Oct
3
6:30pm 6:30pm

Grant’s Crossing of the James and the Battle for Petersburg Presented by Chris Bryce

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

View Event →

Sep
5
6:30pm 6:30pm

Kill Jeff Davis: The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond, 1864 Presented by Bruce Venter

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.” 

 

View Event →
Jubal Early’s Army in the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign Presented by Eric Campbell
Jun
6
6:30pm 6:30pm

Jubal Early’s Army in the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign Presented by Eric Campbell

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.

View Event →
Nov
1
6:30pm 6:30pm

Will Cushing, presented by Jamie Malanowski

  • The Center At Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

Cushing summary

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.

View Event →
Oct
4
6:30pm 6:30pm

The Battle at Falling Waters, the end of the Gettysburg Campaign presented by George Franks

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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 fallingwatersmd1863@gmail.com or on his web site www.fallingwatersmd1863.com.

 

 

View Event →
Sep
6
6:30pm 6:30pm

Picket's Charge Presented by Wayne Motts and Jim Hessler

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

 

Wayne E. Motts

 

 Biography

 

 

Chief Executive Officer

The National Civil War Museum

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

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

 

Biography

 

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.

 

 

View Event →
Jun
7
6:30pm 6:30pm

Thucydides, and the American Civil War presented by Dr. Richard Sommers - Historian, Author, Educator

Dr. Richard Sommers

Dr. Richard Sommers

 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.

 

 

View Event →
May
3
6:30pm 6:30pm

" Frankly my dear, Hollywood and the Civil War " presented by Herb Kaufman - Historian

Herb Kaufman

Herb Kaufman

Herb Kaufman has been a teacher, lecturer and living historian of the Civil War for more than 20 years.  He is a founding member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute at Manor College and an Adjunct Instructor of Civil War history at Camden County College.

He is a well-known speaker on a variety of topics relating to the era of the Civil War having presented programs to civic and community groups, and educational and historical associations throughout the Philadelphia area. 

He has also been a Civil War reenactor, and was an Educational Associate at the former MOLLUS Civil War Museum & Library in Philadelphia.  He has received numerous awards for his continuing work in education and support of the history of the Civil War.   Mr. Kaufman is a member of the Board of Directors and Curator of the GAR Civil War Museum and Library of Philadelphia.  He is currently the treasurer of both the Delaware Valley and Old Baldy Civil War Roundtables, and is a member of numerous historical and community organizations.   Mr. Kaufman possesses a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from Temple University. 

 

View Event →
Apr
5
6:30pm 6:30pm

The Gettysburg Address presented by Malcolm Gross - Author, Lecturer

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

 

 

 

 

Mr. Gross will be making a return visit and will be speaking on the “Gettysburg Address” both as to its legal and political background as well as of the events of day and the after-effects of the Address.

He is presently serving as a lecturer at Cedar Crest College, Muhlenberg College, as well as lecturing to various groups including the Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Carbon, and Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Malcolm J. Gross is a partner in the Lehigh Valley law firm of Gross McGinley, LLP.  He has practiced for 50 years in the area and throughout Pennsylvania principally representing clients in commercial litigation and focusing on First Amendment issues.

View Event →
Mar
1
6:30pm 6:30pm

The Monitor presented by Rob Sorensen - Author, Educator

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Bob Sorensen

Bob Sorensen

Bob Sorenson is a professor of Civil Engineering Emeritus at Lehigh and have held previous faculty positions at Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. My graduate studies were at Lehigh (M.S.) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D.).

The talk title is "John Ericsson and the USS Monitor". The focus will be on the design and construction of the Monitor which is better understood by briefly considering the life and character of Ericsson.

View Event →
Feb
2
6:30pm 6:30pm

The Lost Cause presented by Ed Bonekemper - Historian

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Myth of the Lost Cause: False Remembrance of the Civil War

 The Southern-created Myth of the Lost Cause has long dominated Americans' remembrance of the Civil War, the country's watershed event. In many ways, that Myth has been America's most successful propaganda campaign.

 Historian Ed Bonekemper examines the accuracy of the Myth and how it has affected our perception of slavery, states' rights, the nature of the Civil War, and the military performance of Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and James Longstreet. He begins by discussing the nature of slavery in 1860, including whether it was a benign and dying institution.

 The heart of his analysis is whether slavery was the primary cause of secession and the Confederacy's creation. He does this by examining Federal protection of slavery, slavery demographics, seceding states' conventions and declarations, their outreach to other slave states, Confederate leaders' statements, and the Confederacy's foreign policy, POW policy and rejection of black soldiers.

 Drawing on decades of research, Bonekemperthen discusses other controversial Myth issues, such as whether the South could have won the Civil War, whether Lee was a great general, whether Grant was a mere "butcher" who won by brute force, whether Longstreet lost Gettysburg for Lee, and whether the North won by waging "total war."

 Bonekemper is the author of six Civil War books, book review editor of the Civil War News and former adjunct military history lecturer at Muhlenberg College. His latest book is The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won.

View Event →
Exploring Gettysburg presented by Randy Drais - Historian, Lecturer
Jan
5
6:30pm 6:30pm

Exploring Gettysburg presented by Randy Drais - Historian, Lecturer

  • The Center at Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Did you know that there were three privately-owned parks and a trolley line on the battlefield, all roughly operating at the same time?   Did you know that in addition to “citizen soldier” John Burns, the 70+ year old civilian who fought alongside Union troops, there were other citizens who fought as well, including an African-American?  Did you know that one monument, with an interesting story behind it, includes a depiction of a hornet’s nest with hornets angrily buzzing about? Join Randy Drais, amateur Civil War historian and Battle of Gettysburg buff, for a look at many of the lesser known facts, individuals, and locations pertaining to the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg National Military Park. 

View Event →