Tri Cities Civil War Roundtable Hosts Dr Brian Wills | Sunday Stories
The Tri Cities Civil War Roundtable will welcome Dr Brian Steel Wills as a guest speaker for its November 8 meeting and book sale.
Wills will perform “Major General George H. Thomas, The Rock of Chickamauga” in Room 239 at the Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St., Kingsport, Monday at 7:00 pm. The program is free and open to the public.
For anyone looking to add to their Civil War library, there will also be a massive book sale with hardback and paperback books, CDs and DVDs, magazines and other materials available for purchase. . All proceeds go to TCCWRT and its programs. The sale will take place just outside the meeting room.
Monday’s featured program will center on Thomas, who Wills says will always be an enigma as a Virginian who sided with the North during the Civil War and became one of the Union’s best general officers. .
Ezra Warner, the two-volume compiler of biographical sketches of Union and Confederate commanders, described Thomas as “the third of the triumvirate who won the war for the Union”. Whether it was “Old Pap” for his men or “Old Slow Trot” for critics, Thomas had many nicknames that reflected his character.
Thomas had early success at Mill Springs in 1862 and demonstrated his reliability and reliability over many others until his fateful performance at Chickamauga. It was there that he showed his best traits as a military commander, Wills explains. During the fighting of September 18-20, 1863, James Longstreet’s Confederates eventually broke through Union lines and drove most of William S. Rosecrans’s army from the battlefield. Only the stubborn defense of the Union’s left flank at Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge by Thomas prevented the total collapse of Union command. From that point on, the Virginian in Blue became known as “the Chickamauga Rock”.
Wills, the evening’s guest speaker, is director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is a member of the Georgia Civil War Commission and outgoing chair of the Atlanta Civil War Round Table. He is also the author of numerous books relating to the Civil War. His latest publication, “Inglorious Passages: Noncombat Deaths in the American Civil War” (Kansas, 2017) received the 2018 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award, presented by the Atlanta Civil War Round Table, for the best book on a subject of civil war for 2017.
His biography of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, “A Battle from the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest” (HarperCollins) is currently being reprinted under the title “The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest” (Kansas). It was chosen as both the History Reading Club selection and the Book of the Month selection.
His other titles include “The River was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow” (Oklahoma, 2014); “Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory” (Louisiana State University, 2013); “George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel” (Kansas, 2012), 2013 Harwell Prize recipient; “Gone with the Glory: Civil War in Cinema” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); “War Strikes at Home: Civil War in Southeast Virginia” (Virginia, 2001); and an updated edition of James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., “Civil War Sites in Virginia” (Virginia, 2011).
In 2000, Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of 11 recipients of all faculty members from public and private institutions in the state. He also received the Charles L. Dufour Award from the Civil War Round Table of New Orleans in 2013 and has just been named the recipient of the Frank E. Vandiver Award of Merit in 2020 by the Houston Civil War Round Table.
Members of the Tri Cities Civil War Roundtable are invited to dine with the presenter on Monday at 5 p.m. at The Chop House in Kingsport. One must reserve; contact Wayne Strong at [email protected] or 423-323-2306.
The TCCWRT is a non-partisan, not-for-profit educational forum for the promotion of knowledge, commemoration and preservation of the heritage of the Civil War.