Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table


Voice of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table Newsletter

June 2018, Volume 15, Issue 6


Speaker:                 Gary Castellino

Topic:                    “Whatever Happened to Pemberton? The Life and Times of John C.

When:                    Monday, June 11, 2018

Location:               Brock’s Riverside Grill

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


Gary Castellino "Whatever Happened to Pemberton?  The Life and Times of John C."


Our speaker in June is Gary Castellino.  Gary graduated from Pepperdine University in California with a degree in Business Management.  He has had an unusual variety of occupations, including professional musician, stunt man, rodeo rider, metallurgist, martial arts instructor and living history guide.  He was also the Chief Information Officer for a number of large companies.  He lived in Los Angeles and New York before being assigned overseas, where he worked in London, Paris, Istanbul, Asia and Australia.  Gary has worked multiple seasons with the National Park Service as an interpreter in Fredericksburg, Death Valley, Petersburg and Vicksburg.  He has visited RVCWRT on four occasions since 2011, covering such diverse topics as exploding bullets, the Pony Express and lesser known actions around Vicksburg.


Gary's presentation revolves around the life of Confederate Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, who faced U.S.Grant in the Vicksburg Campaign of 1862-63.  Born in Pennsylvania, Pemberton was disparaged and branded a traitor by a number of fellow officers after his loss at Vicksburg.  Gary will examine the fortunes of Pemberton after that fateful campaign.



"Brothers-in-Arms:  J.E.B. Stuart and his Brothers"
by Thomas D. Perry
A Review of the May 2018 Program by Greg Mertz


In Tom Perry’s program “brothers-in-arms” he shared with our audience an eclectic view of J.E.B. Stuart, focusing on what we know about Stuart through his relationships with his biological brothers as well as some of his other comrades throughout his life.

In 1870, after Robert E. Lee was riding a train on his return trip home after visiting with President U.S. Grant in Washington, the former Confederate general approached a fellow passenger who looked familiar to him, asking if they had ever met.  The man responded that they had never made each other’s acquaintance, but that Lee had known his brother.  The person Lee thought he might know, was William Alexander Stuart, J.E.B.’s older brother by five years.

Tom was instrumental in preserving the site of the boyhood home of J.E.B. Stuart and one of the stories that William told of their childhood at that location occurred when J.E.B. was nine and William was fourteen.  The boys happened upon a hornets’ nest.  Whether a product of the wisdom that comes with age or whether indicative of their temperaments, William retreated from the nest, while J.E.B. attacked it! 

When J.E.B. was about twelve, he left home to attend school in Wytheville, where David F. Boyd was one of his classmates.  Boyd eventually left Virginia after a girl he fell in love with rejected him (the woman – Ellen Spiller --would marry J.E.B.’s cousin, and when widowed, then married J.E.B.’s brother William).  Boyd went to Louisiana where he taught at what would become LSU.  A manuscript that he wrote called “The Boyhood of J.E.B. Stuart” is still held at LSU today.  Boyd sent the document to J.E.B.’s widow Flora, requesting her comments, and she wrote on the margins of the manuscript, including many things that are not recorded anywhere else, including that J.E.B. had passed the bar exam when residing in Kansas.

Stuart attended Emory and Henry College until admitted into the U.S. Military Academy.  One of the people who visited Stuart at West Point, was Jonathan H. Carter, who resided in North Carolina (at a home that still stands), just across the state line from where Stuart grew up.  Stuart wrote of the visit from his boyhood friend.  Carter had been a member of the first graduating class from the Naval Academy in 1846.  During the Civil War, Carter constructed ironclad gunboats on the Red River in Louisiana, including the Missouri.

Stuart was a friend of West Point classmate Oliver O. Howard, a noted abolitionist and pious cadet from the class of 1854.  While other cadets from the South tried to avoid associating with Howard because of his views on slavery, Stuart and Howard maintained a friendship.  They shared similar religious beliefs and studied the Bible together.  When Howard returned to the U.S. Military Academy to teach mathematics, Stuart corresponded with him regarding his desire to teach cavalry at their alma mater.  In Howard’s memoirs, he wrote very fondly of Stuart.

After Stuart graduated from West Point, he served for a year in a mounted infantry regiment and then served in the 1st U.S. Cavalry from 1855 until the outbreak of the war.  When a young man, Stuart is said to have promised his mother that he would never drink and as a soldier, he gave temperance speeches.  He also sent his mother $100 which she matched to start a church back home in Ararat, because he felt no place was more in need of a church than that location.  He also started a church in Fort Riley, Kansas.  Perry noted than many students of the Civil War are surprised to learn that Stuart was a teetotaler and that he was deeply religious.  Perry also feels that the reason Stuart and Jackson were so close was because they shared a common trait regarding their faith. 

J.E.B. Stuart married Flora Cooke, daughter of his commanding officer, Philip St. George Cooke.  The couple had three children: “little” Flora Stuart, Philip St. George Cooke Stuart and Virginia Pelham Stuart.  Though Stuart’s father-in-law was a Virginian, he stayed with the Union at the outbreak of war, and Stuart was so disgusted that he renamed his son, J.E.B Stuart, Jr.  “Little” Flora died in November, 1862 but J.E.B. has many descendants from his other two offspring.

Stuart’s oldest brother to survive the antebellum era was John Dabney Stuart.  John learned how to become a doctor from a brother-in-law and served as a surgeon in the 54th Virginia, assigned to the Army of the Tennessee.  The same regiment contained a soldier named Archibald Stuart Marshall, who is said to be one of the illegitimate children of J.E.B. and John’s father, Archibald Stuart.  A story circulated that when Marshall was wounded in battle, J.E.B. Stuart dispatched his personal surgeon to care for his half-brother.  Since J.E.B. was never in the Army of Tennessee, Perry surmises that it was actually John Stuart who aided Marshall.

During the Civil War, brother William Stuart ran the salt works in Saltville, Virginia.  J.E.B. Stuart thought that some of the criticism that he received because of the Battle of Brandy Station and the Gettysburg Campaign was actually connected with the efforts of the Confederacy to nationalize the salt works his brother operated, which never came to pass.

The letters that J.E.B. wrote to William during the war survive, and among the correspondence was J.E.B.’s concern for his family should anything happen to him.  William promised to see to it that Flora and the children would be cared for should he die.  When J.E.B. was killed at Yellow Tavern, his family moved to Saltville to live with William.  After the war, William went to a bank in St. Louis, in which J.E.B. had deposited $5000 for a patent he had received from the U.S. government (Stuart was in the east and able to respond to John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry in conjunction with this invention) and retrieved the money for his sister-in-law.  Flora and a sister-in-law also taught at a school in Staunton at an institution now known as Stuart Hall.

Stuart’s mother sold Laurel Hill – J.E.B. Stuart’s birthplace – in 1859, but he continued to desire to purchase the farm back and hoped to live there.  Tom Perry headed up the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust in 1990 and was able to do what Stuart had desired but been unable to do.  The trust purchased 75 acres at a cost of $60,000 and established a beautiful park marking and interpreting key sites and the life of J.E.B. Stuart.

The area is also the birthplace of another prominent person – Andy Griffith.  Griffith’s mother -- Geneva Nunn Griffith -- named her son after her great uncle, Andy Nunn.  Nunn was a member of the 26th North Carolina and lost a leg at the Battle of Antietam.



Jim Smithfield


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Jim Smithfield. Jim was a member of our round table for many years and served as the editor of our newsletter during part of that time. An avid student of the Civil War, Jim researched the stories of minority groups who served in the Confederate military and turned those efforts into a book, "Overlooked Confederates." Personable and passionate, yet also kind and gentle, we valued his advice and counsel during the many years he served on the RVCWRT Executive Committee. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Arlene and the rest of the Smithfield family at this tender time.  (From our Facebook Page)


Ongoing Reminder


Please contact Bob Jones to order your dinner in advance or to confirm your dinner reservation.  Please call Bob Jones @ 540-399-1702 or send him your e-mail at cwrtdinner@yahoo.com







The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg


  As a courtesy, the RVCWRT provides as a regular feature each month, the ongoing scheduled speakers for the CWRTF’s 2018 Program Year.  The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month (except for one meeting held on the third Wednesday of June 2018).  Dinner Meetings are held at the UMW’s Jepson Center located at 1119 Hanover Street, Fredericksburg, VA, dinner cost is $32.00 per person.  Advance reservations should be made by email: dinner@cwrtf.org or telephone: 540-361-2105. 


CWRTF’s Scheduled Speakers for the 2018 and 2019 Program Year


June 20

Ryan Quint, NPS

“The Battle of Portland Harbor”

September 26, 2018

Frank Orlando

 "Gen. and Mrs. Robert E. Lee in Character"

October 24, 2018

Gordon Rhea

"The Generalship of Lee and Grant in the Overland Campaign"

November 14, 2018

Richard Lewis

"Confederate Generals' Uniforms"

January 23, 2019

Robert Dunkerly

"Civil War Railroads"

February 27, 2019

Dr. Bradley Gottfried

"Maps of the Battle of Fredericksburg"

March 27, 2019

Bob O'Connor

"James Hanger and the Hanger Company"

April 24, 2019

Mark Tooley

"The 1861 Peace Conference"

May 22, 2019

Patrick Schroeder, NPS

"Zouaves: America's Forgotten Soldiers"

June 19, 2019

Dave Bastion

"The Vicksburg Canal"


Executive Committee Bios

Each month this newsletter will feature a short biography of one of our Executive Committee members. This month we feature Bob Pfile, Treasurer


Bob was born in Warren, Ohio and graduated high school in Stow, Ohio. After receiving a BA in History from Bethany College, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1966. Bob served 23 years in the Air Force with primary duties as a Contracting Officer and Missile Launch Officer. While in the Air Force, Bob earned an MBA from the University of Missouri. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and went to work for Caterpillar Inc. He then accepted a position as Systems Procurement Supervisor for the Advanced Photon Source Project at Argonne National Laboratory. Bob retired from Argonne and moved to Virginia in 2003. His daughter, son-in-law, and three granddaughters live in the Fredericksburg area. Bob became interested in the American Civil War through study of his great-grandfather’s pension records reflecting service with the 19th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 5th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.


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, www.RVCWRT.org.  Yearly membership dues are $35.00 for an individual, $45.00 for families, and only $7.50 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 Meeting:

Bob Jones


Ryan Quint 

Vice President:

John Sapanara

Member at Large:

Robin Donato


Melanie Jordan

Member at Large:

John Griffiths


Bob Pfile

Member at Large:

Barbara Stafford

Assistant Treasurer:

Ben Keller

Media & Events Coordinator

Paul Stier


Meeting Scribe:

Greg Mertz

Past President:

Marc Thompson

Membership Chair:

Paul Stier

Newsletter Editor & Webmaster

Dan Augustine




Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

P.O. Box 7632

Fredericksburg, Va. 22404