Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg via Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable
by Meshea Crysup, RHV, RHV Books, & Civil War Bloggers & More Network
Part 1 (Grant & Lee at Appomattox)
I must confess, when I was told the Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable was being formed, I had no idea what it was—it did not matter! Someone in Vicksburg was doing something to educate and re-engage locals in our rich history and further the concept of “History as Industry” for what should be our very own little-historical-gold-mine! I was IN! Both feet! I am one hundred percent thrilled to be a member and happy to share my Roundtable Experiences with you. It is a fantastic way of Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg!
For those of you as in the dark as I was, a Civil War Roundtable does not require a round table! In fact, I suppose we would not have to have a table at all! Seriously, it is a group of history buffs who get together to listen to speakers such as authors, reenactors, etc. and who plan and/or attend historical events. It is educational, social, fun, and a wonderful way to keep the truth of our history alive. In a town as rich in history as Vicksburg, I see it as almost a civic duty to be involved! It is so hard to believe that from the mid 1960’s until last October (2016), Vicksburg did not have an active Civil War Roundtable! The “Key to the South”—without a Civil War Roundtable—Unthinkable!
Thanks to Corey Rickrode, of Baer House Inn, and his association with Curt Fields, and several of our local battlefield guides—Morgan Gates, David Maggio, Michael Logue, and Joyce Hill to name a few—the lack of a Civil War Roundtable has been rectified! We are still relatively small. We are still struggling to raise funds to pay speakers. Many of us are donating time, talents, and dollars to the cause, and happy to do so. I must say, May’s meeting drove home just why such an organization matters and makes a meaningful difference!
~Meshea Crysup, RHV, RHV Books,
& Civil War Bloggers & More Network
Part 1 (Grant & Lee at Appomattox)
We had two wonderful speakers from Kansas City, Randal L. Durbin (General Grant) and Lane Smith (General Lee) who reenacted “Grant and Lee at Appomattox. (Their info is included at the end of this blog, and I highly recommend them!) Lane—General Lee—told a story at the very end. He has been doing General Lee a good while now. In fact, the pair had done this particular program about thirty-five times as of last night. There is a point where he asks for his horse to be brought to him. Well, all reenactors strive to be as historically accurate as possible, but he always just asked that the “orderly” bring Traveler to him. Not anymore! Here, in Vicksburg, he found out that the “orderly” was named Turner. In fact, he not only knows the man’s name, but he has an entire book about the man to read!
It just so happens that one of our first speakers, Al Arnold, authored said book. (Info on Al and his book will also be at the end of this post. I highly recommend Al Arnold as a speaker as well!) Lane/General Lee was thrilled to have this new—to him—piece of information to incorporate into his presentation. In fact, he was to speak, as General Lee, at an event the next week, and he was anxious to share his “new find” with that group. No doubt, he will continue to be as enthusiastic and include it from now on.
I do not want to “ruin the story” for anyone, but “Turner” was an African American, and proud to have served, not just one, but two civil war generals. He went on to live a long life, sharing his personal story right up until the end. Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable is honored to have been a part of leading Lane/General Lee to that information, connecting him to Al Arnold’s wonderful book and the story of Turner—Robert E. Lee’s Orderly, and to contributing to the accuracy and authenticity of future presentations.