Fantastic Field Trip to the National Civil War Museum


Our CWRT made a field trip to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg on Saturday January 26. Spearheaded by Claire Kukielka and Barry Arnold, we met at the museum when it opened at 10:00am and received a brief orientation from CEO Wayne Motts and Educator Dane DiFibo.

For the next ninety minutes, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of archival material. First seen were some of the museum’s vast collection of Civil War era documents. Examples of items seen were: promotion certificates signed by President Lincoln, telegraphed requests for information from field staff, orders prohibiting the sale of liquor in Gettysburg on June 30, 1865, photos of young soldiers and sailors, envelopes from soldiers on the lines bearing postage stamps from both the union and confederacy, and many more.


We then traveled downstairs, and after donning white cotton gloves, we entered the extensive collections area, where the sign on the door reads, “Center of the Universe.” What a fantastic and eclectic collection of Civil War memorabilia. Among the treasures were: a pistol owned by William Quantrell , a spoon from US Grant, a top hat owned by Joshua Chamberlain. a diary with a bullet embedded in it, ceremonial swords, field desks, boot strap pulls, a bloody Bible, a general’s uniforms, and more and more.

(The museum requested that pictures of items not on public display not be posted to the web, and so if you’d like to see them, join us before the February round table dinner for a slide show of all the days pictures.)


Following this tour, we ate our lunches together, and then spent the remaining time before a 2:00pm lecture, walking through the public exhibits at the museum, reading histories, looking at artifacts and watching numerous videos. The museum is a gem and does a fine job explaining the causes, battles, and aftermath of the war.

At 2:00pm we were treated to a lively public presentation from Jeff Wert about his newest Civil War book (#10) entitled, “Civil War Barrons… The Tycoons, Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Visionaries Who Forged Victory and Shaped a Nation.”

Following the lecture, we headed home more enlightened and edified than when we arrived.

The photos below are of the museum and its public collections. As stated above, we were requested not to share on social media the pictures from our “behind-the-scenes” tour.

From the Brigade Commander ~ February 2019


          The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” never rang truer than it did at our January meeting. Much thanks to Chris Heisey for his informative and entertaining presentation. Our country’s battlefields came alive through his wonderful photographs. We were pleased to send a $50.00 donation to the American Battlefield Trust in his name. Battlefield trekking lessons learned from Chris; stay off the railroad tracks at Thoroughfare Gap and beware of sinkholes at Ball’s Bluff. If you don’t know what that means then shame on you for missing a great meeting.

     At the January meeting I mentioned that we had a complete 28 volume set of the Time Life Civil War Encyclopedia that we wished to donate to a school, library or other facility where they would be appreciated and utilized. I am happy to report that thanks to Tony Major, Legend of Allentown Senior Living has taken the set for placement in its library. Thanks also to Marie Maly and Bob McHugh for investigating possible homes for the set.

      I know we have a few slackers out there who have not as yet re-enlisted for this Campaign. Please see Jeff Gates at the February meeting or suffer the consequences! Seriously, we need and appreciate your continuing support!

     We have partnered with the Southern Lehigh Public Library in the past supporting their Civil War programs. On Monday, April 15 at 7PM Alisa Dupuy will present a first-person impression of Clara Barton. More information will be forthcoming, but please save the date as this will be an excellent program.

     You should all be aware that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. No excuses for missing this important work day. There is something for everyone, painting, fencing, brush cutting or just standing around critiquing the work done by others. We’ll have fun, learn about that portion of the battlefield and help preserve and conserve our nation’s historic land! A sign-up sheet will be at the February meeting.

     Preservation efforts come by all sort of ways and means. The Civil War Memorial in downtown Allentown at 7th and Hamilton has been bathed in garish multi colored lights. While appropriate to draw attention to this memorial by lights, purple and pink seem rather more festive than respectful. Check out our website for Frank Whelan’s letter to city fathers asking for some respect for those who served so long ago. Well done Frank! www.cwrt

     Claire and Barry worked long and hard to set up the field trip to Harrisburg’s wonderful Civil War Museum. Those who went on this trip on January 26th were able to view some of the treasures behind the scenes thanks to Wayne Motts. Please let Claire and Barry know how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication on behalf of our organization.

     Please join us on February 5th when Dr. Cheryl Renee Gooch will present, “Hinsonville’s Heroes” Last August Kay, Kim and I attended the Civil War Round Table Congress in Harrisburg where we met Dr. Gooch. You are in for a real treat! You won’t want to miss this program! See you on the 5th!

                             Ed Root   610-417-6673

January 26th Field Trip To National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg ~ Final Plans

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Final Update:

Our itinerary for the January 26th field trip to the National Civil War Museum is now set: 

  • Meet at the Holiday Inn in Fogelsville, PA on January 26, 2019 at 8:10 a.m.

  • Leave no later than 8:15 am Saturday morning.

  • Arrive and enter museum at 10:00 am

  • Private tour- 10:00 am – 11:30 am.

  • 11:30-1:00 Tour of other public areas and eat bag lunch.

  • Speaker- 1:00-2:00 with Jeff Wert, historian and author.

  • 2:00-3:00- last minute look at exhibits.

  • 3:00- Depart to return to Holiday inn, Fogelsville, PA

  • Everyone please remember to bring a bag lunch and beverage.



Barry Arnold and Claire Kukielka

Our second field trip is scheduled for January 26, 2019. We are going to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. We will arrive at 10:00 a.m. and have a private tour of places that folks are not normally admitted. After that, we can look at some of the normal exhibits.

We will take a short break for lunch and then attend a lecture by Jeffrey D. Wert who will be speaking on the Civil War and will address his new book, on the business of war.

Cost of admission is $25.00 and we must have a minimum of 12 folks to attend.

Please e-mail Barry Arnold ( or Claire Kukielka( to confirm your plans to attend. We would love to have you join us.

Please note we would like to collect the money in advance if at all possible.

From the Brigade Commander ~ January 2019

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From the Brigade Commander

In the midst of battles and of discussions of strategy and tactics it is sometimes easy to overlook the home front. Thanks to Rich Rosenthal we were enlightened about some of the ladies who took on large and many times grave responsibilities to hold everything together.

We welcomed new members Shelby Edwards and James Whitney at the December meeting. They joined us for the Antietam field trip with Dennis Frye in October and I’m pleased that they are now members. Please check the Brigade News section of our website and see the article written by Frank Whelan about their home and the Antietam connection with the man who once lived there!

At the December meeting I mentioned that we had a complete 28 volume set of the Time Life Civil War Encyclopedia that we wished to donate to a school, library or other facility where they would be appreciated and utilized. Thanks to Neil and Kathy Coddington, we found a home for the set at the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society’s Sigal Museum. Neil and Kathy are both long time volunteers there so it’s a wonderful fit.

Check out the museum website at

You should all be aware that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. No excuses for missing this important work day. There is something for everyone, painting, fencing, brush cutting or just standing around critiquing the work done by others. We’ll have fun, learn about that portion of the battlefield and help preserve and conserve our nation’s historic land! Details to follow as we get closer to April.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our monthly contest on a word definition from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. Remember, the first person who finds the word and definition in our website and emails me receives 3 free book raffle tickets at our meeting. Actually, since we’ve been running this contest before the September gathering exactly no one has responded with the correct answer. As a matter of fact, only ONE person responded period and that person who shall remain nameless failed! It’s not hard folks, humor me, and check out our website for the Ambrose Bierce mystery word definition of the month. Send an email to me with the word AND attend the January meeting. I’m counting on you!!!

Dues are overdue! Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates at the December meeting. A hearty thank you to those who responded to our Annual Appeal. Your generosity will go a long way in bringing wonderful programs to the Lehigh Valley while helping to maintain our meeting and dinner costs as low as possible.

Our next CWRT Board Director’s meeting will be held on January 22nd at the Southern Lehigh Public Library, 3200 Preston Lane, Center Valley, PA at 6:30 PM. All members in good standing are welcome!

Please join us on the SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH on January 8th when Chris Heisey will present, “Photographing Our Civil War Battlefields” See you on the 8th!

Ed Root

2019 Postage Rate Increase

Remember when a stamp was 4 cents?

Remember when a stamp was 4 cents?

2019 Postage Rate Increase

Reminder to all CWRT members - postage goes up again in 2019. Dues remain the same. Your donations to the annual appeal and allowing us to send items via email, instaed of USPS help!


  • The First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) rate for postage purchased at the Post Office will increase by five cents to $0.55 from $0.50.

  • Each additional ounce for a First Class Mail letter will cost $0.15 (a decrease from $0.21).

  • “Metered Mail” rates for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will increase three cents to $0.50 from $0.47. Each additional ounce will cost $0.15.

  • The five cent “Metered Mail” rate discount for a First Class Mail letter (1 oz.) compared to the Post Office rate represents a savings of 9%.

  • First Class Mail Flats/Large Envelopes (1 oz.) rates will not increase and will remain at $1.00. Each additional ounce will cost $0.15.

History's Headlines: This old house finds a new life {with CWRT new members}

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An article featuring the home built by a Civil War Veteran and now used by new members of the CWRT for their business.

Posted on Feb 19, 2018
Written by CWRT Board Member Frank Whalen

“Have you heard about the exciting things happening in Allentown?” These are the words that Shelby Edwards and James Whitney, a young couple, recall hearing from a friend, words that began their journey to the Lehigh Valley from Seattle.

Deciding they needed to put their business littledrill LLC (“a photography studio that combines conventional design photography and styling for brands and business”) closer to New York, the two artists/entrepreneurs began looking around. Knowing that the costs of living and operating a business in Manhattan and the general New York/New Jersey metropolitan area were out of their price range, but wanting to live in an urban environment, they were first attracted to urban pioneering opportunities in Detroit.

“We had pretty much made up our minds about moving there,” says Edwards, who is the owner and creative director of littledrill LLC, and had been a top stylist manager for Nordstrom in Seattle, “when a friend told us about Allentown.” Not only was it affordable for them but the Lehigh Valley was close enough to New York for them to get in and out of. Both she and Whitney, who is a professional photographer, were excited and acted. Since last year they have purchased a house and a business space in downtown Allentown. As part of what Professor Richard Florida christened “the creative class” that has been reviving American cities, the couple would be considered cutting edge.

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But there is another aspect of 1122 Hamilton, one that Edwards and Whitney were not aware of when they brought the property. They have since discovered that the building was built in 1872 by carpenter and wood worker artist Abraham Babp as a home for his family. Although the space has been much changed since Babp’s day, Edwards and Whitney sense a link with the building’s history. “Knowing that a creative person, a wood worker/artist like Babp made his home here adds a whole wonderful dimension to the space for us,” says Whitney. “It is almost as if we in are a part of a continuity with the city’s artists and artisans of the past.”

On October 24, 1929 the New York Stock Exchange collapsed in a frenzy of stock-selling, heralding the arrival of the Great Depression. All of which held no interest for 92-year-old Abraham Babp of 1122 Hamilton Street. Lying in bed in his home, he was dying. For two weeks Babp, who had enjoyed good health for many years, could feel old age and his aliments catching up with him. But almost to the end his mind remained clear. Finally, at 9 o’ clock on the evening of October 25th, 1929, with his unmarried daughter Anna nearby, Babp joined in death his wife Sarah, who had died 15 years before. He was buried next to her in Fairview Cemetery.

By standards of any era Babp had lived a good, long life. And from his birth on June 17, 1837 to Charles and Lydia Shug Babp in Forks Township near Easton, he had seen changes in technology that included the railroad, the telephone and the light bulb. His obituary notes that he particularly observed and commented on the changes of transportation from wagon, to horse drawn street car, to electric trolley car and finally to automobile that passed outside his Hamilton Street front door.

Sometime in his youth Babp left Northampton County for Allentown. Here he went to work for Charles Hanzelman’s organ factory (his obituary misspelled it Heintzleman, apparently confusing it with a prominent Allentown family) to learn the trade of organ maker. The factory was located on Walnut St. near 9th.  The term factory in the context of pre-Civil War Lehigh Valley should not be taken to mean mass production. Like many things in the 19th century, organ making was still largely a skilled trade. Babp should be seen as more of a skilled organ maker then a factory worker.

The biggest thing that happened in Babp’s long life was the Civil War. Although there are no known photos of Babp, he may be in one of those collective photos of graying, bewhiskered veterans that were taken in the early 20th century at Center Square. On September 17, 1861 he joined the 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He signed up in Northampton County and was a part of Company B, which was largely made up of Northampton County volunteers. The regiment formed up in Harrisburg on November 16, 1861 for three years enlistment. At that time nobody assumed that the war was going to take long. The 24-year-old Babp saw his first action on February 8, 1862 in the battle of Roanoke Island. This was followed by the battle of New Bern, North Carolina.

In July the 51st Pa. was ordered north to Virginia. They saw plenty of action serving at the Second Battle of Bull Run along with the battles of Chantilly and South Mountain. And this put them on September 17, 1862, exactly a year after Babp’s enlistment, in line for the battle of Antietam (Lee’s invasion into Maryland) as part of the Army of the Potomac.

One of the most important moments of this confused, bloody mess christened with the name of a battle occurred at a stone bridge. Then called Rohrbach Bridge, it was used by farmers to take their produce to market. Today it is known as Burnside’s Bridge after the bumbling Union General Ambrose Burnside who had been given the task of capturing it. His commander was the imperious, ambitious General George McClellan, aka the Little Napoleon. McClellan despised Lincoln, who he went out of his way to snub. He knew he would make a better president than that hayseed with his corn-fed jokes and ran against him for the White House in 1864. He lost.

Burnside’s opposite number was Confederate Brigadier General Robert Toombs. Toombs was convinced that by rights he should be the President of the Confederacy. After a brief, tumultuous time as the Secretary of State, he resigned to join the army.

Historians still debate whether Burnside or McClellan was most responsible for sending the flower of the Union Army charging against entrenched Confederate sharpshooters. But send them they did, turning the Antietam Creek red. After three hours of this futile combat the 51st Pennsylvania and the 51st New York were called in to take up the task.

Both regiments were led by Brigadier General Edward Ferrero, a dapper former dancing master from New York who gave a rousing speech.

Finally, the 51st Pa. in the person of Corporal Lewis Patterson spoke up. Described by historian Stephen Sears as a “fractious head case outfit,” they had been denied their whiskey ration for some infraction.  “If we take the bridge, sir, can we have our whiskey?” shouted Patterson. Without missing a beat Ferrero shouted back, “Yes, by God!” The words were greeted with a cheer.

The Rebels were low on ammunition and had been fighting for three hours. Yet they still were able to keep up a heavy fire. Members of the bridge assault started to drop. Finally, the two regiments joined and, Sears writes, “in a solid column under two regimental flags side by side,” they carried the bridge. Standing next to the bridge, Col. John F. Hartranft, of the 51st Pa and later to be Pennsylvania’s governor was shouting himself hoarse. “Come on boys, for I can’t halloo anymore.” When his voice finally gave out Hartranft vigorously waved his hat.

A few days after. when one of “the bloodier contests of that bloody day was over,” the dancing master kept his promise and 51st Pa. got its reward, a full keg of it. They had suffered 21 dead and 84 wounded.


Where Private Abraham Babp was in all this is unknown. But one thing is fairly certain, he was not with his comrades when they faced the Rebels again at Fredericksburg in December, 1862 when Burnside was defeated by Lee. It was probably in early October, 1862 when they were camped at Pleasant Valley, Maryland that Babp left them. Babp became ill from with what the newspaper called “unsanitary camp conditions,” i.e., dysentery, which took the lives of more men North and South than bullets and also that of little Willie Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son.

Babp was taken to Harewood military hospital in Washington, to recover. It was here that he discovered his wood working skills. “He showed adeptness at wood carving by whittling from roots dainty napkin rings that are really works of art,” noted his obituary. “Three of these completed in November and December of 1862, encircled with blossoms and twigs, are all part of the main piece of wood. Carved on the edge are his name and regiment with which he served, the name of the hospital and the date when completed. Rings, emblematic of his regiment were also carved by him from bone and wood.”

Babp was discharged from the 51st Pa. on April 17, 1863. He returned to Allentown and took up his work as an organ builder, only now using his skills as a woodworker to decorate them as well.  He also installed organs in churches. In 1878/79 Babp began to list himself in the city directory as a carpenter instead of organ maker. Charles Hanzelman closed the organ factory in 1881 and died the following year.

For the next 40 years Babp built many homes in Allentown.  He did so working in cooperation with other artesian builders. By the early 20th century he was listed in the city directory as a yeoman, someone who lived off his investments in local property, many of which he probably built than rented out.

Sometime after returning from the war Babp married Sarah R. Kramer. In 1872 he built his home at 1222 where he raised two daughters. His wife died around 1915.  He lived on in his home with daughter Anna (his other daughter married and moved to New York) until his death. Anna Babp lived there until her death in the 1940s. Shortly thereafter it was converted to offices.

Shelby Edwards and James Whitney honor and respect Abraham Babp’s life and memory and his spirit. “We feel in a way he is welcoming us to Allentown.”

Annual Appeal for the CWRT of Eastern PA

Annual Appeal for the CWRT of Eastern PA


Dear members and supporters of the Civil War Round Table of Eastern PA, Inc,

On this link, please find a letter of appeal for your support of our organization. As you all are most likely aware, the cost of "doing business" of any organization or business always seems to rise, not fall as time passes. This is true for our CWRT as well. Venue costs go up as food and staff costs increase; speaker costs rise as we do provide accommodations as needed as well as provide travel reimbursement. Our goal is always to support historic preservation and educational initiatives with whatever money we retain over expenses. None of our Officers and Board members receive payment other than occasional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. Most of them donate more than time and energy and do it freely and passionately.

It is not or intent or desire to increase our dues or dinner costs as we wish to encourage membership and we wish to keep our dinner cost affordable. We feel strongly that our members and friends receive excellent value for both items. 

We do need your help however. We realize that all of us receive pleas, especially at this time of the year, and we also realize that there are more good causes than any of us as individuals can possibly support.

This plea is definitely a soft sell as we do not wish any of you to feel that there is  pressure to make any sort of a donation at this time. It is strictly up to each of you to decide if this is something you wish to do and have the resources to do.

Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated. Donations may be tax-deductible as the CWRT is a 501(C)3  -non-profit corporation.


Edwin Root and the Officers and Directors of the CWRT of Eastern PA, Inc

Link to Appeal Letter and Donation Form

From the Brigade Commander ~ December 2018

From the Brigade Commander


     If any of you missed our November meeting you missed an excellent evening with Gordon Rhea. He is one of the preeminent historians and authors of our day. His series of offerings on the Overland Campaign of 1864 are wonderful. Some folks are great writers but not polished speakers. Gordon tops the list on both accounts. If you don’t have his most recent book, On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4-15 1864 run out and treat yourself for the Holiday Season. Gordon’s analysis of Grant and Lee was both entertaining and informative. Special thanks to those members who assisted financially in bringing Mr Rhea to the Lehigh Valley.  

     We have a number of items that have been donated over time that do not quite meet our book raffle guide lines so some will be available at very reasonable prices at the Sign In table. With the holidays fast approaching there are some wonderful gift choices! 

     At recent meeting we have encouraged those who can’t attend the dinner portion of our gathering to move forward from the “walk in” section of the room to better hear and see the speaker. Once the meal is over we’ll announce when it’s appropriate to move your chair or find an empty spot at one of the tables. The choice is yours so sit wherever you are comfortable. We want all attendees to get the best experience from each program.

     I announced at the November meeting that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. See information concerning this fun and important event further on in this newsletter.                                                                                                  

     Our Tri-fold Meeting and Speakers information sheets are a wonderful way to spread the word about our meetings and Programs. Please help us grow by doing your part to get our message out into the community!!! 

     Bill Frankenfield has graciously donated 4 general admission tickets to the National Museum of the Civil War Medicine sites. These include the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD, the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in Washington, DC and the Pry House Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield. Your Board of Directors will be working on the best way to determine how this gift should be utilized.

     Thanks to everyone who responded to our monthly contest on a word definition from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. Remember, the first person who finds the word and definition in our website and emails me receives 3 free book raffle tickets at our December meeting.

     Dues are overdue! Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates at the December meeting.

     Please join us on December 4th when Rich Rosenthal will present, “Civil War Women of Compassion, Courage and Grit.” See you then!

                             Ed Root   610-417-6673

Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

Scene in movie Gettysburg between  R E LEE & JEB Stuart filmed here.

Scene in movie Gettysburg between
R E LEE & JEB Stuart filmed here.

Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

Our annual work day will entail work at the John Slyder Farm on the southern end of the battlefield. As always there will be something for everyone including fence painting & fence rebuilding. This will be our 5th year since we’ve expanded our role by including partners from Saucon Valley High School, Boy Scout Troop 89 from New Tripoli & the Whitehall Historical Society. Most groups who volunteer at Gettysburg have limited numbers and have limited goals. Because our numbers have reached 40 to 50 some folks we have been able to help the National Park Service staff accomplish projects other group cannot attempt. Caitlin Brown, Park Coordinator will once interpret action that occurred on the site after our task is completed. All are welcome. Please advise me if you know of any other folks outside of our CWRT membership who may have an interest in this rewarding labor.

Fence Painting

Fence Painting

    The John Slyder farm was on the western side of Big Round Top, just down Plum Run from the Devil’s Den. John had moved from Maryland and bought the 75 acre farm in 1849. By the 1860’s it included a two story stone house, barn, blacksmith and carpenter shops, an orchard of peach and pear trees, thirty acres of timber and eighteen acres of meadow.

Fence Rebuild

Fence Rebuild

   On July 2nd Confederate General John B. Hood’s Division swept across Slyder’s farm in its advance toward the Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The crops and orchards were trampled and destroyed and the farm buildings became a Confederate field hospital, with the family’s possessions looted or spoiled. Two months after the battle, in September, John sold the farm and moved to Ohio. The Slyder family had connections with other Gettysburg families. John’s wife Catherine was the sister of Lydia Leister, whose house became General Meade’s headquarters during the battle. And in October of 1863 John’s son William married Josephine Miller, the granddaughter of Peter and Susan Rogers, whose farm lay on Emmitsburg Road.

Vermont Sharpshooters monument. (L-R) Jeff Gates, Tony Major, Caitlin Brown & Chuck Cannon

Vermont Sharpshooters monument. (L-R) Jeff Gates, Tony Major, Caitlin Brown & Chuck Cannon

   The farm passed to the Snyder family, who owned it around the turn of the century. It is now owned by the National Park Service. The monument to Companies E & H, Second United States Sharpshoters (Vermont Sharpshooters) is beside the driveway in front of the farmhouse. 

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