Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

Meeting Dates

The organization meets on various Tuesdays each month February through May 2015. Meetings are held in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre located at 515 Scotland St in Williamsburg, VA, unless otherwise posted. The meetings begin at 7 PM. Membership is open to the  general public.

This Month's Speaker

Brian Steel Wills

"Nathan Bedford Forrest"

The May meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 7pm in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre at 515 Scotland Street.
Brian Steel Wills will present “Nathan Bedford Forrest”. Dubbed the “Wizard of the Saddle,” and “That Devil Forrest,” Nathan Bedford Forrest rose from private to lieutenant general in the Confederate cavalry during the American Civil War.  His application of common sense tactics and ferocious combat leadership by example won for him a reputation as one of the finest commanders of mounted troops on either side in the conflict.  Forrest’s most popular maxim was reputedly to reach the battlefield, “first, with the most men,” although his success lay more accurately in the standing order, “Forward men, and mix with ‘em.”  His propensity for fighting is reflected in his claim to have slain one more opponent in hand-to-hand combat than the twenty-nine horses shot from beneath him in the war.  Yet, he also applied a form of psychological warfare against his opponents that allowed him to defeat opponents with minimal bloodshed.  Whether through intimidation or superior tactics and pressure, Forrest achieved remarkable military success.

Brian Steel Wills is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.  He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War.  His most recent publications are The River was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013) and George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2013 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War topic for the year 2012 presented by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.
His biography of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest is currently in reprint as The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest (University Press of Kansas).  This work was chosen as both a History Book Club selection and a Book of the Month Club selection.
Dr. Wills also authored, The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia, released in October, 2001, and No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, (2004), both by the University Press of Virginia.  Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema appeared in 2006 with Rowman and Littlefield.  An updated edition of the James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., Civil War Sites in Virginia (Virginia) came out in 2011.
In 2000, Dr. Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of eleven recipients from all faculty members at public and private institutions across the state.  He is descended from Charles Hasker, a Confederate officer who saw service on the CSS Virginia and the submarine Hunley before its final encounter with USS Housatonic.

Essay Contest Winner The James City Cavalry is very proud of their 2015 Lt. Col. Allen College Scholarship Essay winner.  Miss. Lauren Bridewell of Warhill High School was awarded her $1000 scholarship at their April meeting.  essay


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