October 12, 2016
Our Presenter: Richard B. McCaslin, Ph.D.
Richard B. McCaslin of the Department of History at the University of North Texas is the author or editor of seventeen books. Lee in the shadow of Washington was nominated for a Pulitzer, and it won the Laney Prize from the Austin Civil War Round Table and Slatten Award from the Virginia Historical Society. Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Tennessee during the Civil War earned the Freeman Award from the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, October 1862 earned the Tullis Prize from the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) and a commendation from the American Association for State and Local History. At the Heart of Texas: One Hundred Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997 received the Award of Merit from the Texas Philosophical Society. Fighting Stock: John S. “Rip” Ford in Texas won the Pate Award from the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table and Bates Award from the TSHA. A Fellow of the TSHA, McCaslin also Received the 2009 Grady McWhiney Award of Merit from the Dallas Civil War Round Table.
TOPIC: Dixie Blues: Confederate Texans from Washington-on-the-Brazos
Early on the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864, The Texas Brigade counterattacked and stopped a Union advance that threatened to overwhelm the Confederates. Excited by the Texans’ timely arrival, Gen. Robert E. Lee placed himself in their front, only to be told that they would advance only after he went to the rear. Pvt. Leonard Gee actually grabbed Traveller’s reins before Lee agreed to retire to safety. Gee was a member of the Dixie Blues, mustered as Company E of the Fifth Texas Infantry in the Texas Brigade. He and his comrades hailed from Washington, Texas, on the Brazos River, revered as the place where the Republic of Texas was created in 1836, less than a generation earlier. The story of the Dixie Blues, a chapter in Richard B. McCaslin’s recently published history of Washington-on-th-Brazos, provides and interesting insight into the Civil War experiences of a unique group of Texans raised among the memories of a more successful independence movement.