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History Talks

Annual Conference

Thursday, May 29 | Nashville, Tennessee

We have a group of elite historians lined up to give History Talks on Thursday, May 29. History Talks do not require reservations. Please refer to schedule for timing of the morning and afternoon sessions. Thursday evening, author and historian Thomas Flagel will speak at dinner.

« Annual Conference Main | ScheduleHistorian Bios | Author Dinner

December 17, 1864: First Day of Retreat
after the Battle of Nashville”

Gregory L. Wade

Description: Franklin, Tennessee resident Gregory L Wade will present December 17th, 1864, which details the chaos, fatigue and combat seldom studied following the two day battle of Nashville. As the Confederate Army of Tennessee retreats from Nashville, it’s exhausted soldiers hold off fierce attacks on their rear guard and face logistical challenges almost impossible to overcome.  Yet the army, at least part of it, somehow survives. December 17th is a day of drama for not only the armies, but the civilians who witness the flow of wounded and desperate men.

“General Patrick Cleburne:
He Shone Like a Meteor on a Clouded Sky”

Thomas Cartwright

Description: This lecture will focus on General Patrick Cleburne’s leadership, character, and tactical skill on the battlefields, with special emphasis on the battles of Richmond, Perryville, Chattanooga, Ringgold Gap, Picketts Mill, and Franklin. Aspects of his life in Ireland, Arkansas, and the Civil War – as well as his controversial proposal to bring African Americans into the Confederate ranks – will also be touched upon.

“Nashville – Siren’s Song of the Confederacy”

Greg Biggs 

Description: In December, 1864, the Confederate Army of Tennessee laid siege to the massive Union fortifications and garrison of Nashville. In a two day fight, that army was all but destroyed. Their arrival at the city’s door was the culmination of Confederate strategy that began when the city was captured by Union forces in February, 1862. Nashville, thereafter, became the “Siren’s song” for Confederate strategy in the west luring Confederate offensives no less than five times. This program details the city’s importance and each of the five attempts to retake it from 1862 to 1864. The program is supported by a Power Point presentation.  

 “A Nasty Day of Battle: Colonel Alfred Vaughan at Stones River”

Lawrence Peterson

Description: Suffering a casualty rate of 39 percent on day one of the Battle of Stones River, there remains little doubt that Brigadier General Preston Smith’s brigade, temporarily led by Colonel Alfred Vaughan Jr., participated in the heat of this lessor known battle. This battle began early on December 31, 1862, and finished on January 2, 1863. Fighting occurred on both sides of Stones River, next to the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, situated some 30 miles southeast of Nashville. Vaughan and his men were heavily engaged in the initial and follow-up attacks. We will examine how the battle came about; learn about Colonel Vaughan, and discuss the results and ramifications of this battle. With total casualties of over 23,000 it is virtually tied with those of Shiloh and, in the Civil War west, only Chickamauga sustained more at some 34,000: the Battle of Stones River deserves more attention from students of the Civil War!

“The Western Theater versus the Eastern Theater: Two historians, three microphones, no weapons”

Garry Adelman & Eric Jacobson

Description: The Civil War is usually and correctly portrayed as North versus South but a different conflict has existed since the Civil War and still persists today—the importance, interest, popularity and coverage of the War in the West compared to that in the East. Join historians Eric Jacobson and Garry Adelman as they line up on opposite sides and lay out their thoughts and arguments in response to your questions. 

“Better History Through Storytelling”

Jeff Shaara

Description: Coming Soon

Author Dinner  - Finding Our Collective Appomattox: Searching for Peace at the End of the American Civil War
(Thursday Night) 

Thomas Flagel

Description: After four long years of horrific fighting, a young nation found itself deeply scarred by nearly 700,000 fresh graves, and struggling to understand what had just transpired. Facing an uncertain future, with no assurance that a national resurrection would ever come, Americans nonetheless moved forward. Author and historian Thomas Flagel investigates how this was possible. In a multimedia review, he retells the story of how a population managed to piece together some semblance of reality, after they suffered through a most surreal war.

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