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Heritage and News - December 2009

Davis Bridge, TN By Erick Bush

For those that don't know, Davis Bridge will become the state's newest battlefield very soon thanks to land acquisitions and the perseverance of several Civil War preservation groups including the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association. Davis Bridge was fought the day after the October, 1862, Battle of Corinth, MS and was the Union attempt to block the retreat of Gen. Earl Van Dorn's Army of the West. Liverpool News By Jerry Williams Wirral has been very much promoting its American Civil History in many ways. The recently inaugurated "Coastal Heritage Trail" from Eastham to New Brighton has proved a wonderful success thanks to the superb partnership that now exists between the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and the large variety of local history societies that thrive here. This has been recently formalised with the set up of the Wirral History & Heritage Association and its Chairman, Len Ellison, and Librarian of the ACWRTUK. Due to the length and breadth of knowledge from these groups and many regular meetings with Council Officers a significant plaqued History Trail has been put in place. This in turn highlights some important Civil War sites including No4 Dock and the old Laird's Yard at Woodside nearby to the U534 U Boat exhibition. To complement proceedings further, Len produced a trail of important sites on the Wirral and also Liverpool. Wirral's significance is quite profound, not only do we have Lairds yard and its connections with the C.S.S. Alabama, Lairds Rams, iconic blockade runner the Denbigh and other runners, we have the haunt of Union Private Detectives (Canning Street), the Sloyne in Rock Ferry the Lairds Ram being laid up here but also the last "rebel flag" lowered after the war on the C.S.S. Shenandoah. The famous emancipation meeting held in the Argyle Rooms in Birkenhead, an attendance from the author of Tom Brown's Schooldays was promised (a plaque funded by the ACWRTUK is now on the front of the building) the presence of the famous American Oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury living in Hamilton Square. In the book "Odyssey in Grey" a wonderful carriage ride around Birkenhead Park is mentioned in full Victorian flowery language. Birkenhead Park is the first public park in Britain designed by Paxton of Great Exhibition fame and the roll model design for Francis Law Olmstead's Central Park in New York) The park has been recently refurbished at a cost of millions of pounds fully supported by English Heritage. Fellow Birkonian Patricia Routledge reopened the park recently. Birkenhead Docks (the Great Float) was the site of the decommissioning of the C.S.S. Georgia and also the C.S.S. Sumter was laid up here for blockade running use and photographed for evidence for U.S. Consul Dudley. Famous Wirral landmarks appear in the famous oil painting of the blockade runner "Let Her Rip" leaving the Mersey showing the famous Fort Perch Rock and St Hilary's Church Wallasey. The site of Bowdler and Chaffers Yard in Seacombe where the blockade runners Secret, Stag and Swan had been constructed. Not all is good news, in the historic Rock Park where Nathaniel Hawthorne lived and also the significant cotton merchant Stephen Watson (mentioned in Confederate Secret Agent) the Manor House has been boarded up looking for new owners. The landmark award of the status of Wirral and Liverpool as exceptional sites of American Civil War importance (the only in the U.K.) graciously presented in a wonderful ceremony at Birkenhead Town Hall by Ed Bearss, a few years ago was another landmark event. At the time Liverpool Council did not take this event on board, but because of the higher importance of tourism to Liverpool, particularly from cruise ships, interest is being shown for the 150th anniversary commemoration period of the war, as it is on Wirral. In the last two years, thanks to my Auntie Hazel in Sydney, I have had the pleasure of visiting Australia twice. On those occasions I lectured to the ACWRT of Melbourne and thanks to my old friend Barry Crompton and ACWRT members there for a wonderful time. I also lectured in Sydney and Brisbane. In Brisbane unfortunately there was a problem with the audio visual so I gave the talk without photos. The members again made the talks memorable occasions. Away from the Civil War, my running friends at Sydney Marathon Clinic and Orange Runners looked after all my running needs! Can I also highlight the importance of the ACWRTUK and all the wonderful members who have helped me over the years, particularly Mike Barratt but all you others too. It has been a pleasure to be a member over these last 25 years and more and through my extensive talks (on three continents!), know how much our Round Table is revered around the world. Many of the leading Historians on the war have appreciated the historical input from our Round Table, particularly Ed Bearss. The 50th anniversary event I will specially remember together with the visit to Cherbourg. A special vote of thanks to Len Ellison for all his good works, and who has discovered many new stories as I have been to busy on other issues. Also to Simon Petris from the Wirral History & Heritage Association. $9 Million to Preserve Civil War Battlefields By Jim Campi (Washington, D.C.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) today applauded members of the U.S. House and Senate for including the largest ever single-year allocation for the federal Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program. The conference report, includes $9 million for the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, a mechanism that utilizes government matching grants and private funds to permanently protect historic Civil War battlefields throughout the nation. "This is tremendous news that could not come at a more critical time," said CWPT President James Lighthizer. Each day 30 acres of hallowed Civil War battlefield ground are paved over and lost forever. This money will allow us to preserve historic land that would otherwise be lost to development and urban sprawl." Planning a short break in Europe? Visit these old friends! • Major General Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac (Frankfurt, Germany) • Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin (Paris, France) • Commissioner John Slidell (Paris, France) • Commissioner Ambrose Dudley Mann (Paris, France) • Commercial agent and editor Heinrich Hotze (Zug, Switzerland) • Colonel Julius Getulius Kellersberger (Baden, Switzerland) • Colonel Johann Heinrich (Heros) August Von Borcke (Gryzin, Poland) • Lieutenant Colonel Carl Jacob Hammarskjold (Uppsala, Sweden) • Lieutenant Colonel Ludvig (Louis) Lybecker (Norrtalje, Sweden) • Chaplain John B. Bannon (Dublin, Ireland) • Captain Thomas Jefferson Page, CSN (Rome, Italy)


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