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:

June 10, 2019 Event Features Charlie Knight, M.A., on The Battle of New Market.

Our upcoming meeting will be on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in Daniels Auditorium at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh and will feature Charlie Knight, M.A. on The Battle of New Market.   This will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a social "half-hour".

Charles ("Charlie") Knight is Curator of Military History at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.   He has 20 years of experience in the museum field, having previously worked as a Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield Park in New Market, VA; Curator of the Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA; and, Director of the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix, AZ.   He joined the NC Museum of History staff in 2017.

Knight is originally from Richmond, VA, and is a graduate of Bridgewater College and American Military University, with degrees in U.S. History and Military History (M.A.). He has written numerous articles and book reviews for a variety of magazines, including Blue & Gray, Classic Trains, Hallowed Ground, and Shenandoah at War among others.   His first book, Valley Thunder:   The Battle of New Market, was published in 2010, and his second book, Robert E. Lee:   Day by Day, will be published in late 2019; he is also working on a biography of Confederate General and railroad magnate William Mahone.

Knight has spoken to various historical organizations and at conferences around the country, and was an advisor to the 2014 film Field of Lost Shoes, about the Battle of New Market.   He is a past member of the Scottsdale (AZ) Civil War Round Table and current member of the Raleigh CWRT and of the Leonidas Polk Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Charlie lives in Holly Springs, NC, with his wife and two children.

NOTE:   The raffle previously scheduled for our cancelled May meeting will be held at our June meeting.   Raffle tickets will be available for $5 each or $10 for 3 tickets.   If you have any books or items that you would like to donate, please bring them to the June 10th meeting to be included in the raffle.   The proceeds will seed a new pool for funding future educational and preservation activities related to North Carolina and the Civil War.

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A Synopsis of Charles R. Knight's book Valley Thunder:   The Battle of New Market

Charles R. Knight’s Valley Thunder:   The Battle of New Market is the first full-length account in more than three decades to examine the combat at New Market on May 15, 1864 – the battle that opened the pivotal 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

One of Grant’s keys to success in the Eastern Theater in 1864 was control of the Shenandoah Valley, a strategically important and agriculturally abundant region that helped feed Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

Grant sent 10,000 troops under Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel to clear the Valley and threaten Lee’s left flank.   Opposing Sigel was 4,500 troops under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge, including the cadets from the Virginia Military Institute.   Clashing at New Market, the battle seesawed back and forth and was not concluded until the cadets were dramatically inserted into the battle line to repulse a Federal attack and launch one of their own.   The Confederate victory drove the Union forces from the Valley, but within a month, the Federals returned with reinforcements and permanently swept the Confederates from the Valley.

Valley Thunder:   The Battle of New Market is based upon years of primary research and a firsthand appreciation of the battlefield terrain.   Knight’s balanced and objective approach includes a detailed examination of the complex prelude leading up to the day of battle.   His entertaining prose introduces a new generation of readers to a wide array of soldiers, civilians, and politicians who found themselves swept up in one of the war’s most gripping engagements.

Valley Thunder:   The Battle of New Market is available for purchase from Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC by clicking here.   It can also be found on Amazon.com by clicking here.   It is available from other book sellers as well.

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Generous Donation of Civil War-Related Book Collection Received From Nancy Brenner

Nancy Brenner, widow of our former member Jim Brenner, has generously donated his collection of Civil War-related books to the Raleigh CWRT.   Some 15-20 of the best titles will be raffled off at the June 10th meeting.   The proceeds will seed a new pool for funding future educational and preservation activities related to North Carolina and the Civil War.   (By the way, if you yourself have any books or items that you would like to donate, please bring them to the June 10th meeting to be included in the raffle.   Raffle tickets will be $5 each or $10 for 3 tickets.)

Dr. Ted Kunstling is currently in possession of the collection and is in the process of inventorying it.   The collection should be able to support several raffles of quality books.

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Raleigh CWRT Reaches Fund-Raising Goal for Conservation of NC State Flag

Dr. Ted Kunstling, President of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table (RCWRT), is pleased to announce that, with anticipated incoming receipts over the next few weeks, the goal of raising $8,000 to cover funding for conservation of a NC state flag belonging to the 30th NC Infantry Regiment will have been reached.   The flag was donated to the museum in 1914 by Susie Foxhall, a niece of Col. Francis Marion Parker, who commanded the Regiment until January 17, 1865, when he left that post because of his wounds.   A down payment of $1,500 has already been made to start the conservation process.   The outside conservator has indicated that they will start work on the project this fall.   The conservation and mounting process will take up to a year to complete.   Photos detailing progress will be taken throughout the conservation process.

As an interesting aside, this particular NC state flag is unique in that its horizontal blue and white color bars are reversed as compared to the officially designated description.   North Carolina legislative records show that a "state flag" was not established or recognized until 1861.   The constitutional convention of 1861, which passed the ordinance of secession, adopted a state flag.   On May 20, 1861, the day the secession resolution was adopted, Col. John D. Whitford, a member of the convention from Craven County, introduced an ordinance.   The law as it appears in the ordinance and resolutions passed by the convention is as follows:


Be it ordained by this Convention, and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same, That the flag of North Carolina shall consist of a red field with a white star in the center, and with the inscription, above the star, in a semi-circular form, of "May 20th, 1775," and below the star, in a semi-circular form, of "May 20th, 1861."   That there shall be two bars of equal width, and the length of the field shall be equal to the bar, the width of the field being equal to both bars:   the first bar shall be blue, and second shall be white:   and the length of the flag shall be one-third more than its width.

[Ratified the 22nd day of June, 1861.]

This state flag, adopted in 1861, is said to have been issued to North Carolina regiments of state troops during the summer of 1861 and borne by them throughout the war.   It was the only flag, except the national and Confederate colors, used by North Carolina troops during the Civil War.   This flag existed until 1885, when the Legislature adopted a new model.

After the conserved flag has been returned to the NC Museum of History, the RCWRT, with participation by Museum staff, will celebrate with a presentation ceremony at one of the Round Table's monthly meetings.   This will include a review of the photos mentioned above.   The flag will then be added to the collection of Civil War NC state flags for rotation into the Museum's Story of NC exhibit gallery.   When displayed to the public, the flag will be accompanied by label copy which will include a line crediting the RCWRT as providing the funding for its conservation.

The notion of having the RCWRT provide the funds for conserving a Civil War NC state flag was originated by Andrew Ballard, editor emeritus of the RCWRT's Knapsack newsletter.   To this end, Andrew produced a documentary film covering the end of the Civil War in North Carolina (see the article below).   Donations for this video have provided a significant portion of the funds needed for the conservation project.

A second significant source of funding was obtained through donations obtained from a number of presentations made by Dr. Kunstling to the local community in 2018 and 2019 on the topic Raleigh Occupied 1865.   This concerned the occupation of Raleigh by General William Tecumseh Sherman and his army in mid-April 1865.   Dr. Kunstling also led follow-up bus tours through Raleigh as he pointed out the structures mentioned earlier in his presentations.

Finally, generous donations from the RCWRT's Board of Directors and others, plus raffle proceeds, made up the bulk of the remaining funding.

It should also be noted that the achieved funding goal for this project does not end the RCWRT's fund-raising activities for future educational and preservation activities related to North Carolina and the Civil War.

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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.

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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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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