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French CHAB News December 2023

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CONFEDERATE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF BELGIUM

NEXT MEETINGS
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Saturday June 15, 2024 from 11.30 AM

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ANNUAL CHAB BBQ

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As in previous editions, the annual CHAB BBQ will take place at noon at the club house of the Hoegaarden hockey club. This year, Hubert Leroy and Dominique De Cleer will prepare a traditional menu. Aperitif of the house – Chicken skewer with coriander and lime – Pure fillet of beef with Provencal herbs, potatoes, salads and dressings – Trio of artisanal fruit tarts  – Coffee/Tea. Price of the meal (drinks not included): CHAB members: € 35 - non-members: € 45. Please register with our secretary Dominique De Cleer, either by tel. at 0475-773460 or preferably by e-mail at d.decleer@scarlet.be, and pay the amount of your meal to the CHAB bank account BE90 3100 9059 2632 with the mention CHAB BBQ before 10 June 2024, at the latest.

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Saturday September 14, 2024 at 3 PM

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PIERRE-JEAN DE SMET, A BELGIAN JESUIT AMONG THE INDIANS

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Lecture by Dominique De Cleer: Pierre-Jean De Smet, a Belgian Jesuit among the Indians. Pierre-Jean De Smet was born on January 30, 1801 in Dendermonde. Fascinated by the accounts of Father Charles Nerinckx, who was a missionary in Kentucky, in 1821, nine seminarians accompanied the religious man and left the country for America. They began their novitiate with the Jesuits at White Marsh, Maryland. Two years later, De Smet and his acolytes arrived at the Jesuit mission of Florissant near Saint-Louis. In 1827, he was ordained a priest. Ill, he returned to Belgium between 1833 and 1837. Back in America in 1840, at the request of a delegation of Têtes-Plates Indians, Black Robe began his first trip to the Rockies. In September 1851, he acted as mediator at the Great Conference of Fort Laramie. As the terms of the treaty were not being respected, General Harney called on him to pacify the tribes on the warpath. In June 1868, at the Fort Rice conference at which the Treaty of Fort Laramie (April 1868) was submitted to the Lakota Sioux, Pierre-Jean De Smet obtained Sitting Bull's acceptance of the treaty's clauses. He died in Florissant on May 23, 1873. .
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Saturday October 12, 2024 at 3 PM

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CHILD COMBATTANTS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

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Lecture by Farid Ameur: The Boys’ War, child combatants of the Civil War. During the American Civil War, around one hundred thousand children, comprising 3% of the military manpower, were incorporated into the fighting forces. This phenomenon not only shaped individual destinies but also reflected the tumultuous era – a time marked by violent and passionate customs within the American population, scarred by its most harrowing experience. The rapid militarization of a society devoid of military traditions compelled leaders to tap into all available human and material resources to sustain the war effort. Whether on land or at sea, these young, budding soldiers bore a heavy burden. Their roles varied based on their armed force: drummers, dispatch riders, ship’s boys and medical service auxiliaries. Yet, even when they managed to escape the horrors of combat, it was their childhood that paid the price. Through their firsthand experiences and immersion in warrior values, these children lost more than innocence. They became witnesses to a brutal reality, forever etching their stories into the fabric of history.
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Saturday November 9, 2024 at 3 PM

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WALT WHITMAN, COMMITTED POET AND HUMANIST

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Lecture by Maurice Jaquemyns: Walt Whitman, committed poet and humanist. In 1862, Walt Whitman embarked on a poignant journey to locate his brother, who had vanished amidst the bloody battlefields of the American Civil War. As he traversed the war-torn landscape, Whitman grappled with the harrowing realities he encountered: the dire conditions prevailing in military hospitals. By night, he poured his thoughts into notebooks and penned heartfelt letters to his mother, seeking solace and release. The lecture will weave together carefully curated texts, distributed to participants, while iconography serves as a visual backdrop. The speaker will delve into the evolution of military medicine during this tumultuous conflict. A humanist at heart, Whitman translated his ideals into action throughout the war. His enduring work bore witness to a hope for humanity amid the chaos of the wartime world.
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Saturday December 14, 2024 at 3 PM

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GENERAL RICHARD "DICK" STROTHER TAYLOR (1826-1879)

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Lecture by Jean-Claude Janssens: General Richard “Dick” Strother Taylor, the stubborn defender of Louisiana. Richard Dick Taylor spent his childhood in the forts of the Frontier. He was the son of General and later President Zachary Taylor. A graduate of Yale University in 1845, a Louisiana planter and politician, he had no military training. This did not prevent him from becoming one of the Confederacy's finest generals. His “masterpiece” was the 1864 Red River campaign in Louisiana. In 1865, he ended the war at the head of the Mississippi and Alabama departments. He died in New York in 1879 at the age of 53. The speaker will go into more detail about his life, which was as short as it was full.
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CHAB NEWS END OF PUBLICATION NOTICE

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The CHAB committee wishes to inform its foreign and American friends that due to severe budget constraints, the English version of the CHAB News is no longer published. However, the French version of our quarterly remains available to the contributing members of our association. Thank you for your understanding.
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LATEST PAINTINGS OF JOHN PAUL STRAIN

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CROSSING THE TENNESSEE

CUSTER & HIS WOLVERINES

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In October of 1862 General Nathan Bedford Forrest was headquartered in Murfreesboro, assigned with the task of organizing and recruiting a new cavalry brigade. The brigade he had previously organized and equipped out of his own resources had been reassigned to another officer. His successful exploits with his old cavalry brigade had made him well known throughout the south, as well as in the north. General Forrest’s popularity was such that young men from the middle counties of Tennessee flocked to join his command, and within six weeks southern saddles were filled with a formidable force of eager Tennessee volunteers. Three regiments of Tennessee troops, the 4th Alabama Cavalry, two companies of Kentuckians, and one battery of artillery combined to form Forrest’s new brigade. Forrest petitioned General Bragg to equip his new brigade with modern weapons, as nearly half of the brigade carried no other arms other than personal shotguns, squirrel rifles, and 400 old flintlock muskets. Bragg responded that he had no arms to give, and to prepare for an expedition where better weapons would be captured from the enemy. Soon General Forrest was ordered to march to Columbia, cross the Tennessee River, and raid into the heart of Grant’s US Army of 27,000 troops in west Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Forrest’s plan was to break Grant’s communications, wreck his supply lines, destroy railroads, create fear and confusion among Union officers and troops, and raise hell generally. Crossing the Tennessee River was the first big challenge as the river level was high and Grant had five gunboats patrolling the waters with the specific task of preventing any southern incursion. On the 10th of December the expedition began. Forrest arrived at the river town of Clifton on the 15th and hid his brigade well back from the banks, sending sentries up and down the river to warn of any approaching Union gunboats. The work of crossing the river began at once, mostly at night. Ferryboats would run back and forth, eventually carrying 2100 men, horses, and seven artillery pieces across the three-fourths mile wide river. By the 17th, Forrest and his brigade had successfully crossed without the knowledge of the enemy. Once across, General Forrest’s strategy was to bluff the Federals into believing that a huge Confederate force was now approaching them. A number of kettle drums were pounded by men in different parts of his column, making it sound like a large army of infantry was moving. Soon Grant began receiving panicked reports of a southern force of ten to twenty thousand men advancing after crossing the river. Forrest’s men had their first engagement near Lexington and drove the Federals from their positions capturing 158 prisoners, six officers, and two cannons. Forrest continued his expedition going from town to town defeating any federal opposition they ran across, capturing supplies, new arms, equipment, and burning what was left. At Rutherford station two federal companies were captured and bridges, trestles, and rails were destroyed from Trenton to Kenton station. By Christmas, Forrest’s brigade had made a “clean sweep” destroying the Mobile and Ohio Railroad from Jackson and as far north as Moscow, Kentucky without a yard of trestlework standing. But now General Forrest’s scouts reported that a huge federal force of General Grant’s infantry were in pursuit. It was time for Forrest to complete the circle and make a dash back to the Tennessee River and home. Heavy snow impeded easy movement on the muddy roads. Forrest and his men were nearly surrounded at the battle of Parker’s Crossroads by an unexpectedly large force of federal infantry but were able to escape. After marching all night General Forrest sent his younger brother Major Jeffrey Forrest at first light ahead to the river to prepare for the crossing. Jeffrey dispatched scouts up and down the river to watch for Union gunboats. Two flat boats had been successfully hidden from the gunboats and made ready. There was no time to bail out and re-float the ferries which had been sunk on purpose, after the previous crossing. Troops rapidly constructed rafts of fence rails and logs that would hold five to ten men. As company after company arrived at the river, horses were unsaddled and equipment, saddles, blankets, and guns were piled onto the rickety boats. Horses were made to swim across the river with some stout young men guiding them from their backs. Small fires and dry clothes would quickly warm them on the far banks. Over two thousand horses made the cold swim in the swift-flowing water. This remarkable feat took ten hours for two thousand men, horses, six pieces of artillery, a train of wagons and captured stores to cross the river. The incredible expedition cemented General Forrest’s reputation as one of the Confederacy’s great leaders.   

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© All copyrights reserved by John Paul Strain Historical Art

On July 3, 1863, the epic battle of Gettysburg was raging across the fields and hills of Pennsylvania for the third day. Brigadier General George A. Custer, commanding the Michigan Cavalry Brigade, was one of the key officers that would play a crucial role in the day’s events. During the war, 23-year-old Custer had eleven horses shot out from under him, including two that day at Gettysburg. His uncanny ability to avoid certain death in battle was often referred to by his men as “Custer Luck”. Custer never ordered his men to go into battle without himself leading the engagement. Such was the case when he was ordered to attack with his Michigan Brigade at a critical moment of the battle. General Lee had ordered General JEB Stuart’s cavalry to flank Union forces and attack them from the rear, while General Pickett’s infantry would attack along Cemetery Ridge. Stuart’s cavalry were known as “The Invincibles” as they never lost in battle. Custer positioned his 7th Michigan regiment in line for an attack against Stuart’s oncoming formations. Out in front of his men, Custer shouted, “Come on, you Wolverines!” as the line moved forward, first at a walk, then at a trot, and finally at a full gallop. Waves of cavalrymen collided in furious hand to hand fighting with carbines, pistols, and sabres. Custer’s horse was shot out from under him. Quickly he commandeered a bugler’s horse, and Custer would personally take down General Stuart’s flag bearer. Stuart then sent General Wade Hampton’s Brigade into the fray. This time Custer led his 1st Michigan Regiment in another charge, and once again came the cry “Come on, you Wolverines!” A Pennsylvania trooper described the scene. “As the two columns approached each other, the pace of each increased, when suddenly a crash, like the falling of timber, betokened the crisis. So sudden and violent was the collision that many horses were turned end over end and crushed their riders beneath them.” Custer’s second horse was killed in the clash, but miraculously he was unhurt. Stuart’s cavalry then withdrew from the field, unable to break through. Confederate forces under General George Pickett were also unable to break through the Union position at Seminary Ridge. Lee had sent 12,500 men in nine infantry brigades across open fields for three-quarters of a mile under withering Union fire. Of the soldiers who participated in “Pickett’s Charge” 6,555 were either killed, wounded or captured. Lee’s army could not afford such losses. The next day, July 4th, General Lee ordered his Army of Northern Virginia to begin withdrawing from Gettysburg, when Major General George Meade’s Army of the Potomac did not counterattack. Lee’s route for his army’s retreat was southwest through Fairfield and over Monterey Pass to Hagerstown, and then crossing the Potomac. Early on July 4 General Meade dispatched his cavalry brigades to strike the enemy’s rear lines of communication and “harass and annoy him as much as possible in his retreat.” US Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry division, which included Custer and his Michigan regiments, were ordered to locate and destroy “a heavy train of wagons” spotted to the southwest heading towards Monterey Pass. The late afternoon of July 4 found Custer and his Wolverines about to be engulfed by heavy rainstorms as they continued their pursuit of Lee’s army. They would meet again, this time at Monterey Pass.

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© All copyrights reserved by John Paul Strain Historical Art

 

For information or online orders:

www.johnpaulstrain.com

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