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Newsletter Volume II, Number 5
“War Between the States Weapons”
Speaker: Ken Nabors



Ken Nabors is the President of the Pickens County Historical Society. Ken is also a Charter Member of the Civil War Round Table of Anderson County. Ken will be sharing his knowledge of weapons used in America’s Civil War. The presentation will include a display of weapons.

Date / Time Meeting Location
May 14, 2012 Boulevard Baptist Church
6:30pm 700 Boulevard, Anderson, South Carolina



Note: Meeting room is in basement. Enter through double doors under breezeway at back of church. Then, take the stairs or elevator downstairs, meeting room is to the left. We will have a sign to direct you to our meeting room.

Confederate Heritage Month

May is Confederate Heritage Month in Anderson County, South Carolina. South Carolina observes Confederate Memorial Day on May 10th each year. There are a number of Memorial Services throughout the Upstate of South Carolina in the next few weeks. As our organization seeks to Honor the Men and Women of the Civil War Era, this is an opportunity for us to participate in the public honoring of the men in gray.

May 6th 3pm, Memorial Service, Springwood Cemetery, Greenville, South Carolina

May 10th 10am, Confederate Memorial Day Service and Confederate Grave Dedication, Belton Cemetery, Belton, South Carolina (Belton Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy)

May 10th 3pm, Memorial Service, Old Stone Church, Clemson, South Carolina
(John C Calhoun Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy)

May 12th Memorial Day Observance, Old Silverbrook Cemetery, Anderson, South Carolina (Palmetto Sharpshooters Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans)


Presidents Corner

Confederate Greetings!!!!!! As May is Confederate Heritage Month in Anderson County, I would encourage you to honor the Men In Gray by attending a local Confederate Memorial Day Observance. This is not to say that we are a Confederate Organization; however, our mission is to Honor, Educate, and Preserve. Confederate Memorial Day is May 10th in South Carolina. Our May Meeting will feature Ken Nabors presenting War Between the States Weapons.

Memorial Day is May 28th, 2012. This day is set aside for Americans to honor the men and women who gave their lives in military service to the United States. Again, I would encourage you to mark this day by honoring the military who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

The Battle of Anderson was a success for the Civil War Round Table this year. I would like to offer my personal thanks to everyone who volunteered at our tent, served as Field Guides, presented an Education Day Station, and the re-enactor guys who are always the highlight of War Between the States Living History Events. For more information see related article in this newsletter.

The new Civil War Round Table of Anderson County Brochures are in. These will be used to market our organization for sponsors of events and also to increase our membership. We will be placing these in local community venues to gain more exposure for our organization.

The Executive Committee and Executive Board have welcomed Bren Fousek Bowman to our Executive Board. Bren is a hard worker and will be an asset to our future growth and operations of the Round Table. The Executive Board Members represent the membership at large when the Executive Committee/Board are in business sessions.

Darlene Dowdy

Shenandoah Valley in 1862
Bordered on the west by the Allegheny range and the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley dramatically combines beautiful landscapes with extraordinary Civil War history. The Valley is described often as an avenue of invasion of the North directed at the head of the Federal government at Washington D.C. More importantly, it was a vital (and vulnerable) granary for the Confederacy and a worrisome flank for both sides during operations around Richmond.

Let’s set the scene for this time in 1862. General George McClellan is threatening Richmond with a huge army. A key component of McClellan's grand strategy is to have his army outside of Richmond reinforced from the North by General McDowell. With the combined armies, McClellan can crush any Confederate army. General Stonewall Jackson is ordered to create a threat against Washington to keep additional Union forces from joining McClellan. In 1862, the great Stonewall Jackson played the Valley's terrain like a fine-tuned instrument when his "foot cavalry" embarrassed three Federal armies sent against him. Jackson's efforts pinned down troops that might have joined Gen. George McClellan's drive against Richmond. Following the Valley Campaign through written narrative is not easy but there is an animated map of the campaign on line at the following link that might help: http://www.historyanimated.com/Valley.html
Battle of Anderson 2012

The Civil War Round Table of Anderson County participated in the Battle of Anderson, April 13th ~ 15th, 2012. President Darlene Dowdy served as Education Day Coordinator. Education Day is set aside for area school students to visit education stations around the field. This year’s stations included period weapons, artillery, cavalry, camp life, ladies period dress, skirmish that was the “battle of Anderson”, South Carolina Secession Convention, miniature military display, and a period medical display. Several members of the round table served as Field Guides to navigate the students through the education stations. It was a great day of educating the next generation, which is an integral part of our overall mission.

On Saturday and Sunday, our tent served as a soldier’s uniform display area and we highlighted the work of our organization. Again, the increase in volunteers from 2011 was a huge help. In addition to our tent, Max Middleton had a wonderful miniature military display. Several of our guys participated with their re-enacting units. The huge hit of this event is always “the battle”. This year the battle included infantry, cavalry, and artillery units. Great work guys!!!!!

As the mission of our round table is “Honor, Educate, Preserve”, events such as the Battle of Anderson are a commitment which brings the three aspects of our mission together. We Honor the War Between the States men and women through Preserving their history and Educating our community and the youth of our time. This should be the heartbeat of our round table.

The photos represent our weekend’s work. Pictured clockwise from Upper Right.
Photo1: Ian Hathcock, David Bevill, Darlene Dowdy, Judy Kelly
Photo 2: Paul Dowdy, Bren Bowman, Larry Bowman, and Doris Dowdy man our tent
Photo 3: Max Middleton discusses his display on Education Day
Photo 4: Hope Kateman and Julia Barnes share ladies period dress with students
Photo 5: Jim Bay, Earl Waters, and Mike Waters fire on the Confederates
Photo 6: David West with two future artillery recruits
Photo 7: The Confederates fight back

Next year’s event will be April 12th ~ 14th, 2013…..See You There!!!!!!

Jackson’s Valley Campaign
After the1st Battle of Bull Run, the defense of the region was left to the Virginia State Militia. They were not disturbed until Oct. '61, when Federal forces occupied Romney and threatened Winchester. Stonewall Jackson was then sent to take command of the Valley district. Unimpressed with the quality of militia troops at his disposal, he requested and was given his old brigade. He was also given three poorly-disciplined brigades from Loring's Army of the Northwest. This brought his strength to about 10,000.
After a undistinguished winter campaign his forces withdrew to the valley and in early March Union General Banks moved up the valley and occupied Winchester, which Jackson had evacuated. Banks had troops under Shields at Strassburg, under Williams at Winchester and and under Sedgewick at Harpers Ferry. Banks began to leave for the Peninsula per McClellan’s plan. On learning they were leaving Jackson made a forced march and attacked Shields at KERNSTOWN on March 23. This is a remarkable engagement in that Jackson's tactical defeat led the Washington authorities to make mistakes that benefited the Confederates more than if Kernstown had been a victory:

Banks was kept from reinforcing McClellan; Blenker's division was withdrawn from McClellan and sent to oppose Jackson; McDowell's (1) Corps (40,000) was withheld from McClellan; and a hodgepodge of separate commands was established. The latter contributed largely to Jackson's subsequent success. The organizational changes were as follows. Three separate and independent commands were established: McDowell's Dept. of the Rappahannock; Banks's Dept. of the Shenandoah; and the Mountain Dept. under Fremont, who had succeeded Rosecrans March 29. These separate commands reported direct to Washington, and there was no single general on the scene of action to coordinate their operations. Faced by superior forces, Jackson withdrew slowly up the Valley. Ewell’s Division of 8,000 men was at Gordonsville Banks continued his cautious advance; by April 26 his main force was at New Market, and a strong outpost was at Harrisonburg.

Alert to the danger of an advance by Banks through the Massanuttens, Jackson made a forced march to Swift Run Gap. This put him in a flanking position, which not only assured him of continued contact with the rest of the army, but which also made it impossible for Banks to advance farther up the Valley without first driving him from this position. Ewell's division was put under Jackson's orders and moved to Swift Run Gap. He was also given authority to use Johnson's small division. This brought Jackson's strength to 17,000.

Fremont, meanwhile, had conceived the ambitious plan of invading East Tenn. As an initial step, Milroy's division was ordered toward Staunton. Johnson’s Division withdrew from an untenable position to West View.

A junction of Fremont and Banks would have been disastrous to Jackson. With Lee's authority to formulate his own plan, Jackson decided to strike first at Milroy. Leaving Ewell at Swift Run Gap with orders to prevent Banks's further movement up the Valley, Jackson moved off with his own division and Ashby's cavalry. Keeping his plans secret from even his own subordinates, Jackson marched up the Shenandoah to Port Republic, crossed the mountains to Mechum's River Station where trains were waiting, rode to Staunton, and marched to join up with Johnson's division. In the battle of McDowell, on May 8 the Union attack was repulsed, and their troops pursued to Franklin.

On May 13 Jackson returned to McDowell, and the next day he started for Harrisonburg. Banks, in the meantime, had been ordered to dig in at Strasburg with Williams' division and to send ShieIds's division via Fredericksburg to join McDowell. On 12 May Shields was en route, and Banks was left in the Valley with only 8,000 men.
 

In the second phase of his campaign Jackson screened with Ashby's cavalry to make Banks think he would advance down the North Fork toward Strasburg. Starting his infantry in this direction, Jackson then turned unexpectedly across the Massanuttens, joined forces with Ewell at Luray, and descended with his full 16,000 on the 1,000 Federals at FRONT ROYAL, May 23. This force was driven toward Strasburg and, despite a gallant fight, largely destroyed.

Jackson had to base his next maneuver on four possible Federal courses of action. Banks could stay and defend Strasburg; or he could leave it by any of three directions: west to join Fremont, north to Winchester, or east through Front Royal to Manassas, once Jackson was north of the North Fork. Thinking that Banks would most probably remain at Strasburg or head for Manassas, Jackson moved the bulk of his force toward Middletown. Banks had wanted to defend Strasburg, but Gordon had persuaded him that this would be fatal. Gordon conducted a rear-guard action that enabled the bulk of Banks's forces to reach Winchester the night of May 24. Jackson's pursuit was hampered not only by lack of adequate maps but also because his troops the crack La “Tiger Rifles”. Zouaves and Turner Ashby's troopers wasted time looting a Union supply train. One column took six hours to march seven miles, and reached Middletown after Banks’ column had passed. Despite these frustrations, Jackson pushed his weary "foot cavalry" throughout the night. He knew the terrain around Winchester and realized that every hour's delay would give the Federals time to fortify the critical high ground that covered this place. In a skillful attack Jackson won the battle of Winchester, May 25. Banks retreated to Martinsburg and crossed the Potomac at Williamsport May 26.

The Confederate pursuit was again ineffective. After a two-day rest near Winchester, Jackson continued toward Harpers Ferry. On May 29 he was concentrated at Halitown, three miles from there. The Washington authorities were thrown into a turmoil by Jackson's operations. They soon recovered, however, and became obsessed with the idea of trapping Jackson. Despite objections from McDowell and McClellan, who realized that the only purpose of Jackson's operations was to spoil the Peninsular campaign, the civilian authorities-principally Lincoln and Stanton-started directing military operations. McDowell's corps was ordered to converge with Fremont's on Strasburg. Banks and a hastily-organized force under Saxton were to press Jackson from the rear.

Jackson was interested in maintaining his advanced position to harass the Federals as much as possible and also to give his quartermaster time to accumulate and evacuate his booty, particularly some valuable medical supplies. By 30 May Jackson knew of the movement of Fremont and McDowell. Leaving the Stonewall brigade to check Banks and Saxton, Jackson started 30 May to withdraw. The train on which he was riding ahead of his troops to Winchester was hailed by a courier, who gave him a message that McDowell's advance guard had captured Front Royal. At the time when McDowell and Fremont were closer to Strasburg than Jackson, the head of the Confederate column was 25 miles and the Stonewall brigade 38 miles from Strasburg. Jackson faced this situation with an uncanny calm, not even communicating the details to his subordinates.

Ashby's cavalry checked Fremont's advance, and an infantry brigade halted Shields's division near Front Royal. By noon on June 1 Jackson's entire force 15,000 troops, 2,000 prisoners, and a double train of wagons seven miles long -had cleared Strasburg. A Federal force of 50,000 had failed to close the trap. McDowell's corps of 40,000 had been withheld from McClellan. Brilliant as Jackson's operations were, their success was due largely to the blunders into which they led the Federal authorities. A commentary from Steele’s American Campaigns says of Stanton, "by his obstinacy and ignorance of the science of war he probably set back the fall of Richmond and the Confederacy just three years".

The three Federal commanders pursued Jackson up the valley. Fremont followed the Confederates up the North Fork with 15,000 men, including Bayard's cavalry brigade of McDowell's corps. Shields's division moved up the South Fork (Luray Valley) with a view to cutting Jackson off. Jackson had anticipated this maneuver and sent detachments to destroy bridges across the South Fork north of Port Republic so that the two Federal commanders could join forces only by way of Port Republic. He sent a detachment to seize the critical bridge at the latter place to secure his own retreat. Union cavalry caught up with the retreating Confederates on June 2 between Strasburg and Woodstock and routed their rear guard. Ashby rallied stragglers, hastily organized a defense, and held off the pursuers the next day. Ashby's delaying action and the burning of a bridge across the North Fork delayed the Union pursuit until the morning of the 5th and gave Jackson a 24 hour lead. Contact was regained June 6, and Ashby was killed in a heated skirmish. Shields, on the east side of the Massanuttens, heard the fighting on Fremont's front, but was unable to go to his assistance because of the bridges Jackson had ordered destroyed. Heavy rains further slowed the Federals and added to their problem of replacing bridges.

At Port Republic Jackson clashed with the advance guard of Shields's division. In a street skirmish Jackson was almost captured. The night of June 7, Jackson was situated between two hostile columns. Rather than withdraw over the Blue Ridge through Browns Gap, Jackson elected to strike a final blow. Since Fremont's force was the larger (15,000), Jackson planned to block this column with Ewell's division (6,500) at Cross Keys, and to overwhelm Shields's two most advanced brigades at Port Republic (5,000 men from the brigades of Tyler and Carroll). After his victory at Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8-9, Federal forces were ordered withdrawn. Jackson moved to join Lee on the Peninsula for the Seven Days' Battles. And the Valley Campaign was over.

Future Roundtable Meetings

The roundtable meets on the second Monday of each month. Some meetings will be changed based on situations and the newsletter with meeting location and details will be sent out in advance. Meetings for the future include:

June 11, 2012 -
July 9, 2012 -


For information regarding the Newsletter, contact the Newsletter Editor, Max Middleton at max.middleton@att.net or 224-3583.


 


 

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