Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table


Voice of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table Newsletter

March 2018, Volume 15, Issue 3


Speaker:                 Carolyn Elstner

Topic:                    “Burying the Dead - J. Horace Lacy and the Founding of  the       Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery


When:                               Monday, March 12, 2018

Location:               Brock’s Riverside Grill

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


Abstract on Carolyn Elstner, our Scheduled Speaker for March 12, 2018


The program is a little more than J. Horace Lacy.  An appropriate title is actually Burying the Dead, of which Lacy was an integral part. 


Carolyn's undergraduate degree is in music from Sweet Briar College.  She holds a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Virginia.  She is married to dentist Tom Elstner.  They have two children, Meg (in Virginia) and Peter (in Oregon), and one grandchild.


Carolyn has lived all but 14 years of her life in Fredericksburg.  Growing up here she had two homes -- one in town and one in the Wilderness.  Ellwood was her grandparents' farm.  The family owned it from 1907 to 1977.


For 17 years Carolyn was volunteer director of Ellwood for the National Park Service.  She oversaw the opening of Ellwood to the public, worked its grounds, trained its interpreters each year, and managed the restoration of the house to its Civil War appearance.  Her book, Dear Old Ellwood, was published in 2016. 


Now she is president of the Fredericksburg Ladies' Memorial Association, which owns and maintains the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.  She considers this a natural progression from her Ellwood tenure.  It was home to Horace and Betty Lacy for nearly sixty years.  The Lacys were founders of the cemetery.


At the March 12th meeting of the RVCWRT, Carolyn will talk about burying the military victims of the area's four Civil War battles.



“The Confederate Marine Corps” by Gil Gibson
A Review of the February 2018 Program by Greg Mertz


At the outbreak of the Civil War, 28 of the 63 officers in the United States Marine Corps either resigned or were dismissed from federal service.  Of those 28 officers, 19 or 20 of them became officers in the Confederate Marine Corps.  About ten percent of the enlisted men in the United States Marines went South after the firing on Fort Sumter.


Among the more prominent Confederate Marines were Major George H. Terrett, who commanded at Drewry’s Bluff on the James River downstream from Richmond, and Lieutenant Israel Green, who had been part of the federal detachment sent to Harpers Ferry to put down John Brown’s Raid before the Civil War began.


At its zenith, the Confederate Marine Corps had some 600 marines in six companies.  While their uniforms varied, a proper uniform would have had blue facings, such as may be seen in a Confederate Marine officer’s uniform on display in the Museum of the Confederacy. 


Marines served on 36 Confederate vessels including the celebrated CSS Virginia, perhaps more commonly recognized as the “Merrimack” -- the ship’s name before being placed in Confederate service.   The Virginia fought the USS Monitor on March 9, 1862 in the Battle of Hampton Roads -- the famous first engagement of opposing ironclad ships in history.


Among the other prominent engagements involving Marines was the May 15, 1862 Battle of Drewry’s Bluff.  Just two months after the Battle of Hampton Roads, the CSS Virginia lost its base of operations and had to be destroyed.  It’s loss to the Confederacy enabled the US Navy to advance up the James River and threaten Richmond.  The federal navy was turned back by Confederates posted in a fortified position, high on a bluff on a bend in the river called Drewry’s Bluff, where they located cannon aimed right down a straightaway of the James.  Besides being a stronghold in the defense of Richmond from the water approach, Drewry’s Bluff was the site of both the Confederate Naval Academy and the Confederate Marine Corps Camp of Instruction.


The opposing forces both employed marines in the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff.  Confederate Marines on the bluff manned the fortified cannon, while others with rifled muskets were posted on the banks of the James trying to fire into the port holes of the federal ships.  United States Marine John F. Mackie became the first marine to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor for deeds performed at Drewry’s Bluff. 


Confederate Marines captured two Union ships without any assistance from army or naval forces.  The USS Underwriter was taken in the Neuse River near New Bern, North Carolina in February, 1864.  The marines also raided the USS Water Witch near Savannah, Georgia in June, 1864. 



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


Welcome to New Members

The RVCWRT welcomes new members Jonathan and Donna Weidemann (Fredericksburg), Patricia Harman (Fredericksburg), and Michael Vizard (Spotsylvania). 




Executive Committee Members Elected


At the February dinner meeting, the slate of officers and Executive Committee members presented by the Nominating Committee was elected to serve two year terms.  Elected were: President: Bob Jones; Vice President: John Sapanara; Secretary: Melanie Jordan; Treasurer: Bob Pfile; Assistant Treasurer: Ben Keller;  Scribe: Greg Mertz; and Members-at-Large: Robin Donato, Barbara Stafford, and John Griffiths.  The president then appointed Ryan Quint as Membership Chair, and Paul Stier as Media and Events coordinator.


The three members leaving the EXCOM are to be sincerely thanked for donating their time and talents over the past several years. They and their input will be missed.  Joyce Darr served as the Historian of the RT; Jim Smithfield served as the Newsletter Editor; and Conway Richardson served as a Past President.


The 2018 RVCWRT Bus Tour


On Saturday, May 19th, the RVCWRT will conduct our 2018 Bus Tour to Fort Monroe.  We will start with a guided tour of the Casemate Museum; followed by lunch at the historic Chamberlin Hotel overlooking the water; then a behind-the-scenes tour of Fort Monroe.  The cost of the tour is $80 for members and their guests; $100 for non-members.  More detailed information will be available soon on the web site and in the next newsletter.







The Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

By Bob Jones

  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 telephoning 540-361-2105. 


CWRTF’s Scheduled Speakers for the 2018 Program Year

March 28

Pamela Grainger Tilson

“Order No. 11 and Bleeding Missouri: The Legacy of Concentrating Civilians”

April 25

Bruce Venter

“Kill Jeff Davis and the Dahlgren – Kilpatrick Raid”

May 23

Rob Orrison/Bill Backus

“War on the Potomac”

June 20

Ryan Quint, NPS

“The Battle of Portland Harbor”




Moments from the Battlefield and Homefront:

an All-Encompassing Civil War Living History Event

By Paul Stier


Students of the American Civil War,


On the weekend of 5-6 May 2018, our National Park Service, in conjunction with multiple Living Historian Organization’s, will present to the public a FREE 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 on the grounds of Ellwood Manor 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 day will have multiple Infantry Battle Demonstrations, Cavalry Fire & Maneuver Demonstrations, and Artillery Firing Demonstrations; both in the morning and afternoon.



  • Appropriate for most Ages, Not Pets

  • Parking in Grass Field

  • Multiple Port-a-Potties and Wash Station

  • Drinkable Water Available


Please visit the following site for the most current schedule:



To learn more about Ellwood Manor and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield please visit:




To learn more about the units and organizations that will be participating in this event please visit:

Co. K, 1st SC Infantry - "Irish Volunteers"



Co. H, 2nd US Cavalry - "Dragoons"



Co. K, 3rd US Regular Infantry - "Buffsticks"




Civil War Civilians of Spottsylvania



Civil War Impressionist Association




Civil War Music – Part II

By Dan Augustine



 Battlefield Deaths


600,000 Americans killed. Civilians of all ages are far more subject to sudden fatal illness than are people today. Death was a common fact of existence and was openly discussed.


"In Civil War parlor music the dying hero is often given time to say his piece, and the piece unfailingly turns out to be appropriate as a set of last words." *Civil War Songbook


This type of music plays the sentimental strain most freely. Here now are the opening bars of "For the Dear Old Flag I Die".


The Home Scene


A good portion of Civil War music portrays the feelings of those who waited at home for absent sons, fathers, and husbands. These songs dramatized the fact that this was a war fought by volunteers, not by professional armies.


Home life was brightened by the occasional upbeat, optimistic song, such as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".


There were also some comic songs that became very popular: "Grafted into the Army" depicts a mother reacting to the unfamiliar vocabulary of her son's military situation; and Jefferson Davis's capture in Georgia after the end of the war was mocked in "Jeff in Petticoats".




Civil War emancipation music did not concentrate on black civil rights, or on blacks and whites living together. They were, for the most part, abolitionist anthems.


"The New Emancipation Song" was sung by the Hutchinson Family who were professional singers that worked for abolition.


"Glory, Glory! The Little Octoroon" is about biracial children being welcomed into Union Army camps. Although black and biracial children were not likely to be welcomed into army camps, the song was popular with abolitionists.


"Kingdom Coming" was done in dialect and drew its roots from minstrel show music.


"No More Auction Block For Me" is a genuinely black emancipation song. No one knows who wrote the words. The music is a traditional African Ashanti tune. Union Colonel T. W. Higginson recorded the words to this song in his book "Army Life in a Black Regiment".


Civil War Music Today


The end of the Civil War did not mean the end of Civil War music. The Broadway musical "The Civil War" contains no less than 29 original works.


The song "Free and Green" was composed by David Kincaid. His song tells the story of the fictional Captain Taggart of the Irish Brigade and his death in battle. Some years after writing this piece, Mr. Kincaid discovered that there really was a Captain Taggart who commanded a company in the Irish Brigade's 116th Pennsylvania regiment. The real Captain Taggart was killed at Ream's Station, Virginia on August 25, 1864, and died in the same way as described in the song. 


After President Lincoln was told of the Lee's surrender, a band appeared on the White House lawn to serenade the President. When asked what he would like to hear, he responded by asking them to play a song the he was especially fond of. This song was a Northern minstrel song called "Dixie".



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