Home    Charger    Articles    Schedule    Library    Links    Destinations

Honor the Monitor    Speakers Bureau    Membership    Contact Us   


Roundtable Program Schedule

2015-2016 Campaign

We are pleased to present the 2015-2016 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable program schedule.  This year's schedule provides an interesting mix of published authors, scholars and Roundtable members presenting on a wide variety of Civil War topics.  Please join us for what promises to be an exciting and stimulating year. 

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 around 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


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 Dan Zeiser's office voice mail.


September 9, 2015
Dr. Richard Kiper
Major General John Alexander McClernand: Politician in Uniform
Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

John A. McClernand was a leading Democratic congressman from Illinois who in 1861 became a brigadier general in the Union army. Although a "political general," he proved himself on the battlefield until he ran afoul of Ulysses S. Grant and was relieved of his command of the Thirteenth Corps in 1863 during the Vicksburg campaign. Richard Kiper presents a balanced and sympathetic assessment of this highly controversial individual who served his country as soldier and statesman and sheds new light on the Union command system, providing insight into the politics of war as well as the personalities and relationships among the army's senior officers. (From the publisher of Major General John Alexander McClernand: Politician in Uniform.)

Our speaker: Richard L. Kiper is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel (West Point, 1967) who earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas. He is the author of Major General John Alexander McClernand: Politician in Uniform (The Kent State University Press, 1999), Spare Not the Brave: The Special Activities Group in Korea, the coauthor of U.S. Army Special Operations In Afghanistan, and the editor of Dear Catharine, Dear Taylor: The Civil War Letters of a Union Soldier and his Wife. Dr. Kiper has taught at West Point, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and Kansas City Kansas Community College and has served as an analyst at the U.S. Army Irregular Warfare Center in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

September 24 - September 27, 2015
CCWRT Annual Field Trip
Gettysburg, PA

For our annual field trip this year we return to Gettysburg, the "high water mark of the Confederacy" and the most popular Civil War destination for both the casual and serious student of history. As Dan Zeiser says, our field trips are the best thing we do.  If you've not gone before, you must make time and join us!  Gettysburg is a short five hours away; logistically, it will never be easier.  For a sense of what these trips are like, read the summary of our 2008 trip to Gettysburg here.


Thursday, September 24, 2015:

  • This will be a traveling day. Mapquest shows travel from Cleveland to Gettysburg takes approximately 6 hours. So, a leisurely drive can get us all there in the late afternoon.
  • Group meets for dinner and an agreed upon evening event.

Friday, September 25, 2015:

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Proceed to Battlefield at 9AM. We spend the whole day at the Battlefield with a licensed guide. The cost of the guide will be split evenly.
  • Lunch: we will either go out of the park or have box lunches.
  • Afternoon: Back at the battlefield with our guide.
  • Evening: Dinner at Lincoln Diner. Cozy. Homey. Family place. It would be fun to have meals in common.

Saturday, September 26, 2015:

  • Breakfast at the Wyndham
  • Morning: 9 AM sharp. Back to the Battlefield with our guide.
  • Lunch either by boxes or to town.
  • Afternoon: Return to the Battlefield.
  • Evening: Decamp to the Camptown Inn in Camptown, PA for a nice closing dinner. Awards to be presented.

Sunday, September 27, 2015:

  • Morning: Check out of hotel. Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Travel to the Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg.
  • Admission is $7.
  • Leave for Cleveland.


Gettysburg Wyndham
95 Presidential Circle
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Phone: 717-339-0020

October 14, 2015
Professor Michael Panhorst
The Memorial Art and Architecture of Vicksburg National Military Park

Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

In the heyday of Civil War commemoration at the turn of the twentieth century, Mississippi's Vicksburg National Military Park was considered the art park of the South. By 1920, more than 160 portrait statues, busts, and reliefs of Vicksburg's defenders under Gen. John C. Pemberton and the besieging Union army commanded by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant lined the tour route along the earthworks around the Gibraltar of the Confederacy. Most of the memorial art and architecture was built in the classical revival Beaux-Arts style popular following the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. The federal government, states, and individual patrons commissioned dozens of sculptors and architects to create these enduring structures, marking the historic battlefield and commemorating the men and events involved in the campaign and siege of Vicksburg.  This program is presented in conjunction with the Cincinncati Civil War Roundtable. (From the publisher of The Memorial Art and Architecture of Vicksburg National Military Park.)

Our speaker: Michael Panhorst holds a bachelor's degree in art administration from the University of Alabama and master's and doctoral degrees in art history from the University of Delaware. He is widely published, having authored or co-authored numerous art-related articles, essays, encyclopedia and dictionary entries, web sites, CDs, videos and government reports.

Dr. Panhorst has lectured extensively on sculpture, with particular emphasis on outdoor sculpture. He has been active in SOS! Save Outdoor Sculpture, a nationwide effort to inventory all publicly accessible sculpture, assess its condition and promote its proper care. His book, The Memorial Art and Architecture of Vicksburg National Military Park, was published in 2015.


November 11, 2015
Dr. Michael Dory
Reconstruction: An Overview and a Different Interpretation

Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

In the opening episode of Ken Burns' 1990 documentary film, The Civil War, writer Shelby Foote declares, "Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads."

While we agree with Foote's assessment, we'd assert that in order to fully understand modern America the committed student of American history must also have a keen grasp of the Reconstruction period immediately following the Civil War.  The years from 1865 to 1877 were no less significant in defining modern America, both for better and for worse, than were the years from 1861 to 1865.  The issues created by the founding fathers kicking the can of slavery down the road for succeeding generations to deal with and by the devastation of the Civil War itself, particularly in the South, all came home to roost following the surrender of the Confederate armies.  Longtime Roundtable member and history professor, Dr. Michael Dory will be with us to discuss this most important period in American history.

Our speaker: Dr. Michael Dory holds AA, BS, and PhD degrees in History, has taught on three continents (Europe, Asia and North America), and is a certified regular education and special education teacher. He is presently employed at Cuyahoga Community College here in Cleveland. Dr. Dory also has an AS in Marine Biology, BS in Geology and Physics and an MSIR in International Relations. Additionally Dr. Dory has an EdD (ABD) in Educational Administration and Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Southern California. He is a Marine and Army veteran, having seen combat in Vietnam. Dr. Dory has been a member of the Roundtable for twenty years and was a spearhead for changing the CCWRT constitution to include women.


December 9, 2015
Patrick Bray

Jefferson Davis: A Changing Historical Reputation
Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

Few American politicians have had a more impressive resume prior to assuming high office than Jefferson Davis. Indeed the case for Davis was all the more compelling considering his military credentials in a time of impending war. It was said of the newly elected President of the Confederate States of America in February 1861 that “The man and the hour have met.” And furthermore, it was announced that “Prosperity, honor, and victory await his administration.”

Poor prediction.

Davis had an exceedingly difficult task which was made more problematic by his prickly personality. His detractors emerged almost immediately including his Vice President, Alexander Stephens. By the end of the war he was described as “the most hated man in the South.” In the North a popular tune gleefully declared “We’ll hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree.” An early biography of Davis published in 1869 by Richmond journalist E.A. Pollard was unrelentingly critical. But Davis outlived many of his critics and rode a wave of Lost Cause mythology to at least a somewhat restored historical reputation in his native South. By 1970 his image carved in stone had joined the unquestioned members of the Confederate pantheon, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, on a gigantic memorial at Stone Mountain Georgia. A recent biography by preeminent Civil War historian, James M. McPherson, entitled Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Civil War will be discussed.

Our speaker: Patrick Bray, M.D. grew up on a Civil War battlefield in Franklin, Tennessee. Like his childhood hero and fellow Tennessean, Admiral David Farragut, he joined the U.S Navy (and remained loyal to the Union). He is now a semi-retired physician and the immediate past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


January 13, 2016
The Dick Crews Annual Debate:
Resolved, What Would a Second Lincoln Administration have Been Like?
Moderator: William F. B. Vodrey
Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

One of the great tragedies of American history is the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln in April 1865. A significant component of that tragedy is the question that preys on the mind of any serious student of American history or American politics, namely: Could a second Lincoln term have in any way attenuated the long, painful racial struggle that consumed our nation for every bit of the 150 intervening years since Lincoln's death?

Could it? Or is that question just a reflection of our boundless Lincoln hero worship and the desire to anoint the martyred president with near supernatural powers? Could anyone have made a difference in post Civil War America or were we doomed, like the characters in a Greek tragedy, to pay a bloody price for the sins of our (founding) fathers and their legitimization of slavery?

What would a second Lincoln administration have looked like? It's an interesting question and precisely the question the brave participants in this year's Dick Crews Debate will be seeking to answer. Join us for what will certainly be a lively and interesting discussion.


February 10, 2016
Team Trivia Competition - Civil War Photo Edition

Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

Our trivia quiz last year was such a hit, we've decided to do another one, but this time focusing on pictures, paintings and images.  Teams of members will vie to correctly answer the most questions - identifying generals, paintings, monuments, parts of battlefields, etc.  Put on your thinking cap and come prepared to figure what the heck you're looking at! 

President Chris Fortunato will be our moderator, making use of images assembled by Vice President Jean Rhodes, Wally Folkmann and others.  And remember, no wagering allowed.

Official Rules:

The Teams

  1. Each team will have between three and five members, and will sit together. Teams may include CWRT members and guests.
  2. Teams are encouraged to have a mix of ages, levels of Civil War knowledge, and lengths of membership in the CWRT.
  3. Each team will pick a team name.
  4. Each team will give each member a turn as its spokesperson.
  5. Each team may consult freely among its members before answering, but for no more than 30 seconds.

The Panel

  1. The TTC Panel be named prior to the compeition.
  2. Each member of the TTC Panel will generate at least 60 Civil War trivia questions ahead of time, 20 at each of three levels of difficulty:
    • Level 1: Easy
    • Level 2: Hard
    • Level 3: Holy Crap, Nobody Knows That!
  3. No questions or answers will be revealed to any CWRT member other than the TTC Panel members before the game.
  4. All questions will be written down, and will cite a particular reputable written source, including page number.

Opening Round

  1. In the Opening Round, one question will be asked of each team at a time, with each team having a turn.
  2. The first three questions to each team will be Level 1. The next three will be Level 2. The next three will be Level 3.
  3. Additional Level 3 questions will then be asked until only two teams remain.
  4. Challenges or disputes as to any answer, the determination of what level of difficulty a question is, or any necessary interpretations of these rules, will be decided by majority vote of the TTC Panel. All its decisions are final.
  5. Three wrong answers during the course of the Opening Round will disqualify a team.
  6. Other teams may provide unhelpful wrong answers, but no one not on your team should give or shout out correct answers.
  7. This is a game of knowledge and recall, not research skills. No research including from books, articles, phone calls or Internet access of any kind is permitted during the game by anyone other than the TTC Panel. Doing so will result in immediate disqualification of that person's entire team.
  8. After a single warning to any individual for violation of any other rule, his or her entire team may be disqualified by the TTC for any subsequent violation.

Final Round / Sudden Death Round

  1. When only two teams remain, their previous wrong answers are forgiven, and the Final Round begins.
  2. All questions in the Final Round will be Level 3.
  3. No team will win unless it correctly answers the Level 3 question just missed by the other team, and then correctly answers another Level 3 question.
  4. If the second team also incorrectly answers the question just missed by the other team, the first team remains in the game, and is asked a new Level 3 question. This may happen up to three times. If neither team can correctly answer two consecutive Level 3 questions in those three rounds, we'll go to the Sudden Death Round: one Level 3 question to each team at a time. The team to go first will be determined by a coin toss. The first team to then correctly answer a single Level 3 question wins the whole enchilada.

March 9, 2016
Hon. C. Ellen Connally
Salmon P. Chase and Reconstruction
Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

The demise of the Confederacy left a legacy of legal arrangements that raised fundamental and vexing questions regarding the legal rights and status of former slaves and the status of former Confederate states. Few individuals had greater impact on resolving these difficult questions than Salmon P. Chase, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1865 to 1873.

In his rulings on cases brought before the court Chase combined his abolitionist philosophy with an activist jurisprudence to help dismantle once and for all the deposed machineries of slavery and the Confederacy. Chase sought to consolidate the gains of the Civil War era, while demonstrating that the war had both preserved the precious core characteristics of the federal union of states and fundamentally improved the nature of both private and public law. (From the publisher's description of The Reconstruction Justice of Salmon P. Chase: In Re Turner and Texas v. White.)

Our speaker: Judge C. Ellen Connally is a Cleveland native and a long time member of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.  She received her B.S. degree in social studies from Bowling Green State University in 1967, and her J.D. degree from Cleveland State University in 1970. In 1998, Judge Connally received her M.A. in American history from Cleveland State University and went on to complete all coursework towards a Ph.D. degree in American history at Akron University.

After serving in multiple roles at Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals and the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Ms. Connally was elected judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court in 1980 where she served until retiring in 2004.  Following retirement, Judge Connally worked as an adjunct professor of history at Ursuline College and of law at the University of Akron College of Law. She was appointed special prosecutor for the City of Cleveland in 2009 and in 2010 was elected to the Cuyahoga County Council where she served as president.

Judge Connally has served as president of the Board of Trustees of Bowling Green State University, president of the Board of Trustees of the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio, vice president of the Board of Community Action Against Addiction, vice president for Traffic Safety - Greater Cleveland Safety Council, and president of the Northern Ohio Municipal Judges Association. She has also been a member of numerous boards, including the Cleveland Bar Foundation, the Cleveland Society for the Blind, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, the Cleveland Public Theater, the Girls and Boys Club of Cleveland, the Ohio Judicial College, the Ohio Historical Society and the Cleveland State University Foundation Board.

Judge Connally is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the 1997 Achievement Award from Cleveland State University’s History Department; a 1999 Certificate of Special Appreciation from Mothers Against Drunk Driving; the 2001 Alumni of the Year Award from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law; the Cuyahoga County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s John J. McMahon Outstanding Jurist Award; and 2004’s National Legacy Award, presented by Cleveland Councilman Zachary Reed. (from History Makers)


April 13, 2016
William F.B. Vodrey

Lincoln's Two Vice Presidents
Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

The role, influence and public standing of the Vice President of the United States have grown considerably since John Adams first took the oath in 1789. By the late 19th century, however, obscurity and powerlessness in that office were still the rule and not the exception. Two men served as Abraham Lincoln's Vice President: Hannibal Hamlin, Republican of Maine, and Andrew Johnson, War Democrat of Tennessee. Lincoln seemed to have played little role in the selection of either. Hamlin had a quiet, undistinguished term as Vice President; Johnson's term got off to an unpromising start and was cut short by Lincoln's assassination a little over five weeks later. Come learn more about these two very different statesmen, and how they did - or didn't - help President Lincoln.

Our speaker: William Vodrey is a magistrate of the Cleveland Municipal Court and a former president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable. He gives presentations on a wide variety of Civil War topics to roundtables and historical societies and has spoken to the Cleveland Roundtable on many occasions.

Mr. Vodrey graduated from Oberlin College and earned his law degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is a member of the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Blue & Gray Education Society, and the Ohio Historical Society, and a former re-enactor with the 51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Co. B, where he, in his own words, "skyrocketed to the rank of corporal." His essay, "George Washington: Hero of the Confederacy?" appeared in the October 2004 issue of American History magazine.


May 11, 2016
Dr. Anita Henderson
Maria Lewis- Civil War Cavalryman

Make a Dinner Reservation | Cancel a Dinner Reservation

Maria Lewis, an African-American woman, disguised herself as a cavalryman and rode with the Union Army in the Civil War. Dr. Anita Henderson will appear in costume to describe her search for Lewis. Her talk will focus on the methodology of her research, "how I'm doing it, what I'm looking for, what clues I get from the diary," she said.

Lewis herself is a mystery. "The problem that's stymieing me now is I don't have her alias. I have documentation based on a Quaker woman's diary," Henderson said. The diary, which was written by Julia Wilbur, a Quaker abolitionist from Rochester, N.Y., mentions that Lewis rode with the Ace New York Volunteer Cavalry.

"She rode with a white regiment, which makes it sort of interesting because it means she was probably light-skinned enough to pass as a Native American or a white male," Henderson said.  Medical examinations were perfunctory then at best, said Henderson, a dermatologist. Doctors looked into conscripts' mouth because they were required to have at least three teeth to tear open paper cartridges, then signed them up, she said.  (from the Baltimore Sun)

Our speaker: Dr. Anita Henderson is a functional mounted cavalry bugler with the 13th VA Cavalry, Co. H., Light Sussex Dragoons which had two documented black confederates who were duly mustered in. She recently was Chief Confederate Bugler of the 150th Blue-Gray Alliance Gettysburg Reenactment in June 2013. She also has a civilian impression and is a long time member of the Atlantic Guard Soldiers’ Aid Society, one of the most authentic civilian living history groups in the United States. She does an impression of a house slave or free black woman who is a cook and demonstrates open fire and hearth cooking using 19th century recipes and implements.

Dr. Henderson has participated in living history interpretations and reenactments all over the east coast and southern US. She has participated in a variety of historical documentary and Hollywood films. She was a background artist in the Civil War films “Wicked Spring”, “No Retreat From Destiny” and “Gods and Generals.” In addition to interpreting the Civil War, she is an avid genealogist and is descended from the Egglestons of Virginia and Mississippi. She is currently working on the family history with distant white cousins who are also avid Civil War scholars and genealogists. Dr. Henderson lives in rural western Howard County where she enjoys riding her pony “Fuzzy”, gardening, writing and milking her goat “Butter.”


The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable