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HomeEventsThe Clarksville Civil War Roundtable's next meeting is March 21st, 2012

The Clarksville Civil War Roundtable’s next meeting is March 21st, 2012

The 96th Meeting

Clarksville Civil War RoundtableClarksville, TN – The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, March 21st at the Bone & Joint Center, 980 Professional Park Drive, right across the street from Gateway Medical Center. This is just off Dunlop Lane and Holiday Drive and only a few minutes east of Governor’s Square mall. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm and is always open to the public. Members please bring a friend or two – new recruits are always welcomed.

The meetings topic is “General James Longstreet – Modern General”

The Civil War is replete with aspects and firsts that illustrate that this war was the first ‘modern war.’ The war was fought extensively with Napoleonic tactics, but a few professional Army officers worked to improve the tactics, operations, and strategies which made the Civil War the precursor of the 20th Century World Wars.

Like Grant and Sherman, the most well known modern generals of the Union side, it was General James Longstreet that made some of the most profound modern contributions to the art of war on the Confederate side.

Unlike Grant and Sherman, Longstreet’s legacy became the victim of the post war movement in the South known as the Lost Cause, when Longstreet became a supporter of Reconstruction and accepted postings with the Republican Grant Administration. His military record was attacked by Lost Cause proponents who viewed his politics as scandalous.

Ignoring the politics, and looking at Longstreet’s body of work by comparing it to modern military doctrine reveals several large scale innovations. His defensive tactics showed a clear evolution during Antietam, culminating at Fredericksburg with World War I lethality. His offensive tactics at Chickamauga were similar, if not the forerunner to World War II tactical level German armored tactics. Other areas show progressive applications with artillery, staff work, force projection, and operational level thinking.

This month’s speaker, LTC Harold Knudsen, will present these modern innovations by touching on the evolution of war from Napoleon to the Civil War, several of the battles where they were perfected, and how the innovations appeared in future wars. General Longstreet was not the sole agent of all modern change away from Napoleonic method, but his contributions were significant and show that Longstreet was a modern thinker unparalleled in the Confederate military.

LTC Harold Knudsen is an Illinois native. His career spans twenty five years of active duty service, and includes seven resident career artillery, command and staff Army schools and colleges. He spent nine years in Germany training in offensive armored warfare, as well as peace-keeping and counter-insurgency.

A combat veteran of Desert Storm, he has also served in Iraq and Kuwait during the current conflict as a Force Manager. His years of staff work at the Corps, Army, and Pentagon levels give him a strong understanding of army operations from the lowest to highest levels.

LTC Knudsen has a Masters of Liberal Studies from Georgetown University. His interest in James Longstreet began as a child, and expanded in Germany when applying and experimenting with Longstreet’s tactics in the training areas. His book: General James Longstreet the Confederacy’s Most Modern General, draws heavily from 20th Century Army doctrine, field training, staff planning, command, and combat experience.

Please join us for another informative meeting of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable.


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