We are pleased to present the 2019 –
2020 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable program schedule. This year’s
schedule provides an interesting mix of published authors and
scholars who will discuss a variety of topics relating to the Civil
War. The October meeting will provide a unique hand on experience at
the Western Reserve Historical Society. On February 12, 2020 we will
mark the 211th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln with a special
celebration and speaker. Please join us for what promises to be an
exciting and stimulating year. We encourage members to bring a
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.
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 by sending an email to:
September 11, 2019
Henry P. "Hank" Elliott
In the Steps of Stonewall Jackson:
Prelude to Second Manassas
August 1862, Stonewall Jackson led 24,000 Confederate troops on a
fifty-mile encircling march around and behind John Pope’s Army of
Virginia. Considered one of the boldest maneuvers of its kind during
the Civil War, Jackson’s movement transformed the military picture
in central Virginia – causing the Federals to abandon their strong
defensive position along the Rappahannock River, allowing the
Confederates to seize the initiative, and setting the stage for
Southern victory. Although often remembered only for the legendary
plunder that resulted from the capture of the Federal supply base at
Manassas Junction, Jackson’s march was, in fact, the watershed
moment of the entire Second Manassas campaign.
Our speaker: Henry P. Elliott is an historian at
Manassas National Battlefield Park, where he has worked since 2007.
During his twenty-year career with the National Park Service, he has
also worked at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military
Park and the Chalmette Battlefield, a unit of the Jean Lafitte National
Historical Park and Preserve. He is the author of the feature
article on First Manassas in Blue and Gray Magazine and is
currently writing a regimental history of the 4th South Carolina
Volunteers. He resides in Jeffersontown, Virginia and joins us as a
result of a collaborative effort with the Mahoning Valley Civil War
Round Table and the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table.
September 19 - September 21, 2019
CCWRT Annual Field Trip
Visiting the Land of Lincoln - Springfield, Illinois
This year’s field trip will be a
unique opportunity to visit the home of our 16th and greatest
President, Abraham Lincoln. A change from our annual battlefield
sojourns, our journey includes a visit to the President’s home,
grave, the State Capital Building and the Lincoln Museum and
Presidential Library along with walking tours of Springfield . The
program will open with an orientation and welcome from Lincoln’s
friend and body guard, Ward Hill Lamon as portrayed by local guide
Garret Moffett. Garrett will also be our guide on Saturday for a
tour of the cemetery. Saturday night’s dinner will include a visit
from President Abraham Lincoln. Transportation will be provided from
downtown Springfield to the Oak Ridge Cemetery; other parts of the
tour will require brief walks.
Attendees are encouraged to go to
www.visitspringfieldillinos.com for an overview of the city.
Visiting New Salem, Illinois – Pre- or
Lincoln lived in New Salem,
Illinois from 1831–1837. New Salem is now a State Historic Site
located about two miles south of Petersburg, Illinois and 20 miles
northwest of Springfield. It is a reconstruction of the village
where Lincoln spent his early years. From May to October it is open
from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Because of the logistics and timing of
getting the entire group to New Salem within the time frame of a
weekend field trip, it is suggested that travelers stop at New Salem
either on their way to Springfield or on their way home. For more
Make hotel reservations for the
weekend (3night) at the Red Roof Inn Springfield, Il. Double rate
$109. Single rate 99. Mention the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
when making reservations. Reservations within the block of rooms set
aside and receiving the special rate must be made by August 15,
The State House
Red Roof Inn
101 East Adams Street
The cost is $195 per person which
includes guide fees, admission to the Lincoln Museum and
Presidential Library and lunch at the museum which will include a
speaker during lunch. We will also provide transportation to the Oak
Ridge Cemetery after lunch on Saturday and return to the hotel. All
meals are included – lunch and dinner on both Friday and Saturday.
Breakfast is provided at the hotel. The Friday night Ghost Tour is
optional (fee: $10/person).
Travel to Springfield, Illinois,
hotel and other incidental meals are not included Reserve your spot
Thursday, September 19
Meet at the State House Red Roof
Inn, Springfield, Illinois. Guests will be welcomed to the city
by Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and bodyguard, as portrayed
by local guide Garret Moffett, who will be our guide on
Saturday. Dinner on your own.
Friday, September 20
Depart for the Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum (.7 mile walk or drive on your
Museum opens – explore on your own.
at the Museum with speaker – Lincoln as Commander in Chief.
Meet local guide Garret Moffett for a walking tour of downtown
Springfield including, Lincoln sites, sites of race riots,
prohibition and more.
Dinner at Maldaner’s Restaurant – 222 South Sixth Street
Lincoln Ghost Walk: Legends and Lore (optional, cost:
This 90-minute 5-block lantern-lit walking tour uses the Lincoln
sites as a backdrop for strange and eerie stories surrounding
Lincoln’s life and death; Lincoln’s bizarre dreams of his death,
spiritualism, Mary’s séances in the White House, and
skullduggery at the tomb site. This is a factual history tour
that includes some ghostly lore surrounding the Lincolns.
Suitable for all ages, not a scary tour. The tour begins at #1
Old State Capital Plaza, corner of 6th and Adams – across the
street from the Maldaner’s Restaurant. Garret Moffett is the
Saturday, September 21
Depart hotel with local guide
Garret Moffett for .3 mile walk to Illinois State Capital.
the State Capital building
Depart State Capital building for .4 mile walk to Lincoln’s
Lincoln Home – National Historic Site.
Depart Lincoln Historic Site for .3 mile walk to Maldaner’s
at Maldaner’s – 225 South 6th Street.
Depart Maldaner's via bus to Oakridge Cemetery.
Cemetery tour conducted by Garret Moffett.
||Return to hotel
Banquet at State House Inn with Abraham Lincoln as Special
Sunday, September 22
2019 (Note change in meeting location)
A Night at the Museum
Western Reserve Historical Society
Visit the Western Reserve
Historical Society and have a hands-on experience with Civil War
artifacts and memorabilia housed at the Historical Society. Visitors
will be required to wear white gloves – provided by WRHS – so that
they can touch and feel significant parts of their Civil War
Collection that will be on display in the library reading room.
Materials will be on display starting at 5:00 PM.
Dinner will be served among the
vintage cars and members will have time to explore the many vehicles
on display. During dinner, staff of the historical society will
discuss the details of their Civil War collection.
The Western Reserve Historical
Society is located at 10835 East Blvd. Cleveland Oho – across from
the Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Hospital. Free parking will
be provided in the rear of the museum (enter off Magnolia Drive).
Because this event is being
catered, it is imperative that reservations be made by Sept. 27.
Summit County and the Sultana Disaster – Akron’s
Connection to One of the Worst Disasters in US Naval History
The Sultana was a
Mississippi River side-wheel steamboat, which exploded on April 27,
1985 in the worst maritime disaster in United States History.
Constructed of wood in 1863 at the John Litherbury Boatyard in
Cincinnati, she was intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade
but was ultimately used to carry troops. Although designed with a
capacity of only 376 passengers, she was carrying 2,137 when three
of the boat's four boilers exploded. The Sultana burned
to the waterline and then sank near Memphis, Tennessee. The disaster
was overshadowed in the press by events surrounding the end of the
Civil War, including the death of President Lincoln. Many of the
casualties were from Summit County. Mr. Huff will discuss the impact
of this disaster on Summit County.
Our speaker: Paul Huff is the President of the Cuyahoga
Valley Civil War Roundtable and Past Camp Commander of the General A. C. Voris
Camp, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Mr. Huff has
spoken throughout Northeast Ohio on various topics including "Mobile Bay: The
Ultimate Naval Battle of the Civil War," "The Women in the Window: Summit
County Women and the Civil War," "The Best and Worst of It: Cuyahoga Falls'
Civil War P.O.W.s" and "Summit County and the Sultana Disaster." In 2016, he
organized the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil War Monument at
Oakwood Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls.
Mr. Huff graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan
College with a degree in History and Political Science in 1980.
Following graduation, he worked as a reporter for the Cuyahoga Falls
News-Press and the Stow Sentry. It was while working as a
reporter that his childhood interest in the Civil War
was rekindled when covering the rededication of the Civil War
Monument in Cuyahoga Falls. Mr. Huff later worked for the city of Cuyahoga Falls,
serving as Lab
Technician at its water plant before retiring.
December 13, 2019
Peter J. D’Onofrio
President of the Society of Civil War Surgeons
The Medical Advancements of the Civil
War – as seen through the eyes of Robert Nelson Barr – Ohio’s
Surgeon General During the Civil War
Civil War was the first modern war and resulted in the highest
number of U.S. casualties per capita of any of our wars: roughly
750,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians; 25% of those involved, died.
What is not appreciated, even now, is the rapid advances made by
American medicine during the conflict.
Dr. D’Onofrio's presentation will inform the audience of the
background procedures and personnel that led to these advances (many
of which are the basis for techniques still used today) and their
impact on the development of American medicine. Dr. D’Onofrio will
present his talk in the guise of Ohio Civil War Surgeon General
Robert Nelson Barr, in period uniform, as if this meeting were
taking place only a few months following the end of the War.
Our Speaker: Peter
D’Onofrio, Ph.D. is a Civil War Medical historian. He is President
of the Society of Civil War Surgeons and editor of The Journal of
Civil War Medicine. The society is a nonprofit international,
educational organization dedicated to the study and preservation of
Civil War era medicine and surgery and those persons, both North and
South, who labored to ease the suffering of the sick, wounded and
dying of the conflict. A native of New York, Dr. D'Onofrio came to
Ohio compliments of the U.S. Air Force and decided to stay. He is a
graduate of the University of Dayton and has a Doctorate in American
History from LaSalle University. Dr. D’Onofrio has been instrumental
in setting up the medical re-enactments at numerous battle fields
including the Battles of First Manassas and Antietam and has served
as a consultant in many re-enactment/living history units as well as
for the National Park Service and several television series. He has
been re-enacting since 1978, starting as an infantryman with the
35th OVI, but since 1980, exclusively portraying a surgeon.
January 8, 2020
The Dick Crews Annual Debate:
Who Was the Most Important Ohioan
of the Civil War?
Moderator: William F. B. Vodrey
Ohioans played a vital role in the
victory of the Union in the Civil War. The State of Ohio also played
a key role in providing troops – some 320,000 men – along with
military officers and supplies to the Union Army. Several leading
generals came from Ohio, including, Ulysses S. Grant, William T.
Sherman, William Rosecrans and Philip H. Sheridan. Five Ohio-born
Civil War officers would later serve as President of the United
States – U.S. Grant, James A. Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes,
Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.
The Fighting McCooks of Ohio gained
fame as the largest immediate family group ever to become officers
in the U.S. Army. But Ohio also gave rise to other notables
including Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, John Sherman, Benjamin
Wade, Joshua Giddings and John Bingham whose lives and careers had
considerable impact on the Civil War era. And no story of the Civil
War can be told with out discussing the importance of Abolitionist
John Brown and Author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Join us to debate and
decide “Who was the most important Ohioan in the Civil War?
Prospective debaters are encouraged
to contact Moderator William Vodrey to become a part of this lively
February 12, 2020
Judge Frank J. Williams
Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Courts (Retired)
Reconstruction: What Went Wrong –
Lincoln’s Big Mistake – Selecting Andrew Johnson
slavery is the original sin of American democracy, then the
Reconstruction period following the end of the Civil War was our
first and greatest missed opportunity to repent that sin.
With the war's victorious end followed by the rapid passing of the
13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in 1865, 1866 and 1870 respectively,
progress for the freedmen of America looked promising.
Sadly, hopes for progress and justice were soon dashed and Reconstruction's
collapse opened the door to the Jim Crow era condemning black
Americans to an additional 150 years of oppression that extends to
Why did Reconstruction fail? Our
speaker, Frank J. Williams, will attempt to answer that question.
Our speaker: Frank J. Williams is a native of Rhode
Island. He is a graduate of Boston College and Boston University
School of Law. He also received a master’s in taxation from Bryant
University. Williams served his country in the United States Army
with distinction during the Vietnam War. In 2003, President Bush
appointed him to the United States Court of Military Commission
Review, ultimately becoming the chief judge where he served until
Judge Williams was a member of the
U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and co-founded and for
16 years served as chair the Lincoln Forum. He is past president of
The Lincoln Group of Boston, The Abraham Lincoln Association and
currently serves as President of Ulysses S. Grant Association. Judge
Williams was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of
Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest
honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2009 as a Bicentennial
Laureate. He stepped down from the Rhode Island Supreme Court in
2009 and is a frequent lecturer on the topic of Lincoln. He is the
author of Judging Lincoln a collection of nine of the most
insightful essays written by Judge Williams over the last twenty
years. The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable would like to thank past
president Mel Maurer for arranging Judge Williams’s visit.
Freedom, Citizenship and Equality:
The Story of the United States Colored Troops
200,000 black soldiers fought for the United States during the Civil
War. Their story is a unique chapter in the American conflict. These
men were freedom fighters who fought for emancipation and for full
citizenship rights. Mr. Bibbs discusses events significant to these
men that led up to the Civil War, and what made these men different
from other thousands who fought and died in the War Between the
Anthony Gibbs has traveled throughout the State of Ohio as a
teaching artist and living history performer. Anthony has portrayed
living history characters such as John Parker, an Underground
Railroad conductor from Ripley, Ohio; Milton Holland, a soldier and
Medal of Honor recipient of the 5th U.S.C. T; and other key figures
in African American History. For 12 years Anthony has presented
historical workshops and performances on the United States Colored
Troops and their participation in the Civil War. Anthony is a
graduate of The Ohio State University. He is currently employed by
the Ohio History Connection as the Manager of Local History
Services. He is a founder and Creative Director of Historic
Impressions, an organization dedicated to the remembrance,
appreciation, and exhibition of African American contributions to
Todd Arrington, Ph.D.
Deconstructing the Gettysburg Address
November 1863, Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
to deliver a "few appropriate remarks" at the dedication of the new
National Cemetery there. In just a few minutes and with less
than 300 words Lincoln delivered an address that redefined American
democracy and rededicated our nation's commitment to freedom.
Our speaker, Todd Arrington joins
us to do a line-by-line deconstruction of and exposition on what is,
without question, the most famous and, arguably, most consequential
speech in American history.
Todd Arrington is the Site Manager of the James A. Garfield National
Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. As a career National Park Service
Historian and park ranger, he has also worked at the Homestead
National Monument of America in Nebraska and Gettysburg National
Historic Site & Eisenhower National Historic Site both in
Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a PH.D in
history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a widely
published author on many aspects of the Civil War and has appeared
on PBS, C-Span, numerous television and radio news programs and
appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary Murder of the
President about James A. Garfield. Arrington has taught history
and humanities courses at several northeast Ohio colleges, including
Lake Erie College, John Carroll University, Lorain County Community
College, and Lakeland Community College. He is a member of the
Organization of American Historians and the Northeast Ohio Civil War
William A. Blair, Ph.D.
Ohio, Lincoln and Civil Liberties:
Creating a Dangerous or a Necessary Policy
1863, Clement L. Vallandigham was arrested by the U.S. Army for
treason as he campaigned to become the governor of Ohio. His offense
was criticism of the Lincoln Administration’s conduct of the war and
its arrest of political opponents. The incident sparked controversy
in the North and a public letter by Democrats in New York. President
Lincoln responded with his own public letter, doubling down on
arrests of civilians by the military and proclaiming that detention
without the reading of rights was appropriate even before people
committed a crime against the state. After going through the details
of the controversy, Dr. Blair will discuss with the audience whether
this was necessary action or an abuse of executive power.
Our speaker: Retired since July 2019, Dr. William
Blair is the Ferree Professor Emeritus of American History and
Emeritus Director of the Richards Civil War Era Center at the
Pennsylvania State University. He was the founding editor of The
Journal of the Civil War Era, published in collaboration with
the University of North Carolina Press, and the former editor of
The Brose Lecture Series with the UNC Press. His books included
With Malice Toward Some: Treason
in the Civil War Era (2014) which was a finalist for the Lincoln
Prize; Virginia’s Private War:
Feeding Body and Soul in the Confederacy 1861-1865 (1998) and
Cities of the Dead: Contesting the
Memory of the Civil War in the South -1865-1914 (2004) He is
currently working on a book about how the Army gathered information
of atrocities against African Americans after the war into a record
titled Murders and Outrages in order to help Congress justify
harder measurers against former rebels after the Civil War ended. He
holds a BA, MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.