Founded in 1957, our Round Table is one of the oldest in the nation. We couldn't ask for a better location: four major battles of the Civil War were fought within 20 miles of Fredericksburg. Our group of about 100 members meets once each month for a catered dinner followed by the presentation of a Civil War topic by a guest speaker - frequently a nationally-known author.
We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month (except November, December, July and August) at the University of Mary Washington Jepson Alumni Executive Center at 1119 Hanover Street in Fredericksburg.
The bar opens at 5:45pm. Social begins at 6pm. Dinner is at 6:45pm. The program starts around 7:30pm. We usually conclude by 9pm.
Reservations are required. Please call (540) 361-2105 and leave a message regarding how many seats you require. Place your reservation request NLT Noon, Monday, the 20th of May. If later you find you cannot attend, please call in your cancellation.
Men are expected to wear a coat and tie, with equivalent attire for ladies.
The dinner cost is $32.00 for members, $37.00 for others, payable by cash or check at the door.
ATTENTION IMPORTANT MESSAGE
For a number of reasons, we want our May 22nd meeting to be the biggest of the year. First, our guest speaker, Eric Wittenberg, is the foremost expert on the Federal cavalry. He is traveling from Ohio. Members will recall we once devoted an entire program year to the general subject of cavalry. Mr. Wittenberg has authored 16 books and over 24 articles on the suRbject. Second, this is the 150 Anniversary of the birth of the Cavalry Corps in Stafford County during the Army of the Potomacs Valley Forge resurgence. Third, we will elect our officers for the next year (and will be returning to our previous practice of the newly-elected officers running our final June meeting.) Finally, we will host the largest exhibit of cavalry artifacts, documents and relics in our CWRTs 56 year history, in conjunction with two pictorial arrays on the birth and subsequent history of the Cavalry Corps. You can show your support for all weve tried to achieve this program year by maximum attendance at our May meeting.
GO to the " Pictures" tab on the menu-bar above for photos of the over 30 members of both Fredericksburg and Bull Run CWRTs on the March 2nd, Staff Ride to the Stafford Civil War Site and the White Oak Museum. Fun, comaraderie and learning. Both locations totally echoing the consistent theme of Al Connor's presentatations of the Union Army's "Valley Forge" of 1863. Of course the follow-on lunch stop at Amy's Cafe in Falmoth was a real hit and equally instructional. What a day!
Wish everyone could have been there.
May 22, 2013
Federal Cavalry, Brandy Station to Gettysburg
Eric J Wittenberg
Our "general's eye" program-year focusing on the 1862-1863 years is culminating with the story of the creation of the Army of the Potomac's Cavalry Corps in Stafford on February 5, 1863, and its rapidly being thrust (embarrassingly, 20 days later) into action at Hartwood Church and then launching the first large Federal raid at Kellys Ford (March 17th). Measured from these key events, our speaker will describe the Federal cavalrys' Coming-of-Age, Stonemans Raid in April and May in conjunction with the Chancellorsville battles would reveal the flaws in the corps initial leadership and the need to purge Stoneman and Averell. Surviving commanders, Pleasonton, Gregg, and Buford would perform better at Brandy Station by surprising Stuart on a large scale and engaging in violent cavalry-on-cavalry combat. All of this set in motion the rapid development of the young generals who would lead the Cavalry Corps to decisive victory in the East - Wesley Merritt, Ranald Mackenzie, and George Custer. Later, in 1863, the deployment of the new seven-shot Spencer repeating carbine and the best of modern horse care at the new, $2.5 million Giesboro, MD facility (capable of handling up to 30,000 horses at a time) were critical additions. Under Sheridan, in 1864, the Cavalry Corps was fully capable of engaging any Confederate Cavalry or Infantry force. The Corps opened the road to Appomattox two years later and slammed the door on Robert E. Lees Army.
As important as this all was, it is equally significant to understand the contemporary decline of the Confederate cavalry during this same period.
Our Guest Speaker
Our culminating speaker for May is Eric J. Wittenberg who is coming from Columbus, Ohio to speak to us. He has combined his legal career with the remarkable production of over 16 books and 24 articles all on the Federal Cavalry. Many of these works have brought him to national attention and specifically to the Rappahannock Region.
A native of the Philadelphia area, he graduated from Dickinson College (incidentally, the same alma mater as Stafford Abolitionist Moncure Daniel Conway) and holds both Law and Public and International Affairs graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.