The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table will hold its August meeting on a special night, Monday, August 13, 2007.
The meeting is at the normal time of 7 PM and will be held in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus of the McCallie School. Enter the McCallie School campus on Dodds Avenue and follow the signs to the Academic Quadrangle.
Western Kentucky University Professor Glenn W. LaFantasie will be the speaker. Dr. LaFantasie will speak about Confederate Colonel William C. Oats, an Alabamian made famous in the clash on the slopes of Little Round Top at Gettysburg. The meeting is free and open to the public.
William C. Oates is best remembered as the Confederate officer defeated at Gettysburg's Little Round Top, losing a golden opportunity to turn the Union's flank and win the battle--and perhaps the war. Glenn W. LaFantasie’s talk, "William C. Oates in War and Peace," reveals the many sides of Oates, including his Civil War experiences beyond Gettysburg and his career as a Southern political leader in the postwar period.
Oates was no moonlight-and-magnolias Southerner. Raised in the hard-scrabble Wiregrass Country of Alabama, he ran away from home as a teenager, roamed through Louisiana and Texas--where he took up card sharking--and finally returned to Alabama, to pull himself up by his bootstraps and become a respected attorney.
During the war, he rose to the rank of colonel, served under Stonewall Jackson and Lee, was wounded six times and lost an arm. Returning home, he became wealthy investing in land and cotton, married a woman half his age, and launched a successful political career, becoming a seven-term congressman and ultimately governor.
For Oates and many others of his generation, the war never really ended—he remained devoted to the Lost Cause, and spent the rest of his life waging the political battles of Reconstruction. Yet in one of the final acts of his political career, Oates championed the cause of suffrage for black Americans, delivering an impassioned speech at his state's constitutional convention. Professor LaFantasie’s talk will reveal the compelling and sometimes astonishing dimensions of this remarkable individual.
Glenn W. LaFantasie, who received his Ph.D. in History from Brown University, is the Richard Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History and the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War in theWest at Western Kentucky University. He is the author of Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Twilight at Little Round Top (Wiley, 2005), which spent more than 40 weeks on the History Book Club bestseller list.
A collection of his previously published essays, Perfect Heroes: Gettysburg and Its Many Meanings, will be published by Indiana University Press in Spring 2008.
Over the past thirty years, he has held various positions in the field of public history, including Editor of Publications at the Rhode Island Historical Society, Deputy Historian of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, and Director of the Aldie Mill Historic Site in Virginia. He has previously taught at the University of Rhode Island, Gettysburg College, and the University of Maine at Farmington.
The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table is a group of area citizens interested in the study of the American Civil War. The Round Table meets on the third Tuesday of each month, normally in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus of The McCallie School on Missionary Ridge (enter off Dodds Avenue at Union Street).
At each month’s meeting, a historian or author from the region or from across the nation, or a member, makes a presentation on some aspect of the conflict. The meetings are free and open to the public and membership in the Round Table is open to all with an interest in the era of the War Between the States.