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May 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

May 8, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Karen Needles


As we bring a close to our sixth (6th) year and look ahead to year # 7 and beyond, the future is very much on our minds.  In that vein, we are happy to welcome Ms. Karen Needles as she introduces us to the Lincoln Archives Digital Project.

Karen Needles | LinkedIn

Launched by Ms. Needles in March 2002, the Lincoln Archives Digital Project seeks to shift the paradigm of how presidential projects are done.  More than just an autograph collection, which does not provide context for all of the  documents signed by President Lincoln, the Lincoln Archives Digital Project is working to digitize all executive, legislative, judicial and military federal records pertaining to Abraham Lincoln.  Beginning with every document housed within the National Archives dated from March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865, the project has broadened its boundaries to include letters written to President-Elect Lincoln from those seeking federal employment and pushed out to include documents about the assassination, the capture of David Herold and death of John Wilkes Booth, the capture, trial and execution of the other conspirators, the capture and imprisonment of Jefferson Davis, the trial of Henry Wirz and the trial of John Surratt.  With the millions upon millions of records, photographs and other scholarship, the process of digitization seeks not to replace research rooms and archivists, but to provide greater access to those who cannot physically come to the National Archives, due to time and/or financial constraints.  Ms. Needles will describe for us how utilizing technology will allow anyone to find the Civil War records they desire in a matter of moments, as opposed to the lifetime of physical searching done in the past.

Digital illustration of Abraham Lincoln: patriotic palette

Karen Needles is a veteran of the United States Air Force, a former history teacher and a former consultant with IBM, Discovery Channel and Turner Learning and Cable in the Classroom.  She has also worked as an Education Resource Specialist at the Library of Congress from 1999 – 2002, before launching the Lincoln Archives Digital Project.  While at the Library of Congress, she trained teachers to use primary sources from the American Memory Collections.  She has also provided research assistance on the following books; “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbott, as well as her upcoming book about bootlegger George Remus. She also lists “The Eloquent President” and “A. Lincoln“, by Ron White, Jr., “Manhunt” by James Swanson; and his upcoming sequel on the capture of Jefferson Davis.  Finally she has worked with Ron Soodalter on “Hanging Captain Gordon” and with James Conway on his book, “Lincoln’s White House“.

Please come out and join us as we celebrate 6 years of the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table and look forward into the foreseeable future with Karen Needles.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at

Park Day 2018

April 7, 2018


(Scotland, MD) – On Saturday, April 7, 2018, history buffs, community leaders, and preservationists

will aid in the maintenance and restoration of numerous sites as part of Park Day, the Civil War Trust’s annual hands-on preservation event. Thousands of volunteers across the country will participate as Park Day celebrates its largest year ever with over 155 historic sites in 32 states.

In Point Lookout, Historic Civil War Fort #3 will host a Park Day event beginning at 0900. Needs include general maintenance of Fort #3 and surrounding history area, and a local historian will also be available to describe the park’s significance. For more information about Park Day at Civil War Fort #3, please contact Bob Crickenberger, The Friends of Point Lookout, Inc. by phone at (301) 876-5688 or by e-mail at

WHAT:      Park Day volunteer event at Historic Fort #3 and Prison Pen site.

WHEN:     April 7, 2018, beginning at 09: a.m. – 02:00 p.m.

WHERE:   Meet at Fort #3.

The Civil War Trust is a national nonprofit land preservation organization devoted to the protection of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. It saves the battlefields of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and educates the public about their importance in forging the nation we are today. To date, the Trust has preserved over 48,000 acres of battlefield land in 24 states. Learn more at

For more information, contact:   Bob Crickenberger, The Friends of Point Lookout

                                                       Point Lookout State Park – (301)876-5688



For a complete list of participating Park Day Sites, visit Volunteers can participate in Park Day online using #ParkDay2018.

April 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table

April 10, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Marc Leepson

Journalist, historian, and author Marc Leepson will present a two-part program in April on the Battle of Monocacy based on his acclaimed 2007 book, Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Known Civil War Battle Saved Washington, D.C., and Changed American History.

Mr. Leepson—the author of nine books, including his latest, Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler—will give a talk on the book on Tuesday, April 10 in La Plata. Then, on Saturday, April 14, he will lead an extensive tour of the Monocacy National Battlefield outside Frederick, Maryland.

The talk—and the book—covers four short but pivotal weeks in the Civil War. The story begins on June 13, 1864, when Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early followed his commanding general Robert E. Lee’s secret orders to take an entire corps of troops from outside the defenses of Richmond and move into the Shenandoah Valley. Early quickly defeated Union General David Hunter at Lynchburg, then marched his troops north through the undefended Shenandoah Valley.

On July 5 Early’s troops crossed the Potomac, setting in motion the South’s third invasion of the North (after Antietam in 1862 and Gettysburg almost a exactly a year earlier in July 1863). The story ends almost exactly a month later, on July 14, 1864, when Early led his troops back across the Potomac after removing them from the fighting around Washington.

The key event in the entire affair, the July 9 Battle of Monocacy, played a vital and under-appreciated role in the outcome of the war. In what would be Union General Lew Wallace’s finest military hour, he and his men came out on the losing end. But, as the book makes clear, the fight at Monocacy became known as “the battle that saved Washington” because Wallace held Early up for just enough time for Grant to bring much-needed seasoned troops to man the defenses of Washington.

As for changing American history, Early’s move into Maryland and his march on Washington forced Grant to send the U.S. Army’s 6th Corps from outside Richmond to Monocacy and Washington and to divert the entire 19th Corps to the nation’s capital. Grant had been working on what he had hoped would be a plan to put a stranglehold around Lee in Richmond and Petersburg, a strategy that he had hoped would end the war, perhaps as early as the summer of 1864. That strategy dissolved when he had to send all the 6th and 19th Corps north.

Marc Leepson is the author of nine books, including Desperate Engagement, Saving Monticello, Flag: An American Biography, Lafayette: Idealist General, What So Proudly We Hailed, and Ballad of the Green Beret. A former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., he has written for many magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal and Civil War Times and Military History, been interviewed on many television and radio shows (among them, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Fox News, MSNBC, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition), has presented papers and chaired panels at academic conferences, and has given many presentations to university and high school students.

He is senior writer, arts editor, and columnist for The VVA Veteran, the magazine published by Vietnam Veterans of America. He graduated from George Washington University in 1967. After serving in the U.S. Army, including a year in the Vietnam War, he earned an MA in history from GWU in 1971. He taught U.S. history at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia from 2008-2015.

He has served on many non-profit boards, including the Library of Virginia Foundation, the Virginia State Library Board, the Loudoun County (Va.) Library Board of Trustees, and the Mosby Heritage Area Association. He lives in Middleburg, Virginia. His website is

Attendance is free for all, but membership is recommended.  For information, contact the Round Table’s president, Ben Sunderland, at or 443-975-9142.

March 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

March 13, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Kimberly Schwatka

We invite you to join us this evening, as Ms. Kimberly Schwatka takes us into the world of nursing during the Civil War by introducing us to Ms. Harriet Patience Dame.   Ms. Dame is one of small number of army nurses who “roughed it” in the field with the men.  Harriet was in the field with her “boys” the Second New Hampshire Infantry during the entire war.  When the Civil War broke out, Miss Dame was operating a boarding house for students in Concord, New Hampshire.  She answered the call for volunteers when the regimental surgeon of the Second New Hampshire Infantry requested two matrons.  Harriet Dame applied, was quickly accepted, and traveled south to join the regiment.  Harriet received her introduction to battlefield at the First Battle of Manassas, where she met up with the Second New Hampshire as the battle was beginning.


In 1862, during the retreat from the James during the Peninsula campaign, she demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership.  General Hooker gave the orders that all of the sick and wounded who could not travel be left behind.  Harriet organized the sick and wounded so they could help each other during the 120 mile trek.  During the retreat from the Peninsula, Miss Dame was captured for the first time.  At the Second Battle of Bull Run, Harriet was taken prisoner for the second time at the old stone church at Centreville, Virginia.  During the unit’s furlough, instead of accepting a much-deserved furlough of her own, Harriet took charge of the New Hampshire Soldiers Aid Society rooms in Washington DC.

Harriet rejoined unit when they returned to active duty.  She was present for the battle of Gettysburg and it is believed she may have been at the Trostle barn caring for the wounded.  Miss Dame stayed at the Corps hospital until the sick and wounded were transferred to general hospitals.

Harriet would again rejoin the 2nd New Hampshire at Point Lookout, Maryland where it was assigned guarding prisoners of war.  While the Second was assigned to Point Lookout, she was sent to investigate the sanitary conditions of the New Hampshire troops stationed near Charleston, South Carolina and St Augustine, Florida.         Miss Dame would later be appointed matron of the 18th Corps Hospital at Broadway Landing during the Petersburg campaign in 1864.

After the war, the New Hampshire Legislature voted Harriet $500 for her wartime work.  She donated the funds to help build a cottage at The Weirs for veterans of the Second New Hampshire.   Over 600 veterans signed the petition that resulted in a private pension bill being passed granting Harriet a pension for her wartime service as a nurse.  She was granted a pension as a result of $25 per month in 1884.  Her invalid claim states that she was disabled by rheumatism.

Unknown to Miss Dame, then Assistant Secretary of the Treasury William E. Chandler secured an appointment for her as a clerk in the treasury department.  She held the position until 1896, when she was dismissed from her post due to prolonged absence due to breaking her leg first in February 1865, and then when she broke her other leg on the evening of November 27, 1895 after being knocked down by a female bicyclist.

She served as the second president of the Army Nurses Association which had lobbied Congress for passage of a bill to grant pensions to nurses of the Civil War.  Harriet was a welcome guest at veterans’ reunions and an honored guest at the annual encampment at The Weirs.  Miss Dame was entitled to wear the cross of the Eighteenth Corps, the diamond of the Third Corps of Hooker’s division, and the heart of the Twelfth corps.  She also received a special badge from the Second New Hampshire Infantry.

Harriet Patience Dame died April 24, 1900 in Concord, New Hampshire.  She was buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery with full military honors.    Surviving members of the regiment had the monument erected in the cemetery in her honor.  In 2002, she was inducted posthumously into the American Nursing Association Hall of Fame for her work during the American Civil War.

Kimberly Schwatka is a customer service representative with General Dynamics IT.  This fall she is returning to school to pursue her Master of Arts in Military History at Norwich University. Ms. Schwatka is a graduate of Depaul University.  Ms. Schwatka became interested in Civil War history while still in junior high school. She is a reenactor and living historian with both the 20th Maine Company E and the 17th Corps Field Hospital. Ms. Schwatka is also a member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Her interest in Harriet Patience Dame grew as a result of a brief biography that was brought to her attention.

Please come out as we celebrate Women’s History Month with this informative presentation.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call Round Table President Ben Sunderland at 443-975-9142 or email at

February 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

February 13, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business & Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Room, BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  David R. Craig



The Southern Maryland Civil War Round table is pleased to welcome back for Hartford County executive David Craig.  For those that enjoyed his October 2014 presentation the the Round Table about Maryland Confederate Brigadier General James Archer, you shall certainly enjoy tonight’s presentation on his latest book “Greetings from Gettysburg”.

Mr. Craig will discuss with us this evening the Battle of Gettysburg, its creation and change as a National Battlefield Park, how his book could help one tour the Gettysburg National Battlefield or remember a time when they did and the vintage post cards he used in the writing of this book.

David Craig attended Havre de Grace High School and was a History major at Towson State College (BS), and Morgan State University (Master’s Degree). Married to Melinda Lee (Blevins) Craig for 45 years. Teacher at Harford County Public School (Middle School) for 15 years and assistant principal for 19 years. Havre de Grace City Councilman five years, Council President one year, Mayor 9 years, State Delegate one term, State Senator one term, Harford County Executive 10 years (2 1/2 terms–longest serving in the county. State Secretary of Planning for Governor Hogan for 1 1/2 years and currently Executive Director of the MD WWICC. Member of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War (Baltimore) due to my great-grandfather Robert Craig who was in the 2nd Battery, Maryland Light Artillery, USA. Also a soccer coach for 25 seasons. Currently “Pop Pop” of eight grandchildren (father of three).

Please come out and help us welcome back David Craig.  Attendance is free for all, but membership is recommended. For information, contact the Round Table’s president, Ben Sunderland, at or 443-975-9142.

January 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

January 9, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Bonnie Mangan


Rescheduled from March 2017 due to inclement weather, the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is happy to be able to present Ms. Bonnie Mangan as she educates us about Clara Barton’s Efforts to Identify Civil War Missing Soldiers!

Clara Barton is often identified as a Civil War nurse and the founder of the American Red Cross. But between the end of the Civil War and her introduction the Red Cross while traveling in Switzerland, she sought to find out what happened to the thousands of unknown Union dead.

Barton considered the naming of the dead an obligation of the nation that sent so many to an unaccounted death far from home. Just as she saw a need to have medical care and supplies at hand on the field during the battle, she recognized that “an accounting of the dead is an accounting to the bereaved,” as Drew Gilpin Faust explains in This Republic of Suffering. Barton understood both of these needs before the government did.

Barton began her work just prior to the Quartermaster Office’s Reburial Program.

In April 1866 Congress passed a Joint Resolution that authorized and required the Secretary of War “to take immediate measures to preserve from desecration the graves of soldiers of the United States who fell in battle or died of disease in hospitals; to secure suitable burial places in which they may be properly interred; and to have the graves enclosed so that the resting places of the honored dead may be kept sacred forever.” Barton sought to name the individual dead, something finally done with the National Cemetery Act of 1872.

Using Barton’s writings, this talk will concentrate on the work of the Missing Soldiers Office. During this period, Barton went on the lecture circuit speaking about her wartime experiences to fund the Missing Soldiers Office. Barton also testified before the Congressional Joint Committee on Reconstruction reporting on conditions in Georgia, which she viewed first hand when she accompanied the expedition to set up the Andersonville National Cemetery.

Though Barton’s work on behalf of the missing was undertaken independently of the government’s (as Clara often preferred) they were part of the overall national program to honor those who gave the last full measure. And Barton certainly should be considered a pioneer in this endeavor.



Bonnie Mangan grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois.  She earned Masters degrees in Middle East Studies and Library Science. After working aboard she was hired by the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. She recently retired after 36 years of faithful federal service.

Bonnie became interested in mid 19th century history reading about the Alcotts and the Transcendentalists. After hearing Eileen Conklin speak on Women at Gettysburg, 1863, she signed up to attend the first Conference on Women and the Civil War, the precursor to the Society for Women and the Civil War (SWCW). To learn about the Civil War she followed the Vermont Brigade. Bonnie credits her late friend, Dorie Silber of Walden, VT, and Wilbur Fisk  (2nd VT) with nurturing this interest.

Since 2011 Bonnie has been a National Park Service volunteer at Arlington House where she is considered the resident Yankee. She is a docent at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office. She also serves on the board of SWCW.

Bonnie lives in Arlington, VA with her cats Fuller (named for Margaret Fuller) and Alcott (named for all the Alcotts).

Please come out and shake off some of those post holiday blah’s!  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended.  For more information, please call Round Table President, Ben Sunderland, at 443-975-9142 or email at

Southern MD Civil War Round Table Spring Field Trip

Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table

 Monocacy Battlefield Tour

Saturday, April 14, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Tour:  Join us for our annual Spring Tour of the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table.  This tour will begin in La Plata (CSM Campus), where participants will board a chartered bus for The Monocacy Battlefield.

The Battle of Monocacy (also known as Monocacy Junction) was fought on July 9, 1864, approximately 6 miles from Frederick, Maryland, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early defeated Union forces under Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace. The battle was part of Early’s raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland in an attempt to divert Union forces away from Gen. Robert E. Lee‘s army under siege at Petersburg, Virginia.  The battle was the northernmost Confederate victory of the war. While the Union troops retreated to Baltimore, Maryland, the Confederates continued toward Washington, D.C., but the battle at Monocacy delayed Early’s march for a day, allowing time for Union reinforcements to arrive in the Union capital. The Confederates launched an attack on Washington on July, 12 at the Battle of Fort Stevens, but were unsuccessful and retreated to Virginia.

The Guide: The tour guide is Marc Leepson, author of the book, “Desperate Engagement”. He will also speak to the round table on Tuesday, April 10th.  Contact is Ben Sunderland @ 4439759142 or

Cost: The cost of the trip (bus and lunch) is $55 for members and $65 for nonmembers.  Save money through early bird registration (March 13, 2018) $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers.