Civil War Writer’s Forum


The April 1865 Society, as the official sponsors of the annual Battle of Selma, will once again present the Writer’s Forum during the Battle of Selma event.  Please stay tuned as the writers who will be featured in 2016 are announced.


The April 1865 Society, as the official sponsors of the annual Battle of Selma events, will again celebrate the history and heritage of the period with the second class of writers featured in a Civil War Writers Forum. This fresh addition to “Battle” events was first held in conjunction with last year’s activities. Hosted by ArtsRevive at the ArtsRevive Carneal Building at 3 Church Street, the 2012 class of writers includes 3 outstanding period authors.

The first featured author will be Mr. James R. Bennett. He is the acknowledged authority on the history of the birth and evolution of the Roupes Valley Ironworks at Tannehill. Today the site is the home of The Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama. Bennett’s study of “Tannehill” and subsequent dedication to that place led him to author the encyclopedic volume “Tannehill and the Growth of the Alabama Iron Industry”. It is the definitive work on early iron production in the state. The author skillfully describes the important role Tannehill played in supplying first the region and subsequently the Confederacy with much needed iron used in manufacturing weapons, armor plate and railroad iron during the Civil War. Following the war Tannehill and other nearby furnaces were at the core of the evolution of Elyton into the huge iron producing complex known today as Birmingham. Bennett is a native of the Birmingham area and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Jacksonville State University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama. Today he is serving his second term as Commissioner, Alabama Department of Labor.

The second featured author will be Ms. Jacqueline F. Hurlbut, a native of England now happily ensconced in the deep south as a resident of Fayetteville, Georgia. Known to her friends as “Jacquie” this highly talented writer has taken over 100 war time letters of her husband’s familial antecedent, union Brevet Brigadier General George Ashworth Cobham, Jr., and produced a volume she titled “Patriot Heart”. Ironically, General Cobham was also a native of England who wound up in Warren, Pennsylvania following family stops in Albany, Buffalo and Jamestown, NY. General Cobham (in Hurlbut’s words) was considered to be “….a man of faith, an officer, gentleman, patriot, husband, father, son, and brother, who would in due course be called a Hero”. Cobham was born in Liverpool, England on December 5, 1838 and died leading his troops July 20, 1864 at the Battle of Peachtree Creek. Hurlbut gives the life, love and tragic loss of yet another remarkable soldier of that war a fascinating review – largely via his own words.

The third featured author is David Rothstein, who is a former university professor and business executive. Rothstein’s work is a novel about the men on both sides who were captured during the war and imprisoned – sometimes under the most inhumane of conditions. Taken from a general study of the topic, Rothstein has crafted a work of “fictional history” – taking from the historical facts and weaving that material into a coherent tapestry of words otherwise invisible to a casual student of the subject. He has been to Selma and Cahawba on several occasions to further his knowledge of this area. Rothstein chose Cahawba as the setting for his tale as the story of “Castle Morgan” (as that particular prisoner of war camp was called) best fits his framework of a story about a union soldier, one Thomas Conner, imprisoned there. The story has the distraught wife traveling by herself from Indiana to Cahawba to plead for the release of her husband. In his telling of this story Rothstein brings to the surface the raw emotions, unfortunate facts and more truth than most works – fictional or factual – have dared to reveal in the 150 years that have passed since these tragic facilities were active. This insightful volume brings to life the hubris of those captured and kept and the too-frequent cruelty of their keepers.

This event is open to the public and will be held from 5 PM until 6:30 PM April 27th at the ArtsRevive Carneal Building at 3 Church Street. Light refreshments will be served during the event. Books may be purchased from the authors following their brief introductions to their works.


First Year 2011

Civil War Writer’s Forum to add to Battle of Selma Event Schedule

Selma’s first Civil War Writer’s Forum was announced today to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter. The Event will be held as part of the Battle of Selma Re-enactment Festivities on Friday April 29th at 5 pm and will be hosted by Art Revive at 3 Church Street in partnership with the April 1865 Society, Inc.

“The Battle Selma Re-enactment is celebrating its 25th year in 2011 and we are very excited to be partnering with Arts Revive to bring the first addition to our event schedule in 25 years” said James Hammonds who has recently reassumed the role of Chairman of the Re-enactment that he first held in 1987.

Feature this year will be Denise Weimer, Charles Misulia, and Selma native William Lockridge.

Northeast Georgia native Denise Weimer brings two works of historical fiction to The Battle of Selma this year:  Sautee Shadows and Drummer Danny.
Sautee Shadows, book one of The Georgia Gold Trilogy is set between 1830 and 1870 and encompasses the Georgia Gold Rush, the Cherokee Removal, and The War Between the States.
Drummer Danny follows the fictional account of Daniel Weaver, a 13-year-old boy who decides to join his father in the camp of the 5th Virginia in January 1863 after his mother dies.  There he becomes a drummer boy.  It is geared toward children approximately ages 7 to 13.
Mrs. Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University.  Her magazine articles about Northeast Georgia have appeared in numerous regional publications.  She is a life-long re-enactor, a member of Habersham Chapter #1237 U.D.C., a wife and mother of two girls, and founder of The 1860s Civilian Society of Georgia vintage dance group.

Charles Misulia, a lifelong student of the Civil War and an expert on the Battle of Columbus, his book Columbus, Georgia, 1865, The Last True Battle of the Civil War is of particular interest of the student of Wilson’s Raid and the Battle of Selma. Although it concentrates on the Battle of Columbus it covers Wilson’s entire Raid. Mr. Misulia is also an expert on the reproduction of historical firearms and will be leading a detachment of Wilson’s Raider’s armed with Spencer rifles during the Battle of Selma.

Bill Lockridge is a researcher and writer who has studied the role
of the Selma’s military complex during the Civil War since 2004. Initially this work was undertaken for casual and recreational purposes but over time it has evolved into a full time research effort intended to result in publication of his book, Selma, Alabama As A Center Of Manufacturing, Transportation, Shipbuilding And Logistics During The War Of Northern Aggression. He is a graduate of A. G. Parrish High School in Selma, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University, and is a graduate of the US Army Aviator School at Fort Rucker, AL. After which he served as a combat helicopter pilot in Viet Nam.

Arts Revive’s Fran Pearce said “this is the type of interaction with the community and other organizations that Arts Revive thinks is essential to the revitalization of our City.”