Raleigh Civil War Round Table -- "The same rain falls on both friend and foe."

Raleigh Civil War Round Table

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"The same rain falls on both friend and foe."



Upcoming meeting of the Raleigh CWRT:

April 8, 2019 Event Features Dr. Bruce M. Venter, Ph.D. in Ed. Admin., on Modern War Methods of General Longstreet.

Our upcoming meeting will be on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm in Daniels Auditorium at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh and will feature Dr. Bruce M. Venter, Ph.D. in Ed. Admin., speaking on The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond.   This will be preceded at 6:30 pm by a social "half-hour".

Bruce Venter’s major interest is Civil War cavalry with an emphasis on the career of Union general Judson Kilpatrick.   He frequently lectures on the cavalry and has led bus tours on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid, the focus of his book, Kill Jeff Davis.   In 2012 he participated in a re-enactment of Dahlgren’s raid thru Goochland County where he rode with over 80 troopers for three days, serving as their historian.   He is a past president of the Richmond Civil War Round Table and currently serves as 1st vice president of the Goochland County Historical Society.

He has published articles in Blue and Gray, Civil War, Patriots of the American Revolution, Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, Washington Times and numerous professional journals.   He is also the author of The Battle of Hubbardton:   The Rear Guard Action that Saved America.

Venter spent 36 years in public education before his retirement, mostly as an assistant superintendent in school systems in New York, Virginia and Maryland.   He holds a B.A. in history from Manhattan College and both a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in educational administration from the University at Albany.

Bruce Venter is president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company which he founded in 2010.   He lives in Goochland County, Virginia, with his wife Lynne and their beagle “Sally Seddon.”

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A Synopsis of Bruce M. Venter's book Kill Jeff Davis — The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864

The purported goal of the controversial Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond (February 28–March 3, 1864) was to free some 13,000 Union prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital.   But orders found on the dead body of the raid’s subordinate commander, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, point instead to a plot to capture or kill Confederate president Jefferson Davis and set Richmond ablaze.   What really happened, and how and why, are debated to this day.   Kill Jeff Davis (ISBN:   978-0-8061-5153-3, University of Oklahoma Press) offers a fresh look at the failed raid and mines newly discovered documents and little-known sources to provide definitive answers.

In this detailed and deeply researched account of the most famous cavalry raid of the Civil War, author Bruce M. Venter describes an expedition that was carefully planned but poorly executed.   A host of factors foiled the raid:   bad weather, poor logistics, inadequate command and control, ignorance of the terrain, the failures of supporting forces, and the leaders’ personal and professional shortcomings.   Venter delves into the background and consequences of the debacle, beginning with the political maneuvering orchestrated by commanding brigadier general Judson Kilpatrick to persuade President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to approve the raid.   Venter’s examination of the relationship between Kilpatrick and Brigadier General George A. Custer illuminates the reasons why the flamboyant Custer was excluded from the Richmond raid.

In a lively narrative describing the multiple problems that beset the raiders, Kill Jeff Davis uncovers new details about the African American guide whom Dahlgren ordered hanged; the defenders of the Confederate capital, who were not just the “old men and young boys” of popular lore; and General Benjamin F. Butler’s expedition to capture Davis, as well as Custer’s diversionary raid on Charlottesville.

Venter’s thoughtful reinterpretations and well-reasoned observations put to rest many myths and misperceptions.   He tells, at last, the full story of this hotly contested moment in Civil War history.

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An Opinion by Dr. Chris Fonvielle on the "Silent Sam" Controversy

In the wake of the mid-2018 toppling of the "Silent Sam" statue at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Chris Fonvielle, Jr., History Professor emeritus, UNC, Wilmington, has written an opinion in StarNews Online that can be accessed by clicking on the following link:   Historic Context Vital for Confederate Monuments.

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Member-Produced Civil War Documentary Film Available

Andrew Ballard, editor emeritus of The Knapsack, has produced a documentary film on behalf of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table covering the end of the Civil War in North Carolina.   It is available for donations to the RCWRT and the proceeds are being used for educational and preservation activities related to North Carolina and the Civil War.   Our current preservation project involves a NC State flag belonging to the 30th NC Regiment which we have "adopted".   So far, we have raised $6,849 toward our goal of $8,000 to cover the cost of preservation.   All donations earmarked for this project are appreciated.

The film features historians and authors speaking on the major events of 1865 including:
  • Ed Bearss (Overview/Monroe's Crossroads)
  • Chris Fonvielle (Fort Fisher/Fort Anderson/Wilmington)
  • David Waller (Wyse Fork)
  • Andrew Duppstadt (CSS Neuse)
  • Wade Sokolosky (Averasboro)
  • Mark Bradley (Bentonville)
  • Chris Hartley (Stoneman's Raid)
  • Ernest Dollar (Raleigh/Morrisville)
  • Bob Farrell (Logan)
  • John Guss (Bennett Place)

The experts were all filmed at the applicable historical sites and re-enactment footage from the sesquicentennial events at Fort Fisher, Fort Anderson, and Bentonville is included.

Music by the Liberty Hall Drum & Fife Corps and the 26th North Carolina Field Music/Carolina Fifes and Drums, artwork by Stephen McCall, Martin Pate, and Darrell Combs, and maps by Mark A. Moore and Hal Jesperson are also in the documentary.
 
DVD's will be available at our monthly meetings for donations of $10 or more.   Checks should be made out to the Raleigh CWRT.

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