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757 Sandusky Drive
Lynchburg, VA 24502
tel: 434.832.0162
fax: 434.832.0182



Lynchburg Civil War Roundtable

The Kirkley Inn @ Candler's Mountain Road

Social Hour @ 6:00 pm
Dinner @ 7:00 pm
Program @ 8:00 pm


2009-2010 Roundtable Dates & Speakers


Tuesday Sept 15, 2009 Ed Bearss: Chief Historian Emeritus- National Park Service

(Note this meeting is off-cycle to accommodate Ed's busy schedule).

Edwin Cole Bearss was born in Billings , Montana on June 26, 1923 . He grew up on his grandfather's ranch near Hardin , Montana within a bicycle ride of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. cattle for Civil War He attended a one-room school at Sarpy , Montana until he went to St. Johns Military Academy in Delafield , Wisconsin in 1937.

Immediately following his graduation from Hardin High School in 1941 he joined the United States Marine Corps. During World War II he served with the 3 rd Marine Raider Battalion and 1 st Marine Division in the invasion of Guadalcanal and New Britain . He was badly wounded by machine-gun fire on January 2, 1944 and spent 26 months in various hospitals.

He studied at Georgetown University and received a BS degree in Foreign Service in 1949. He wrote his thesis on Pat Cleburne and in 1955 received his MA from Indiana University .

Mr. Bearss's career in the National Park Service began in 1955 at Vicksburg , Mississippi where he was the park historian. He located the Widow Blakely , a cannon used on the Vicksburg River defense and which had long been displayed at West Point as Whistling Dick . Other research led him and two friends to the long lost resting place of the Union ironclad gunboat Cairo .

He is the author of The Vicksburg Campaign trilogy, Steele's Retreat From Camden & The Battle of Jenkins Ferry , Rebel Victory at Vicksburg , Decision in Mississippi , Sinking of an Ironclad , and numerous other books and publications including more than a hundred historical articles in scholarly journals.

He is the founder of the Mississippi Civil War Roundtable (1956), which later consolidated with the Jackson Civil War Roundtable. He received the Harry S. Truman Award in 1961 for Meritorious Service in the field of Civil War history. He was chosen Man of the Year at Vicksburg in 1963. In 1964, he was chosen to become a member of the Company of Military Historians and was voted a Fellow in that organization, and received the Nevins-Freeman Award from the Chicago Civil War Roundtable (1980) for his work in Civil War history. In 1983, he received the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award which was followed by a commendation from the Secretary of the Army in 1985. He served as an ex-officio member of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission.

Mr. Bearss retired on September 30, 1995 after 40 years with the National Park Service

and almost 50 years of federal service. He continues to lead Battlefield tours for the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Society, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Civil War Roundtables, and other military history organizations. Most recently he served as a historical consultant for the movie Gods and Generals.


Wed. Oct. 14, 2009 Dr. William Still - Professor Emeritus- East Carolina University


Topic “Ironclads of the Confederacy”

Still joined ECU in 1968 as associate professor of history and later became full professor. In 1982, he was the founding director of ECU's Program in Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology. Still retired in 1994.

He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. at the University of Alabama , and served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1956.

Still was the Secretary of the Navy Research Chair in Naval History at the Naval Historical Center from 1989 to 1990, and served on the advisory boards of the National Maritime Alliance and the U.S. Commission on Military History.

He served in leadership roles for the North American Society for Oceanic History, the Society of Civil War Historians; and on editorial advisory boards for “The American Neptune,” the “Civil War Times Illustrated,” and the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History.

A noted scholar and historian, Still has published numerous books and articles on Civil War and naval history. Among the awards he has received are the K. Jack Bauer Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History, the Jefferson Davis Award from the Confederate Museum , the President Harry Truman Award from the Kansas City Civil War Roundtable and the North Carolina Literary and History Association's Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award.

Recently Dr. Still received the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in Naval History or his book, “Crisis at Sea: The United States Navy in European Waters in World War I.”

Awarded annually, the prize honors an outstanding work on American naval history, particularly those publications that enlighten readers on the role that maritime history plays in American history.

Wed. Nov. 11, 2009 Larry Babbits PhD, Director- Underwater Archaeology program, East Carolina University .


Topic “The CSS Peedee”

Lawrence E. Babits , George Washington Distinguished Professor

Director of Maritime Studies


Ph.D., Brown University , BA and MA, University of Maryland-College Park


Larry Babits has extensive experience in military, maritime and plantation archaeology. He is a specialist in maritime material culture and military history. His publications include numerous site reports including: Fort Dobbs on the Carolina Frontier, Archaeological Survey of the Western Shore of the Pungo River from Wades Point to Woodstock Point (1995), and Archaeological Investigations at Causton's Bluff, Chatham County , Georgia . He is the author of chapters and articles in Documentary Archaeology in the New World , Archaeology , Military Collector and Historian , and the Maryland Historical Magazine . He was the McCann-Taggert Lecturer for the American Institute of Archaeology in 1995, and was named George Washington Distinguished Professor of History by the NC Society of the Cincinnati in 2003, and a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians in 2006. Babits teaches classes in method and theory of nautical archaeology, material culture studies, small boat documentation, archaeological field schools, living history, and various military topics. His most recent book, Long, Obstinate and Bloody, deals with the 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse. It was co-written with Josh Howard and published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009.

Wed. Dec. 09, 2009 Christmas party at Sandusky


Wed. Jan 13, 2010 Waite Rawls: Executive Director- Museum of the Confederacy.


Topic: “Flags in the Museum of the Confederacy”

Waite became the Executive Director of the Museum of the Confederacy in January 2004 and was elected President and CEO in November 2006. Taking that job was a switch of careers, as he decided to make his former avocation into his current vocation.


Formerly, he spent thirty years as an investment banker in New York and Chicago , with responsibilities in the capital markets areas, including being the Vice Chairman of Continental Bank. Additionally, he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Visiting Professor at the Darden School (University of Virginia), concentrating on the derivatives and capital markets.


Mr. Rawls is a Trustee of the Camp Foundation , a member of Virginia 's Robert E. Lee Commission, a former Trustee of the Civil War Preservation Trust and of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a former Trustee and President of the Alumni Association of the Darden School , and a former member of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute.


A native of Franklin , Virginia , he joined the Franklin Civil War Roundtable at age 9. He has a BA from the Virginia Military Institute and his MBA and JD from the University of Virginia .

Wed. Feb. 10, 2010 Jeff Johnston – Historian- National Monitor Marine Sanctuary


Topic “Diving on the USS Monitor”

Jeff Johnston is a Program Specialist who has worked with the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary since 1995.  Jeff serves as the Sanctuary historian and has over 20 years experience specializing in the fields of maritime and Civil War history.  Jeff served as one of the archaeological team leaders for NOAA on Monitor during the recovery years and continues to work with private research groups to fulfill NOAA's efforts to preserve the USS Monitor .


Wed. Mar. 10, 2010 Keith Gibson: Director- Virginia Military Institute museum


Topic “Moses Ezekiel: Civil War Soldier, Renowned Sculptor”


Colonel Gibson is Executive Director of Museum Programs and Architectural Historian for the Virginia Military Institute. As Director of Museum Programs, Colonel Gibson is responsible for the operation and development of the VMI Museum in Lexington , Virginia and the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in New Market, Virginia.


Growing up near Richmond , Virginia , on land hotly contested during the Civil War kindled Keith Gibson's interest in history at an early age. Colonel Gibson received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the VMI in 1977. After a brief tour of duty as a Naval Officer, Colonel Gibson returned to VMI as Curator of Exhibits for the VMI Museum . He prepared for a museum career with graduate work in Early American History at James Madison University and Museum Studies with George Washington University and an internship at the Museum at Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth , New Hampshire , in 1983. He was the founding director of the McBride Museum at the New Mexico Military Institute in 1984. In 1986, Colonel Gibson was selected as one of eighteen museum professionals in the United States to participate in the Seminar for Historical Administrators, an intense summer program for museum professionals held at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.


Colonel Gibson has worked as a consultant on several historical documentary films, made for television films, and feature films including God and Generals (2001/2) , History's Lost and Found (2000), Field of Lost Shoes (2000/1—winner of two PBS Emmys), Wicked Spring (2000), The Civil War Journal (1993-Present), The Johnson Whittaker Story (1993), Sommersby (1992), Gettysburg (1992), The Smithsonian's Civil War (1990-present) and Dress Gray (1985). He appears frequently as a spoke person for historic preservation on radio and Public Broadcasting television programs.


In addition, he has written numerous book reviews and articles on the Civil War era and VMI. Colonel Gibson is author of The VMI Spirit: A Portrait of VMI and contributing author to Crowd of Honorable Youths (1989), Forces of the British Empire (1992), and The Virginia Biography of History (1991). He wrote a new introduction and biographical sketch for the reprinting of Frances Smith's History of Virginia Military Institute (1989) and the Corps Forward . His latest book, Moses Ezekiel: Civil War Soldier; Renowned Sculptor, was released in June.


An advocate of battlefield and civil war site preservation, Colonel Gibson has appeared on public television and public radio programs in support of historic preservation. He was instrumental in the development of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District and Commission Act passed by Congress in 1996.


Colonel Gibson is active in several professional organizations including the American Association of Museums and the Virginia Association of Museums. Colonel Gibson is a member of the board of The Historic Lexington Foundation and The Center for the Study of the Civil War. He has served as vice president of the Rockbridge Civil War Round Table, as a member of the board of the Virginia Association of Museums, The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA/RAM) and two terms as president of the Rockbridge Historical Society.


Wed. April 14, 2010 Robert Hicks- Author “Widow of the South”


Topic- TBA

In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman who has only her former slave to keep her company…and the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years before, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had been buried, Carrie dug them up and reburied them in her own personal cemetery. Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man she met on the day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery has room for one more.

In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground-and became a symbol of a nation's soul.

The novel flashes back thirty years to the afternoon of the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. There were 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carrie's home -- the Carnton plantation -- was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals lay dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limbs rose as tall as the smoke house. And when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrived and awakened feelings she had thought long dead, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.

The Widow of the South is a brilliant novel that captures the end of an era, the vast madness of war, and the courage of a remarkable woman to claim life from the grasp of death itself.

Robert Hicks, the author of THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH, was born and raised in South Florida . In 1974 he moved to Williamson County , Tennessee ; in 1979 he moved to 'Labor in Vain,' a late-eighteenth-century log cabin, near Leiper's Fork, Tennessee .

Working both as a music publisher and in artist management in both country and rock music, Hick's interests remain broad and varied. A partner in the B. B. King's Blues clubs in Nashville, Memphis and Los Angeles, Hicks serves as 'Curator of Vibe' of the corporation.

Sat. May 7, 2010 Saturday picnic & Civil War Fair (show & tell) at Historic Sandusky.


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