A good time had by all…



Last week about fifty people gathered at Chickamauga National Military Park for what has turned into an annual event: the CCNMP “Seminar in the Woods.” Now in its 11th (or possibly 12th, memories are a little vague) year, I first started organizing the Seminar in order to study the battlefield in more depth than a normal tour affords. I have deliberately kept structure informal and the costs low: I charge for the bus on Friday, but there is no cost for the tours on Saturday. For a variety of reasons, including the fact that Park Historian Jim Ogden spends two days with us, the lack of cost is simply much easier to manage.

Besides, I am not a tour director, meal organizer, or complaint guy.:) If you don’t like your hotel I take great comfort in knowing that I had nothing to do with booking it.:) You are on your own for meals and lodging.

This year’s event worked out well. Good weather both days, and we covered some ground that we hadn’t tackled before or had not revisited in a long time. We drove down into Johnson’s Crook, on the east side of Lookout Mountain, to at least see where most of the Union XIV Corps ascended Lookout, though taking a bus up Newsom Gap Road is impossible. On Wednesday I reconned this in my car, and discovered that even the term “gravel road” is too generous. Ruts and switchbacks, all the way. I was so nervous about running across a washout and having to back down the mountain (in most places turning around was not an option) that I forgot to take a single picture.

While discussing the XIV Corps, we talked quite a bit about logistics, and one of the items that came up was this excellent  – if much under-used – book by Edward Hagerman:


I was so busy with the touring stuff that I didn’t take any pictures, though some other attendees have already posted some of their photos to Facebook. Of course, most of my pictures tend to be of monuments and War Department tablets anyway, so I am not so sure how exciting they would be for others.

We are already planning on next year. See you then. 



15 Responses to “A good time had by all…”

  1. Cheryl K. Says:

    Indeed it was a good time and I would gladly go again. I took some photos and posted them on our blog with some information about what we were looking at – http://cherylandnorris.blogspot.com/2014/03/seminar-in-woods-day-1.html. Day 2 is the next more recent post and has several photos of participants, not monuments or tablets, as we attempted to understand the role of the skirmishers on the lines of battle.

  2. Chris Evans Says:

    Thanks for the recap.

    Funny you should mention Hagerman. Was recently looking at the entry for it in Eicher’s book on Civil War books. Will have to try tracking it down some time.


  3. John Foskett Says:

    Dave: Good service to your readers, mentioning Hagerman. That remains a unique and valuable book on an important subject which lacks “ratings juice”.

  4. Darryl Smith Says:

    This was my third “Seminar in the Woods (and on the Bus)” and I continue to be amazed at the level of detail and knowledge Dave and Jim offer to the participants. I keep hoping to pull off something like this at Perryville.

  5. Chris Evans Says:

    I also find ‘The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War’ by Brent Nosworthy a interesting, readable book on some of the same subjects.


  6. John McConnell VMI '86 Says:

    Off topic here, but given your knowledge of Nathan Bedford Forrest and VMI, do you know of any subordinates of his that served with him at the end of the war who were also VMI graduates or non-graduating alumni? Someone found a VMI button near the surrender site in Gainesville, Alabama, and I thought of you when I saw you’d written a book on Forrest. First guess is that the former owner would be a fairly recent alumni – who else would still wear their cadet uniform? I’ve posted once before a few years ago about the 150th New Market reenactment. Thanks in advance!

    • Dave Powell Says:

      John, I know of no recent graduates who were serving with Forrest at that time. However, the command he led at the end was assembled from very disparate parts. One thought that occurs to me is that it might be an actual cadet. I think the Institute officially furloughed all the cadets in the late fall/early winter of 64-65, releasing them to go home or to join military units. (The Corps was serving in Richmond through the fall fighting there, at least until October or November of 64.) If so, one or more cadets from Mississippi or Alabama could have made their way home and been with Forrest at that time. Just a guess, however.

  7. nitrofd Says:

    Hello dave, how about a little teaser on the first volume that is coming out not soon enough in june….pretty please

  8. nitrofd Says:

    Also another thought dave, I am a member of the group “Civil War Talk” and one of our members by the name of Pat Young who is an attorney writes a newspaper article on immigrants in the ACW and lately he has been writing about both Turchin and Willich at Chickamauga.we know you are the man but he brings up alot of new info for me.Might be worth a looksee at what he has to say.

  9. Brad Butkovich Says:

    I had a great time as well. I very much look forward to next year.

  10. Joseph Pearson Says:

    My father-in-law, my good friend, and I all had a wonderful time. The proverbial scales fell from our eyes regarding a proper appreciation for logistics. A Perryville study group would be awesome! God bless.

  11. Mark McLain Says:

    I have finally put a few thoughts a pictures on a travel blog covering our little outing this spring. An awesome trip that would be well worth another trip through the time zones. http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/41c8a/bb324/ and then click on the 3 travelogues near the bottom.

    Thanks again Dave! I look forward to your book and your future rambles on this blog. It will be interesting to see where you take it.

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