“General J. Johnston Pettigrew”
One of the last battles of the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign took place near Williamsport, Maryland, when Union cavalry attacked the Confederate rear guard at Falling Waters, named for a nearby small waterfall in the Potomac River. The swirling fighting took the life of CSA Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew, who had led a significant portion of the troops which had assaulted the Union line on Cemetery Ridge during the Battle of Gettysburg (the celebrated Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Assault popularly known as Pickett’s Charge).
However, most of Robert E. Lee’s Rebels managed to evacuate successfully across the Potomac River at Williamsport and Falling Waters, vexing President Abraham Lincoln who had hoped to destroy Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia before it could return to Virginia.
More than a decade ago, Civil War buff George F. Franks III, a Navy veteran and business consultant, purchased one of the historic properties on the old Falling Waters battlefield. He researched the battle extensively, became active in local preservation activities, and began writing a manuscript on the fight.
The book- Battle of Falling Waters 1863: Custer, Pettigrew and the End of the Gettysburg Campaign is a fascinating read.
“The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War" presented by David A Ward
“On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4 – 15, 1864 presented by Gordon Rhea
Gordon C. Rhea is considered a foremost expert on the Overland Campaign. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the battles of Cold Harbor, North Anna, Spotsylvania Court House and the Wilderness, as well as a respected attorney in Charleston, S.C.
“The American Civil War” presented by Elizabeth Varon
Elizabeth R. Varon is an American historian, and Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia.
“Photographing Civil War Battlefields” presented by Chris Heisey
“Hinsonville's Heroes: Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County, PA”
presented Cheryl Renée Gooch
“Letters to Homefront Magazine: A Love Story Between a Community and Its WWII Soldiers” presented by Mark Blau
“Letters to Homefront Magazine: A Love Story Between a Community and Its WWII Soldiers” presented by Mark Blau
“Ethnics in the Confederacy” presented by Ted Alexander
“In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas W. Colley in the 1st Virginia Cavalry” presented by Michael K. Shaffer
“In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas W. Colley in the 1st Virginia Cavalry” presented by Michael K. Shaffer
“Grant and the Siege of Chattanooga” presented by Ken Serfass
(as General Ulysses S. Grant)
September, 1862 was the worst period of Lincoln's presidency. At no other time was the United States closer to a permanent divided states. Confederate armies were conducting offensives along a 1,000 miles front from Mississippi to Maryland. Could Washington be saved from invasion? Could Pennsylvania be protected from Robert E. Lee's Rebels? Could Lincoln find a general that could win? No one knew . . . at that moment, at that time. We will live the drama as it unfolds.
Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Dennis has written ten books and 99 articles, with his newest book just released: Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination. His previous book, "September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril," won the Laney prize for best Civil War scholarship. Dennis has appeared in numerous documentaries on PBS, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, A&E, Discovery, CSPAN, Fox News and Voice of America. Dennis helped produce Emmy-award shows on John Brown, Antietam, and Maryland during the Civil War. Dennis is an original founder and past president of two nationally renowned preservation organizations - the Civil War Trust and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Dennis also is a battlefield guide in demand, leading tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic and the New York Times. He and his wife Sylvia have restored General Burnside's post-Antietam headquarters as their residence.
Dennis will have two books for sale: the new release (out only 2 weeks) Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination as well as September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril. Special deal for anyone buying both - $35.00 (normal retail would be $48).
Additional Note: Many of you enjoy arriving at our dinner meeting a little early to partake of comradeship and an adult beverage at the Holiday Inn watering hole. As part of our 40th year Anniversary Celebration Tony Major has arranged for a Cash Bar to be set up in our meeting room. This will allow you to not only enjoy a beverage and also to chat with all who attend. We do have a minimum to meet so if you are so inclined please come straight to the meeting room. Kindly spread the word as I forgot to mention this important information at the May meeting!! If all goes well we might be able to extend this service to our regular meetings. Thank you, Ed
LEHIGH VALLEY CIVIL WAR DAYS TO COMMEMORATE THE BATTLES OF CHANCELLORSVILLE AND SPOTSYLVANIA
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE SCHEDULE
Event opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Jackson’s flank attack at Chancellorsville, which took place in May 1863, will be featured (the only known reenactment of the Chancellorsville Battle to take place this year). Jackson’s assault on the 11th Corp, in particular Northampton County’s 153rd PA regiment, forced the Union to retreat.
The local reenacting group that portrays the 153rd PA Volunteers will be featured in this battle. The battle will be reenacted on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. A battlefield lecture by Jeffrey Stocker author of “We Fought Desperate”: A History of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment will precede the battle.
On Sunday, a reenactment of the battle of the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania will take place at 11:00 a.m. Trench battles demonstrating the changing face of war will also be held each day along with behind the scenes tours of the trenches during breaks in the fighting.
Military camps, a field hospital, displays on the US Sanitary Commission, Victorian parlor past times, children’s games, and a recruitment center will be among the offerings held daily. Lectures, a Victorian fashion show and period music will be offered at the Lyceum. The event closes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Admission is free for spectators. Food is available. Donations to benefit Civil War battlefield preservation will be accepted. On Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. a period dance and concert will be held. Everyone is invited to attend. Weather permitting; a rifle firing demonstration is planned after the concert.
Please do not wear period attire or bring weapons to the event unless you are a registered participant.
For information and directions, please visit their website at
or call Neil Coddington at (610) 837-7403
U.S. GRANT: THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN
MONDAY, MAY 14 AT 7 PM
Co-sponsored by SLPL and Civil War Roundtable of Eastern PA
SLPL and Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania are proud to present Kenneth J. Serfass, a USMC Veteran and long time Civil War reenactor, as General U.S. Grant. Ken has been a student of Grant all his life. He has appeared nationally on television and film and has been featured at numerous speaking engagements.
Use this link to register
Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War Presented by Carleton Young
Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of letters written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there.
Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching the two Vermont soldiers. In Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters.
Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in economics and English from Westminster College and Point Park University, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his PhD in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American history at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He has also taught classes as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
“Voices From the Attic is a substantial contribution to the genre of first-person Civil War accounts becoming so popular today … (and) would make a worthwhile addition to any Civil War student’s bookshelf.” Civil War News
“More than another good narrative, the book is an adventure of historical research and discovery.” Vermont History Journal
“Offers a deeply interesting look into two detailed experiences of the war which explore the battles as well as life in between … Unlike other soldiers who may have skipped over tough details when writing home to families, the brothers did not shy away from describing the horror of battles, their hardships in camp, and what they saw as they marched through the South … More than merely satisfying an interest in the war, the author demonstrates our surprising connections to each other both past and present.” Western Pennsylvania History Journal
Annual Gettysburg Conservation Day Saturday, April 21st, 2018
Annual Gettysburg Conservation Day Saturday, April 21st, 2018
(For trip details see post under Brigade News)
As you probably know our Round Table was one of the first organizations to volunteer for “Brush Cutting” at Gettysburg NMP. We’ve been doing this for well over 20 years. For most of that time we have been a “Fire Brigade” going wherever the need was the greatest. This year will be no exception.
On November 4th Chuck Cannon, Jeff Gates and I met with NPS Site Co-Ordinator Alyce Evans at the Henry Spangler Farm located on the right side Emmititsburg Road as you head south from town. (the entrance is a dirt road which will be marked) The property is about 300 yards west of the road and consists of a house, smoke house and barn. Kemper’s Brigade of Pickett’s Division organized near here for the assault on July 3, 1863. As in previous years we have something for all ages and abilities. There will be brush cutting around fence lines, some fences will need rebuilding and for the artistic there is a picket fence that needs painting. We’ll also need drivers if none of the above fits your job description capabilities.
We’ll work from about 9AM until 12:30 or so. Bring your lunch and eat on the job or wait until everything is done and go into town. As a reward for your service one of the NPS staff will give a history of the property and fighting there when we complete our tasks.
There will be sign-up sheets starting at the December meeting. We have a wonderful tradition of service at Gettysburg NMP. Be part of our continuing work to maintain and preserve this national treasure.
“The Historic Funeral of Abraham Lincoln”
Slide/Lecture held at J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home - Saturday, April 14, 12:00 NOON and 1:15 p.m.
This slideshow & lecture takes you on an amazing journey in time as you travel with the Lincoln Funeral Train. This program will be held at the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, 1601 Hamilton Street in Allentown. It will be presented twice—once at 12:00 NOON and a second time at 1:15 p.m.
Join us this weekend on April 14-15, 2018 for a special living history event at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine featuring the Blue and Gray Hospital Association.
Members of the Blue and Gray will be in the Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room describing the medical history of America’s bloodiest conflict. Dressed as members of the Union Army’s medical department and armed with period medical equipment, the unit brings a unique perspective to understanding the conflict which helps bring Civil War medical care to life. The living history presentations are included with museum admission and FREE for Museum members.
The Blue and Gray Hospital Association are a Civil War living history organization that includes members from PA, MD, VA, & WV. Founded January 1, 2012, the Blue and Gray participate in a variety of different educational activities which include living histories, historical workshops, field trips, lectures and presentations. The association includes a medical staff, a chaplain, privates, nurses, laundress, seamstresses, and cooks.
Visit civilwarmed.org or contact Jake Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Saturday - Sunday April 14 - 15 | 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Delaplaine Randall Conference Room
48 E Patrick Street | Frederick, MD 21701
Our speaker tonight is Dave Bastian, the author of Grant's Canal; the Union's Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg (now out of print). He has given his presentations to over 90 CWRTs. Tonight’s presentation, based upon his book, is about the two Union campaigns against Vicksburg. It focuses on the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging a canal across the narrow bend opposite the town. Had the Union succeeded, they would have had immediate and complete control of the river (definitely in the summer of 1862 and possibly in the winter of 1863). The presentation explores Vicksburg's geographical importance and the topographical characteristics that made it so defensible.
Most books are a new twist on a battle, campaign or leader. His book and presentation are about a totally new topic; one that historians have really not understood to date. As a civil engineer who lived in Vicksburg, he understands the river and how close the Union came in succeeding. Had they succeeded, Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target.
This was an engineering project - diverting the Mighty Mississippi! - an engineering solution to a military problem.
Dave has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters in river engineering from Delft University in the Netherlands. Of interest, he was a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal that produced the feasibility study for the Canal’s current enlargement. More recently he worked on the post-Katrina levee rebuild in New Orleans and co-authored a book that came out in 2014, New Orleans, Hurricanes from the Start.
His book, Grant's Canal, the Union's Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg is out of print but available on Amazon & Ebay.
THE MARCH 6th DINNER MEETING WILL BE HELD TONIGHT!
IT APPEARS THE WEATHER WILL HOLD OFF UNTIL AFTER THE EVENT - COME JOIN US!
Crossing the Deadlines:
Civil War Prisons Reconsidered by Michael Gray
The presentation will focus on my new book, Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered, which fills a void in the scholarship of Civil War prison historiography into the new century. I attempted to assemble some of the most promising and established scholars in the field shed light on recent trends and original research. Due to its eclectic mix of contributors—from academic and public historians to anthropologists currently excavating at specific stockade sites—the collection appeals to a variety of scholarly and popular audiences. Readers will discover how the Civil War incarceration narrative has advanced to include environmental, cultural, social, religious, retaliatory, racial, archaeological, and memory approaches. My own contribution will also be a main focus, how Civil War prisons became a dark tourist destination during the Civil War.
As the historiography of Civil War captivity continues to evolve, readers of Crossing the Deadlines will discover elaboration on themes that emerged in William Hesseltine’s classic collection, Civil War Prisons, as well as interconnections with more recent interdisciplinary scholarship. Rather than being dominated by policy analysis, this collection examines the latest trends, methodologies, and multidisciplinary approaches in Civil War carceral studies. Unlike its predecessor, which took a micro approach on individual prisons and personal accounts, Crossing the Deadlines is a compilation of important themes that are interwoven on broader scale by investigating many prisons North and South.
Although race played a major role in the war, its study has not been widely integrated into the prison narrative; a portion of this collection is dedicated to the role of African Americans as both prisoners and guards and to the slave culture and perceptions of race that perpetuated in prisons. Trends in environmental, societal and cultural implications related to prisons are investigated as well as the latest finds at prison excavation sites, including the challenges and triumphs in awakening Civil War prisons’ memory at historical sites.
Michael P. Gray is Professor of History at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he teaches courses on U.S. History to 1877, the Civil War, Interpreting Civil War Sites & Memory, U.S. Military History, and War and Society-he is currently developing a "special topics" course on Civil War prisons and the home front. His first book, The Business of Captivity: Elmira and its Civil War Prison (Kent State University Press, 2001), was a finalist for the Seaborg Award, and a chapter of that work, first published in Civil War History, earned "Honorable Mention" for the Eastern National Award. In 2011, he wrote the new introduction to Ovid L. Futch's classic History of Andersonville Prison, and in 2013, "Captivating Captives: An Excursion to Johnson's Island Prison" in Union Heartland: The Midwestern Home Front During the Civil War. Gray's latest work is an edited volume entitled Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered, available in October 2018. He has won internal and external grants relating to the prisons, including "Civil War Prison Archeology: Team Teaching Public History on Johnson's Island" (2011) as well as the "National Prisoner of War Grant," Andersonville, Georgia (2014). Gray also serves as the series editor to Voices of the Civil War with the University of Tennessee Press, which has produced more than 50 primary source volumes related to the conflict. In 2013 he was presented with the "ESU Student Senate Award for Outstanding University Faculty Member," and in 2014, he was the recipient of the ESyoU Employee of the Year Award for "exceptional service to the university and success of students." In 2015 Gray's expertise on Civil War prisons resulted in him being interviewed by CNN. In the past year, Gray was also featured on the Learning Channel's "Who Do You Think You Are" with Jessica Biel, which dealt with finding the history of a lost ancestor incarcerated at a Civil War Prison..
Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County - a Presentation
The Citizens for the Restoration of Historical LaMott (Cheltenham Twp outside Philadelphia) invite you to attend a presentation by Dr Cheryl Gooch on "Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County." See photo below or click here for a pdf copy.
To be held Sunday February 25th at 3pm at 7420 Sycamore Ave in LaMott PA
"The Wounded Soon Began To Pour In...: The George Spangler Farm and the Union 11th Corps Hospital at Gettysburg," with Wayne E. Motts
"The Wounded Soon Began To Pour In...: The George Spangler Farm and the Union 11th Corps Hospital at Gettysburg," with Wayne E. Motts on Saturday, February 24, 2018, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm.
Wayne Motts will take you back 155 years to the scene of Gettysburg's best preserved and documented field hospital. His presentation will include unpublished, rare, and seldom scene material associated with the farm and its history.
This is the second of twelve presentations in the 2018 Lessons in History Speaker Series, held in the education gallery, first floor of The National Civil War Museum.
This program is free to the public. Regular museum admission applies for entrance to the museum galleries.
The National Civil War Museum
1 Lincoln Circle in Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, PA 17103
Saturday, February 17, 2018
10:00 am- 4:00 pm
PLUS on Sunday, February 18, 2018 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm as an added feature to the weekend...
"Remembering Mr.Lincoln" with Myra Reichart
Please join Myra Reichart as she presents: Remembering Mr. Lincoln - More than four months had passed since the armies had marched away from Gettysburg. The very fabric of the little community had been rent asunder-the lives of its citizens changed forever. November 1863 would bring a time for remembering and reflecting, for rededication and yes, even for celebrating. The President was coming to town! Join the citizens of Gettysburg as, amid their struggle to rebuild their shattered community and survive the coming winter, they pause to welcome the President and dedicate a cemetery to their fallen heroes.
This special program is included in the cost of regular Museum admission and is Free to Museum members.
Embattled Freedom takes readers into the 1800s, to a dramatic period of interracial history in northeastern Pennsylvania. The focus is the village of Waverly, Pa. Being a native of Waverly, Jim is especially honored to bring its remarkable black and abolitionist era to light. In learning about Waverly’s runaway slaves and their white allies, Jim came to see how much animosity they faced on the home front, particularly as the Civil War bore down on them.
His Embattled Freedom chronicles a tumultuous world in which ideals collided, politics was thunderous, and national destiny was at stake. You’re invited to enter that world and, as Jim states at the outset of the book, “consider its people, and ponder where you might have positioned yourself had it been your world.”
Jim is a journalist and author of three published books: The Intermarriage Handbook (HarperCollins, 1988), Visions of Teaoga (Sunbury Press, 2014) and, now, Embattled Freedom (Sunbury Press, 2017). Since retiring as Religion Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, he has pursued his keen interest in history, with a focus on under-appreciated aspects of our nation’s local histories.
Embattled Freedom is the result of Jim’s three years of research into local, county and state records, military documents, period newspapers, county and church histories, memoirs, and more. In learning about Waverly’s runaway slaves and their white allies, Jim came to see how much animosity they faced on the home front, particularly as the Civil War bore down on them. His book chronicles a tumultuous world in which ideals collided, politics was thunderous, and national destiny was at stake.
Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus, Director of the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, praised Embattled Freedom as “a fascinating history that needs to be shared.” Sherman Wooden, head of the Center for Anti-Slavery Studies in Montrose, called it “a research gem.”
“The American Civil War on the Homefront”
Presented by Mike Jesberger - Historical Lecturer, Tour Guide and Reenactor
Join re-enactor and historian Mike Jesberger for a discussion of what it was like for civilians during the American Civil War on the home front and the places in our region that made significant contributions to the war effort. The home front and the battlefront were intimately connected during the Civil War.
North and South families sent loved ones off to fight. While sons, fathers, husbands and brothers were gone, family members waited anxiously for word of their whereabouts and safety. However, during the war, women for the first time in American history turned their attention to the outside world and made significant contributions to the war effort.
Mr. Jesberger is an independent military historian who specializes in the American Revolution and Civil War time periods. He is renowned for his depth and breadth of knowledge , as well as his engaging and passionate presentation style, whether providing formal lectures, living history presentations or tours of historic sites in the Tri-state area.
A member of numerous history based organizations and active in the reenactment community, he participates in numerous battle reenactments, living history programs and ceremonies to honor our first and current veterans. A lifelong resident of the Philadelphia region, Mr. Jesberger is a native of Northeast Philadelphia and has relocated to Bucks and Montgomery County, PA and currently resides in Lansdale, PA with his wife, Amy, Son, Erik and two daughters, Erin and Emma.
Timothy H. Smith is a native of Baltimore and a lifelong student of the American Civil War. He is employed as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park and as a research historian at the Adams County Historical Society. He is an instructor for the Gettysburg Elderhostel and teaches classes on the battle and local history at the Gettysburg Campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College. Tim has written numerous articles and authored or co-authored ten books on Gettysburg related topics, including John Burns: The Hero of Gettysburg (2000) . He has lectured extensively at Civil War Round Tables and Seminars and has appeared on several television documentaries, including the Unknown Civil War and the popular PCN Gettysburg Battle Walk series.
About Tim Smith’s Topic, Photography at Gettysburg
In the aftermath of the great battle, sightseers, reporters and photographers descended on the town of Gettysburg. In 1863 alone, seven different photography firms or individual recorded scenes at Gettysburg. In 1867 two local firms recorded a vast number of stereo views, increasing the total number of views recorded in Gettysburg during the 1860s to over 300. During the decades that followed, thousands more photographs were recorded by local and national firms. Join Timothy H. Smith as we examine some of these views and discus the photographic coverage of the battlefield.
David Dixon earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California and his M.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts. He spent 35 years in marketing with Fortune 500 companies. David published numerous articles in scholarly journals and magazines. Most have focused on black history and Union supporters in the Civil War South.
David’s website is called “B-List History.” It focuses on historical figures who were important in their time, but are all but forgotten today.
Recently, David published his first book, The Lost Gettysburg Address: Charles Anderson’s Civil War Odyssey. The biography received widespread acclaim. David has since spoken at the 2016 Sacred Trust Talks at the Gettysburg, been interviewed on Civil War Talk Radio and has made appearances at historical societies, libraries, conferences, and private clubs across the country. He is one of the most popular speakers on the Civil War Round Table circuit.
David’s book recounts the unusual life story of Charles Anderson, a slave owner who sacrificed nearly everything to help Lincoln save the Union. Anderson’s speech, which followed Lincoln’s at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, remained lost for nearly 150 years until it was discovered recently. A transcript of this speech, along with rare photographs and a hand-drawn map of the Stones River battlefield, are all published in Dixon’s book for the first time.
Currently, David is writing the first full-length biography of Union General August Willich, a German 48er who distinguished himself in a number of important battles.
Chris Bryce began his National Park Service Career in 1987 as a seasonal park ranger at Manassas National Battlefield Park. He became a permanent employee in 1988 as an interpretive park ranger at Independence National Historical Park.
In 1992, he returned to Manassas NBP serving as an interpretive park ranger. In 1999, he became an interpretive park ranger at Colonial National Historical Park/Yorktown Battlefield. In 2008, he became the supervisory park ranger for the Historic Jamestowne unit of Colonial National Historical Park. Where he oversaw the visitor services operations of the site. He is currently the Chief of Interpretation for Petersburg National Battlefield a position he has held since 2010.
Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration in 18th and 19th American military history and 20th century European military history from East Tennessee State University. He resides with his family in Williamsburg, VA
The ostensible goal of the controversial Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond (February 28–March 3, 1864) was to free some 13,000 Union prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital. But orders found on the dead body of the raid’s subordinate commander, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, point instead to a plot to capture or kill Confederate president Jefferson Davis and set Richmond ablaze. What really happened, and how and why, are debated to this day. Kill Jeff Davis offers a fresh look at the failed raid and mines newly discovered documents and little-known sources to provide definitive answers.
In this detailed and deeply researched account of the most famous cavalry raid of the Civil War, author Bruce M. Venter describes an expedition that was carefully planned but poorly executed. A host of factors foiled the raid: bad weather, poor logistics, inadequate command and control, ignorance of the terrain, the failures of supporting forces, and the leaders’ personal and professional shortcomings. Venter delves into the background and consequences of the debacle, beginning with the political maneuvering orchestrated by commanding brigadier general Judson Kilpatrick to persuade President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to approve the raid. Venter’s examination of the relationship between Kilpatrick and Brigadier General George A. Custer illuminates the reasons why the flamboyant Custer was excluded from the Richmond raid.
In a lively narrative describing the multiple problems that beset the raiders, Kill Jeff Davis uncovers new details about the African American guide whom Dahlgren ordered hanged; the defenders of the Confederate capital, who were not just the “old men and young boys” of popular lore; and General Benjamin F. Butler’s expedition to capture Davis, as well as Custer’s diversionary raid on Charlottesville.
Venter’s thoughtful reinterpretations and well-reasoned observations put to rest many myths and misperceptions. He tells, at last, the full story of this hotly contested moment in Civil War history.
About our presenter: Bruce Venter’s major interest is Civil War cavalry with an emphasis on the career of Union general Judson Kilpatrick. He frequently lectures on the cavalry and has led bus tours on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid, the focus of his book, Kill Jeff Davis. In 2012 he participated in a re-enactment of Dahlgren’s raid thru Goochland County where he rode with over 80 troopers for three days, serving as their historian. He is a past president of the Richmond Civil War Round Table and currently serves as 1st vice president of the Goochland County Historical Society. He has published articles in Blue and Gray, Civil War, Patriots of the American Revolution, Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, Washington Times and numerous professional journals. He is also the author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America. Venter spent 36 years in public education before his retirement, mostly as an assistant superintendent in school systems in New York, Virginia and Maryland. He holds a B.A. in history from Manhattan College and a master’s in public administration and doctorate in educational administration from the University at Albany. Bruce Venter is president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company which he founded in 2010. He lives in Goochland County, Virginia, with his wife Lynne and their beagle “Sally Seddon.”
Mr. Eric Campbell has worked has worked for the National Park Service for 31 years, at a variety of sites, including Independence National Historical Park and 24 years at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has also authored over two dozen articles and essays for scholarly publications.
He has been the chief of interpretation at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park since 2009 where he has overseen the planning for future interpretation at the park, including the creation of ranger-lead programs, brochures, exhibits and displays for the park’s new Visitor Contact Station, and lead the planning for the park’s 150th anniversary commemoration activities and events in 2014.
Early's 1864 Summer Campaign
Lt. Gen. Jubal Early's campaign in the summer of 1864 was one of the mostly brilliantly conducted operations during the war. Using rapid marching and deception, along with hard-hitting attacks, Early took his small independent command from Richmond, through the Shenandoah Valley and to the very gates of Washington, DC. Early's campaign covered hundreds of miles and involved no less than five battles, along with numerous skirmishes. Early's cartographer, Jedidiah Hotchkiss went so far has to claim, that Early's campaign was "by all odds the most successful expedition we have ever made into the enemy’s country."
This program will provide an overview of the entirety of Early's summer operations; from his detachment from the Army of Northern Virginia in mid-June, through his invasion of Maryland to the outskirts of Washington, DC and his final operations in the Lower Valley in July and August (including the Burning of Chambersburg). Although mostly relegated to secondary importance in the history books, Early's summer campaign not only accomplished all of his objectives, but also greatly influenced events on a strategic level that fall.
Jamie Malanowski has been a writer and editor for 30 years. Currently Senior Speechwriter in the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, he has been an editor at Spy, Esquire; Time; and Playboy. He also served as the Lead Writer for the award-winning Disunion series in The New York Times. He is the author of And the War Came, an account of the six months that led up to the attack on Fort Sumter, and Commander Will Cushing, Daredevil Hero of the Civil War, as well as two novels. He lives in Briarcliff, New York.
October 1864: The confederate ironclad Albemarle had sunk two federal warships and battered seven others, taking control of the Roanoke River in North Carolina and threatening the Union blockade. Twenty-one-year-old Navy lieutenant Will Cushing hatched a daring plan: to attack the fearsome warship with a few dozen men in two small wooden boats.
What followed, the close-range torpedoing of the Albemarle and Cushing’s harrowing escape from rebel posses, is one of the most dramatic individual exploits in American military history, and the capstone of a career full of adventures.
In Commander Will Cushing, Daredevil Hero of the Civil War, Jamie Malanowski brings to life a compelling and unheralded figure on the 150th anniversary of his greatest feat. Theodore Roosevelt said “(Cushing)comes next to Farragut on the hero roll of American naval history,” but few have ever heard of him today. Tossed out of the Naval Academy for “buffoonery,” frequently cautioned for headstrong and impetuous behavior, Cushing proved himself a prodigy in behind-the-lines warfare.
“Like many war stories, the tale of the young and rebellious Commander Will Cushing was tucked away into the dusty archives of history. Jamie Malanowski skillfully resurrects Cushing’s courageous adventures on the high seas during the Civil War in this action-packed page-turner. Beginning with Cushing’s youthful pranks at the U.S. Naval Academy and culminating with his triumphant sinking of the Confederate CSS Albermarle, Commander Will Cushing is a must-read about a daring young soldier whose extraordinary achievements have earned him a place alongside America’s most celebrated naval heroes.” -- Senator John McCain.
George F. Franks, III has been passionate about the study of the American Civil War since visiting the Gettysburg battlefield with his parents in July 1963. He studied history at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh. A former telecommunications executive with extensive international experience, he is currently the President of Franks Consulting Group and the owner of CockedHats.com, a historical hat business. George is the founder and President of the Battle of Falling Waters 1863 Foundation, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. He is the former President of the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table, a member of Hagerstown Civil War Round Table, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the Civil War Trust. George is also a Governor and a former Vice President of the Company of Military Historians. He researched the July 14, 1863 battle of Falling Waters, Maryland for a decade. Melissa Cooperson and George own and live in the 1830 Daniel Donnelly House on the battlefield.
The story of the Gettysburg Campaign, both before and after the July 1-3, 1863, battle, has recently received increased attention from historians. The movement of the Army of Northern Virginia from Gettysburg and its pursuit by the Army of the Potomac are every bit as important to the study of the American Civil War as the events in and around the small crossroads town in Pennsylvania. Many historians agree the Gettysburg Campaign concluded with the Battle of Falling Waters, Maryland, on July 14, 1863. Although not the climactic battle of the war desired by President Abraham Lincoln, it remains a story of miscalculation, bravery, larger-than-life personalities, tragedy and a cover-up. This new book tells the story of that final battle.
The story does not end with the battle. Included is an intriguing tale about veterans of the Battle of Falling Waters, Maryland decades after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s rear guard clashed with Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s cavalry. The book concludes with a detailed description of the battlefield today and efforts to preserve portions of the land for future generations.
George Franks has made extensive use of first-hand accounts, detailed maps, period drawings and photographs to breathe life into the crucial yet little remembered end of the Gettysburg Campaign.
The Author can be reached via email at email@example.com or on his web site www.fallingwatersmd1863.com.
Wayne E. Motts
Chief Executive Officer
The National Civil War Museum
Wayne E. Motts is the Chief Executive Officer of The National Civil War Museum, one of the largest museums in the country dedicated to the study, interpretation, preservation and exhibition of the American Civil War.
His professional resume is an impressive list of nationally recognized organizations. Wayne has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Adams County Historical Society, the Curator of the Cumberland County Historical Society, and Senior Research Historian for the TravelBrains Corporation. Wayne has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park since 1988. In 2013, Wayne received the Emeritus Guide designation for more than twenty-five years of service, and as such was one of the youngest guides to be so recognized with that honor.
Wayne received his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Military History from The Ohio State University. He received his Masters of Arts in American History from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.
Wayne is an accomplished author, publishing books and articles about the war including “Trust in God and Fear Nothing, General Lewis A. Armistead,” and (with James Hessler) “Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg; A Guide to the Most Famous Attack in American History.” Wayne can be seen on numerous television documentaries and videos produced by the History Channel, the TNT network, and the A&E channel.
An accomplished speaker, he has given hundreds of presentations about the war in 20 different states to a wide range of groups, historical bodies, and organizations including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
The authors at Pickett's Charge
James Hessler has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2003.
His book Sickles at Gettysburg (Savas Beatie, 2009) was awarded the R.E. Lee Civil War Round Table’s “Bachelder Coddington Award” and the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table’s “Distinguished Book Award” as the most outstanding work on the Gettysburg Campaign.
His latest book, Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, was co-authored with Wayne Motts and was released in July 2015. It has been received very favorably by both readers and critics alike as the first battlefield guide ever published on the famous July 3 assault.
Jim has been a guest on Travel Channel, NPR, PCN-TV, Breitbart News, Civil War Radio, and Gettysburg Daily. He was one of the primary content designers for the Civil War Trust’s mobile Gettysburg application and animated maps. Jim has written several articles for Gettysburg Magazine and other national publications He is a frequent speaker at Civil War Round Tables and has taught courses for the Gettysburg Foundation and Harrisburg (PA) Area Community College.
James Hessler has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2003.
Thucydides, and the American Civil War presented by Dr. Richard Sommers - Historian, Author, Educator
This will be the ninth time Dr. Sommers has been a speaker at the Eastern Pennsylvania Civil War Round Table, beginning in 1979 and occurring most recently in 2008. This presentation by Dr. Sommers offers a different perspective on the causes of the American Civil War -- a perspective propounded by the ancient Greek general and historian Thucydides in the 5th Century, B.C. Far from being unique to his time and place, his principles endure through the ages right up to today. They are still studied by professional military officers at staff colleges and war colleges for their lasting lessons in leadership. They also invite consideration by students of the 1860s, for they may help us understand the outbreak of our own Civil War."
Dr. Richard J. Sommers served for 43+ years at the U.S. Army Military History Institute/U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Even after nominally “retiring” as the Senior Historian of the Center in January of 2014, he continues teaching in the U.S. Army War College, writing about the Civil War, and speaking to Civil War groups across the nation. He has published over 100 books, articles, chapters, entries, and reviews on the Civil War. His most recent book – the expanded, revised, 150th Anniversary edition of Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg – was published by Savas-Beatie in September, 2014. It was honored by the Army Historical Foundation with a Distinguished Writing Award as the best expanded reprint book of 2014 on Army history. In May, 2015, he was designated a Distinguished Fellow of the U.S. Army War College, an honor accorded to only one per cent of the approximately 3400 faculty who have taught at that institution since 1950. A graduate of Carleton College with a doctorate from Rice University, he was born and raised in suburban Chicagoland. He and his wife, Tracy, reside in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.