stories to learn the latest
developments. That this story of a long dead soldier continues to
develop is part of what intrigues Mac about this topic.
Is your RVCWRT
membership past due? It was, as of December 31, 2016.
By Bob Pfile
Have you remembered to
renew your RVCWRT membership? In 2016 we had 142 paid members, to date
we have 97 paid members, this includes 21 paid family memberships. The
new approved cost of membership is only $35.00. This price is for
individual membership and $45.00 is for a family membership. The cost
for student membership is just $7.50 each. Please note, all membership
payments were due by NLT than the end of December 2016. So if you have
not paid your membership dues, please do so ASAP.
"Kill Jeff Davis: The
Union Raid on Richmond, 1864"
Review of our March 20, 2017 program by Greg Mertz
You may ask, was the
objective of what is sometimes called the “Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid”
in February and March of 1864, to actually kill Confederate President
Jefferson Davis? While there is no clear-cut answer to this question,
Bruce Venter explained there was evidence that both supported and
undermined the purpose of this controversial aspect of the raid. He
also pointed out many important facets of this fascinating cavalry
The raid was led by 26
year old Judson Kilpatrick, who graduated early from West Point due to
the outbreak of Civil War. Kilpatrick was the best orator in his class,
and had keen political sense and was a benefactor of the largess of New
York Judge Henry Davies. During the Chancellorsville Campaign of May
1863, the Federal cavalry launched a raid to cut the Confederate supply
line, and Kilpatrick’s regiment got closer to Richmond than any other
Lincoln learned from a
Federal soldier who had formerly been detained in a Richmond prison
within the Confederate capitol that had been lightly defended, and the
United States president began to think about the possibility of
capturing his Confederate counterpart. The first such attempt was made
by Benjamin Butler whose cavalry approached Richmond from the east.
Each regiment involved in the planned raid was to have its own mission,
with one tasked with capturing Davis and taking him to Bottom’s Bridge
for escort into Union lines. Ironically Lincoln’s hope to seize Davis
was dashed by someone for whom he had just done a grave favor. Lincoln
had recently overturned the sentence for the execution of a Union
soldier, who then escaped from Union captivity, made his way to Richmond
and warned the Confederate authorities of the plan! When the Union
cavalry approached Bottom’s Bridge, the Confederates were waiting for
them and the overall plan was foiled.
As the prisoner exchange
system broke down, the number of Union captives being held in Richmond
swelled to 13,000 men. Setting them free became another strong reason
for launching a raid on Richmond.
in the next raid on Richmond was due to his political connections.
Lincoln summoned Kilpatrick to Washington, where he also met with
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Kilpatrick asked for 4,000 well-mounted
men and a battery of artillery for the raid. Custer, whom Kilpatrick
did not like, was sent on a diversion to attempt to destroy a railroad
bridge near Charlottesville. Butler was to once again move up the
Peninsula east of Richmond for support.
Ulric Dahlgren, a
21-year old Union colonel and the son of Rear Admiral John Dahlgren,
became a part of the raid shortly before it began. The admiral was very
close to the president. Young Dahlgren was not content with his staff
position and wanted a command. He was allowed to lead a cavalry charge
in Hagerstown, Maryland on July 6, 1863 during the Gettysburg Campaign
in his only association with Kilpatrick prior to the planned raid on
Richmond. Dahlgren was wounded in the foot, gangrene set in, his leg
was amputated beneath the knee, and when it appeared that he was going
to die, he was promoted from captain to colonel. Dahlgren survived and
became the colonel without a command, whose family was connected with
the first family. Dahlgren visited Lincoln and soon he showed up at
Kilpatrick’s headquarters to participate in the raid.
Dahlgren was given 450
men and the mission to cross the James River west of Richmond and to
approach the Belle Isle prison from the south. Kilpatrick took the
rest of his command on a route north of the James. When Kilpatrick
struck Beaver Dam Station on the Virginia Central Railroad, the Union
cavalry came close to achieving a major coup, Confederate army commander
Robert E. Lee had passed through that point some 90 minutes earlier.
Lee was returning to his headquarters near Orange, VA after meeting with
President Jeff Davis.
On the second day of the
raid, February 29, 1864, it began to rain and sleet. When Dahlgren’s
guide, a black man with the first name of Martin, took that faction of
the raid to the ford, the James River was at flood stage. When he
sought to lead the group to a different location, he likely became
confused, but Dahlgren believed he had been purposely deceived, and had
Advancing along the
north side of the river, Dahlgren’s 450 raiders encountered 600
Confederate local defense troops at the Green House, which still
stands. Many of the defenders were young men who were not serving in
the army because they held skilled jobs, including workers from the
Tredegar Iron works. They were not boys and old men as many home guards
were in other sections of the South, but these men were able bodied men
who were ordered to hold their fire until the Union troops reached a
close, but deadly range and then to fire two shots. Their shots emptied
about fifty saddles, and Dahlgren with some 90 men became separated from
another body of 250 men.
Richmond from the north, down the Brook Pike. Just as the rain and
sleet had swollen the ford and disrupted Dahlgren’s plans, so the
weather caused the fields on either side of the Brook Pike to become too
muddy for Kilpatrick’s cavalry to cross when under fire from the
defenses of Richmond. Kilpatrick also attracted the attention of
Confederate General Wade Hampton with a pair of veteran cavalry
regiments and a pair of cannon, and Kilpatrick abandoned his attempt to
Dahlgren with the home
guards in hot pursuit, wanted to reach the protection of the Union
gunboats at Gloucester Point on the York River. When Dahlgren
encountered Confederates in front of him who declared that the road was
barricaded and gave him the opportunity to surrender, the colonel
refused and was soon struck by five bullets and killed.
When a 13 year old boy
went through Dahlgren’s possessions, the youth found documents that were
passed along to Confederate authorities. Dahlgren had two sets of
orders: one set called for the capture of Davis and then setting
Richmond on fire; the other set called for Jefferson Davis to be killed.
Photographic copies were
made of the orders and sent to federal officials. General Braxton Bragg
and Secretary of War James Seddon felt that the Confederates should hang
all of those raiders who had been captured. Lee was troubled by the
proposal, in part because he had been arranging for the exchange of his
son Rooney. Federal authorities denied that their assassinating Davis
was any part of the plan, with Judson Kilpatrick declaring that he
certainly did not issue those orders to Ulric Dahlgren. Plans for the
upcoming campaign ended further debate over whether the raid had any
contact Bob Jones to order dinner in advance
reservations: Telephone Bob Jones @ 540-399-1702 or send an e-mail to
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 @
email@example.com or call 540-399-1702
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 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
APR. 26, 2017 TERESA
ROANE – Minorities in the Confederate Army
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.