Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

Meeting Dates

The organization meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month September through May. Meetings are held in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre located at 515 Scotland St in Williamsburg, VA, unless otherwise posted. The meetings begin at 7 PM. Membership is open to the  general public.

This Month's Speaker

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre at 7 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

On Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Peggy Vogtsberger will present “Major General Patrick Cleburne”. Major General Patrick R. Cleburne, C.S.A. was born in County Cork, Ireland, the son of a country doctor, on March 16, 1828.  He trained to be a druggist, but his inability to pass the Latin part of his examinations led him to join the British Army as a private.  In 1849, he paid to get out of his enlistment and emigrated to the United States.
Cleburne enlisted in the Yell Rifles as a private, then became Captain of the militia unit. He was elected Colonel of the regiment, the 1st (later 15th) Arkansas. Serving under General William J. Hardee, he was promoted brigadier general and rose to the rank of major general. As a division commander, Cleburne's reputation was that of a fierce and aggressive fighter on the offense, but he also proved to be very skilful on the defense. Cleburne believed in constant drilling and training, and he was fortunate to have talented and able subordinates. With their distinctive battle flag, the presence of Cleburne's Division on the battlefield was noted by friend and foe.
In January 1864 Cleburne presented a proposal in writing and in a meeting of the general leadership of the Army of Tennessee calling for freedom of Southern slaves if they joined the Confederate army. The proposal, while supported by some, generally met with sharp disagreement and even outrage.
General Cleburne was killed, while leading a frontal assault upon the Federal entrenchments near the Carter Gin House, at the battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864. He was 36 years old and had recently become engaged to be married. His loss was mourned by the army and his legend in death grew to almost iconic status.
Miss Vogtsberger will try to answer some questions: Why did Cleburne, an Irish immigrant and a non-slaveowner, become so enamored of the Southern cause? What did his proposal about slavery really say? She will go into some detail into the language of the proposal. Did he expect the fierce opposition to his proposal? Did his advocacy of the proposal cost him promotion to higher rank, as many believe? Her talk will only speak of the highlights of his military career.
Miss Vogtsberger was former president and editor of the Williamsburg CWRT. She founded the John Pelham Historical Association in 1982, and a few years ago she started a Facebook group, The Society of the Army of the Cumberland. In 1995 she edited the letters of Colonel Richard H. Dulany of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, published as The Dulanys of Welbourne: A Family in Mosby's Confederacy. Her interest in General Cleburne began decades ago, when she read the book, Cleburne and His Command, written by Cleburne's A.A.G., Captain Irving A. Buck.


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