Sesquicentennial New Briefs
(as printed in the)
June 2012 Issue
Civil War News

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Battle of Seven Pines 150th Anniversary

RICHMOND, Va. – To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Seven Pines, the event that led to the appointment of Robert E. Lee as commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Richmond National Battlefield Park will offer programs in partnership with Henrico County on Thursday, May 31 – the battle anniversary – and on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3.

Presentations by National Park Service Ranger Bert Dunkerly and NPS alumnus Mike Andrus at Henrico County’s Sandston Library on May 31 and June 2 will give provide an overview of the battle and what it meant for the course of the war and the nation. The presentations take place on Thursday at 12:15 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A ranger-led bus tour of the battlefield on Saturday at noon will visit the places where the fighting occurred. The tour will start at Sandston Library. The cost is $25. Advance registration is suggested at 804-771-2035.

On Sunday Ranger Mike Gorman will use Civil War-era photography to explore the Battle of Seven Pines and the larger Peninsula Campaign at the Henrico Theater at 4 p.m. His presentation will look at the battle and the war through period photographs of Richmond area sites

On June 1, 1862, after a string of Confederate losses, President Jefferson Davis found himself without a commander to defend Richmond from the nearby Union army. Gen. Joseph Johnston had been wounded the day before at Seven Pines, near today’s Richmond International Airport. With more than 100,000 Federal troops sitting a few miles away, Davis asked his military advisor, Robert E. Lee, to lead the Army of Northern Virginia.

One month later, after a series of battles that drove the Union army from the gates of Richmond, Lee was poised to take the offensive and Northern leaders began to consider emancipation as a war aim.

Special Park Events

May 31: 12:15, 4, 5:30 p.m.; June 2: 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. “The Battle of Seven Pines (or Fair Oaks): Lee Assumes Command of the Army of Northern Virginia” presentations with Mike Andrus and Bert Dunkerly at Sandston Library, 23 E. Williamsburg Rd., free.

June 2: 12 p.m. bus tour of the Seven Pines Battlefield following an 11 a.m. presentation with National Park Service staff starting from Sandston Library. $25 fee, advance registration is encouraged; call 804-771-2035.

June 3, 4 p.m.: “Seven Pines and the Peninsula Campaign – Photography Begins to Tell the Tale of the Civil War” program with Mike Gorman looking at the Peninsula Campaign and Seven Pines through the photographer’s lens at Henrico Theater, 305 E Nine Mile Rd., Henrico, free.


Richmond, Ky. Book

RICHMOND, Ky. — The first definitive work on the Aug. 29-30, 1862, Battle of Richmond, When the Ripe Pears Fell, is being reprinted by the Battle of Richmond Association to commemorate the battle’s 150th anniversary.

Written by Dean Warren Lambert and first published in 1995, the book covers many of the battle’s military and civilian aspects. Dr. Lambert spent well over 20 years researching the battle, its participants, effects and outcome, mostly in the pre-Internet days. A longtime professor of history at Berea College in Kentucky, he died in 2002.

Richmond Battlefield Superintendent Phillip Seyfrit said, “Dr. Lambert was able to catapult Richmond into the mainstream and more than just a footnote in Kentucky’s unique Civil War history.”

The battle pitted experienced Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith against raw recruits under Maj. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson, and resulted in a complete rout of the Federal forces. Many Civil War scholars consider the battle as one of the most complete victories one side had over the other during the entire war.

Other notable participants in the battle were Confederates Patrick Cleburne, Lucius Polk and Preston Smith and Federals Mahlon Manson and Dr. Bernard J.D. Irwin.

All proceeds from the book sale will benefit the Battle of Richmond Association and the Madison County Historical Society. The book is available in limited numbers through the association’s book and gift shop at and (859) 248-1974. 


Tennessee 150 App

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development launched the first statewide Civil War mobile application for Apple devices as a part of the 2012 Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event commemorating the Battle of Shiloh.

Users can follow a virtual Civil War Trail which highlights Tennessee’s role in the war. Other features include maps, flags, descriptions and the historical significance of 50 people, 50 places and 100 artifacts.

Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, said, “Tennessee wants to ensure that our citizens, students and the many visitors traveling through our state during the Sesquicentennial have the necessary tools to plan their trip and to have the best possible experience.”

The Tennessee Civil War 150 application is release 1.0 and supports iPhones using iOS 5. It can be downloaded on the iPhone App Store. Tourism information is at


Grave Ceremony

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The grave of Capt. William Acker, 16th United States Infantry, was rededicated at Oakland Cemetery on April 7. He was the only Minnesota soldier killed at the April 6-7, 1862, Battle of Shiloh whose remains were returned to Minnesota for burial.

The Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force hosted the ceremony, the first a series of events designed to highlight the sacrifices of Minnesotans in the Civil War.

Acker was commissioned a captain in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on April 29, 1861, and was wounded at the Battle of Bull Run on July 22. He resigned from the 1st Minnesota to become captain of the 16th U.S. Infantry, Co. C, on Aug. 8, 1861. He was 27 when he died. The ceremony also highlighted the contributions of the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery, which was at Shiloh.


Soldier’s Letters

GOOCHLAND, Va. — The Goochland County Historical Society, as part of its contribution to Virginia’s Sesquicentennial commemoration, recently published the Civil War letters of William Callis Kean in its annual magazine. The 20 letters were annotated by Bruce M. Venter, society first vice president and president of America’s History LLC.

Kean’s letters to his cousin, Susan Kean Brown, cover from June 1861 to May 1862. He was a member of the 28th Virginia Infantry, then transferred to the Rockbridge Artillery. He wrote vivid descriptions of First Manassas, Kernstown and the Romney Campaign.

Kean also commented on Turner Ashby, Roberdeau Wheat, Stonewall Jackson and other Confederate officers. In addition, he mentioned specific Confederate and Federal units including the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion, known as Wheat’s Tigers, and the 14th Brooklyn.

The original letters are part of the society’s special collections. The magazine includes a map, photos, bibliography and index. Copies at $10 plus postage may be obtained by calling (804) 556-3966 or emailing


Wisconsin Event

COLUMBUS, Wis. — This year’s Columbus Horse & Carriage Festival on June 16-17 will include special events commemorating the Civil War.

In addition to period horse and carriage competitions the town will host battle reenactments, a parade with President Lincoln and Gov. James T. Lewis, period fashion show and a cotillion with the 1st Brigade Band.

Tours of the National Register of Historic Places downtown, a competition with hitch wagons delivering goods to Columbus businesses as they did in 1864, and historians will honor Columbus’ role during the Civil War.

Governor Lewis, who was from Columbus, was instrumental in seeing that the state’s wounded soldiers were well cared for and in establishing a Veterans’ Affairs office in Wisconsin.

For information go to