Fredericksburg, VA Civil War Round Table

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Who the h#** was Old Alleghany?

Ed Johnson is "one of the wickedest men I ever heard of," wrote a member of the Stonewall Brigade. Declared another, he is "a large and rather rough looking man on horseback...whom the men jeered." Others recalled Johnson as an irascible character who "always carried a big hickory club or cane, and when he got mad could work his ears like a mule."  Still, Johnson's highest accolades shine from subordinates who followed him into battle. They are legion, but perhaps summarized best in the words of artillerist William P. Carter: "No bolder soldier ever donned the Southern gray, or followed the storm-tossed colors of the immortal Lee." 


Gregg Clemmer pursued Maj. Gen. Ed Johnson's never-told, extraordinary story despite colleagues' warning of little original source material. His diligent research over a dozen years discovered two notable caches of Johnson letters and a treasure trove of primary records. His resultant biography Old Alleghany: The Life and Wars of General Ed Johnson is the definitive history of the man and won the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award in 2005.



D.C. Civil War Round Table

Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 7 p.m.      


Why the Civil War Still Lives


Near the end of his life, Mark Twain wrote that the American Civil War had "uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations." Really? Just two...or three generations? In Why the Civil War Still Lives, Clemmer compares and contrasts the details and events of the 1860s with those of today – everything from clothing styles, poems, and music to speeches, food, and quotes to the famous, infamous, and forgotten. But of more importance, perhaps, what is The War's enduring legacy? And how do Americans of today compare with those from that time in their response to devastating events? Expect the unexpected!