Our next meeting will be Thursday, 11 November 2010 at St. Andrew's On-the-Sound (Airlie Rd.) Social Hour at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 7:30 p.m.
We invite and welcome all people with an interest in our American history to attend a meeting of the Cafe Fear Civil War Round Table. The speakers for our programs are diverse in their views, interpretations, and presentations.
To many Civil War students, the name "Jeb" Stuart brings images of a warrior, a fighter, a plumed knight, and a seeker of fame and adulation. To others, Stuart is a self-serving officer seeking rank and privilege. Did anyone really know the true Stuart?
James Ewell Brown Stuart was the Beau Ideal of the Confederacy. "I rather die than be whipped." Stuart was a bold dragoon who wrote poetry and he cherished knightly honor and chivalrous attention to the women of his beloved South.
The Maid of Sargossa still
Breathes in our cause her dauntless will
Beyond Potomac’s rockbound shore
Her touch bids southern cannon roar …
Our speaker for November will be Tonia Smith. She will present the life of the lady who shared the events of the Civil War and preserved the Beau Ideal’s memory after his death from wounds received at Yellow Tavern on 11 May 1864.
Tonia "Teej’ Smith, a native Tar Heel, has lived in Pinehurst for the past eighteen years. She has written articles for magazines such as North and South, America’s Civil War, and Civil War Times.
In addition to her writing and research, she has presented programs on various Civil War topics to local schools and to Civil War round tables in North Carolina and Virginia. In 2009, she was one of the presenters at Longwood University’s annual Civil War Seminar. She was the keynote speaker for the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society meeting in Richmond this past May where she presented a program on Flora Cooke Stuart, widow of Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart
Teej currently moderates an online Civil War discussion group. She is also the founder and past president of the Rufus Barringer Civil War Round Table in Pinehurst. She now serves on the round table’s board of directors and is their program chairperson.
In the spring of 1855, 19 year-old Flora Cooke, daughter of Colonel, later Union Brigadier General, Philip St. George Cooke, a Virginian, and Rachel Wilt Hertzog, a Philadelphia debutante, met a dashing young cavalry officer named James Ewell Brown at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After a whirlwind courtship the young couple was married at Fort Riley on November 14, 1855.
Their marriage ended eight and a half years later when Major General J.E.B. Stuart, C.S.A., was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864. Flora would remain a widow for the next fifty-nine years. The speaker briefly will cover the Stuart marriage before discussing the challenges Flora Cooke Stuart faced in her life without Jeb.
Flora Cooke Stuart ensured his legacy was remembered.
Jack Travis, "Colonel Black Jack," has been awarded a Jefferson Davis Gold Medal by the Daughters of the Confederacy for his book, Men of God, Angels of Death. Jack received recognition for his efforts to preserve Confederate history through the research that led to the publication of his book.
Congratulations to Jack for receiving this award.
Arthur A. McGiverin, a member of the Ottumwa Iowa round table, visited his nephew, Terry McGiverin, at Wrightsville Beach. Arthur contacted Bob Cooke and inquired if any members of the CFCWRT would be interested in meeting at Fort Fisher and talking about our round tables.
On October 20, Bruce Patterson, Dan Geddie, and Tim Winstead met Arthur and Terry at Fort Fisher. Ray Flowers gave this group of Civil War buffs an excellent tour of the fort that included many "little known" facts about the clash on the Cape Fear. Sharing information about how each round table operated was informative and hopefully we can maintain contact between groups.
During our conversations about the type of programs presented at the Ottumwa and Cape Fear round tables, Clint Johnson’s October presentation was discussed. Clint had discussed some of the legalities that faced Lincoln and Jefferson Davis about the issue of secession. Arthur provided a very qualified answer to this question for he was a former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Let me know if you are interested in Arthur’s answer.
Clint Johnson’s program examined the closing days of the Civil War as related in his book, Pursuit: The Chase, Persecution, and Surprising Release of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mr. Johnson discussed the intricate ethical and legal questions faced by Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and other high ranking Federal officials in the wake of the collapse of the Confederacy. Beginning with the only man in the Confederacy who believed the military collapse of Confederate armies began a "new phase of the struggle," Johnson revealed the strengths, weaknesses, and stubbornness that led Jefferson Davis in his odyssey that became the basis for the "Lost Cause."
While Lincoln and other Federal leaders may have preferred that Davis escaped capture to avoid future contentious trials to determine the legality of secession and the guilt of high ranking Confederate leaders, Clint laid before us the facts that accompanied the capture of Davis near Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865, his two year imprisonment in Fort Monroe, the legal wrangling for Davis to stand trial, and his May 13, 1867 release on bail provided by Northern citizens. Intrigue and hidden agendas dominated this phase of the history of the Civil War and its aftermath.
In the final drama of Davis’ odyssey, he never stood trial for his actions. He never had his day in court. The question of the legality of secession and the guilt of high Confederate leaders was never completely addressed.
Jefferson Davis accepted the kindness of an admirer and retired to Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was at Beauvoir where Davis wrote his history, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. In this history, Jefferson Finis Davis defended his and the South’s actions during the conflict that claimed 620,000 American lives and forever changed the United States.
1 – Who was the "Maid of Sargossa" and why did "Jeb" speak of her in his poem? Agostina Zaragoza. Stuart worshipped the ideal of women defending the home & hearth of the Confederacy and actively supporting the men in the field. Agostina Zaragoza man-ed (woman-ed) a cannon in defensive of Saragossa, Spain against Napoleon’s invading army. Agostina’s true story was so inspiring that poets like Byron, Southey, and "Jeb" Stuart praised her in their poems.
2 – Who wounded "Jeb" Stuart at Yellow Tavern? Private John A. Huff of Armada, Michigan. Huff was formerly a member of one of Colonel Hiram Berdan's sharpshooter regiments. In the spring of 1864, Huff enlisted and opted to ride to war with the 5th Michigan.
http://www.historynet.com/major-general-jeb-stuart-last-stand-of-the-last-knight.htm (November 4, 2010)
3 – Who was the admirer of Jefferson Davis who made possible his retirement to Beauvoir in Biloxi? Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey, a novelist and believer, made Beauvoir available to the Davis family for a nominal rent. In 1879, Davis purchased the home for $5,500 to be paid in three installments. Dorsey died before Davis made the final two installments. In her will Dorsey left the estate to Davis.