Georgia: Kennessaw Group Brings to Light Cobb’s Civil War Roots

By H.M. Cauley, for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As historians, researchers and interested readers of Civil War lore will confirm, Cobb County has a wealth of connections to the conflict. For members of the local Civil War Round Table, the battles and skirmishes that took place in the area are a subject of ongoing fascination.

The year-old group of about 140 enthusiasts convene on the first Thursday of each month to explore the area’s connection to the conflict. The group is modeled after existing round tables in Atlanta and Gwinnett County that meet regularly to discuss a myriad of topics associated with those dark days of the early 1860s.

“Cobb is so rich in Civil War history that we decided we needed to start our own group here,” said founder David Brannan who lives in Kennesaw. “It grew from my interest in getting together with other people to discuss Civil War history. I started talking to people at the Marietta Museum of History and the Kennesaw Mountain (National Battlefield Park) center. Then I found out that Kennesaw State has a Civil War center.”

Brannan partnered with the university to host the round table’s meetings at the KSU Center on Busbee Drive. At the very first session last year, he expected about 60 attendees; 110 showed up.

“It does tend to be an older group, but my goal is to get younger people involved,” said Brannan.

Even though the group meets in the South and many members are Southerners, Brannan said no one takes any sides.

“We don’t play favorites,” he said. “A lot of us do have ancestors who fought in the war, but many people are just interested in it and want to talk about it. And the more you learn, the more intriguing it becomes.”

A meeting might cover any number of topics, from individual war stories to the music of the period. The group’s September session featured period tunes played on dulcimers by costumed members of the Allatoona Dulcimer Ensemble. It also included an address by Steve Davis, an author and historian from East Cobb who has written and lectured on the topic that first captivated him in the fourth grade.

“You can’t be in Atlanta without brushing up against the war,” said Davis.

Brian Wills, director of KSU’s Civil War Center and a professor of history at the university, said the goal of the round table is to be educational and a bit entertaining at the same time.

“We talk about issues like nursing, bravery, cowardice and the home front as well,” he said. “There’s something from everybody.”

The next meeting of the Round Table is 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at the KSU Center, 3333 Busbee Drive. The evening’s speaker will be Richard Coker, author of “To Make Men Free: A Novel of the Battle of Antietam.” Information: Details about the Civil War Center at KSU can be found at; 678-797-2966.


Kentucky: Ashland Marks 150 Years of Lexington’s Odd Civil War Battle

By Tom Eblen, Lexington Herald-Leader

Lexington played a central role in the lives of leaders on both sides of the Civil War. Union and Confederate troops each occupied the city. Yet, there was only one significant military engagement in Fayette County, and some aspects of it were almost comical.

Ashland mansion was rebuilt according to the original floor plan in 1857, five years after Henry Clay’s death. The house was five years old when a Civil War skirmish occurred not far behind it. The house is now owned by a non-profit foundation, which will mark the 150th anniversary of that skirmish with events Saturday. Photo by Tom Eblen |

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate will mark the 150th anniversary of that battle with four events during the next month.

The first is a Civil War “living history” day Saturday at the 17-acre estate, where most of the fighting occurred. A dozen re-enactors will drill, fire cannons and play period music, cook and quilt.  There will be special tours of the mansion and performances by actors portraying statesman Henry Clay, slave Lotty Dupuy and Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan.

Violinist Itzhak Perlman will perform in concert with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra on Sunday. The Henry Clay Memorial Foundation will award Perlman the Henry Clay Medallion.

The other events are a Civil War Ball on Oct. 13 at Christ Church Cathedral, where Clay worshiped, and a speakers panel Oct. 21 with historians James Klotter, Lindsey Apple, Kent Masterson Brown and UK textile professor Kim Spillman, who will talk about reenactors and their costumes.

Ashland isn’t trying to compete with larger Civil War re-enactments at Perryville and Richmond, the sites of more significant battles, said curator Eric Brooks.

“Our goal is to provide something that will help people understand what was going on in this community,” he said. “That was living life under occupation, living life in which you and your siblings might be on opposite sides.”

Jacob Wentzel and John F. Meyers were two of the Union cavalrymen from Ohio who were camped on the grounds of Henry Clay’s Ashland estate when Confederate forces led by Gen. John Hunt Morgan attacked on Oct. 18, 1862. The estate will mark the 150th anniversary of that skirmish with events over the next month. Photo courtesy of Kent Masterson Brown

Before his death in 1852, Clay spent much of his career in Congress forging compromises over slavery to try to prevent the Civil War. But war came anyway, and it literally reached his family’s doorstep at dawn Oct. 18, 1862.

fter the battle of Perryville, on Oct. 8, most Confederate forces began withdrawing to Tennessee. Morgan, a cavalry leader from Lexington, sought to protect their retreat by attacking Union troops camped behind Ashland.

Morgan had three units of troops as he crossed from Madison County into Fayette. They separated at Clay’s Ferry, with the two largest units and two pieces of artillery heading to Lexington via Richmond Road. Morgan and a smaller group went along the Kentucky River to Tates Creek Road.

Not sure of the way into town, Morgan and his brother-in-law Basil Duke knocked on a farmer’s door. Duke later wrote that, knowing many people along the river were union sympathizers, he introduced Morgan to the farmer as Frank Wolford, a well-known Union officer. It was cold and dark, and Morgan and many of his men probably were wearing blue overcoats taken from captured Union troops, said Brown, the historian.

“All the way to Lexington, this man is bad-mouthing Morgan — he ought to be shot, he’s nothing but a horse thief, on and on,” Brown said. As they get to about where Chevy Chase is now, Morgan realizes he is near Ashland and orders his men to prepare to attack.

“This guy suddenly realizes this is not a Union outfit,” Brown said. “The fellow asks, ‘Who are you?’ and Morgan says, ‘I’m John Hunt Morgan.’ The guy falls out of his saddle and starts pleading on his knees for Morgan not to kill him. The whole command breaks into laughter.”

Morgan freed the farmer, who rode home as fast as he could. The three Confederate units — about 1,800 men — surrounded and attacked the camp of 300 mostly sleeping Union soldiers behind Ashland near the corner of what is now Fincastle and Woodspoint roads. “The battle’s over in five minutes,” Brown said.

The Union soldiers were taken prisoner, as were more downtown at the Phoenix Hotel. A third group of Union troops barricaded themselves in the Fayette County Courthouse. When the Confederates brought in their artillery, “the mayor comes running, pleading with them not to blow up his courthouse,” Brown said. “He helped plead with the Union cavalry to surrender.”

Four Union solders were killed and about 20 wounded that day. The extent of Confederate casualties is unknown, with one prominent exception: Maj. George Washington Morgan, a second cousin to John Hunt Morgan, was severely wounded. Susan Clay, Henry Clay’s daughter-in-law, offered her wagon to take him to his family’s home, the Hunt Morgan House on Mill Street.

After lingering several days, Morgan asked to be propped up in a chair and given a glass of bourbon and a cigar, Brooks said, “and he would then show them how a Morgan man dies, which he did.”

If you go

Civil War Living History: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 29, Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, 120 Sycamore Rd. $10 adults, $5 ages 17 and younger.

Itzhak Perlman: In concert with University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, 7 p.m. Sept. 30, Singletary Center, 405 Rose St. $65-$85. (859) 257-4929 or

Civil War Ball: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 13, Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market St. $20. Formal or period attire. Reservations required: (859) 266-8581, Ext. 204, or

Civil War Speakers Panel: 7-9 p.m. Oct. 21, Transylvania University Haggin Auditorium. Free.


Mississippi: Shiloh Releases Audio CD of Battle of Corinth, MS

Civil War buffs can now hear the thoughts of those involved in a major Civil War battle.

On Friday, September 21, a new audio CD was released by Shiloh National Military Park entitled “Voices of Corinth.

This new CD features the words of participants, both military and civilian, as they describe their experiences of Corinth, Mississippi during the war.

The 71 -minute long CD begins with the occupation of Corinth by Confederate troops in early 1862, and takes the listener through the aftermath of the battle of Shiloh, the siege of May 1862, the occupation by Union forces, and ends with the story of the contraband camp as told by a missionary to the area.

“We are very proud of the Voices of Corinth CD,” stated Superintendent John Bundy.

“The project was produced completely ‘in house,’ with park volunteers and rangers not only lending their voices to the recording, but our rangers also conducted all of the research, wrote the script, and then recorded, edited, and mixed the CD,” said Bundy.

Voices of Corinth was recorded and mixed in just one week to make it available for purchase in time for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Corinth which took place in early October 1862. The CD is meant to supplement any tour or study of Corinth by bringing the voices of the people who experienced the Civil War in the area to life.

Voices of Corinth, which was funded in part by Eastern National bookstores, a not-for-profi t partner of the National Park Service, is available for purchase at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center bookstore.

For more information on the CD and the upcoming events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Corinth, please visit or call 662-287-9273.


North Carolina: Savoring the South with Book Series

By Michael Hastings, Winston-Salem Journal

UNC Press has always had a taste for Southern food, producing more than its share of Southern cookbooks.

But it will serve a veritable feast over the next few years with a new series called Savor the South.

It released the first two books in the series, “Buttermilk” and “Pecans,” this month.

The series was the idea of Elaine Maisner, a senior executive editor at UNC Press.

Though Maisner does not work solely with cookbooks, she does have a background in food. Years ago, she worked as a chef in San Francisco at Greens, a famous vegetarian restaurant started by Deborah Madison.

“When I moved to North Carolina, I started to learn about the South’s awareness of itself as a region and how food is such a big part of that,” Maisner said. “I thought, well, we need to rethink the Southern food tradition.”

Maisner said that part of the mission of UNC Press is to publish books of particular interest to North Carolina residents, and that is truer than ever of Southern food and cooking. “The cookbooks have increased because the general interest in food has grown,” she said.

Each book will be small and compact, focusing on a single ingredient or narrow topic, and sell for $18. Each book will include about 50 recipes.

Recipes will include Southern classics, modern twists on the classics and even a few international dishes that use Southern ingredients.

“Buttermilk” ($18) is by Debbie Moose, a freelance food writer in Raleigh who has written five cookbooks. She includes an introduction on the “science, myth and magic” of buttermilk, and then divides her recipes into four sections. The first section covers such breakfast fare as sweet-potato pancakes with orange butter and chocolate-chip buttermilk scones. The dinner section, the largest in the book, includes such main dishes as fiery fried chicken, as well as such dishes as Tex-Mex corn pudding and butternut-squash soup.

The section on sweets includes sweet-tea buttermilk pie, light lemon ice cream and buttermilk pound cake.

The book ends with a section on dips, dressings and drinks, including blue-cheese dressing and mango-spice lassi.

“Pecans” ($18) is by Kathleen Purvis, food editor of The Charlotte Observer. It starts with the history of pecans and other information. Recipes include such appetizers as pecan-pimento cheese and bourbon-orange pecans. Main dishes include pecan-crusted grouper, pecan-stuffed chicken breasts and shrimp, and farfalle with pecan pesto.

For salads and side dishes, Purvis offers pecan Waldorf salad and cornbread dressing with pecans and apples.

She has the most recipes in the dessert chapter. These include classic pecan pie, pecan tassies, pralines and ice cream.

Maisner said the next two books, scheduled for spring, will be “Tomatoes” by Miriam Rubin and “Peaches” by Kelly Alexander.

Future books will cover bourbon, sweet potatoes, catfish and barbecue, among other topics.

UNC Press hopes to release two books every spring and two every fall, and it expects to publish 24 books in all.

“Each book will have a short introduction that tries to show the background of that food,” Maisner said. “Each author will be explaining how that food fits into Southern culture.”

Blue Cheese Pecan Spread

Makes 1½ cups

1 cup pecans

8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

¼ cup snipped chives, divided use

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1. Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir often until fragrant and just toasted. Remove from the skillet and chop coarsely.

2. Place the cream cheese and blue cheese in a food processor. Pulse until creamy and combined. Set aside 1 tablespoon chives and add the rest to the food processor with the pepper. Pulse to combine. Add the pecans and pulse just until combined. (Don’t overprocess; you want the pecans in chunks.)

3. Scrape into a small serving bowl or crock. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.

Recipe from “Pecans” by Kathleen Purvis (UNC Press, 2012)

Jan’s Buttermilk Pound Cake

Makes about 20 servings

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups sugar

5 extra-large eggs or 6 large eggs

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the (optional) glaze:

1½ cups powdered sugar

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

Grated lemon or lime zest

1. Prepare a 10-inch tube pan by coating the inner surface with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil and dusting it with flour. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high speed until creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk gently to break the yolks. Add the eggs to the butter mixture in two additions, beating well after each and scraping the sides of the bowl between beatings.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt and flour. On medium speed, beat 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Stop the mixer and add half of the buttermilk. Turn the mixer on low to prevent spatters and beat for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for one minute. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, then vanilla, then the rest of the flour mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl periodically to incorporate all of the ingredients. The batter will be thick.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared tube pan and rap the bottom of the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about one hour or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake may crack on top, but this is OK.

5. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack to continue cooling.

6. To make the optional glaze, combine the powdered sugar and lemon or lime juice until smooth. Then stir in some grated zest for color. Brush glaze on the cooled cake.

Recipe adapted from “Buttermilk” by Debbie Moose (UNC Press, 2012)


North Carolina: Civil War Lecture Series Begins

Intriguing perspectives of the American Civil War will rise to the forefront in upcoming lectures at theN.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. October’s lecture, The Civil War in Fiction and Film, centers on how memory of the Civil War has been manipulated and its history reinterpreted. The lecture complements the popular exhibit Real to Reel: The Making of Gone with the Wind, on view through Jan. 13, 2013.

The 2012-2013 Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Serieskicks off in November when distinguished historian and author James I. Robertson Jr. presents The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War. He will reveal surprising, new stories about overlooked factors that affected the war.

The series continues in March with when Elizabeth R. Varon dispels myths about Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.


The Civil War in Fiction and Film

Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m.

Free admission

David Sachsman, Professor of Communications, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Consider the many ways the Civil War has been depicted by American writers and filmmakers. How have fiction and film manipulated memories of the war and reinterpreted its history? Find out during this program presented by David Sachsman, author of Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film. A book signing will follow the program. Copies are available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

2012-2013 Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series

The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War

Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m.

$8 in advance, $10 on Nov. 4

$5 for ages 18 and under, $5 for Associates

Tickets are available in the Museum Shop or by calling 919-807-7835.

James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor in History Emeritus, Virginia Tech University

Historian James Robertson presents compelling new stories as alternatives to traditional battle narratives of the Civil War. He points to overlooked factors that affected the war, ranging from the role of weather and high emotions to the world-changing implications of more women in the workplace. He also addresses the effects of “firsts” on the home front, such as introduction of standard time, pre-sized clothing, canned goods, toilets and even Santa Claus.

Robertson has authored several books about the Civil War, includingCivil War! America Becomes One Nation and Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend.

Legacies of Appomattox: Lee’s Surrender in History and Memory                   

Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m.

$8 in advance, $10 on March 3

$5 for ages 18 and under, $5 for Associates

Tickets are available in the Museum Shop or by calling 919-807-7835. 

Elizabeth R. Varon, Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History, University of Virginia

Dispelling the myth that the Appomattox surrender was a “gentleman’s agreement” between Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant that reunited the South and North, Elizabeth Varon argues that the surrender terms were controversial from the start and became the touchstone for the conflicts during Reconstruction.

The lectures are featured during the N.C. Civil War Sesquicentennial, which continues through 2015. The Museum of History and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources are presenting programs in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in North Carolina.

For more information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access

About the N.C.  Museum of History

The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit



Virginia: State Announces Civil War Battlefield Grants Totaling $2.6M

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia is providing $2.6 million in grant funding for the preservation of thousands of acres at Civil War battlefields.

The funding announced Thursday by Gov. Bob McDonnell is heading to preservation groups to shield from development 2,792 acres at battlefields in Appomattox, Chancellorsville, Port Republic and Second Manassas, among others.

The funding is drawn from the state’s Civil War Historic Sites Preservation Fund that McDonnell and the General Assembly established in 2010 to mark the sesquicentennial of the war that divided the nation.

The grant recipients include the Civil War Trust, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. They’ll match state funds dollar for dollar to obtain easements.

The awards are based on an evaluation process by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.