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MUSICAL BACKGROUND

"Seneca Square Dance" by Ry Cooder, from the film "The Long Riders"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CONFEDERATE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF BELGIUM

Due to the renovation works at the Communal Museum, the CHAB Club House has moved into temporary premises at Wolubilis, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Our monthly meetings will thus be held there until further notice. New Address: 1 place du Temps Libre - Local A300 - 3rd floor (right when leaving the elevator). The building is located along the Cours Paul-Henri Spaak, just opposite the Woluwe Shopping Center. The entrance is on the ground floor, left of the bookstore/restaurant Cook & Book. See access map

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NEXT MEETING  
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Saturday September 14, 2019 at 3 PM

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THE SIEGE OF PETERSBURG AND THE FALL OF RICHMOND

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At our temporary premises at Wolubilis, lecture by Gerald Hawkins: The siege of Petersburg and the fall of Richmond. In June 1864, two years after the failure of General George McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign, the Army of the Potomac, now commanded by General George Meade and General Ulysses S. Grant, the new Commander-in-Chief of the Union armies, pushed towards the outskirts of Richmond. Grant suffered heavy losses during the Overland campaign by attempting to bypass General Robert E. Lee's Army of North Virginia during the terrible fighting at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. He now undertakes a daring maneuver by moving his line of operations south of the James River to attack Petersburg, a vital rail hub 20 miles south of Richmond. Lee, whose army is weakened but undefeated, has no choice but to fight back against his antagonist. The Confederates have surrounded Petersburg with formidable fortifications, forcing the Federals to entrench. Thus began a ten month siege punctuated by bloody and exhausting encounters, which culminated in the fall of the Confederate capital in April 1865.

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Saturday October 12, 2019 at 3 PM

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DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF THE CONFEDERACY

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At our temporary premises in Wolubilis, lecture by Daniel Frankignoul: Decorations and medals of the Confederacy, part II. Further to his presentation of February 9 on the few rare medals awarded by the Confederacy during the American Civil War, our lecturer will embark on a second part where he will present medals struck from silver coins originating from the famous “treasure of the Confederacy”, which were recovered during the flight of President Jefferson Davis. He will then show us some decorations granted to Confederate veterans after the war (UCV, SCV, UDC, etc.), such as the New Market Cross of Honor, the Southern Cross of Honor, the Forrest Cavalry Corps Medal and the Immortal Six Hundred. He will then focus on the medals awarded by the US government: the Congressional Medal of Honor and the US Civil War Medal created very late in 1905, and finally on the decorations awarded by generals and associations of army and navy veterans. Once more, Daniel will display authentic medals and copies from his personal collection.

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Saturday November 9, 2019 at 3 PM

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NAVAL WARFARE THROUGH CIVIL WAR PAINTINGS

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At our temporary premises at Wolubilis, lecture by Maurice Jaquemyns: Naval warfare through Civil War paintings. The representation of war at sea is the second part of the lecture dedicated to the so-called historical painting during the American Civil War. Our lecturer will analyze the paintings evoking sea combat and will try to show that, on both the Federal and Confederate sides, painters are scholars of the European schools and models while innovating in their own production. The subject will be illustrated by numerous examples intended to establish the filiations and to identify the specifics of maritime propaganda paintings.

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Saturday December 14, 2019 at 3 PM

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THE PRINCES OF ORLEANS IN THE CIVIL WAR

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At our temporary premises at Wolubilis, lecture by Farid Ameur: Clad in blue: the princes of Orléans during the American Civil War (1861-1862). During the French Second Empire, under the rule of exile, the young princes of Orléans are idle. With the aid of their uncle Prince of Joinville, the 23 years old Count of Paris and his young brother the Duke of Chartres, both grandsons of King Louis-Philippe, decide to inquire on the state of American democracy. Arriving in New York in September 1861, five months after the outbreak of the American Civil War, they are welcomed by President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward. Wishing to serve the Federal cause in the field and hoping to find glory, they dress up in the blue uniform of the Union soldier and are assigned captains on the staff of General McClellan, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Potomac. To the embarrassment of European chancelleries, they take part in military operations against the Confederates, despite little success. In July 1862, at the end of the Peninsula Campaign, they return home with a formidable experience. Battle hardened with techniques of modern warfare, they can now adhere to the family military tradition with a degree in liberalism.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE

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The CHAB committee wishes to inform our foreign and American friends that due to severe budget constraints, the English version of our CHAB News will no longer be published. However, the French version of our quarterly remains available to those who are contributing members of our association. Thank you for your understanding.

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LATEST PAINTINGS FROM JOHN PAUL STRAIN

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STARLIGHT RAID

THE LAST CROSSING

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A blanket of snow covered the Virginia countryside in the early days of January when Major John S. Mosby, commanding the 43rd Battalion of Partisan Rangers, received an intriguing communique. The message was from Captain Frank Stringfellow, a well known trusted scout of J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee. Stringfellow had a reputation for providing accurate intelligence on enemy activity. Stringfellow’s plan was to attack and capture a Maryland Cavalry Battalion performing picket duty near the Hillsboro road at Loudoun Heights, a strategic passage leading to Harper’s Ferry. Stringfellow believed the enemy camp of 200 men could be easily surprised at night and captured while sleeping without firing a single shot. Mosby considered the plan and knew attacking a much larger force would have to be performed with precision and stealth in order to be successful. He gathered his men on January 9th at Upperville, and the hard march to capture US Major Henry Cole’s Maryland Cavalry began. Major Mosby’s brother William later wrote about the night raid. “The snow covered the ground, an icy wind swept down through the passes of the neighboring Blue Ridge, and altogether the night was the coldest that ever broke away from the North Pole and wandered south of the Arctic circle - a splendid night for a surprise party.” The Confederate column marched along the base of the Short Hills until it reached the Potomac River. The Rangers quietly moved up the river bank towards Harper’s Ferry. As they began their ascent up the mountain they could see Federal encampment fires across the river on the Maryland side. The steep icy snow-covered wooded cliffs could only be climbed by men leading their horses single file. At about 5am Mosby’s force of 100 men were finally in position to make their move to surprise the sleeping enemy. Mosby dismounted a portion of his force and they quietly captured the first row of Cole’s men sleeping in their tents. Suddenly a shot rang out from somewhere, (Mosby believed it was from Stringfellow’s men yelling and shooting). The element of surprise was gone and all hell and confusion broke loose. The Federals came pouring barefoot out of their tents armed with pistols and carbines. A number of Mosby’s faithful men were killed or wounded, and a hasty retreat towards Hillsboro was made carrying as many of their wounded as possible. The Rangers lost five men and six were wounded. Victory had been in their grasp but as so often happens in war, unforeseen events can change the course of history.

After the battle of Gettysburg, the Army of Northern Virginia retreated south in a torrential rain storm that lasted for two days. As General Robert E. Lee’s army reached the Potomac River at Williamsport, they found a swollen, raging and impassable river. A pontoon bridge near the town had been broken up by a Federal raiding party leaving Lee’s army in a perilous position. With the river so high some predicted it might be a week before the river could be crossed and Federal forces had already begun probing for an opening to attack. With the Potomac River to their backs, a full scale attack by US General Mead’s army would be disastrous. General Lee issued orders for his commanders to set up defensive positions around the army and prepare for battle. Soon a mixed force of Federal cavalry and artillery appeared threatening to capture wagons carrying wounded soldiers. General J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalry along with infantry were able to push back the enemy probe. Lee turned his attention to his wounded soldiers and ordered any ferry boats to begin transporting the injured to the south bank. Lee then gave Major J. A. Harman the assignment to somehow rebuild the pontoon bridge. General Lee wrote to his wife, “Had the river not unexpectedly risen, all would have been well with us; but God, in His all-wise providence, ruled otherwise, and our communications have been interrupted and almost cut off.” By July 13 Lee’s prayers were answered. The river had receded to about 4 feet and Major Harman had reconstructed the pontoon bridge using wood from old warehouses, and recovered boats from down river. General Lee decided to attempt the crossing of his army under the cover of night. Disheartening to all it began to rain again that afternoon and by nightfall the men were facing another “pouring from the skies” wrote Col. Alexander. All night the army labored to cross the Potomac. General Lee sat on his horse at the north end of the bridge encouraging his men throughout the whole night. At times the rain came down so hard it was difficult to keep the three or four torches alight to guide the procession. The shaky bridge miraculously held together “as it swayed to and fro, lashed by the current.” By morning a great weight seemed to be lifted from General Lee’s shoulders, as most of the army had crossed into Virginia safely. In the distance the guns of the rear guard under the command of General Henry Heath could be heard. Heath and Pender’s battle at Falling Waters was soon over, and the rest of Army of Northern Virginia was back on home soil. This would be the southern army’s last crossing of the Potomac River.

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For information or online orders:

www.johnpaulstrain.com

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