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

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August 26 (Rain Date Aug. 31)

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

The August meeting will be on the battlefield and live-streamed
and NOT a gathering at the GAR Hall. The meeting starts at 6 pm.

This meeting will be streamed live at the below address:
https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarRoundTableOfGettysburg/live/

You do not need to be a member of FaceBook to view this meeting.

For further instructions on how to sign into the meeting, please view this PDF.


The most desperate fighting I ever saw”: The 16th Michigan Volunteers

Stuart R. Dempsey

The fighting on Little Round Top made reputations. This is certainly true of Gen. G. K. Warren, Col. Patrick O’Rorke, and particularly Col. Joshua Chamberlain and his 20th Maine. But for one regiment and its commander, the legacy of Little Round Top would be one of questions regarding leadership, courage, and discipline, of doubts raised and aspersions cast. The 16th Michigan was that regiment. Even today, its role in the defense of the famous hill is probably the least known among the Federal units that fought there. Yet in July 1863, the 16th had a year of combat experience and nearly two years of military service behind it: it was a veteran unit with a respected battle record. What went wrong? We will explore this question and get to know the story of these valiant Michiganders.

Meeting point: Gravel parking lot on the north slope of Little Round Top at the intersection of Wheatfield Road, Sykes Avenue & Sedgwick Avenue (by the porta-johns). Additional parking can be done at the Little Round Top parking lot or along Sedgwick Avenue – all four wheels on pavement please!

Time: Meeting starts at 6:00 pm.

Notes: This tour involves moderate uphill walking through woods and on trails.

Stuart  R. Dempsey was born in Ohio and raised in Connecticut; he developed a fascination with military history during a visit to Gettysburg at age seven, a place he moved to twelve years later and that has been his home ever since. He is a graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s University where his studies focused on modern military history. Stuart is in his eighteenth year as a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide, has written articles for various historical magazines, and hosted a video column on the Union Army’s Eleventh Corps – his favorite Civil War topic – on the website, GettysburgDaily.com.  He has taught courses on military history for Harrisburg Community College and has lectured at historical societies and round tables around the country. Stuart conducts tours of several battlefields of the American Revolution and Civil War in North America, and of First and Second World War and Napoleonic sites in Europe, including Berlin, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Italian Campaign (all to be offered in 2022 and 2023) through his company Battleground History Tours.


Our meetings are the Fourth Thursday of each month.

Monthly Meeting Minutes


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OFFICERS

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

Peter Miele ............................................Vice President

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

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

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

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

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

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

402.686.6969

petemiele@gmail.com

717.420.2183

717.359.7339

717.420.5730

717.398.2072

717.253.5477

717.398.2072

BOARD MEMBERS

Fred Hawthorne (5/22), Lynn Heller (5/24), Roger Heller (5/22), Michele Hessler (5/23), Abbie Hoffman (5/23), Leon Reed 5/24)
Board Member Ex Officio:
Therese Orr

Next Board Meeting:

Board Meetings are are virtual meetings until it is safe to meet again. Minutes will be posted.

Board Meeting Minutes

 

COMMITTEES

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.

EVENT INFORMATION

 

You can view videos of past meetings on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/CivilWarRoundTableOfGettysburg/live/

You do not need to be a member of FaceBook to view the videos.

A year ago, I was beginning to wonder what was going to become of our little tourist town. I know covid hit all of America hard, but Gettysburg seemed particularly vulnerable. Which made the first week of July 2021 all the more exhilarating. On June 30, I was at the Soldiers National Cemetery, gathered with others to decorate the graves, the hallowed ground quickly filled with red, white and blue. I was in the Pennsylvania section, taking notice of the names. One of these, Samuel Finnefrock, had been with the 142nd Pennsylvania, fighting in Chapman Biddle’s brigade. Just days earlier, our Round Table had been on either side of Willoughby Run following Biddle’s brigade on the first day of battle; if I understood what Licensed Battlefield Guide Larry Korczyk was telling us, Private Finnefrock may have advanced through my yard in Twin Lakes. Last summer was the first and only summer since 1957 that the Civil War Round Table of Gettysburg didn’t spend the season on the battlefield and it has been very good to be back.

I was on McPherson Ridge again Thursday, visiting the McPherson barn, open this day to the public. More memorable, perhaps, was interaction with “old John Burns” at his statue on Stone Avenue. Burns, of course, is famous for picking up his War of 1812 flintlock musket on July 1, 1863, and going west of town to fight the invader. I don’t know if the original John Burns was as loud and feisty as his reenactor, but this guy, a fellow septuagenarian, was a hoot.

There were many and various lectures and book signings going on around town, Round Table members Brad Gottfried, James Hessler, Leon Reed and Wayne Motts among the presenters. On Thursday night, actor Stephen Lang was at the Museum and Visitors Center. I’ve been a Stephen Lang fan back to when he co-starred with Dennis Farina on Crime Story, and Nancy and I were currently following him as Pickett in a four-night sequential viewing of Gettysburg. Lang appeared this evening as Medal of Honor recipient James Jackson Purman, who fought with the 140th Pennsylvania in the Wheatfield. Lang’s first-person account was from fifty years after the battle, focused not on his character’s personal heroism, but the courage of an “enemy” who risked his own life to save Purman’s.

When William Barksdale’s Mississippians came howling out of the woods on the afternoon of the second day, they charged past the residence of James Warfield, a free black man who made his living as a blacksmith in Gettysburg. The home of James, Eliza and their children has very recently been restored to its 1863 appearance; on Friday, visitors were invited inside. The exposed floor beams--original to the structure, I suppose--made a particular impression. The juxtaposition of the Warfield house and the Mississippi Monument, on either side of Millerstown Road, makes for what I consider one of the most dramatic places on the battlefield.

A year ago, I was very concerned about our local restaurants. Nancy and I ordered a lot of carry-out during the shutdowns, hoping to lend at least a little encouragement. More recently, of course, there’s been concern about sufficient numbers of wait staff. Downtown on Friday night, it was terrific to see so many people in the eateries. We were at Ping’s on Baltimore Street, enjoying great food and great service. Fun fact from the Round Table vaults: a presenter in 1974 told of least two “Chinamen” who fought here; one going into battle with the 14th Connecticut “wearing pig tails and a black Chinese hat and jacket with his uniform.”

Our July 3rd began at the Daniel Lady Farm. I’d been there the year previous, wanting to support the effort to salvage a reenactment. While giving the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association props for trying, the participation seemed…sparse. Not this year! The 2021 event was a Civil War Woodstock! Even my beloved, who’s not nearly so into battle stuff as I am, was impressed, and had a great time talking with reenactors come from many and various places. Our next stop was Unity Park to present a much-delayed Certificate of Round Table Appreciation to Carolyn Ivanoff, who earlier in the year had given us a Zoom talk on Clara Barton and the Missing Soldiers Office. We found Carolyn in full Clara period costume, and were delighted to engage in kind the face-to-face interaction that has been so missed in our covid-mandated exile from the G.A.R. If all goes as planned, we’ll be back there the 4th Thursday of September.

Of course, I made my annual July 3rd walk of Pickett’s Charge. At the Virginia Memorial, I heard Ranger Matt Atkinson tell of the hit the Gettysburg Foundation took during the shutdowns, leaders of the organization digging into their own pockets to see that the work went on. Wow.

Sunday morning, July 4, seemed like a good time to visit The Memorial Church of the Prince of Peace. The Episcopal church at Baltimore and High Streets was born of an 1888 initiative to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. An usher was kind enough to take me to the Tower Room, the walls of which are covered with memorial tablets, including one to my favorite general, O.O. Howard.

An exhilarating four days concluded watching fireworks from West Confederate Avenue, where the “bombs bursting in air” seemed to be from the mouth of the cannon in front of us.

Finally: I was at the Visitors Center Wednesday morning, thinking the crowds would have thinned. Not hardly. I was particularly impressed by the number of young families milling around. As Gettysburg recovered from the battle of 158 years past, so our town seems to be coming back strong from covid. This is very gratifying.

 
Bruce Davis
President
brdgettysburg@gmail.com

SPEAKERS

September 23
Zachery Fry
Politics in the Army of the Potomac

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October 28
Bradley Gottfried
Point Lookout Prison

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November 18
Scott Rosenau
Lincoln and the Founders of the Nation

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December 2nd (Holiday Banquet)
Kevin Pawlak
Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

2022 CWRT Speaker’s List

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Jan 27
Douglas Douds
Staff Officers of the AOP – Part 2

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Feb 24
Scott Hartwig
an Antietam subject TBD.

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March 24
Book Award Winner
or
Sue Boardman
Snyder Co. Boys

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April 28
Mike McDonnell
Canadians in the Civil War
or
Sue Boardman
Snyder Co. Boys

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May 14
Larry Korczyk
A tour of Day’s Hill ( Saturday morning -outdoors 9:30-noon)

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May 26
Cooper Wingert
The Underground RR in South Central PA

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June 23 (27)
Dr.Jennifer Murray
A Meade at Gettysburg outdoor tour TBD.

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July 28 (Aug 4)
James Hessler
Iverson’s Brigade at Gettysburg (outdoors)

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August 25 (29)
Therese Orr
Outdoor tour TBD

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Sept 22
Mary Turk-Meena
The Committee on the Conduct of the War.

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Oct 27
Tom Vossler & Jeffrey McCausland
Leadership on the Gettysburg Battlefield

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Nov 17
Dr. Brian Luskey
Men Is Cheap

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Dec 1 - Holiday Banquet
Kent Masterson Brown
Meade at Gettysburg


 

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Reenactment photos courtesy of the Gettysburg Times

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