September 1, 2012
Dear Members and Prospective Members,
The Civil War Sesquicentennial years of 2012-2015 are the most significant we will be experiencing here in the Rappahannock Region of Fredericksburg and Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, and Caroline Counties, as well as Culpeper, Orange, Prince William and Fauquier Counties. These 150th commemorative years, beginning in fall 2012 (1862) and ending in summer 2015 (1865), offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to fully experience this “nationally-significant ‘local’ Civil War and Reconstruction history.”
We are planning the most ambitious programming in our 55-year history – superior even to the centennial years of 1961-1965 as we now have the benefit of an additional half-century of research and perspective – in a “full immersion” experience. By fully participating in our FCWRT programs and complementary events and programs by other regional historical organizations in 2012-2015, thus intensively focusing on 1862-1865, you’ll be able to achieve a thorough knowledge and true expertise concerning these momentous years and be capable of taking your friends and neighbors to the key sites and explaining all that took place here. You’ll see and hear the latest and best research from some of America’s most knowledgeable historians focused on these regionally-based stories. We will feature nine programs each year – including an unprecedented double-meeting strategy for more thorough discussion of the most significant battles and non-battle periods. These will give you a “general’s-eye-view” of the war here, complemented by: participation in the 150th reenactments; staff rides and walking tours; artifact/document exhibits; book-talks and -signings; film-showings and -discussions; living history experiences; and collector’s shows. Full participation will yield full understanding of the military and non-military dimensions of the war here. All aspects of the war – Confederate and Federal; Military and Civilian; Men and Women; Whites and Blacks; and Young and Old – will be brought into new light and focus.
We also have other agendas. We also want to use this opportunity to grow our club – in fact, to double our current membership to 200 – and draw additional generations into the club by expanding interest in Civil War and Reconstruction history. To ensure consistent leadership, continuity of purpose and vision, and minimal leadership disruptions during this critical period, we have developed a multi-year succession plan. This period will give us the best chance to expand the interest base – an opportunity which will not surface again until the bicentennial in 2061. We don’t want to see the Civil War fading in public memory before its bicentennial – a definite risk as there is no national sesquicentennial program. Therefore, it is left to us to “think globally and act locally” here in Virginia and in this region in order to sustain and promote greater interest in this crucial American epoch.
If you believe we’re on the right track, we need you to make a real commitment to the Round Table for 2012-2015: first, by paying your dues in September and showing up yourself and making sure that you make your reservations early or on-time for each meeting or event; and, second, by considering a gift membership at the beginning of the year (September) to someone you believe will be an active member and participant. This way, your friend will be able to receive the newsletter and event information and make his or her own reservations at member’s prices throughout the year.
We have some other new goals as well to: expand newsletter and web-site content; provide you with a place to add your own research articles and/or insights; provide you with links to other regional historical and preservation organizations; and develop an on-going comprehensive calendar of Civil War and Reconstruction events, talks and activities in this region. In that way, you’ll have the best possible opportunity to know about and plan to participate in as many as you can.
Please join us as we seek to understand this most critical American historic period and ensure that, to the best of our abilities, the people, places and events will not be forgotten or misunderstood.
Albert Z. Conner Jr.
Past President 2001-2003
I need to bring to the membership’s attention the fact that each and every one of us needs to be aggressive in bringing in new members. Our membership base has steadily reduced year-over-year for many reasons. Presently, we have 55 paid up members compared to nearly twice that many six years ago. As a result our treasury is reducing incrementally to cover meeting costs. We need a wider membership base over which to distribute the costs of dinner, room rental, and taxes. To simply raise the price of meals by say two dollars, we would only generate an additional $110 per month assuming that we would get 100% turn out.
Our recent talks with representatives of Sodexo Catering and The Jepson Center were meaningful. We enjoy a great relationship with our hosts and I think you'll agree, they provide quality service and food as well as welcoming feedback. We did agree to a 3% increase in the individual meal costs (guaranteed for two years), no increase in the venue rental, and three different hand-picked menu choices which rotate from meeting to meeting throughout the year. We are able to absord this increase within our current meal cost structure i.e. $35/$37 per meal for member/non-member respectively. However, with a reduced membership base, we now have little if any "margin" remaining which would normally go into our treasury for our end-of-year grant/scholarship programs. So I'm also looking for ways to generate additional income.
Other income generating ideas are in the works such as selling the new lanyards at a nice profit and the soon to be announced raffle of five donated Civil War prints and potential increases in meal cost, dues and/or the ticket price for the 50/50. There are also some drastic measures such as a change in venue, or discontinue our Heritage Program, that could be taken but I prefer to push a membership drive instead (no dues for the rest of this year for new members).
I have announced in the April, 2015 newsletter the kickoff of this membership campaign. Each and everyone of us can help by bringing in a new member. We all have that one friend, relative or acquaintance that you've always been meaning to talk to about joining. Now is the time to do it. Ask that person to join for free and let him or her enjoy the rest of the year's dinner's at the member's price.
Please pass on any new member info to any of us prior to the monthly meeting and we will have a "Welcome Packet" ready for them at the door. Also, make sure you arrive early with your new member so that you can introduce him or her to Vice President Paul Scott or myself, who will gladly make them feel welcome. Your support is critical as are your suggestions and comments.
Executive Committee, Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
The Civil War Roundtable of Fredericksburg
Gift Membership Certificate for 2014-2015
Dear __________________________________, you have been honored by Member __________________________________ with a Gift Membership in the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Our Round Table, one of America’s oldest and now in our 57th continuous year of operation, is commemorating the Civil War’s sesquicentennial. Our 2014-2015 Program Year commemorates the years 1864-1865 not only in the Rappahannock Region (Fredericksburg and Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Caroline, Fauquier, Culpeper, and Orange Counties) but extending down to Richmond and finally Appomatox..
Nearly 150 years ago in the spring of 1864, the course of the Civil War decisively changed in favor of the Union as General Grant prosecuted the Overland Campaign beyond the Battles of The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. We will examine the Battles of North Anna and Cold Harbor and the Siege of Petersburg to include the Crater, in depth, Finally , we will look at the Beginning of the End, at Sailors Creek and Appomatox Court House. For the first time in four years we will be able to widen our lens and ask what the war was about, have we accounted for all the war dead, Lincoln's management of the war and look at the life of key figures in the post Civil War.
Your sponsor has honored you by pre-paying your full and active membership dues for the entire program year. That entitles you to receive all E- newsletters (detailing monthly programs and reservation contact points); attend monthly dinner meetings at member’s prices; access members-only sections of the web-site; and participate in all special Round Table events. Your full participation in the Round Table and related events, lectures and tours will result in your developing a first-hand working knowledge and expertise about the nationally- significant history which transpired here. We believe that the best way to honor all of the Americans who risked and sacrificed everything – whether Confederate or Union; men or women; black or white; and young or old -- is to objectively understand and memorialize what they experienced during America’s greatest national crisis, which helped define the country we all live in today. We hope we have tweaked your interest and that you will join us in learning more about the events and people in the years 1863-1864, which ultimately led to the reunification and healing of our nation.
For the remainder of the current program year , New Members join for free.
We are committed to growing our organization with an unprecedented infusion of new members. To accomplish this, we are instituting an exciting new opportunity – Gift Memberships. Rather than our traditional approach of inviting and paying for a prospective member’s meal and visit to a monthly meeting, you can now pay for his or her annual dues as a gift. The guest members will then be added to our membership roster. They will receive all the newsletters directly, and they can sign-up for themselves and attend at the members’ price. If every current member adds one new member we will be able to double the size of the Round Table and will thus greatly expand participation in the meetings, staff rides, and exhibits we’re planning for 2014-2015.
The gift member will receive a gift membership certificate (see menu tab) which explains how this program works. Additionally, due to our plans to assemble an on-going, centralized calendar of Civil War events taking place in the region, they’ll have a one-stop place to find out what is happening in other regional historical organizations with Civil War programs and events.
To make this work for the longterm strength and vitality of the Round Table, we’re asking three things from you. First, select at least one friend that you think will enjoy and appreciate participating in these programs and events. Second, call that person, inform him/her that you giving them a gift membership, and explain what that entails. Third, if they are interested, submit the amount of their dues along with their name, mailing address, phone number, and email address to our secretary Mike Frye. He will send the Gift Certificate to our new member and your check to our treasurer, Bill Huber.
Note: You will still be paying your dues directly to Bill. We need you to “re-enlist” by promptly paying those 2014-2015 dues and participating in as many of our meetings and events as possible. We especially depend upon you to please, please, please make meeting reservations and to “show-up.” This aspect is crucial to our financial health.