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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September 23

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

We are happy to announce that we will be meeting in person at

Gettysburg United Methodist Church
30 High Street

***Masks are highly encouraged, but are not mandatory.***
The doors open at 6:30 pm
Meeting starts at 7 pm

The September meeting will be a live-streamed as well.

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.


Politics in the Army of the Potomac

Zachery Fry

This talk will center on Zachery's recent book A Republic in the Ranks: Loyalty and Dissent in the Army of the Potomac (2020 - UNC Press). The book details the heated debate over war aims and loyalty within the Union Army, including the role junior officers played in mobilizing the ranks for political action.

Zachery will discuss how voting records, unit political statements, and correspondence with home front politicians show a steady acceptance of the Lincoln administration’s policies and a resounding rejection of the army’s former commander George McClellan. (The movie trailer version would be: “If you think you know how political the Army of the Potomac was, think again!”)

Zachery Fry is currently an assistant professor of military history at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He received his PhD from Ohio State in 2017 and taught at the US Military Academy at West Point before moving on to CGSC. My book received the Edward M. Coffman Prize from the Society for Military History and was named one of the Best Civil War books of 2020 by Civil War Monitor.

His current project is a new history of the 1864 election.


Our meetings are the Fourth Thursday of each month.

Monthly Meeting Minutes


You can now use your credit card or PayPal to securely pay for your Membership Dues. Please see the Membership page for the link.

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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

Join us on Saturday, September 18, 9:30-noon 

Charlie Fennel at Culp’s Hill

***Masks are Required by Park Service Mandate***

Meet at Spangler’s Spring parking area.


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.

My wife and I are both Midwest transplants, who spent most of our lives in Missouri. We were there last month, visiting family, and on the way back swung south to visit Civil War sites in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Columbus, Kentucky, situated on a bluff high above the Mississippi River, isn’t much of a town, but in 1861 was called the Gibraltar of the West. Fighting Bishop Leonidas Polk had 140 guns positioned up here to blast Union vessels trying to pass; 56 of these were ginormous Model 1829 cannon, each monster weighing just under four tons, throwing a 32-pound iron ball with a range of 1 ½ miles. As further deterrent, a mile long chain was stretched the width of the channel, each link weighing twenty pounds five ounces. On November 7, 1861, heretofore unheralded Ulysses S. Grant floated 3,000 Federals downstream from Cairo, Illinois. Taking Columbus was out of the question; Grant’s more modest goal was a Confederate garrison at Belmont, Missouri, on the opposite bank. The assault looked to be a big success until the Nationals started looting the enemy camp, giving Polk time to send reinforcements across the river. Grant himself narrowly escaped being made a prisoner of war. The Columbus-Belmont State Park, on Polk’s Kentucky bluff, is well worth visiting. The great anchor and a section of the chain are on display, as is a “32-pounder,” the tube towering above my head.

We were with Leonidas Polk again in Perryville, Kentucky, 70 miles southeast of Louisville. The Bishop of Louisiana had been at the right hand of Commanding General Braxton Bragg when the Confederates set out from Chattanooga, Tennessee, for an invasion of the North. The Secessionists moved in two wings. On October 8, 1862, Bragg was up at Frankfort, Kentucky, with half the army, leaving Polk and the other half to face the entire Army of the Cumberland. Fighting at a 3-1 numerical disadvantage, Leonidas made a stand worthy of his Thermopylae namesake. Truth be told, the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site was kind of a disappointment--though I did pick up a great t-shirt in the gift shop. Of more interest was St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Harrodsburg, ten miles north of the battlefield. Darkness having ended the five-hour battle at Perryville, Bishop General Polk took the survivors to Harrodsburg. According to a sign in front of St. Philip’s, he entered the church, had the bell tolled and prayed “Peace to the land and blessings on friend and foe alike.” (If you’re wondering about all this religious stuff, I’m retired clergy, having particular interest in the intersection of church and war.) With both wings of Bragg’s army concentrated at Harrodsburg, Polk and others in high command, assumed the army would resume the offensive. Braxton Bragg, however, seems to have lost his nerve. The invasion was called off, the army ordered back into Tennessee.

In late December 1862, Bragg’s army was at Murfreesboro, southeast of Nashville. The Federal Army of the Cumberland came marching down the Nashville Pike; Bragg brought the Army of Tennessee across Stones River to meet them. The Stones River National Battlefield will be of great interest to any student of the Civil War. Stop #2 on the auto tour is particularly evocative: The Slaughter Pen. (Yes, I know, Gettysburg has a Slaughter Pen, but slaughter was hardly exclusive to our three days.) On the morning of December 31, both Bragg and Union commander William Rosecrans planned to attack the other’s right. Bragg beat Rosecrans to the punch and might have overwhelmed the Unionists if not for Philip Sheridan’s stand in this cedar forest, floored with flat limestone ledges, some waist high, blood running between the crevices. Stop #5 is also of great interest. General William Hazen’s repulse of Bishop Polk’s Corps is marked by “the oldest American Civil War monument still standing in its original battlefield location.” The first permanent regimental monument at Gettysburg (the 2nd Massachusetts, just south of Spangler’s Springs) was dedicated in 1879. The men of Hazen’s brigade had their monument up in the summer of ’63! Unable to dislodge the Federals, Bragg again put his army into reverse gear. Why a modern-era army base would be named for Braxton Bragg, arguably the worst commander in either Blue or Gray, is beyond me.

Maybe the biggest buzz of the trip was following Pat Cleburne to Franklin, Tennessee. Born in Ireland, Cleburne had been a pre-war lawyer in Helena, Arkansas, his combat record so outstanding that Jefferson Davis dubbed him the “Stonewall of the West.” But the Confederate Irishman had come to bad odor for suggesting slaves be issued gray uniforms and muskets, with the promise of emancipation for those who volunteered. If Black men were permitted to fight, the entire theory of the Confederacy would go kaput. In November 1864, Cleburne was taking orders from John Bell Hood, who’d lost the use of an arm in Gettysburg and had a leg shot off at Chickamauga, currently commanding what had been Bragg’s army. Having recently lost Atlanta, Hood was taking what was left of the army north. Six miles south of Columbia, Tennessee, the march went past St. John’s Episcopal Church. Built twenty years earlier by Leonidas Polk on family land in Maury County, St. John’s was modeled after parish churches in rural England, set in a grove of trees, with a pretty cemetery out back. (I was surprised to find a door unlocked, so I could go inside, my visit cut short when alarms started going off.) St. John’s so impressed Cleburne that he was heard to say, “It is almost worth dying to rest in so sweet a spot.” 35 miles further north, Pat Cleburne would be one of six Confederate generals to fall in a Pickett’s Charge-like attack at Franklin, the place he fell marked beneath a magnolia tree. Patrick Ronayne Cleburne would in fact be buried in the St. John’s churchyard, later dug up to be reinterred in his adopted hometown of Helena. Hood would get as far as Nashville, but with his army wrecked at Franklin, was overwhelmed by the Federals, including United States Colored troops.

Other stops in this Civil Wargasim included Monument Circle in Indianapolis, the Harriett Beecher Stow House in Cincinnati, and Stonewall Jackson’s birthplace and childhood home in the West Virginia mountains. The adventure took us through some of the most covid-infested parts of the nation, and I’m pleased to report that both of our double-vaccinated selves returned without any ill-effects. After an absence of 19 months, I’ve been really looking forward to returning to the G.A.R. Hall in September, but I’d be lying if I said this covid spike isn’t kind of concerning. The Board will be meeting in early September to talk about it. Be looking for a mailing soon thereafter.

My heart goes out to school administrators, church leaders and other trying to plan for this fall. To stay current with Round Table programming, check out our website, cwrtgettysburg.org.

 
Bruce Davis
President
brdgettysburg@gmail.com

SPEAKERS

October 28
Bradley Gottfried
Point Lookout Prison

cannon

November 18
Scott Rosenau
Lincoln and the Founders of the Nation

cannon

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

2022 CWRT Speaker’s List

cannon

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

cannon

Feb 24
Scott Hartwig
an Antietam subject TBD.

cannon

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

cannon

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

cannon

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

cannon

May 26
Cooper Wingert
The Underground RR in South Central PA

cannon

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

cannon

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

cannon

August 25 (29)
Therese Orr
Outdoor tour TBD

cannon

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

cannon

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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