Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table


    Voice of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table Newsletter

February 2017, Volume 14, Issue 2


Speaker:        Ryan Quint

Topic:             "Fire in the Bay: Battle of Portland Harbor”

When:             Monday, February 13, 2017

Location:        Brock’s Riverside Grill

Times:            Social Begins 6:00 pm, Dinner 6:45 pm, Meeting Begins 7:30 pm



Abstract on our Scheduled Speaker, Ryan Quint, Monday, February 13, 2017

 The scheduled speaker for our Monday, February13, 2017, Dinner Meeting will be Ryan Quint.  Ryan grew up in Maine and then moved to Virginia to attend the University of Mary Washington.  He graduated with a BA in History and he wrote his senior thesis on Lew Wallace and The Battle of Monocacy

Ryan received the History Department’s Joseph C. Vance Award for Excellence in Historical Research.  This award is presented to the graduating senior whose thesis is judged to be the best for that entire year.  Ryan is currently a National Park Service Historian for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  He is also a docent for the George Washington Foundation.  Ryan now lives in Fredericksburg.  Ryan is also a contributing author to the blog Emerging Civil War.


Reminder: Please contact Bob Jones to order dinner in advance

To confirm reservations: Telephone Bob @ 540-399-1702 or send an e-mail to cwrtdinner@yahoo.com or bobnpeg1954@gmail.com



The RVCWRT Bulletin Board

By Jim Smithfield

The RVCWRT 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 their personal reading.  Also, there will be information posted on the bulletin board about 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.



Is your RVCWRT membership past due, it was, as of December 31, 2016

By Bob Pfile

Have you remembered to renew your membership?  The new approved cost of membership is just $35.00, this is for an individual membership and it is $45.00 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.



“Overlooked Confederates”

Presented by Jim Smithfield

Review of the January 2017 program by John Sapanara

RVCWRT member Jim Smithfield offered a look at the surprising diversity of the  Confederate Armies, whose ranks included many nationalities and ethnic groups.  Jim began with an anecdote from his youth regarding a chance contact with a Civil War veteran and former Union Drummer boy nicknamed “Corporal.”  This encounter led to several subsequent meetings and a lifelong interest in stories and discussions about the Civil War.   After over three years of research, Jim’s passion resulted in his newly published book, titled “Overlooked Confederates”.  Utilizing both visual aids and narrative, Jim presented various examples of minorities who fought for the South.

Historians suggest that there were about 50,000 Confederate Catholic Irishmen in the Confederate ranks.  One of them was General Patrick Cleburne, a popular division commander born in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.  Cleburne had two brothers who had emigrated to America with him.  One chose to fight for the South and the other for the North.

The Confederate 10th Louisiana Infantry Regiment was about one third Irish, but included many other foreign nationals.  Another Irishman was Father John Bannon, known to history as “The Confederacy’s Fighting Chaplain.”  At the Battle of Pea Ridge, Father Bannon remained in the thick of the fighting aiding the wounded even after being ordered to leave by General Earl Van Dorn.

There were over 13,000 Hispanic Confederates, among these Hispanic’s was a Colonel Santos Benavides of the 33rd Texas.  Benavides troops fought an ongoing series of battles with Mexican bandit leader Juan Cortina in southwestern Texas.  Another Hispanic that Jim discussed was Loretta Janetta Velazquez, also known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford.  She had posed as a male officer after her Rebel officer, husband, accidentally died while training others.  She was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, and her true gender was unmasked.  After the war she wrote a book about her adventures and emigrated to South America with her new husband.  Her life story has been presented on the History channel.  It has been estimated that 500 women posing as males, including both sides, took part in America’s Civil War.

Jewish representation in the Confederacy was significant.  Jim began by discussing First Lieutenant Israel Greene, who eventually reached the rank of Major.  He served as Adjutant and Inspector of the Confederate Marine Corps.  Another significant Jewish individual was Judah Benjamin, whose face adorned the Confederate two dollar bill.  He was appointed as the Confederacy’s first Attorney General.  He later served as the Confederate Secretary of War and the Confederate Secretary of State.  Jim then discussed Abraham Meyers who was the first Quartermaster General of the Confederacy.  The city of Fort Meyers, Florida was named for Myers during the Seminole wars.  Captain Simon Baruch, a Confederate surgeon from Poland, was best known for his position as the last Surgeon General of the Confederacy and sis son was Bernard Baruch.   Moses Jacob Ezekiel was the first Jewish cadet to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute.  He fought at the Battle of New Market and later became an accomplished world famous artist and sculptor.  Ezekiel’s “Confederate Memorial” in Arlington Cemetery is the burial site for Ezekiel and 482 other Confederates.  Doctor David Camden De Leon, who was known as the “Fighting Doctor” for his exploits during the Mexican War, was to be the first Surgeon General of the Confederacy.  However, De Leon chose to serve as a battlefield surgeon instead. Then there was Phoebe Levy Pember, a famous nurse, who ran the world’s largest hospital, Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, AKA The Hospital on the Hill.  On an average day, Pember supervised the ongoing treatment and care of over 15,000 patients daily.  With the approval of Jeff Davis, Phoebe Pember sought out and freed 300 slave women to be nurses at Chimborazo Hospital. 

After the war the Hebrew Confederate Cemetery was established on Shockoe Hill in Richmond, this was in 1866. Officials at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Confederate Cemeteries would not allow Jewish soldiers to be buried in either cemetery.  So the ladies of the Jewish Temple in Richmond gathered the bodies of the many dead Jewish Confederate soldiers locating relatives to bury all but 31 bodies in family plots.  Thus, Richmond’s Hebrew Confederate Cemetery was founded for these men’s burial and it exists today.

Jim next presented quick looks at other diverse groups in the Confederate ranks: Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie was one of over 12,000 Native Americans who fought for the Confederacy.  Watie and his men fought at Pea Ridge and he was the last Rebel General Officer to surrender his troops, this was in late June 1865.

Although less in numbers, there were German Confederates, including John Andreas Wagener, commander of the almost entirely German First Artillery Regiment.  There was also Prussian born Heros von Borcke who served on J.E.B. Stuart’s staff as his aid.  von Borcke was a large man who always had to ride an oversized horse or as Stuart’s men declared his feet would drag the ground.  After the Franco-Prussian war von Borcke inherited a castle on the Rhine River where he flew a 40-foot Confederate flag every day until his death in 1895.

Jim addressed the always controversial question of Black Confederates and he  showed photos of several.  One photo was said to be of The First Louisiana Native Guard formed in New Orleans, although the photo that Jim showed, had been doctored, he stated that there had been 1,400 African-American volunteers in this unit.  Still another “Black Confederate” was John Noland, a scout with Quantrill’s Raiders, who was known and buried as “The Black Confederate.”  A movie was made using Nolan’s character about five years ago titled “Ride with the Devil” and Noland was represented in this movie under a different name.  Amos Rucker went to war with his master in a Georgia infantry unit and participated as a combat soldier in several battles.  Body servant Marlboro Jones, also known as Marlboro Camp fought beside his various masters in their Georgia Confederate units.

Jim pointed out that Quakers although allowed by President Davis to serve in other ways than fighting were persecuted.  This was ignored, as the South needed every man they could get to carry a weapon.  Two Quakers, however, did become general officers in the Confederate Army, General John Clifford Pemberton and General Bushrod Johnston.

Jim ended his presentation discussing one Swiss Confederate, Major Henry Wirz, who was the commander of the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia.  He was responsible for over 13,000 deaths in his prison and he was convicted of war crimes and hung in late 1865.

Jim’s presentation emphasized the range of ethnic contributions to the Confederacy and to their army and made it clear that a variety of races and nationalities contributed to the Confederate cause. 



The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

by Bob Jones

As a courtesy the RVCWRT is providing as a regular feature each 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, with a dinner cost of $32.00 for each person.  Reservations should be made by telephoning 540-361-2105.  The CWRTF Speaker Program was held as scheduled on January 25, 2017, with Dwight Hughes giving his presentation, The CSS Shenandoah.  As noted below, the scheduled speaker for February 2017, will be our own Greg Mertz.  He will be presenting Shiloh: Attack at Daylight and Whip Them.




CWRTF’s Scheduled Speakers

2017 Program Year  

JAN. 25, 2017        DWIGHT HUGHES – CSS Shenandoah

FEB. 22, 2017        GREG MERTZ, NPS – Shiloh: Attack at Daylight and Whip Them

MAR. 22, 2017       FRED RAY – Sharpshooter:  Eugene Blackford, CSA

APR. 26, 2017       TERESA ROANE  – Minorities in the Confederate Army

MAY 24, 2017        PATRICK A. SCHROEDER, NPS - Pardons and the Amnesty Oath/Oath of Allegiance of Confederate Soldiers

*JUNE 21, 2017     SHANNON. PRITCHARD – Collecting the Confederacy

(*This date occurs on the 3rd Wednesday during the month of June)



CWRTF’s Scheduled Speakers

For the 2017 Program Year  

FEB. 22, 2017 GREG MERTZ, NPS – Shiloh: Attack at Daylight and Whip Them

MAR. 22, 2017            FRED RAY – Sharpshooter:  Eugene Blackford, CSA

APR. 26, 2017 TERESA ROANE  – Minorities in the Confederate Army

MAY 24, 2017            PATRICK A. SCHROEDER, NPS - Pardons and the Amnesty Oath and 

                         Oath of Allegiance of Confederate Soldiers

JUNE 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

An All-Encompassing Civil War Living History Event

Students of the American Civil War,

            On the 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.

            As promised, 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.


            Company K, 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 was originally formed in 1787, as a militia unit.  The Irish Volunteers remained a State Militia unit up until the Spanish ‒ American War. 

            The unit 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.

            The original unit had a total of 2,120 men serving in its ranks during the four years of 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 the 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

Participating Units

CWCS – Civil War Civilians of Spotsylvania –Elaine Sturgeon, miselaineus@yahoo.com

CWIA – Civil War Impressionist Association – Brian Withrow, bnwithrow@outlook.com

1st S.C. Infantry “Irish Volunteers” – Troy Fallon, jtfmaf@embarqmail.com

2nd U.S. Cavalry “Dragoons” – David Michel, usdragoons@aol.com

3rd U.S. Infantry “Buffsticks” – Paul Stier, stierdog@hotmail.com

NPS – Artillery Crew – Peter Maugle, peter_maugle@nps.gov






        26th Annual Civil War Weekend

         March 17 – 19, 2017

Location: The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center

901 Price’s Fork Road, Blacksburg, Virginia

To Register call: 540-231-8000 ‒ 877-200-3360 or e-mail www.innatvirginiatech.com

Civil War Weekend Speakers

William C. (Jack) Davis          Editor of over 50 books in Civil War and Southern History

Angela Esco Elder                  2016 – 2017 Center for Civil War Studies postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech

David T. Gleeson                    Professor of American History at North Umbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

A. Wilson Greene                 Executive director, Pamplin Historical Park and the National                                                   Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Christian B. Keller                   Professor of History in Department of National Security & Strategy at U.S. Army   War College

Paul Quiley                              Associate Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the VA Center for Civil War Studies

James I. (Bud) Robertson      Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia    Tech

Amy Murreli Taylor                  Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky



Who we are?

            The Drum and Bugle Newsletter is published monthly, by the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table, Post Office Box 7632, Fredericksburg, VA 22404.  Each month, The Drum and Bugle newsletter is also placed on our web-site at www.RVCWRT.org.  Yearly membership dues are just $35.00 for individuals, $45.00 for families, and it’s only $10.00 for students.   Membership is open to anyone interested in the study of the Civil War and the ongoing preservation of Civil War sites


The RVCWRT Executive Committee         


President/ Dinner Meetings: Bob Jones

Webmaster: Dan Augustine

Vice-President: John Sapanara

Membership: Ryan Quint

Secretary: Mike Burns

Research and Historian: Joyce Darr

Treasurer: Bob Pfile

Member at Large: John Griffiths

Assistant TreasurerBarbara Stafford

Member at Large: Conway Richardson

Meeting Scribe: Greg Mertz

Member at Large: Paul Stier

Newsletter Editor: Jim Smithfield

Past President: Marc Thompson



Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

P.O. Box 7632

Fredericksburg, Va. 22404