Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Panel At Deep Bottom Park

I enjoyed my time at the Campaign Before Richmond Symposium on Friday, June 20 at Deep Bottom Park. The weather cooperated, giving us a pleasant, thunderstorm-free evening. Sam McKelvey, manager of the Dabbs House Museum, did a great job setting up the venue and organizing the event. Jack Mountcastle, former U.S. Army Chief of Military History, moderated the proceedings. Jimmy Price, author of a great book about the Battle of New Market Heights, started things off with a talk about First Deep Bottom in July 1864. He is currently finishing up a book on that campaign. Next, Doug Crenshaw, who has penned a nice work on Fort Harrison and the Battle of Chaffin's Farm (which he kindly gave to me at the event), covered the actions outside Richmond in late September 1864 with an informative presentation guided by excellent maps and photographs. Both Doug and Jimmy's books, published by The History Press, provide well-written, compact narratives of these lesser-known episodes of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign.

Robert E. L. Krick, historian at the Richmond National Battlefield Park, lent his insight into the careers of five Confederate commanders important to the 1864 campaign:  Richard Anderson, Charles Field, Victor Girardey, Robert Hoke, and John Gregg. Bob is a fantastic speaker and wasn't afraid to offer his unvarnished opinions of these figures. Let's just say Anderson and Hoke did not fare well. Bob is also author of Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, a must-have reference I've leaned on often in my work. Finally, it was great to chat with some of the attendees before and after the event.  They really knew their stuff.