Business Meeting of the Civil War Fortifications Study Group, 17April 2008


The business meeting of the CWFSG was convened by Vice President Terry Winschel at the Comfort Inn hotel in Olive Branch, Mississippi.  It was reported that the treasury is in the best shape it has been in since the group was formed. The group expressed general appreciation to President Stacy Allen, Winschel, and Charlie Spearman for organizing the tour and arranging logistics. Winschel reviewed the itinerary for this year’s meeting and introduced the matter of elections. The positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and one member of the Board were up for a vote. Winschel opened the floor to the appointed nominating committee, consisting of members John Snyder of Minnesota and Jeff Grigg of South Carolina, which introduced a slate of candidates—Stacy Allen, President; Terry Winschel, Vice President; David Lowe, Secretary; and Bill Niekirk, Board Member. The floor was then opened for additional nominations. Lowe nominated Phil Shiman to fill the Secretary’s position. The group then voted. Allen, Winschel, Lowe, and Niekirk were confirmed in their positions. Niekirk replaces Mark Zimmerman on the board for a three-year term ending 2011. It was noted that Dale Floyd’s position as a Board member will be due for a vote in 2009.


A motion was made and seconded to expand the duties of the Secretary by adding the additional title of Director of Publications. These duties would include producing the group’s newsletter and shepherding to publication the long awaited journal in the coming year. The group voted in affirmation with one dissenting vote. A discussion followed as to division of labor for the journal. Lowe was directed to obtain copies of the existing manuscript and illustrations from contributing members, to edit and format the materials, and ready the manuscript for publication. President Allen will contribute the introduction to the volume. Member Grigg will arrange for final printing, publication, and distribution. The number of copies to be printed will be determined.


A discussion was invoked concerning the location selected for the CWFSG meeting for 2009. It was noted that the group had expressed its desire in 2007 to locate in Kinston, North Carolina, to revisit sites in the Carolinas. During the intervening time, various officers and members had expressed concern that the group no longer had on-the-ground contacts in North Carolina for a successful meeting; others expressed the opinion that we should visit new sites for as long as we could before returning to sites of earlier meetings. The group reviewed possible North Carolina sites—Fort Fisher, Fort Branch, Bentonville, Tarbell’s Bluff. The floor was then opened to suggestions for an alternative location.


Grigg extolled the virtues of examining the defenses of Cumberland Gap, mostly within the national park there, which would take two full days. The meeting would be based in Middlesboro, Kentucky, at the base of Cumberland Mountain. The site has the advantage of a large concentration of rather unique resources that would require little driving but much climbing as the slopes are steep. A large number of resources, however, could be fairly easily accessed by less agile members from park roads and trails. Bill Niekirk then offered to co-host such a meeting by arranging for a full tour of Mill Springs, which is two hours distant near Somerset and Nancy, Kentucky. Niekirk would also arrange for catering the banquet in the setting of an historic mill. It was noted that Niekirk and his group have made great strides in protecting and preserving the Mill Springs battlefield in the last decade. This would offer CWFSG a firsthand view of the trials, tribulations, and successes of creating a viable battlefield park from scratch. The opinion was expressed that our visit would be in recognition and celebration of one of our member’s untiring efforts. All things considered, it appeared that Cumberland Gap/Mill Springs would provide a rewarding meeting. A motion was made and seconded to change the location of the 2009 meeting from North Carolina to Cumberland Gap. The motion was approved by voice vote. The date was fixed over the second weekend in March with an alternative date (in March) to be decided. Neikirk and Lowe are to devise an itinerary. Grigg is in charge of logistics, including finding and securing an appropriate hotel in consultation with Neikirk, and securing transportation if needed.


A motion was made to express the appreciation of the group to Dale Floyd for his service and many contributions to the CWFSG over the years as co-founder, President from 1992-1997, and continuing Board Member. The motion was seconded and approved. The Secretary was directed to draw up an appropriate letter and certificate of appreciation. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to send $100 to Fort Pillow State Park in appreciation for providing Greg Taylor as a guide for Thursday’s tour.


A discussion followed concerning the group’s recently renovated Jeff Grigg and John Snyder are now working together to improve the site and to add new materials. All members are urged to visit the website, submit photographs and materials from this year’s and previous meetings, to join the private forum, and to post materials there of general interest to the group. A summary of this year’s trip will soon be available and posted. A proposed itinerary for next year’s meeting will soon be posted. These minutes will be posted.


Bill Ohlendorf offered to take charge of printing T-shirts and other CWFSG logo wearables prior to next year’s meeting. Suggested designs should be forwarded to Ohlendorf. T-shirt designs will be approved by the Board before being executed.


Ross Massey provided a description of ongoing preservation efforts in the Nashville area and had on hand copies of his recent book “Nashville Battlefield Guide.”


Phil Shiman reported on his Wednesday exploration of Fort Negley and other Nashville fortifications.


It was moved that the business meeting be adjourned. The motion was seconded, and business was closed.