Join Us for Our Next Program...
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 @ 7 p.m.
The Most Important Battle of the
Civil War: Vicksburg
Presented by Steve Pettyjohn
Abraham Lincoln proclaimed
Vicksburg "the key” when developing Union
war strategy and Vicksburg proved to be the decisive
campaign of the Civil War. This presentation will examine the campaign
and the siege of Vicksburg along with the consequences of its fall.
It will also be presented as something of a “discovery” and
travelogue as Steve Pettyjohn will share his experiences during his
15 visits to the Vicksburg area with photographs to help illustrate
the terrain and defensive obstacles surrounding the “Gibraltar of
the Confederacy.” A discussion of the loss of the USS Cairo
and its second life as a museum will also be included in the
Our speaker: Steve
Pettyjohn has been interested in the Civil War since childhood when his grandparents
first showed him the uniform his great-great
grandfather wore as a private in the 19th Indiana, part of the Iron
Brigade. This interest was cemented when he read Bruce Catton’s A Stillness at Appomattox
and then received the board game Gettysburg
for his 12th birthday. Today, Steve has a Civil War library of over 200
books. He has made trips to many of the major battlefields and other
historic sites of the war, including over 15 trips to Vicksburg.
Steve looks forward to this year’s
field trip to Franklin where one of his other great-great
grandfathers served in the 40th Indiana.
Steve Pettyjohn is President of
Quality Assist Consulting which assists
organizations in developing and improving ISO management systems
including those for Quality, Environmental, Safety, IT Services,
Information Security and Risk Management. Steve has a BS in Education and
History from Indiana University along with an MBA from IU. He also
did post-graduate work in quality at the Wharton School of Business.
After moving 8 times in 18 years, he and his wife Lynn settled in
Westlake where they raised their son and daughter. His wife is a
librarian who has a high level of tolerance for his Civil War
activities. He has been a member of the Cleveland Civil War
Roundtable since 2010.
FULL 2014-15 PROGRAM SCHEDULE>>
Meeting Time: Meetings begin with a
social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7, and the program at
8. Meetings typically end by around 9:30.
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
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.
440-449-9311 and leave a message on the voice mail.
Civil War Discussion Group
Next Meeting: November 19
A group of Civil War scholars, led by
CCWRT member Syd Overall, meets regularly throughout the year at
various locations around greater Cleveland to discuss Civil War
books and topics. This group's next meeting will be on
Wednesday, November 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Solon Branch
Library (34125 Portz Parkway @ the intersection of SOM Center Road
and Portz Parkway). This meeting's topic will be General Robert E.
Lee. The group won't meet again until April when the topic will be
Grant vs. Lee. The cost is free and Civil War scholars of all
levels of expertise are invited to attend. Contact Syd Overall
for more information.
small glimpse into the Civil War era
The Civil War:
Chapter 17, Verses 1-51
By David A. Carrino
The Philistines gathered together
their armies to battle, and Saul and the men of Israel were gathered
together. A champion went out of the camp of the Philistines, named
Goliath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He stood and cried
unto the armies of Israel, "Choose you a man for you, and let him
come down to me." All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled
from him and were afraid. David said to Saul, "Your servant will go
and fight with this Philistine." David took his staff in his hand
and chose five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in a
shepherd’s bag which he had, and he drew near to the Philistine.
David put his hand in his bag, took thence a stone, and slung it,
and smote the Philistine in his forehead, and he fell upon his face
to the earth. David ran and stood upon the Philistine, drew his
sword out of the sheath, and slew Goliath.
This Biblical story is the prototype of a
clash in which a smaller, apparently weaker combatant defeats a larger,
stronger adversary. The Confederate Navy had its own David, both figuratively
and literally. This was the small warship CSS David. The David
was a cigar-shaped vessel about 50 feet long and with a diameter of about five
and a half feet at her widest point. The boat was designed to sail very low in
the water so that she operated as a semi-submersible with only her low conning
tower and smokestack above water. Her only weapon was a 130-pound explosive
charge, or torpedo, projecting from the bow on a 30-foot spar. Her intended
plan of attack was to sail undetected at night close to enemy ships, plant her
torpedo below water on the hull of her target, and then detonate the torpedo
with a lanyard as she withdrew.
torpedo boat, abandoned at
Charleston, South Carolina, 1865
(U.S. National Archives)
The development of the semi-submersible
David and the more well-known Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was
the epitome of invention being born of necessity, because the Confederate Navy
was far inferior to the Union Navy with regard to conventional resources. In
the seceding states that became the Confederacy, one of the prevailing
opinions about fighting men from the industrialized North was to berate the
Northerners as "pasty-faced mechanics," whose fighting capabilities were
inferior to those of Southern men. This opinion held sway in the South,
because it was felt that the agrarian lifestyle in the South made the men
there more physically fit. In light of the "pasty-faced mechanics" insult, it
is ironic that it was Southern mechanics, of unknown complexion, who developed
some of the most intriguing naval innovations of the Civil War, such as the
Hunley and the David.
From the Charger
the Cleveland CWRT
The Battle of Cedar Creek
By Dennis Keating
This October 19 marks the 150th
anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia’s Shenandoah
Valley. It was one of the most dramatic events in the entire Civil
War. Riding his horse Rienzi (memorialized in the stirring poem by
Thomas Buchanan Read – “Sheridan’s Ride, September 19, 1864), from
Winchester, an inspiring Phil Sheridan re-organized and rallied his
almost defeated Army of the Shenandoah in a few hours to defeat the
rebel army of Jubal Early (Robert E. Lee’s “Bad Old Man”), who had
launched a successful surprise attack in the fog that morning in
Months earlier Sheridan had been
selected by Ulysses Grant, with President Lincoln’s support, to
clear out the Valley following Early’s defeat of David Hunter’s army
and subsequent raid all the way to threaten Washington, D.C. in
order to relieve pressure on Lee’s besieged force in Petersburg.
Sheridan’s army consisted of the VI Corps from the Army of the
Potomac, the XIX Corps from Louisiana, and George Crook’s Army of
West Virginia and cavalry commanded by Alford T. A. Torbert (with
division commanders George Custer and Wesley Merritt). Sheridan and
his fellow Ohioan Crook had been close friends at West Point. In his
army Sheridan had many Ohioans: the Second Brigade of the Third
Division of the VI Corps included the 110th, 122nd, and 126th Ohio
regiments; the First Brigade of the First Division of Crook’s small
army included the 116th and 123rd Ohio regiments; the First Brigade
of the Second Division (commanded by future U.S. President from Ohio
Rutherford B. Hayes) included the 23rd and 36th Ohio regiments; the
Second Brigade included the 34th and 91st Ohio regiments and the 1st
Ohio Light Battery L. In Sheridan’s Cavalry Corps there were two
Ohio regiments: 2nd and 8th.
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.
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
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.