Tri-Cities Civil War Roundtable

Tri-Cities Civil War Roundtable The Tri-Cities Civil War Roundtable meets regularly at various locations in Kingsport. All Meetings are FREE and Open to the Public Contact Mr.

D. Wayne Strong at either [email protected] or 423-323-2306.

Operating as usual


The least known Abingdon, Virginia, Confederate Civil War General

Gilbert Simrall Meem (October 5, 1824 – June 10, 1908) was a brigadier general in the Virginia militia, who served along with the Confederate States Army in northwestern Virginia at various times during 1861 and early 1862 in the American Civil War. Meem's men participated in Stonewall Jackson's attacks on the towns of Romney and Bath, later Berkeley Springs, now in West Virginia in early January 1862. After the brigade went into winter quarters in Martinsburg, now West Virginia, Meem resigned his commission on February 1, 1862. The resignation appears to have been under pressure after General Robert E. Lee received reports that Meem's habits and daily condition, apparently alcohol abuse, made him unfit for command. Meem returned to his estate and also held various positions in the Shenandoah County, Virginia government for the remainder of the war. Gilbert Meem attended Edgehill Seminary, near Monticello, before the war, a prep school for Princeton University, but quit school to manage the Steenbergen estate near Mount Airy, Virginia, (Mount Airy, VA would later be called Rural Retreat, Virginia) which his father had purchased in 1841.

Meem served two years in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1852 to 1854 and four years in the Virginia Senate between 1871 and 1875. He was a noted breeder of livestock before and after the war. He received recognition for his breeding operations which helped introduce and improve fine cattle and sheep into the Shenandoah Valley. He published a booklet titled: Catalogue of short horned cattle, on exhibition and for sale at the National Fair, Washington, D.C. in 1888.

In 1892, he sold everything and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he was appointed postmaster by President Grover Cleveland. Meem served in that office until 1899, becoming a well-known citizen of the city.
Gilbert S. Meem died on June 10, 1908 in Seattle, Washington. He is buried in Lake View Cemetery at Seattle. His son, Gilbert S. Meem, Jr., had died no later than May 29, 1909 and was buried in the same cemetery.
A monument on the courthouse lawn in Abingdon, Virginia honors the other five Confederate generals from Washington County—Joseph Eggleston Johnston, who spent his childhood in Abingdon; William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones; John Smith Preston; William Young Conn Humes and John Buchanan Floyd, antebellum governor of Virginia and brigadier general during the war.

Battle of Franklin

Battle of Franklin

Battle of Franklin


Future TCCWRT Program Schedule:

Jul 17, 2017 Fun Fest, “A Civil War Evening,” Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, “Blue and Gray in Black and White” Renaissance Center, Theater Area

Sept 11, 2017 Dave Mowery, Historian, Author, “Morgan’s Great Raid: Taking the War to the North” Eastman Employee Center Room 219

Oct 9, 2017 Eric Jacobson, Historian, Author, “Cause and Country, Spring Hill and Franklin" Eastman Employee Center,
Room 219

Nov 13, 2017 Ed Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus/Author, TBD
Eastman Employee Center, Room 219

Jan 15, 2018 Mike Shaffer - TBD

March 12, 2018 Gordon Rhea, historian, author, "Battle of Cold Harbor"

April 9, 2018 Aaron Astor, "East Tennessee Reconstruction"


Major General Alfred Pleasonton

Alfred Pleasonton received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1840, and graduated seventh in a class of 25 in 1844. He served during the Mexican-American War, and received a brevet promotion to first lieutenant for gallantry at the battle of Palo Alto. After the war, Pleasonton served in Florida and was engaged against the Seminole Indians with the 2nd Dragoons.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pleasonton commanded his regiment while they moved from Utah to Washington DC. He served for some time within the defenses of Washington, and received a promotion to major on February 15, 1862. After his promotion, he served through the Peninsula Campaign, which resulted in a promotion to brigadier general on July 16, 1862. He led a division of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. At the battle of Chancellorsville, Pleasonton claimed that he had in fact saved the Union army during the fight, even though it can not be substantiated. Regardless, he was promoted to major general on June 22, 1863, and was placed in command of the Cavalry Corps by order of General Joseph Ho**er. A month after his promotion, Pleasonton led the Cavalry Corps against Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart during the battle of Brandy Station, which was the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War. Although Pleasonton and his men were able to fight J.E.B. Stuart to a standstill, he did not distinguish himself for the rest of the Gettysburg Campaign.
In February of 1864, Pleasonton approved of a raid by cavalry on Richmond, known as the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid. The raid proved to be very unsuccessful, and Pleasonton was relieved of command of the Cavalry Corps and sent west to the Department of Missouri under the command of William Rosecrans. In October of 1864, Pleasonton defeated Confederate general Sterling Price during the invasion of Missouri, and performed well during the battle of Westport. For his actions, Pleasonton received a brevet promotion to major general, though he remained a major in the regular army.

Alfred Pleasonton died in his sleep in Washington, D.C., on January 17, 1897 and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery there, alongside his father. Before his death, Pleasonton requested that his funeral be devoid of all military honors and even refused to be buried in his old uniform because he felt the Army passed him over after the Civil War.

The town of Pleasanton, California, was named for Alfred in the late 1860s; a typographical error by a U.S. Postal Service employee apparently led to the spelling difference. The city of Pleasanton, Kansas, despite its different spelling, has begun an annual festival named for Pleasonton.

On the huge Pennsylvania Memorial at the Gettysburg Battlefield stands a statue of General Pleasonton. However, it is possible that this represents Alfred's brother, Augustus, a native of Pennsylvania, who was a general in the Pennsylvania militia at the time of the battle.

**From Education Material


Major General James Ewell Brown 'JEB' Stuart

JEB Stuart, came from an acclaimed military lineage. His great grandfather, Major Alexander Stuart, commanded a regiment in the Revolutionary War, and his father Archibald Stuart fought in the War of 1812 before serving as a Commonwealth and U.S. Representative. He attended Emory and Henry College and then West Point, where he graduated 13th of 46 in 1854. West Point was also where he first met and befriended Robert E. Lee

In his U.S. service, Stuart was involved in several Indian conflicts, the “Bleeding Kansas” incident at the Kansas-Missouri border, and was sent by Lee to crush John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry.

Stuart resigned from the United States army in May of 1861 to join the Confederacy following Virginia’s secession, despite his father in law choosing to remain in the US Army for the engagement. He was assigned to report to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who promoted him to Colonel early on and assigned him to command cavalry units of the Army of the Shenandoah. He led his regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run, where the Union Army’s early success was undone in part because of Stuart’s routing, forcing their retreat back to Washington DC. Soon thereafter, he began commanding all the cavalry brigades for the Army of Northern Virginia in March of 1862.

Stuart was a master of reconnaissance missions, and twice made daring exploits, first in the Peninsula Campaign and again at Antietam. In the Northern Virginia Campaign, he was promoted to major general after he executed successful raids at Catlett’s Station and Rappahannock River, and then performed great defensive strategy at the Battle of Fredericksburg. After the mortal wounding of Jackson during the battle of Chancellorsville, Stuart temporarily assumed command of Jackson's Second Corps and was influential in exploiting the success of his predecessor's famous flank attack.

In spite of Stuart's brilliant reputation (or perhaps because of it), his performance during the Gettysburg Campaign has been the subject much debate and controversy. Prior to 1863 the Federal mounted arm had been repeatedly embarrassed by Stuart's seemingly invincible cavaliers. But as the war entered its third summer, that perception would begin to change. At Brandy Station, despite holding the field for the South, Stuart failed to detect the movements of the Union cavalry that would eventually instigate the attack. Just a month later, Stuart’s cavalry fell out of touch with headquarters in the days leading up to Gettysburg, and left Lee and his fellow commanding officers with little to no intelligence in unfamiliar enemy territory. Stuart finally arrived late on the second day and the following day was repulsed by Union cavalry gaining no ground there.

Stuart fought his final battle on the outskirts of Richmond on May 11, 1864. The Confederate cavalry was working feverishly to deny Gen. Philip Sheridan's Federal horsemen from gaining entry into the Confederate capital. Stuart's men were able to check the Yankee advance but at a terrible cost. The Confederate cavalry chief was shot by a dismounted Michigan trooper with a pistol, and the wound proved fatal. He died the day after the battle, May 12, 1864 and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.*

*From Education Material


Now the Civil War by the Numbers

750,000-1,082,119 served in the military.
94,000 killed in action
164,000 died of disease
194,000 wounded in action
462,634 prisoners of war
31,000 died in captivity

Union Forces
2,128,948 men served
110,100 killed in action
224,580 died of disease
275,154 wounded in action
211,411 prisoners of war
30,192 died in captivity

There were a little over 5,000,000 white or Caucasian residents along with about 4,000,000 people of color, as many were called at the time, living in the Confederate states. The rest of the United States and the Territories made up about 23,000,000 people. So many of the Northern sympathizers did not want to have anything to do with the War. One of the many reasons the War lasted so long. Upwards of forty percent of the male Caucasian population in the Confederate states were in the Civil War. Had the men of color been able to fight alongside his master early in the War, who knows the outcome. Very few were allowed too....................*

*Percentages from memory only, per Ronald Pendleton, with thanks!


The Battle of Brandy Station, also called the Battle of Fleetwood Hill, was the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the American Civil War, as well as the largest ever to take place on American soil. It was fought on June 9, 1863, around Brandy Station, Virginia, at the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign by the Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton against Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry.

Pleasonton launched a surprise dawn attack on Stuart's cavalry at Brandy Station. After an all-day fight in which fortunes changed repeatedly, the Federals retired without discovering Gen. Robert E. Lee's infantry camped near Culpeper. This battle marked the end of the Confederate cavalry's dominance in the East. From this point in the war, the Federal cavalry gained strength and confidence.

The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia streamed into Culpeper County, Virginia, after its victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863. Under the leadership of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the troops massed around Culpeper preparing to carry the war north into Pennsylvania. The Confederate Army was suffering from hunger and their equipment was poor. Lee was determined to strike north to capture horses, equipment, and food for his men. His army could also threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and encourage the growing peace movement in the North. By June 5, two infantry corps under Lt. Gens. James Longstreet and Richard S. Ewell were camped in and around Culpeper. Six miles northeast of Culpeper, holding the line of the Rappahannock River, Stuart bivouacked his cavalry troopers, screening the Confederate Army against surprise by the enemy.

Most of the Southern cavalry was camped near Brandy Station. Stuart, befitting his reputation as a "dashing cavalier" , requested a full field review of his troops by Gen. Lee. This grand review on June 5 included nearly 9,000 mounted troopers and 4 batteries of horse artillery, charging in simulated battle at Inlet Station, about two miles southwest of Brandy Station (The review field currently remains much as it was in 1863, except that a Virginia police station occupies part of it.)
Gen. Lee was not able to attend the review, however, so it was repeated in his presence on June 8, although the repeated performance was limited to a simple parade without battle simulations. Despite the lower level of activity, some of the cavalrymen and the newspaper reporters at the scene complained that all Stuart was doing was feeding his ego and exhausting the horses. Lee ordered Stuart to cross the Rappahannock River the next day and raid Union forward positions, screening the Confederate Army from observation or interference as it moved north. Anticipating this imminent offensive action, Stuart ordered his tired troopers back into bivouac around Brandy Station.

At Brandy Station, Stuart's force of about 9,500 men consisted of five cavalry brigades, commanded by Brig. Gens. Wade Hampton, W.H.F. "Rooney" Lee, Beverly H. Robertson, and William E. "Grumble" Jones, and Colonel Thomas T. Munford (commanding Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's brigade while Lee was stricken with a bout of rheumatism), plus the six-battery Stuart Horse Artillery, commanded by Major Robert F. Beckham.
Unknown to the Confederates, 11,000 Union men had massed on the other side of the Rappahannock River. Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, commanding the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, had organized his combined-armed forces into two "wings," under Brig. Gens. John Buford and David McMurtrie Gregg, augmented by infantry brigades from the V Corps. Buford's wing, accompanied by Pleasonton, consisted of his own 1st Cavalry Division, a Reserve Brigade led by Major Charles J. Whiting, and an infantry brigade of 3,000 men under Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames. Gregg's wing was the 2nd Cavalry Division, led by Col. Alfred N. Duffié, the 3rd Cavalry Division, led by Gregg, and an infantry brigade under Brig. Gen. David A. Russell.

The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Maj. Gen. Joseph Ho**er, interpreted the enemy's cavalry presence around Culpeper to be indicative of preparations for a raid of his army's supply lines. In reaction to this, he ordered Pleasonton's force on a "spoiling raid," to "disperse and destroy" the Confederates. Pleasonton's attack plan called for a two-pronged thrust at the enemy. Buford's wing would cross the river at Beverly's Ford, two miles northeast of Brandy Station; at the same time, Gregg's would cross at Kelly's Ford, six miles downstream to the southeast. Pleasonton anticipated that the Southern cavalry would be caught in a double envelopment, surprised, outnumbered, and beaten. He was, however, unaware of the precise disposition of the enemy and he incorrectly assumed that his force was substantially larger than the Confederates he faced.*

........ *Before the Battle from the Internet. The meeting will discuss the Facts.........


for MAY 11-14, 2017 Gettysburg, PA

Please contact D. Wayne Strong (email = [email protected])
423-323-2306 to sign up or get more details.

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District

It may be two months away, but tickets are running out fast for our conference, "Stonewall Jackson in the Valley". Registrations are coming in daily. Sign up now to join us for four days of tours and lectures from Harpers Ferry to Cross Keys! The conference will be centered out of The George Washington Hotel, in Wi******er, Virginia.


Kingsport, TN


(423) 323-2306


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I am looking forward to seeing old friends on Monday!