City Councilman Bob Bogen Nashville City Councilman Bob Bogen, left, is presented the Preservationist of the Year Award by outgoing BONPS President Bob Henderson in recognition of his efforts to save the Kelley's Point Battlefield as part of the Brookmeade greenway. Councilman Bogen shares the award this year with Mayor Bill Purcell.

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BONPS Annual Dinner celebrates recent successes

The third annual Battle of Nashville Preservation Society Dinner was a tremendous success, with nearly 100 members and guests in attendance Thurs., Feb. 20, 2003 at the Hillwood Country Club. Outgoing President Bob Henderson reiterated the organization's recent preservation successes while new President Doug Jones issued the call for continued efforts on behalf of preserving the Nashville battlefield.

The week prior to the dinner, Mayor Bill Purcell announced the funding of $2 million to preserve historic Union Fort Negley, create an interpretive walkway, and build a small interpretive center there. At the same time, the Civil War Preservation Trust announced that Nashville has been named to the 2003 Top Ten Endangered Battlefields in the nation.

CWPT President James Lighthizer said at the dinner that Nashville would not have been included on the listing, which may allow federal funding for local battlefield sites, if it had not been for lobbying by BONPS. He praised the efforts of the City of Nashville and especially Mayor Bill Purcell, noting that the recent $2 million in local funding is an unprecedented amount.

"The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society is an impressive partner," said Lighthizer. "You have the leadership and the vision. You're off to a fine start; keep up the good work."

Also attending the dinner was CWPT Board member Warner Bass of Nashville.

New BONPS President Doug Jones thanked outgoing President Bob Henderson for his strong leadership over the past two years. Jones noted that the 140th anniversary of the battle will be next year in 2004. He said he would like to focus on the fundamentals, mentioning there will be upcoming programs on the careers of Gen. John Bell Hood and Gen. George Thomas.

City Councilman Bob Bogen was presented the Preservationist of the Year Award for his efforts in preserving the Kelley's Point Battlefield west of Nashville on the Cumberland River where Confederate cavalry battled Union gunboats just prior to the Battle of Nashville. The site will be maintained as part of the new city-owned Brookmeade greenway.

City Councilman John Summers was also in attendance, as well as State Rep. Steve McDaniel, an ardent historical preservationist.

In addition to Fort Negley and Kelley's Point, the BONPS has been successful in preserving a portion of Shy's Hill and the site of Redoubt No. 1, positions on the Confederate left flank of the first and second days of battle, respectively.

Guest speaker at the dinner was Earl McElfresh, a renown cartographer and map historian, who presented a fascinating glimpse into the work and the lives of Union and Confederate map makers. The author of Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War, McElfresh said that commanding generals conferred more with their topographical engineers than they did with their subordianate generals, the lay of the land being critical to the success of battle.

Earl B. McElfresh
Although Civil War maps were drawn under tremendous pressure and horrific conditions, the charts, many in watercolors, are beautiful and amazingly detailed.

At Shy's Hill on the second day of battle, he said, one of the reasons for the Union victory was the fact that the Confederates assumed positions on the topographical crest of the hill and not the military crest, allowing the bluecoats to advance almost to the top without being seen.

One of the major impressions he has gotten through his work, he said, is the tremendous disadvantage the Union commanders had in invading unfamiliar territory populated with unfriendly civilians.

McElfresh is president of the McElfresh Map Company, which publishes highly accurate hand-drawn maps of Civil War battlefields. His maps are included in collections at many universities and libraries, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, Brigham Young University, the New York Public Library and the New York Historical Society. He has lectured on Civil War mapmaking at the American Antiquarian Society, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institute, the Warburg Institute in London and on CSPAN Book TV. He resides in Olean, NY.


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