From the Brigade Commander Ed Root ~ June 2017

            The horrors of War have always impacted the physical bodies of the participants, but also the minds and indeed the souls. Civil War medical care for the wounded in the was primitive by today’s standards and the care of the mind and soul were sadly neglected, ignored and or misunderstood.  Dr. Kathleen Thompson did a marvelous job helping us understand the shadowy struggles of the Civil War soldier. We were pleased to make a donation in her name to the Wounded Warrior Project.

            The Campaign year has flown by and by all measures we have had a good year. First and foremost our speakers have been excellent, one and all. Let Bob McHugh know how much you appreciate all his hard work bringing these fine folks before our group. Our membership has increased this year, not by leaps and bounds, but heading close to the 100 mark. Jeff Gates keeps track of all of you. We’ve been at the Holiday Inn for a year and a half now. The food has been excellent and the staff extremely competent and accommodating. Tony Major is our Quartermaster and liaison with the hotel. Tony has also been our Webmaster and now Paul Bartlett is stepping up to this important post. Claire Kukielka produces an excellent newsletter each month. Jim Duffy pays the bills and keeps all our finances in order. Susan Kovacs serves as an auditor for our finances. Kay Bagenstose, Barry Arnold, and Bill Frankenfield help out at each meeting. Sherri Miller, Kim Jacobs, Dr Gerry Sherwin, Tony Major all help with the Book Raffle. Kay Bagenstose and Mike Cavanaugh maintain our book inventory. Joe Riggs headed up our Nominating Committee. The Reverends Landis and Berntsen begin each meeting with an appropriate invocation. Ed Oechsle and Dick Jacoby gave programs at the LV Active Life Center representing the CWRT. Many of you helped refurbish the G.A.R. Plot at Nisky Hill Cemetery in October. Many of you participated in the Falling Waters Field Trip so ably organized by Bob McHugh in April. Fifty-nine of you helped paint fences at the Eisenhower Farm also in April. In addition to our members, Bob McHugh’s students, John Duffy’s scouts and Pat Matthews and her folks from the Whitehall historical Society all participated. Dick Jacoby and Chuck were a big part of the planning that went into making that day a success. We co-sponsored a Meet General Grant program with the Southern Lehigh Public Library on May 1st which was well attended by community members. Our two year project working with the City of Bethlehem and Mayor Donchez to refurbish the J.K. Taylor G.A.R. Post 182 Monument ending with a wonderful ceremony at the Rose Garden on May 3rd. Over 200 students from Nitschmann Middle School were in attendance. John Rohal was an integral part of that project and Jim Duffy, Barry Arnold and Neil and Kathy Coddington all were involved as was the 153rd PA Volunteer Living History folks. Our May 6 Americans at War Conference was a grand success. Every speaker was excellent and we’ve received rave reviews from attendees. A special thanks to Mike Cavanaugh and Jeff Stocker for programming as well as Bob McHugh and Bob Ashcraft for all the technical support. Many of the folks listed above also helped make the day a success. A special thanks to Sponsors; The Holiday Inn, Kay Bagenstose, Mike and Mark Cavanaugh, Kim Jacobs, Tony Major, Bob McHugh, Kathy and Jack Minnich, Ed and Nancy Root, and Frank Whelan whose donation helped keep the admission fee as low as possible. Our Round Table will be represented at Lehigh Valley Civil War Days in Whitehall on June 17 and 18. You’ll hear more about that from Neil Coddington at our June meeting.

            The point of the above is twofold, 1) We’ve accomplished a lot this year and 2) The success was created by a wide base of members, friends and supporters. The danger of trying to list so many folks is that some will be inadvertently omitted. If that is the case please forgive me.

In a larger sense all those who attend our meetings, buys book or print raffle tickets, paint cannon or fence post are all part of this. Take a bow, you all deserve it!

            We end our Campaign on June 6, a famous days in its own right, when our friend Eric Campbell travels down the Shenandoah Valley from Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park to speak about Lee’s “Bad Old Man” Jubal Early and his Army.

In Memoriam ~ Warren "Denny" Beach (1940 - 2017)

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In Memoriam

We lost a good friend on April 27th. Warren had moved to Texas last summer to be with family. where he passed at age 76. He is remembered as a kind and gentle man, the quintessential “gentleman.”

Warren was born in Kankakee, IL on May 17th, 1940 and raised in Richmond, IN where he graduated from Earlham College (62") after study in Oxford, UK. He then joined the National Park Service in 1962 and served in the U.S. Army in 1963-65. He served 14 National Parks, notably Valley Forge and Washington's HQ. He was named Superintendent of the Year for 1983 and also received the Meritorious Service Award/Dept. of the Interior for 1995. He retired in 1999 as Associate Regional Director of NPS covering from Maine to VA. A Civil War scholar and student, Warren spoke to our Round Table in January 2012 on his ancestor, George P. Beach of the 36th Indiana Volunteer Infantry at Shiloh. His quiet sense of humor was evident as he wore a hat when speaking the words of his ancestor and taking it off when he returned to his own commentary. He served the CWRT of Eastern PA as a two term Brigade Commander and was also a charter Member of Hamilton Day & J. Simpson Africa Masonic Lodge(s).

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Published in Morning Call on May 7, 2017:

Warren Dennis "Denny" Beach, 76, of Moore Twp., PA, died Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Corpus Christi, TX. Born in Kankakee, IL on May 17th,1940 to Corwin and Eloise (Cloud) Beach and raised in Richmond, IN where he graduated from Earlham College ('62) after study in Oxford, UK. He then joined the National Park Service in 1962. Army 63-65. He served 14 National Parks, notably Valley Forge and Washington's HQ. Superintendent of the Year (83), Meritorious Service Award/Dept. of the Interior (95). Retiring in 1999, Denny was Associate Regional Director of NPS from Maine to VA. A Civil War scholar & 2 term Pres. of The Civil War Roundtable of E. PA and Charter Member of Hamilton Day & J. Simpson Africa Masonic Lodge(s).Denny was predeceased by his beloved wife, Tresita. Survivors: Daughter Cheryl Beach of Sparta, NJ, son David Beach (Leti) of Corpus Christi, TX & granddaughters Chiara & Kristi; 2 stepsons & families of VT. Services were held Sat., May 13, 2017 St. Peter's UMC in Saylorsburg.  Contributions: Cure Multiple Myeloma www.themmrf.org.

Annual George Seligman Installation Dinner ~ June 6, 2017

June 6th is our annual Seligman Dinner. As George Seligman passed away in 1985, many of you never had the pleasure to have known George. Every organization has one member who leaves an indelible imprint. George was an Air Force veteran and was in the insurance business. He was always cheerful and didn’t have a shy bone in his body. It was George who led a small group of Civil War history enthusiasts from the rather formal setting of the Lehigh County Court House to the promised land of monthly dinner meetings and a membership that grew from dozens to hundreds. George, while our gregarious leader, always prodded others into the front, always encouraged others to step up and share the responsibility and the fun of being part of this wonderful round table. George loved to keep things loose and nary a meeting went by without someone being picked on in a loving and caring manner. In fact, it was an honor to be so chosen. He made it clear that we were all students of history, that some may be very knowledgeable and others novices, but the point was that even the most serious and knowing could and did learn from the novice. George loved the story of Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Gettysburg in a time long before the Ken Burn’s series made him a household name. Our success over the years is due in great part to the foundation and standard that George set. Tonight we remember and honor him.

Gettysburg "Brush" Cutting - Saturday April 22, 2017

 Chuck Cannon   Alyce Evans  Dick Jacoby

Our conservation effort at Gettysburg NMP in April will be certainly something different but also very exciting. We are giving brush cutting a whole new definition. On November 3rd Chuck Cannon, Dick Jacoby and I met with Alyce Evans who is responsible for conservation planning and work at the park. As you know, our Round Table has always been had a special role in the work there. We have been the Park’s group that always rushes in to do whatever is needed regardless of where. This year our brush work will be literally be with brushes, paint brushes to be specific. We will be painting newly installed fences on the Eisenhower Farm. These fences have just replaced worn and rotted fences and have received a primer coat to get through the winter. The finish coat is up to us. The park will supply all needed materials. So whether you’re young or old, short or tall there will be a section of fence just waiting for you.

As always we try to have a program for our volunteers as an extra reward for your work. Alyce was a seasonal ranger at the Eisenhower Farm for 12 years and knows all things about the general, his time in Gettysburg in WWI and the farm and his life after WWII. Her Master’s work was entitled “Regrettable Epidemic, The 1918 Influenza in Gettysburg and Camp Colt.” We expect a large group and want to plan for a tour of the farm house after we finish work so please let me know of you interest in participating. All of us have been to the battlefield many times over the years. We feel many of you may have never taken the time to explore and learn about Eisenhower and his farm. This is your opportunity!!

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Editor's Note:

     The day was a great success. Thank you to all who participated. Here are some pictures of  the day of "brushing" at the Eisenhower Farm and the tour of the house.

 

Falling Waters - An After Report

Many students of the Gettysburg campaign mark the close of fighting with the Confederate withdrawal from Cemetery Ridge following Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863.  However, that high water mark was soon followed by the high waters of the Potomac and an opportunity to trap Lee’s army and allow General George Meade’s victorious troops to finish the job.  On April 1st fifteen resolute members of the round table traveled to western Maryland to join George Franks on a journey to discover the real end to the Gettysburg campaign on the banks of the Potomac River.  The first stop of the tour took us to Williamsport, along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  Here George related the pursuit by Union forces and the rebel preparations for defense.  Meade decided to consult his corps commanders before pushing forward and this slight delay allowed Ewell’s 2nd Corps to ford the Potomac at its confluence with the Conococheague Creek. 

 Not far from Williamsport we joined Bob Harsh, a local farmer and preservationist, who gave us a tour of his recently acquired property.  He discussed the history of the area and plans to protect some of the surrounding countryside.  The highlight was the presence of remnants of rifle pits and entrenchments.  We then proceeded to the home of George Franks, built in 1830 and situated on a hill that witnessed the largest rearguard action of Lee’s retreat.  Our small company braved the chill winds as George described the cavalry charge of 100 troopers from the 6th Michigan against a line of surprised Confederates from A.P. Hill’s 3rd Corps.  Here, literally in George’s backyard, we heard the story surrounding the mortal wounding of Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew and the fate of his Union assailant, who was killed by a rebel using a boulder as his weapon of choice.  The final leg of the tour took us, after a healthy hike, to the banks of the Potomac at Falling Waters.  The last of the rebel forces escaped on a pontoon bridge and the Gettysburg campaign concluded just as it began, with John Buford’s Union cavalry facing off against Heth’s Confederates.  At this point we expressed our gratitude to George Franks for an outstanding tour and decided to make another donation to his foundation to encourage future excursions.  The tour was a great success and we all agreed to plan another day trip next spring.  

Thanks to those who contributed the pictures shown below. 

 

Nisky Hill Cemetery - Bethlehem

Saturday morning, October 29th, was as beautiful a fall day as could be imagined or                    desired.Our eleven intrepid workers mustered at 10AM and immediately began lightly sandingand then painting the Dahlgren cannon and stacked cannon balls placed in the midst of the flag covered graves of 59 Union veterans. The previous Saturday had originally been the target, but the heavens cried and the winds howled and our volunteers regrouped! Morning Call reporter Scott Kraus joined us and did a nice story on our work which was completed before noon. Ongoing research into the war time service and post war lives of these men has given us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of living and dying in the 19th and early 20th centuries. We hope to end up with a permanent record of the lives of these gallant men who helped save the Union.

Thanks to Barry Arnold, Chuck Cannon, Bill Frankenfield, Jeff Heller, Claire Kukielka, Alan Lowcher, Emily, Stu, Nick and Lanie Schenkel for participating.

Ed Root – Brigade Commander

From the Brigade Commander - May 2017

The book shelves of most Civil War historians, buffs and libraries are filled with Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, T.J. Jackson, William T. Sharman and others. Books about the life and career of George Gordon Meade are few. We are gratified that Tom Huntington not only searched for George Meade, but found him. It was an informative and enjoyable evening and we are pleased that Tom and his wife Beth Ann joined us at our April meeting. A donation of $50.00 was made to the Civil War Trust in Tom’s name as a token of our appreciation.

Our trip to Falling Waters with George Franks was a great success. Much thanks is due to Bob McHugh for all his hard work planning the day.

By the time you receive this newsletter we will have been to Gettysburg on April 22nd for our annual conservation and preservation effort.  I will report on the day at the May meeting.  (See Pictures Below)

On Wednesday, May 3 the unveiling of the refurbished Post 182 G.A.R. Monument will take place in Bethlehem’s Rose Garden at 2PM. It will be a grand event with Mayor Donchez, City and School District officials and the Nitschmann Middle school students and band in attendance. Peter Maugle, Bethlehem native and NPS ranger at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP will be our keynote speaker and I will present about Captain Jonathon Taylor for whom the Post was named. The public is invited.

The deadline for payment for our Americans At War Seminar is May 2nd. I sincerely hope you will join us for this exciting event. We will again have a Book Sale table outside our meeting room this month. All sales go toward defraying Conference costs.

 

Stop by and see Jim Duffy and Kay Bagenstose on your way into the room on every meeting night. Check out Jim’s graph on the progress of this year’s preservation fund raising effort and make sure to purchase your raffle tickets for our big June Preservation Raffle.

May 2nd is election night for those volunteers who maintain our fine organization. Please offer a hearty thank you to all who serve and also to Joe Riggs for his role as Nominating Committee Chair.

Mike Cavanaugh has over the years been bringing the 4 volume set of The Rosters of the Union Army 1861-1865, Pennsylvania to meeting. These books contain over 300,000 names gleaned from the National Archives and indicate the veterans rank and unit. If you’re looking for info about a Pennsylvanian this is the place to start. Ed Oechsle will now be bringing these books to each meeting. Check them out at the back of the room. Thank you gentlemen!

 Don’t forget to check out our website www.cwrteasternpa.org

 See you on May 2nd for Kathleen Thompson’s presentation, “To the Breaking Point, The Toll of War on the Civil War Soldier.”