October Southern MD Civil War Roundtable Meeting

October 9, 2012

The Southern Maryland Civil War Roundtable is pleased to announce its next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at the College of Southern Maryland (La Plata campus) at 7:00PM in the Business and Industry Building , Room 113.

Guest Speaker: Matthew Borowick

Matthew Borowick  will present an informative talk entitled, “The Court Martial of Fitz John Porter.”  As in sports, the Civil War had its share of heroes and its shares of men to whom blame for defeat or disaster was attached.  A Union defeat at Manassas in the summer of 1862 led to criticism and a court-martial for one of the rising stars of the Army of the Potomac’s high command.

After Robert E. Lee drove John Pope’s army back to Washington, questions were raised about who was responsible for the defeat.  Fingers quickly pointed toward Major General Fitz John Porter, who did not perform as pope had expected him to because, as Porter’s enemies claimed, Porter wanted to see Pope fail.  Porter spent the next 24 years of his life trying to clear his name.

This month’s unique and energetic presentation on a rarely discussed but incredibly fascinating topic will focus on the events surrounding the Union defeat at Second Manassas and how rivalries in the Northern Armies led to the downfall of one of the North’s ablest generals.

The program will be provided by Matthew Borowick, who has had a lifelong interest in the American Civil War, dating back to his days as a first grader, when he took his copy of “The Golden Book of the Civil War” to school daily.  Today, Matthew is one of four regular columnists for the well regarded Civil War News, serving as the author of “Round Table Review”. which describes the practices of Civil War round tables across the country.  In 2010, he authored and published The Civil War Round Table Handbook – The Indispensable Guide to Running Yours Right.

Additional Information

Meetings are free and open the public, but membership to the Round table is highly encouraged ($30 per year).  For more information, please contact Dr. Brad Gottfried at 301-934-7625 or bgottfried@csmd.edu.

Inaugural Meeting of Southern Maryland Civil War Roundtable

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Southern Maryland Civil War Roundtable is proud to announce its inaugural meeting to be held at the College of Southern Maryland on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM in the Business and Industry Building of the La Plata Campus, Room 103/104.  Meetings will be held the second Tuesday of the month during September through May.  Annual membership will be $30; a small fee will be charged for attendance by non-members.

Guest Speaker: Kevin Knapp

The Roundtable is also proud to announce that Kevin Knapp will be the guest speaker for its inaugural meeting.  Mr. Knapp is a retired Army Officer, professional balloon pilot serving on the Balloon Federation of America Board, and Civil War Balloon Corps enthusiast. He has owned and operated the modern “ARMY” Balloon since 1993 and shares oral and living history as Thaddeus S. C Lowe, Chief Aeronaut, of the Army of the Potomac’s Balloon Corps. In 2006 Kevin was the co-pilot for the winning team of the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race flying from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Citra, Florida – 1,478 miles in 60 hours and 45 minutes.

Kevin Knapp’s portrayal of Thaddeus Lowe has been featured at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, by the US National Park Service Civil War Defense of Washington, Fort Ward, and Gaines Mill Battlefield, as well as the cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, Gloucester, Manassas, and Yorktown Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committees. He was also a contributor to the History Channel’s “Man, Moment, and Machine’s” segment on Civil War Ballooning called “Lincoln’s Flying Spy Machine.”

Balloons During the Civil War

Balloons were used for surveillance and reconnaissance during the Civil War by the Union Army from 1861 through 1863 and by Confederate Army in 1862. The North made over 3,000 ascensions with seven balloons and the South made less than 10 ascensions with two. Years after the war the famous Confederate Artillery Officer and observer in the Confederate’s second balloon, E.P. Alexander wrote. “I never understood why the enemy abandoned the use of military balloons … Even if the observers never saw anything; they would have been worth all they cost for the annoyance and delays they caused us in trying to keep our movement out of sight.”

In this presentation you will learn about the first air to ground telegraph; the first field hydrogen generators; the first air directed artillery fire; the first aircraft carrier; the first time two opposing forces had aircraft in the air at the same time; and the beginning of U.S. Military Aviation.

Additional Information

The program is open to the public. For additional information contact Southern Maryland Roundtable President Dr. Brad Gottfried at bgottfried@csm.edu or 301-934-7625.

The roundtable will host monthly meetings, the second Tuesday of every month from September through May, and will feature a guest speaker, usually an author or historian, who will present an aspect of the Civil War, followed by group discussion. Attendees with an interest in the Civil War will be asked to join the Roundtable for an annual fee of $30 to defray the cost of speakers, newsletters and field trips.