Studying the Missouri-Kansas Border War and Beyond
President's Letter, July 2020
July 1, 2020
Here I am in my library. Another month has flown (sure it has) by. I have a new highlight for my week: I now look forward to trash day. I make a bet with myself on whether or not they will pick it up this week, and I make a side bet with myself on what time they will pick it up. Yes, things are really raucous at the Calvert household. Because I am now tired of talking to my wife (This is just between you and me no one tells “she who must be obeyed” a thing.) I look forward to the unsolicited sales calls. I have found myself trying to have conversations and I am very disappointed when they hang up on me. What a world and what a time we live in.
Seriously, I have had a lot more time to read. I have gone back and read a few favorites and looked forward to having new books delivered. The old favorites are ones like Shiloh-in Hell before Night by James McDonough. The author tells the story of the battle from the participants” viewpoint. He still tries to debunk the old stories of: Was Grant surprised? Did the death of Johnston spell doom for the Confederates? Another favorite is Extreme Civil War, Guerilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier by Matthew Stith. The author writes about “the complex racial, environmental, and military dimensions that fueled brutal guerilla warfare” in the Trans-Mississippi theater of the Civil War. Stith brings a new understanding about why warfare in our area was so brutal.
Among the new books are The Union Assaults at Vicksburg, Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17-22, 1863 by Timothy Smith. This subject seems to be rather focused. However, Smith provides a day by day and sometimes minute by minute account of Grant’s attempt to capture Vicksburg. This may be the first attempt to break down, into very understandable passages, the thoughts of the attacker and the attacked. Anyone interested in Vicksburg would do well to read this volume.
Next up is An Environmental History of the Civil War by Judkin Browning and Timothy Silver. A professor of military history and a student of environmental history come together to present that “the Civil War was not just a military conflict but also a moment of profound transformation in Americans’ relationship to the natural world.” Chapter titles include sickness, weather, food, animals, death and disability and terrain. The authors present a study of how these things affect the natural world then and now. I have never taken the time to think about it, but can you imagine what an army of 100,000 men, most of them with some sort of dysentery, would leave behind. Don’t even go there with the number of animals travelling with that army.
The last on my list and the one that just came today Commonwealth of Compromise, Civil War Commemoration in Missouri by Amy Laurel Fluker. Taken from the liner notes: “In the aftermath of the Civil War, white Unionists, African Americans, and former Confederates developed competing memories about its causes and consequences. In the border state of Missouri, debates about the war and its meaning proved particularly contentious.” I hope this book presented through the actual participants’ words will help me to understand a little bit about the world today. If I can understand the history, I hope I can have a better understanding of then and now.
Well, that’s what is on my book shelves. Keep reading. Keep striving to understand the past. Maybe just maybe we can begin to understand our today.
The Round Table board is working hard to start up our monthly meetings. Be assured that when it is safe and only when it is safe, we will meet. Stay safe and stay well. Miss you all.
Mike Calvert, President
Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri
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Status of Programs and Meetings
With the status of the coronavirus changing daily, please check in advance for any programs or meetings you see listed on our website and on our calendar to make sure they are still being held. While we endeavor to keep our information up to date, we sometimes are not notified about changes in other organization's events.
Publication of our bi-monthly newsletter, the Border Star, will be suspended until further notice.
Online programs are one way of continuing your interest in history while staying at home. Check your favorite organization's website for streaming opportunities.
- Missouri State Archives -- Presentation Videos
- Missouri State Historical Society -- Our Missouri Podcast
Upcoming CWRTWM meetings and programs ...
Wednesday, July 8 at 7pm *** Cancelled ***
To keep our members and friends as safe as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are cancelling this meeting.
Villiage Heights Community of Christ Church
1009 Farview Drive
Monthly meeting program: Barbara Hughes: "Lone Jack"
Open to the public.
Wednesday, August 12 at 7pm
Villiage Heights Community of Christ Church
1009 Farview Drive
Monthly meeting program: Jim Jenkings: "The 33rd Alabama"
Open to the public. Refreshments immediately following the program.
See our Calendar for more information and other Round Table and area events.
*** Please check in advance with the hosting organization to ensure your event is still being held ***
What We Do
Monthly Program/Meetings – Featuring "Speaker of the Month" or "Round Table Sessions," refreshments and socializing with others of like interests. Meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of each month. Check the Calendar to verify the date and location and find out about the next program topic. Visitors are always welcome!
Monthly Board Meetings – Meetings are generally bi-monthly and held immediately following the monthly program/meetings on the second Wednesday of the month. Members can verify the date and location by logging into this site and checking the Calendar. Non-members can send an inquiry via the Contact Us page. Visitors are always welcome!
The Sonny Wells Little Blue Battlefield Memorial Commission – A subsidiary Commission organized for the purpose of receiving and maintaining all real estate and monies of the Little Blue Battlefield and its memorials, setting goals, raising funds and any other purposes lawfully identified, in order to preserve the Little Blue Battlefield, located at and near the Little Blue River and U.S. Highway 24 in eastern Jackson County, Missouri. This is the publishing arm of the organization to create historical guide books to Civil War Monuments and Memorials in Missouri, normally within a 50 mile range of Kansas City.
The Lewis-Gregg Cemetery Commission – A subsidiary Commission organized for the purpose of owning, operating, maintaining and funding the Lewis-Gregg Cemetery, located in eastern Jackson County, Missouri, which includes land and monies transferred from the Jackson County Historical Society in 2006, and for any other purposes lawfully identified, in order to preserve the Lewis-Gregg Cemetery.
Field Trips – Excursions to local history sites, first-hand learning, refreshments.
Annual Picnic – Complete with Civil War fare, when we dare.
Christmas Party – Christmas feast, celebration of Christmas past and costuming, with a potluck meal and a speaker.
Monthly Newsletter – "The Border Star" for our members, monthly calendar items, border warfare articles, national Civil War articles, information about our members and friends.
Who We Are
Only Virginia and Tennessee had more Civil War engagements than Missouri. The Battle of Lexington early in the war, the Battle of Lone Jack near the middle of the war and the Battle of Westport late in the war all occurred in western Missouri. The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri studies them and more. Each month the Round Table meets to hear speakers present topics related to the war and local attractions.
The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax exempt organization, dedicated to educational purposes including the promotion and understanding of all aspects and phases of the U.S. Civil War period, especially in WESTERN MISSOURI and the "BORDER WAR" conflict and to stimulate interest in and further discussion and study of the War Between the States.
Re-enactors - Men, women, children, and families portraying Civil War era personalities - Both Union and Confederate.
Genealogists - Family history researchers - Many related to Civil War veterans.
Historians - Veteran and novice researchers of local and national Civil War history.
Preservationists - Interested in battlefield, cemetery, monument, artifact, and historic site preservation.
Teachers - Area high school and grade school teachers and other educators.
Authors - Published writers of both local and national Civil War history.
Anyone interested in Civil War history. Meetings open to members and non-members. COME ONE, COME ALL!