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.

Current Newsletter and Archives

Williamsburg Civil War



  Meeting Place:


Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre


Volume XLII Number 4                 December 19, 2017

Brian Steel Wills

"Gone With The Glory:
The Civil War In Cinema

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 19, 2017.

On December 19, 2017, Brian Steel Wills will present “Gone with the glory: The Civil War in Cinema”.

History comes at us in many fashions. Cinema has offered its own version of the Civil War, often reflecting the times in which films appear and the expectations that audiences of those periods bring with them. Reality is less well served, but the characters and stories that emerge are nevertheless indelible parts of our collective culture and experience. When it comes to popular presentations of the American Civil War, few phrases evoke images of that conflict as powerful as Gone with the Wind, although that epic motion picture had more to do with the adventures of a young Southern woman than depictions of war-related themes. This difficulty in melding stories with facts has been the dilemma of film regarding historical subjects, with Hollywood frequently turning its focus first to entertainment values and then to the historical foundation or framework. Nevertheless, from the silent era to the present day, motion pictures have provided one means by which people have connected with their past.  In the process a rich mosaic of figures has emerged for movie audiences that, in some instances, have become iconic, and the sweep and grandeur of the subject matter has proven particularly well-suited to the big screen of the cinema. In more recent years, subjects have broadened to include other aspects, such as the famed 54th Massachusetts in Glory, the smaller-scale drama in backcountry Kentucky of Pharoah’s Army, or the struggle for passage of the 13th Amendment in Lincoln. But, in each instance, the Civil War in cinema has provided at least the introductory platform for learning more about the era’s issues, events and personalities.

Brian Steel Wills is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.  He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War.  His most recent publications are The River was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013) and George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2013 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War topic for the year 2012 presented by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.  His latest work is Inglorious Passages: Noncombat Deaths in the American Civil War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017), just out.
His biography of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest is currently in reprint as The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest (University Press of Kansas).  This work was chosen as both a History Book Club selection and a Book of the Month Club selection.
Dr. Wills also authored, The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia, released in October, 2001, and No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, (2004), both by the University Press of Virginia.  Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema appeared in 2006 with Rowman and Littlefield.  An updated edition of the James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., Civil War Sites in Virginia (Virginia) came out in 2011.
In 2000, Dr. Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of eleven recipients from all faculty members at public and private institutions across the state.  He is descended from Charles Hasker, a Confederate officer who saw service on the CSS Virginia and the submarine Hunley before its final encounter with USS Housatonic.

Last Month

On November 28, 2017, Eric Buckland presented  “John S. Mosby – The Perfect Man in the Perfect Place”.

Colonel John Singleton Mosby, Commanding Officer of the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Mosby’s Rangers) - remains a sterling example of the quintessential unconventional warfare warrior and leader. The tactics, techniques and procedures he used during the War Between the States from January 1863 to April 1865 are still studied today by United States Army Special Forces and Rangers and by the United States Marine Corps. Mosby’s personal courage, intelligence, innovativeness, audacity and innate understanding of how to plan, conduct and command irregular operations made him a very painful and persistent thorn in the side of Union forces arrayed against him and a celebrated hero in the South.

However, even strong personal attributes and exceptional ability need to be coupled with good fortune and circumstances in order to achieve the type of sustained success enjoyed by Mosby and his Rangers. “John S. Mosby: The Perfect Man in the Perfect Place” will offer superb insight into how John Mosby was able to utilize and adapt his strengths and abilities to successfully fulfill his mission requirements, confront the enemy threat, use the operational area’s terrain to his benefit, recruit men to his unit and garner the support and loyalty of the local population.

Eric Buckland’s interest in Mosby's Rangers began when he was a young boy and increased during his 22-year military career.  Most of that time - he retired from the Army as a LTC - was spent in Special Forces. Eric had multiple deployments to Panama, Honduras and El Salvador in the 1980’s and believes that his military experience provides a unique understanding of Mosby’s Rangers.

Dues for September 2017 -May 2018 are due. Dues are $30 for an individual and $35 for a family. Please make checks payable to WCWRT. Registration form

2017-2018 Officers of WCWRT:
President: Bill Miller               Vice-President: Lee Underwood
Secretary: Gene Danko         Treasurer:  George Callis

The Executive Committee consists of the elected officers, the immediate past president and other members appointed by the incoming president. Those members include Tom Lamb and Terri Teopke.

Upcoming Meetings and Speakers

  • January 23, 2018 – Carson Hudson – "Custer's First Stand"
  • February 27, 2018 – Ralph Peters - "Civil War Leadership and its challenges
  • March 27, 2018 - Peggy Vogstberger – “Patrick Cleburne”
  • April 24, 2018 - Eric Wittenberg - John Buford
  • May 22, 2018 - Dr. James I. Robertson - TBD

Special Events

  • December 2017 - Prince William County 2017 History Bus Tours details
  • December, 2017 – May, 2018 - The Return of History Happy Hours at the American Civil War Museum. For details and other museum events click here.
  • December 16 & 17, 2017 - Christmas at Ellwood Manor details

Visit the Williamsburg Battlefield Association
(http://www.williamsburgbattlefieldassociation.org/) (https://www.facebook.com/WilliamsburgBattlefieldAssociation)
WEBSITE: Be sure to frequently visit the site for newsletter info, announcements, future and past speakers, and an up to date calendar of events in the Civil War world.  It’s available anytime you need the info. http://www.wcwrt.org.

To access the newsletter archives, 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018