Gordon Rhea

Gordon Rhea

The Tri Cities Civil War Round Table will welcome nationally acclaimed historian Gordon Rhea to Kingsport on Monday for its monthly program.

Rhea will present “J.E.B. Stuart at the Battle of Yellow Tavern” in the Renaissance Center Little Theater. The program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. The use of face masks is optional.

Rhea will discuss Stuart, the person, his life, his performance as cavalry commander, his mortal wounding at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, and his cultivation of the “Bold Dragoon.” He will also dive into the controversial question of whether his replacement, Wade Hampton, was more suited to the changing nature of warfare.

Following Stuart’s death, Flora Stuart honored her husband’s request to raise their children in the South, and for a short time after the war, she lived in nearby Saltville, Virginia, with J. E. B. Stuart’s brother, William Alexander Stuart, and his family. The log cabin where they resided still stands. She also opened a school in Saltville. In 1878 she moved to Staunton where she taught at a Methodist school. In 1880 she became principal of Staunton’s Virginia Female Institute, an Episcopal school for girls chartered in 1844.

Rhea has lectured extensively on topics of military history at the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, and as a speaker at several national military parks, historical societies and Civil War round tables across the country. He has been a member of numerous boards of directors of historical societies, magazines and historic preservation organizations, including the Civil War Library and Museum of Philadelphia and “North and South” magazine. He has appeared in programs related to American history on the History Channel, A&E and the Discovery Channel. He has published numerous articles, and has a book coming out in November called “Stephen A. Swails: Black Freedom Fighter in the Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Rhea’s previous work on the Virginia Overland Campaigns of 1864 has established him as the most knowledgeable scholar about the period. He possesses a remarkable skill at explaining the complex maneuvers and events of those confusing weeks, and he is equally adept at crafting engaging narratives.

TCCWRT members are invited to dine with the presenter on Monday at 5 p.m. at The Chop House in Kingsport. However, reservations are required. Email Wayne Strong at trustwrks@aol.com or call 423-323-2306 to reserve a spot for dinner.

Anyone with Civil War books or magazines to donate for the Nov. 8 sale should bring them to the October meeting. The featured speaker for November will be Kennesaw University professor Brian Wills, who will present “Major General George H. Thomas, The Rock of Chickamauga.”

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