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Featured Articles


The Battle of Cedar Creek
By Dennis Keating

The U. S. Navy and the Naval Battles of Charleston, 1863
By Syd Overall

Jacob Dolson Cox
By Dennis Keating

Base Ball on Johnson's Island
By William F.B. Vodrey

The Case for Union
By John C. Fazio

A Review of Jennifer Chiaverini's
The Spymistress

By Dennis Keating

Ohio’s Civil War Generals:
Some Lesser Known

By Dennis Keating

Gettysburg 2013
By William F.B. Vodrey

Remembering 9/11
By William F.B. Vodrey

U.S. Grant Boyhood Home Rededicated By William F.B. Vodrey

A Review of Justice in Blue and Gray by Stephen C. Neff
By William F.B. Vodrey

Notes on the Lincoln Forum 2012
By Mel Maurer

The 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
By Dennis Keating

Lincoln's Assassination: Three Riddles
By John C. Fazio

The (Secret) Life and Letters of General George Gordon Meade
By George G. Meade

Lincoln’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus
By Dennis Keating

Lincoln and Grant:
The Westerners Who Won the Civil War

By Edward W. Bonekemper, III

My Thoughts Be Bloody
Prologue: The Players

By Nora Titone

Cleveland's Civil War Roundtable
Takes an Excursion into Fiction

By Karen R. Long

Gold, Greed, and a Vacuum of Law
By Carol Buchanan

’The Rebels are Upon Us’ The 1864 Confederate Invasion of Maryland, The Battle of Monocacy, and Jubal Early’s Move on Washington, D.C.
By Marc Leepson

The Great Battle of Gettysburg
By Max R. Terman

Assessing African American Attitudes Toward the Civil War (pdf)
A National Park Service Report prepared
by Hermina Glass-Avery

In the Shadow of the Civil War:
Passmore Williamson and the Rescue of Jane Johnson

By Nat Brandt with Yanna Kroyt Brandt

Scenes from The Fighting McCooks
By Barbara and Charles Whalen

Making a Covenant with Death:
Slavery and the Constitutional Convention

By Dr. Paul Finkelman

Blood, Tears and Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War
By Dr. James Bissland

Why Grant Won and Lee Lost
By Edward H. Bonekemper, III

Jefferson Davis's Imprisonment
at Fortress Monroe

By Clint Johnson

The Madness of Mary Lincoln
By Jason Emerson

MORE ARTICLES>>

 

History Under Siege
The Annual Report of the Civil War Preservation Trust

 

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Chris Fortunato

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Jean Rhodes

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Mike Wells

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Dennis Keating
Mike Wells

Charger Newsletter 

Membership in the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is open to anyone who shares the belief that the American Civil War is the defining event in U.S. history.


 

 

 

 

 

Join Us for Our Next Program...


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 @ 6:30 p.m.

The Dick Crews Annual Debate:
Other Than Stonewall Jackson, Who was the Best Corps Commander In the Civil War?
Moderator: William F. B. Vodrey

Best general?  Worst general?  Most overrated or underrated general?  Most important battle?  Greatest innovation?  The war's primary cause?  The arguments go on and on and on and we love them all.  One of the reasons we joined the Civil War Roundtable in the first place was so that we could have such arguments with like-minded people and give our long suffering families a break. 

This year the argument is best corps commander - not army commander, not brigade or division commander, but corps commander.  And just to make things interesting, Stonewall Jackson is off the table.  So who is it?  There are many candidates.  On the Southern side, James Longstreet, AP Hill, John Gordon, and Nathan Bedford Forrest are worth consideration; on the Northern side, John Reynolds, Winfield Scott Hancock, George Thomas, and George Meade come to mind.

On this evening, six Roundtable members will make their arguments for the greatest corps commander of the Civil War.  Join us for what promises to be an interesting discussion.

FULL 2014-15 PROGRAM SCHEDULE>>
 


Meeting Time: Meetings begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30, and the program at 7:30.  Meetings typically end by 9.

Meeting Location: Our meetings are held at Judson Manor (the former Wade Park Manor residential hotel), located at the corner of East 107th Street and Chester in downtown Cleveland, just off University Circle.  Map to Judson Manor History of Wade Park Manor

Reservations: You must make a dinner reservation for any meeting you plan to attend no later than the day prior to that meeting (so we can give a headcount to the caterer).  Make your reservation one of three ways:

  • Send an email to .
  • Click any of the 'Make a Dinner Reservation" links on this page.
  • Call 440-449-9311 and leave a message on the voice mail.

History Briefs


A small glimpse into the Civil War era

On to Richmond!
By David A. Carrino
Roundtable Historian

Edmund Kirby Smith
William "Bull" Nelson

On to Richmond! This was the battle cry in the North at the beginning of the Civil War, and it signified the objective to capture the Confederate capital and thereby bring a quick end to the rebellion. The history books state that it took nearly four years from the war's outset until that goal was attained. However, Richmond actually fell under Union control by the end of 1862, but before this happened there was a battle there that was not only the most one-sided Confederate victory, but the most one-sided victory by either side during the Civil War. Moreover, the commander of the Union army at Richmond was killed by Jefferson Davis. Of course, these statements do not refer to Richmond, Virginia, but to Richmond, Kentucky, although there is a connection between these two cities. The Richmond in Kentucky was founded by Revolutionary War veteran John Miller in 1798, and it was named in honor of Miller's birthplace, Richmond, Virginia.

Kentucky was considered of utmost importance by both sides during the Civil War, not simply because this state was the birthplace of both the president of the United States of America and the president of the Confederate States of America, but because of its geographic importance. Abraham Lincoln thought that Kentucky was so important to the Union war effort that he reputedly said in 1861, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky," and later that year Lincoln wrote in a letter, "I think to lose Kentucky is to lose the whole game." The Confederacy wanted Kentucky in order to have the more defensible Ohio River as part of its northern border. At the beginning of the Civil War, Kentucky, by its own proclamation, belonged to neither side, since the state made the unrealistic declaration of its neutrality. Confederate General Leonidas Polk violated this neutrality in September 1861 by having the army he commanded occupy Columbus, Kentucky, and from that point on Kentucky was in the war. Other Confederate forces later pushed into southern Kentucky. But after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate positions in Kentucky became untenable, and all Confederate forces there withdrew to Tennessee.

In the summer of 1862, two Confederate armies advanced into Kentucky from Tennessee with the objective of securing the Bluegrass State and validating its star on the Confederate flag. Braxton Bragg's army moved into central Kentucky, and Edmund Kirby Smith's smaller army moved into eastern Kentucky. While Don Carlos Buell moved his army north in pursuit of Bragg, a small army under the command of William "Bull" Nelson advanced from its camp, which was not far from Lexington, to meet Kirby Smith's force. On August 29-30, 1862, the same dates as the battle of Second Bull Run, Kirby Smith's veteran army and Nelson's inexperienced force clashed at Richmond, Kentucky, which is about 25 miles southeast of Lexington.

CONTINUE BRIEF>>

From the Charger


Newsletter of the Cleveland CWRT

The April 1861 Madness
By Patrick Bray


Archduke Franz Ferdinand


Sesquicentennial observations of the Civil War will end in April 2015. This past August marked the beginning of centennial observations of World War One (WWI), a conflict to which the Civil War has been compared. In this analogy the Civil War was the first full scale “modern war” which yielded substantial improvements in weaponry, communications, transportation, sanitation, medical treatment, logistics, and naval capability. Moreover, the ability of the national governments, particularly the Federals, to mobilize vast social, political, and economic resources previewed the possibilities of total war in which whole societies, not just their militaries, were deeply drawn into conflict. The experience of total war — at least in some if not most parts of the South -- would make civilians painfully aware of the suffering and depravations of a new front, the home front.

Despite the presence on both sides of numerous European military observers as well as actual combatants from abroad, it seems that few if any of the lessons of the Civil War were put to use in WWI. Despite the overwhelming advantages which modern military technology afforded the defense, WWI was marked by frequent futile frontal assaults on well-fortified positions. Élan proved ineffective against machine guns as no man’s land repeatedly became a killing field.

CONTINUE ARTICLE>>


Shelby Foote was Wrong!
By Dick Crews

Way back in the year 2000, when William Vodrey was President of our Roundtable, Shelby Foote was our big name speaker. You can argue that Ed Bearss or Bruce Catton are bigger name Cleveland CWRT speakers but Shelby Foote was by far the most expensive.

Shelby Foote

One theme Foote repeated frequently was that the American Civil War produced two geniuses: Abraham Lincoln and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Lincoln has stood the test of time but Forrest made one serious error, effecting the outcome of the Civil War, which has been ignored by history.

This summer I visited Fort Pillow, Tennessee. Fort Pillow is located 50 miles north of Memphis. The Fort was on the Mississippi River. The river has now moved two miles west.

The Fort itself was built as an outer defense for Memphis but when Island #10 in the Mississippi River was taken by Union Forces the fort was abandoned by the Confederates.

No important Civil War battles were fought at Fort Pillow. History treats the attack on the Fort by Nathan Bedford Forrest on April 12, 1864 as a racial act. There was no military reason for the attack and later Forrest founded the Ku Klux Klan after the war this conclusion seems to fit. History missed that the Fort Pillow attack was important to the outcome of the Civil War.

CONTINUE ARTICLE>>


A Rebuttal to “Shelby Foote Was Wrong”
By Greg Biggs
President, Clarksville TN CWRT

Nathan Bedford Forrest

I read with interest the Dick Crews op-ed on how Shelby Foote got it wrong when he called Nathan Bedford Forrest one of the two geniuses of the Civil War. Forrest remains a controversial figure of the Civil War but he was, as Foote suggested, a true genius. With only some six months of any type of education, he rose from a private to lieutenant general by the end of his war career, only one of four American soldiers to do so. You simply do not get that high without some level of talent and, dare I say genius. The fact that many of his raids and campaigns are still studied by military colleges also attests to his military ability.

Mr. Crews focused on the Fort Pillow raid of April 1864, but left out quite of bit of context. First, Forrest simply could not go wherever he wanted without permission of his superior. At this time, Forrest was one of two cavalry commanders in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, which was then commanded by Lt. General Leonidas Polk. Anything Forrest wanted to do had to be approved by Polk who authorized this raid. The main objectives were to disrupt Union supply lines, in particular the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and to recruit. Forrest had already been very successful recruiting behind Union lines in West Tennessee. Thanks to this, he now had a cavalry corps of two divisions under James Chalmers and Abraham Buford (related to the Union Gen. John Buford).

CONTINUE ARTICLE>>

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable