Welcome to the Civil War Roundtable of Gettysburg. "The most important Roundtable, in the most important small town, at the most important battlefield, in the most important country in the world."
—Joe Mieczkowski, past president


January 23


Too Much for Human Endurance:
The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg

Ron Kirkwood

Our speaker is Ron Kirkwood, the author of Too Much for Human Endurance: The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg. The title was published in hardcover in June 2019 and went into its second printing in October.

Too Much for Human Endurance breaks new ground by arguing that logistically the George Spangler farm was the most important farm in the Battle of Gettysburg. The book also reveals new information about Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead’s time at Spangler, the Granite Schoolhouse hospital, the Spanglers, the Artillery Reserve at Spangler and more as well as stories of the suffering and heroism of the surgeons, nurses and patients at the two hospitals on the Spanglers’ land. The names, wound and treatment of more than 1,400 men at the XI Corps hospital are included.

Ron Kirkwood is retired after a 40-year career as an editor and writer in newspapers and magazines including USA TODAY, the Baltimore Sun, the Harrisburg Patriot-News and York Daily Record. Ron edited national magazines for USA TODAY Sports, he was the editor in charge of National Football League coverage for USA TODAY Sports Weekly and he managed the 32-person copy desk in Harrisburg when the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for its coverage of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State. Ron is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he has returned as guest speaker to journalism classes as part of the school’s Hearst Visiting Professionals series.

Ron has been a Gettysburg Foundation guide at The George Spangler Farm Field Hospital Site since it opened in 2013. He lives in York with his wife of 43 years, Barbara.

Our meetings are the Fourth Thursday of each month.

From September to May, we meet at the GAR Building, 53 East Middle Street. Socializing starting at 6:30 pm, the program starting at 7.

Whenever severe weather is predicted, program information can be found on the roundtable website and Facebook page after 3 PM. Or you can call Bruce at 1-402-686-6969.

Monthly Meeting Minutes

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Bruce Davis ..............................................President

Hilda Koontz............................................Vice President

Eleanor Cingire Bilz...........................Recording Secretary

Linda Seamon...............................Membership Secretary

David Diner...................................................Treasurer

Roger Heller .......................................Program Director

Linda Joswick .............................................Webmaster

Dave Joswick......................................Newsletter Editor

Lynn Heller.................................Facebook Administrator











Fred Hawthorne (5/20), Roger Heller (5/22), Joe Mieczkowski 5/22), Peter Miele (5/21) Dale Molina (5/20), Bill Myers (5/21)
Board Member Ex Officio:
Larry Plymire, Past President: Lynn Heller (5/21)

Next Board Meeting:

Board Meetings are open to all members. Meetings begin at 6:00 pm at Perkins Restaurant in Gettysburg. If you would like to eat before the meeting, please arrive by 5:30 pm. Board meetings are the second Thursday of January, March, May, July, September, and November.

Board Meeting Minutes



Plaque Committee:
Reviews and places plaques on buildings that existed during the Battle in Adams County. For information or an application, contact Deb Novotny.

Book Award Committee:
Review books for the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable Book Award.

Field Trip Committee:
Plan future trips for the members of the Civil War Roundtable.

If you are interested in more information, or joining, one the committees, please contact any Officer or Board Member.


Happy Holidays from the Civil War Roundtable of Gettysburg family to yours.

Greetings to all...

Whether Program Director Roger Heller planned it this way or not, there’s been a discernable theme to our last two meetings of the Roundtable: Confederate diaries—albeit from quite different circumstance. In September, following a fascinating Show & Tell from Warren Wilde’s Civil War family tree, Professor Michael K. Shaffer of Kennesaw, Georgia, shared the late-in-life remembrance of a veteran of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. Thomas Colley had been shot and left for dead at Kelly’s Ford in March of '63, recovering in time to get a foot shot off at Haw’s Shop at the end of Mary, 1864. Suffering post-war from what would today be termed PTSD, Colley would credit the love of a good woman and, through her, the church, for helping him put his life back together; whereupon the sobered-up old Confederate journaled the remarkable remembrance edited by Shaffer: In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas Wallace Colley’s Recollections of Civil War.

At last week’s meeting, which featured the presentation of Cal Doucette Award to Ron Rock, Professional Educator Jan Croom shared another southern diary, this from a Georgia youth named LeRoy Wiley Gresham, published under the title The War Outside My Window. Disabled when his leg was crushed in childhood, young Gresham started his diary in 1860, writing almost daily entries through 1865, when his life ended concurrent with the fall of the Confederacy. Jan Croon is a first-class story teller and the full house seemed to be hanging on every word, rooting for this bright doomed kid, knowing it wasn’t going to end well.

Of course, rooting for a doomed disabled teenager is a long way from rooting for the doomed cause, dear to his heart. As told by Jan Croon, LeRoy had an older, able-bodied brother, who, as the son of a wealthy, slaveholding family, avoided service in the first years of the war. As Thomas Colley might have attested, it was indeed, a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.

Those who weren’t with us for our evening with Jan Croon and LeRoy Wiley Gresham missed something special—but then I could say as much for Michael Shaffer’s presentation and pretty much every other speaker who has graced our gatherings. I do hope you’ll mark these fourth Thursdays on your calendars and make every attempt to be with us. Having given a public speech of sorts every weekend for 44 years, I know your presence will be an encouragement to our guests.

Don’t mark the fourth Thursday of November, though! That would Thanksgiving, so we’re moving our meeting up a week, to the 21st—the third Thursday. Our December gathering is the big holiday event on the 5th, so no fourth Thursday in December, either.

If you’re ever confused about what’s going on when, check out our Civil War Roundtable of Gettysburg website: www.gettysburgcwrt.org and/or the Facebook Page. Weather-related cancellations will be posted in both places, as well.

One last thing: At our most recent Roundtable Board meeting, it was suggested our group be more intentional about having a presence in the Gettysburg Times. I said I’d be happy to fold that into my presidential responsibilities. The folks at the paper have been very kind and the plan is to have a Roundtable article included on the third Saturday of each month, the first having already been published. It is a privilege to serve as President of this outstanding organization.



Feb 27
The Richmond Bread Riots
Dr. Ashley Luskey


March 26
Civil War Prison Camps
Bradley Gottfried


April 23
The Committee On the Conduct of the War
Mary Turk Meena


May 28
Manliness and Community in Confederate Camps
Dr. James Broomall


June 25 : July 2
Culp’s Hill Memorials
Richard Goedkoop


July 23: July 30
The Uses of the Battlefield in the 30’s and 40’s
Jared Frederick


August 27: Sept 3
The Other Side of East Cemetery Hill
Charles Fennell


September 24
Ewell's Corps in the Gettysburg Campaign
Robert Wynstra, Book Award Winner


October 22
Staff Officers and Their Impact on the Battle of Gettysburg
Douglas Douds


November 12
A Soldier and His Lady, Letters
Gene Barr


December 3
Holiday Banquet
Wayne Motts, subject TBD


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Reenactment photos courtesy of the Gettysburg Times
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