Wednesday, March 10, 2010

February Meeting

Our February program, “Father Abraham”, gave us a look at Abe Lincoln as a father and was ably presented by Charlie Finnerty who was formerly the Spencer County historian. The Lincoln’s had four sons: Robert Todd, was born in 1843. A second son, Edward Baker was born in 1846 and died in February, 1850. William Wallace, the third son, was born in December 1850, named for the physician who had attended Eddie. Abe had finished his one term in congress and his law practice was fairly well established in Springfield and by the time the fourth son, Thomas “Tad”, was born early in 1853, Abe had become a much more attentive father. The two younger boys would be frequent visitors to Abe’s law office and it is said they were given free reign, often using the furniture as a fort and whooping it up as boys that age will do. When the Lincolns moved to Washington, Robert was in his late teens and it was not long after that he left for the White House for Harvard. Meanwhile, Washington society and the nation (the North at least) doted on the two young Lincoln boys who apparently were given the run of the White House as they had the law office. However, much of the joy came to an end in 1862 when Willie died, probably from Typhoid. Tad was devastated by Willie’s death and then just over two years later suffered the death of his father.

Tad died in 1871 at age 18, possibly from Tuberculosis. Following his graduation from Harvard Robert was commissioned a Captain and served under Grant. He passed the bar and built a successful career, avoiding politics until 1881 when he served as Secretary of War until 1885 and from 1889 to 1893 as Ambassador to the UK. He spent most of his time in Vermont where his home, Hildreth, is preserved. Robert died in 1926, and the last of the Lincoln line died in 1984. (Submitted by Patsy Sproatt. Photo courtesy Steve Kweskin)

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Thomas Flagel was our guest speaker for the September meeting. Author and professor, Mr. Flagel teaches American History at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. He holds degrees from Loras College (B.A. History), Kansas State University (M.A. European History), Creighton University (M.A. International Relations), and has studied at the University of Virginia. Originally from Iowa, he has also lived in Austria and the Czech Republic. Among his ancestors are several Civil War veterans. He has authored the following books: The History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War, The History Buff’s Guide to Gettysburg. The History Buff’s Guide to the Presidents, and The History Buff’s Guide to World War II.

PROGRAM: “With the Desperation of Demons: How the Press Reported the Battle of Franklin.” Through their research historians have given us a detailed account of how the Battle of Franklin claimed 10,000 casualities in less than five hours. For the people that lived during that time their main source of news about this and other battles was the newspapers.

During the Civil War there were approximately 2,500 newspapers with 800 in the South. Reporters faced a difficult job since many generals did not want them following the troops. Gen. Sherman stated he would rather have spies in camp than have reporters. The Southern presses suffered a great disadvantage as Union troops advanced and destroyed printing facilities, telegraphs, and railroads. These losses could not easily be replaced. Northern cities could get the news from the front very quickly compared to the South. For example, Chicago would get the news about the Battle of Franklin the next day from the New York Times, while the Jacksonville Republican, only 100 miles from Franklin, would take two weeks to reach print. Newspaper reports often contained several inaccuracies. Confederate Gen. Hiram B. Granbury had his named spelled several ways. A General Williams was reported killed in action and he did not exist. In the South it was wrongly believed that Gen. Hood had won and recaptured Nashville. Newspaper reporters were eyewitnesses to one of the most memorable conflicts in history. They left a record that was brilliant, but at other times marred by shoddy journalism. They were however the American public’s primary source of information.



Our winners for the September book raffle were: Steve Kweskin, Jerry Dill, and Dennis Hutchinson. Remember, if you have any books you would like to donate for the raffle, please bring them to the next meeting. (LM)

THE REST OF THE STORY: More “Digging” the Civil War

Georgia Southern University students have completed their second summer of the archaeological dig at Camp Lawton, the Confederate run prisoner of war camp located just north of Millen, Georgia. Project director Dr. Sue Moore called the amount and variety of artifacts found this summer as “stunning”. New artifacts include a soldier’s ring with the 3rd Corps insignia, a grocery token from Michigan, suspender buckles and a pocket knife. Foreign coins have been found which indicates that they may have belonged to Union soldiers that joined the army as soon as they arrived in the U.S. This camp was constructed in 1864 and housed more than 10,000 Union prisoners for six weeks before evacuation caused by Sherman’s approach on his “March to the Sea”. (BE)

Source: civil-war-prison-comes-to-life


"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. Honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."

President Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, 1862 (LM)

NOTE: You might have noticed some initials at the ends of sections of the newsletter such as BE or LM. They stand for your newsletter editors Bill Emmick and Larry Morris. They let you know who contributed to the article in case you have some further questions.


The Red Bank Reunion Band will present an all new program for 2012.To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, they have researched and rehearsed a program using the songs and stories of the Hope Indiana Coronet Band. (LM)


Oct. 4, 1861 — The USS South Carolina captured 4,000 to 5,000 stands of arms when the Confederate schooners Ezlida and Joseph H. Toone were taken near South Pass of the Mississippi River, south of New Orleans.

Oct. 7, 1861 — General John C. Fremont sets out to attack General Sterling Price in Missouri.

Oct. 10, 1861 — President Jefferson Davis recomends the use of blacks as laborers for the Confederate army.

Oct. 14, 1861 — President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus. Oct. 16, 1861 — Union forces take back Lexington, Missouri

Oct. 21, 1861 — Col. Edward Baker, U.S. Senator from Oregon and a personal friend of Lincoln’s, is killed at Ball’s Bluff on the Potomac.

Oct. 24, 1861 — In western Virginia, the people vote to form a new state. (BE)/(LM)


October 20, 2011 – Red Bank Reunion Band

November 17, 2011 – Terry Hughes "The War Comes to Fredricktown"

December 15, 2011 – Trivia Contest


October 20, 2011 — Band

November 17, 2011 — Ron and Patsy Sproatt

December 15, 2011 — Phil Hare


The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable is open to membership to anyone interested in learning more about the U.S. Civil War. Meetings are held monthly on the third Thursday of each month at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in downtown Evansville, Indiana at 7:00 p.m. Dues are $15.00 per family for a year and are due in January of each year. If you still owe dues for this year, be sure to see Ron Sproatt at our next meeting. Members are always encouraged to share information they have about any civil war topic by passing it along to the newsletter editors.

SICWRT officers are: Chairman – Alan Elsner; Treasurer – Ron Sproatt; Program Committee – Tom Murray and Larry Harms; Newsletter Editors – Bill Emmick and Larry Morris; Book Raffle Chairman – Larry Morris