. .. .



Founded November 20, 1956


Upcoming CCWRT Program...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

Weapons of Mass Destruction
in the Civil War
Presented by: Mark Laubacher

In an effort to bring about resolution to the Civil War, creative research was undertaken by individuals, many of whom were civilians, to aid both Confederate and Union forces against their adversaries. Much of this research involved chemical and biological agents. With one exception however, these weapons of mass destruction were never produced as President Lincoln and President Davis both disapproved of unconventional warfare. This presentation will discuss and illustrate the chemical and biological poisons considered by both militaries during the War Between the States.

Our speaker: Mark Laubacher is an RN and paramedic working as a Certified Specialist in Poison Information since 1992 at the Central Ohio Poison Center located at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Having delivered over 400 presentations, he routinely presents at the state and national levels on various topics of toxicological emergencies.


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), 1890 E 107th St, Cleveland, OH, at the corner of East 107th Street and Chester, 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 by sending an email to .

History Briefs

A small glimpse into the Civil War era

The Chief Chemist of the Confederacy
By David A. Carrino
Roundtable Historian

George W. Rains

The statement, "An army marches on its stomach," has been attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, but it may have originated with Frederick the Great. It may even be that this statement, or at least the concept embodied in it, originated much earlier with the Roman physician Claudius Galen. But whoever deserves credit for this anatomically incorrect statement, it is meant to convey that an army must be well provisioned in order to conduct operations. Nevertheless, an army has to do more than just march and eat. Often when an army arrives at its destination, it then has to fight, and to do this it needs more than just food, unless the battles resemble the cafeteria scene from the movie Animal House. For the Confederacy, one important ingredient necessary to fight Civil War battles was in perilously short supply early in the war. Fortunately for the secessionist war effort, a resourceful and industrious person who was knowledgeable in chemistry found a way to provide ample amounts of this ingredient, although this person's success worked to the detriment of any Union military personnel who were killed or wounded by projectiles that were propelled by gunpowder.


From the Charger

Newsletter of the Cleveland CWRT

Jubal Early: Lee’s Bad Old Man
By Dennis Keating

Edward H. Bonekemper III, our September 2017 speaker on “The Myth of the Lost Cause”, writes of Jubal Early in his 2015 book:

Early, who faltered at Gettysburg, lost the Shenandoah Valley and his corps, been relieved of his command by Lee, and fled the country for a few years after the war, was an early critic of Longstreet and others who could be blamed for Lee’s shortcomings. Early was a better propagandist than general. As an author and president of the Lee Monument Association, the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Southern Historical Society, he acted as Lee’s chief votary for three decades. (p. 112)

Jubal Early

Called by Robert E. Lee his “Bad Old Man”, who was Jubal Early and what was his record during and after the Civil War? Early was one of ten children born in 1816 to a slave-holding family owning a tobacco plantation in southwestern Virginia. The owner of a single slave himself, Early was a strong supporter of slavery and a believer in white supremacy. He entered West Point in the class of 1837 with many Civil War officers on both sides (e.g., Braxton Bragg, John Pemberton, Joseph Hooker and John Sedgewick). A mess hall altercation with Lewis Armistead led to the latter’s dismissal from West Point. After graduation, he served briefly in the Seminole war in Florida before resigning and practicing law in Virginia. He served a term in the Virginia legislature. He volunteered during the Mexican war but didn’t see combat.


Civil War Travelogue
On the Route of The General
By Paul Siedel

One of the more interesting excursions any Civil War buff will make is with Jim Ogden and the Blue and Gray Education Society to follow the route of Andrews Raiders on The Western and Atlantic Railroad through northern Georgia. Some of our members have taken advantage of this opportunity and I'm sure they would agree that it was a weekend well spent.

Our tour began on a Friday with a lecture by Mr. Ogden on the history of railroads in the antebellum period and the place the Western and Atlantic had in founding the city of Atlanta. He went into why this rail line was so important to the Confederates and why it was chosen for the raid, generally setting the stage for the conditions leading up to the actual operation itself.

The next morning we boarded two vans and drove to Marietta, Georgia where we saw the hotel which served as the staging point for the raiders and where they stayed prior to the action. We then went on to The Southern Museum of The Civil War and Locomotive History which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution at Kennesaw, Georgia (which was called Big Shanty at the time of the raid). Here, one can see the actual locomotive and view railroading artifacts from the mid-1800s. The museum is a must-see and well worth the stop one can make going down I-75 just north of Atlanta.


Some Thoughts on the Removal of Southern Civil War-Related Symbols
By John C. Fazio

Jefferson Davis birthplace memorial

The recent dismantling and removal of Southern statuary, monuments and other symbols relating to the Civil War and its aftermath has, not surprisingly, generated a lot of heat between those favoring the same and those opposed. It is also unsurprising that proponents and opponents are often identified by race, so that a political and regional conflict morphs into a racial one. For this and other reasons, we need to ask ourselves if what appears to be such a good idea, and one whose time has come, is really that, or if our country and its citizenry would be better served by a different approach, one more in keeping with "the better angels of our nature", to use Lincoln's immortal phrase from his First Inaugural Address. 

Let me make myself clear:  I am a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist and therefore believe that the right side won the war. The alternative, in my judgment, would have resulted in the Balkanization of the country, if not the continent, with interminable fratricide. Further, I also believe that it was time for slavery to go. All the major powers of the time (Great Britain, France and Russia), and most of the lesser powers, had already abolished it. The Confederate government's rear-guard action on the path that led to the future, therefore, stood no chance against the locomotive of history. I also believe, strongly, that the highest levels of that government and its Secret Service, principally President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of State Judah Benjamin and the head of the Secret Service in Canada, Jacob Thompson, were complicit in the attempt to decapitate the United States government on the night of April 14, 1865.  On the other hand, I also believe that this conviction does not have much relevance to regional relationships more than150 years after the fact and that, for that reason and others, our country and its citizenry are better served by letting sleeping dogs lie.


Blast from the Past

Articles from the Charger Archives

When Miles Met Davis
By Clint Johnson
Nelson Miles
Jefferson Davis

General Nelson Miles must have wondered who he had irritated at the War Department to draw his latest assignment, jailer of Jefferson Davis.

Born a farm boy in Massachusetts with little hope of going to college or winning a coveted appointment to West Point, an honor usually reserved for the sons of the privileged classes, Miles showed determination at an early age to become a soldier. At age 17 he moved to Boston where he worked in a crockery store in the daytime while reserving the evening to being tutored in military sciences by a Frenchman who had served in that country’s army.

When the war started Miles, just 22, raised his own company, but his superiors thought he was too young to command respect of other men his own age. They put him in a staff command, a do-little job in his mind. He soon talked his way into a field command.

Miles was brave in battle, but unlucky enough to be wounded in four different battles in four different places on his body. Still he was tough enough that he survived all of the wounds, any one of which could have killed him.

In May 1862 a Confederate musket ball grazed Miles’ heel. In December 1862, another one passed through his throat and out his ear. He reported to his general while holding his throat closed with both hands. In May 1863 Miles took his third ball to his abdomen, a wound that killed most men, and which left him paralyzed for several weeks. Still, Miles came back in order to receive his commission as a brigadier general. In June 1864 Miles suffered his fourth wound, yet another shot to the neck.


New On the Bookshelf

Recent Additions to the Civil War Literature

A Review of Pickett’s Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack by Phillip Thomas Tucker
By Dennis Keating

Historian Phillip Thomas Tucker claims about the Pickett-Pettigrew Charge on the third day at Gettysburg:

Lee’s complex battle plan on July 3 was more brilliant than Napoleon’s at Waterloo…Lee unleashed a sophisticated and complex, three-part tactical plan to split the Army of the Potomac in two. Despite the failure of Stuart’s cavalry to charge into the rear of Meade’s right-center, and the lack of Longstreet’s and Hill’s coordination of the offensive effort as Lee bitterly reflected for the rest of his days, the attack had nearly succeeded nevertheless. (p. 359)

According to Tucker, Lee’s plan was to have simultaneous assaults not only by the Pickett-Pettigrew force accompanied by flying artillery and follow-up reinforcements but also by Ewell’s corps on Culp’s Hill and by Lee’s cavalry under Jeb Stuart attacking from the rear of Meade’s center (p. XXIV). Tucker also claims that despite the failure of Ewell’s attack being coordinated with the charge in Meade’s front and the failure of Stuart breaking through on the East Cavalry Field, the charge almost succeeded.


A Review of The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln’s General, Master Builder of the Union Army by Robert O’Harrow, Jr.
By Dennis Keating

One of the most amazing figures of the Civil War was Montgomery Meigs, the quartermaster of the Union army and one of the critical architects of its victory. His life is recounted by Washington Post investigative reporter Robert O’Harrow, Jr.

Meigs was born in 1816 in Augusta, Georgia where his father was beginning his medical career. However, because slavery literally made his mother ill, they returned to Philadelphia, where Meigs enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania (where I got my law degree) at the age of 15. He then entered West Point in 1832 and graduated high in his class and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers.

While working on improving navigation on the Mississippi River, his superior and roommate was Robert E. Lee. During the Mexican War, Meigs was assigned to build fortifications near Detroit to defend against a possible British invasion. Postwar, Meigs was assigned to Washington City. There, he made his mark with the planning and construction of an aqueduct from Great Falls to finally provide a decent water supply for the capital city. His next major engineering achievement under the direction of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was to oversee the extension of the U.S. Capitol, which he modeled on the Roman Pantheon and the Greek Parthenon. His vision produced the Dome over the capitol and the Statue of Freedom atop it. Even as he worked tirelessly on these signature projects, he and his wife lost two of their sons to disease.


A Review of Days of Defiance by Maury Kleine
By Daniel Bonder

Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War was published in 1997. Its heavily footnoted 430 pages trace the run-up to the Civil War. The vast majority of the book focuses on the time period from Lincoln’s election through the fall of Fort Sumter. There are flashbacks to several important historical events that helped to set the stage for secession. These included Buchanan’s election whose inaction and lack of leadership in the face of the gathering storm left little room for any other outcome but war.

Numerous individuals, both significant and lesser known are followed through those fateful six months. The author provides substantial detail regarding the actors’ lives, relationships, thoughts and actions. These asides relating to the subject person’s background tend to take away from the flow of the historical events. However, if one wants to learn about their personalities, motivations and internal conflicts, the author provides much of that type of information.



2017-18 Program Schedule

The Charger Archives | 09/17

Roundtable Articles

Roundtable History

Roundtable Fieldtrips

Roundtable Bookstore  

Recommended Reading

Civil War Links

Civil War Destinations

Honor the Monitor

Speakers Bureau


Contact Us


Site Map

Search only CCWRT.com

Featured Articles

Wilson’s 1865 Raid
By Dennis Keating

Ulysses S. Grant in Georgetown, Ohio – The Indispensable Man’s Boyhood Home
By Dan Ursu

William H. Seward and Civil War Diplomacy
By William F.B. Vodrey

Railroads in the Civil War
By Dennis Keating

Hickenlooper's Ohio Artillery Anchors the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh
By Dan Ursu

Sheridan’s Butterfly
By Jim Heflich

Civil War Photography
By Dennis Keating

Cleveland Civil War Roundtable 60th Anniversary
By Mel Maurer

The Lincoln Legacy: The Man and His Presidency
By William F.B. Vodrey

Jefferson C. Davis and the Ebenezer Creek Controversy
By Dennis Keating

Fort Ward: Bastion Against the South
By Dan Ursu

Ex Parte Milligan Anniversary
By Dennis Keating

A Review of Days of Defiance by Maury Kleine
By Daniel Bonder

A Review of The Battle of Roanoke Island by Michael P. Zatarga
By William F.B. Vodrey

A Review of 'Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Civil War'
By Patrick Bray

A Review of 'Valley of the Shadow'
By Dennis Keating

A Review of 'The West Point History of the Civil War'
By William F.B. Vodrey

On Inconvenient Truth and Convenient Fiction
By John C. Fazio

Jefferson Davis Monuments:
Being Removed?

By Dennis Keating

On Trees and Forests: Correcting History's View of J. Wilkes Booth
By John C. Fazio

The Contested Centennial Presidential Election of 1876
By Dennis Keating

No Horse of Mine
By William F.B. Vodrey

The Campaign Against the Confederate Battle Flag
By Dennis Keating

A Report On: American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague, Civil War "Belle of the North" By John Oller
By Jean Rhodes

A Monument to Service: The Cuyahoga County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
By Tim Daley and Richard T. Prasse

The Confederate Battle Flag, Personal License Plates, and Litigation
By Dennis Keating

"Beyond the Battlefield": An Ohio History Connection Symposium
By William F.B. Vodrey

The April 1861 Madness
By Patrick Bray

Shelby Foote was Wrong!
By Dick Crews

A Rebuttal to “Shelby Foote Was Wrong”
By Greg Biggs

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

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

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


Executive Committee

Hans Kuenzi


Dan Ursu

Vice President

C. Ellen Connally


Steve Pettijohn


Dave Carrino


Past Presidents

Howard Besser


Patrick Bray


Chris Fortunato


Jean Rhodes


Paul Burkholder


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.





The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable