Southern MD Civil War Round Table Film Series

April 12, 2016

The last in our series of Civil War movies for this season will be shown, free of charge, prior to the regularly scheduled Round table meeting tonight from 4:47pm – 6:47pm 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.

Tonight’s Feature:  Death and The Civil War

Death and the Civil War . American Experience . WGBH | PBS

Directed by Ric Burns and based on the book “This Republic of Suffering“, by Drew Gilpin Faust, historian and president of Harvard University, this documentary explores how the American Civil War created a “republic of suffering” and charts the far-reaching political and social changes brought about by the pervasive presence and fear of death during the Civil War.  Though universally predicted to be a brief and bloodless military adventure, the Civil War dragged on for four years, killing an estimated 750,000 men — nearly 2.5% of the American population.  The impact permanently altered the character of the republic,the culture of the government and the psyche of the American people for all time.

Woefully unprepared for the awful work of burying and accounting for the dead, northerners and southerners alike had to find a way to deal with the hundreds of thousands of bodies, many of which were unidentified, and the grieving families who sought information on loved ones who, in the end, would never be found.  Following the common Christian notions of the “proper” way to die and be buried was all but impossible for most soldiers on the front.  Before the Civil War, America had no national cemeteries; no provisions for identifying or burying the dead, notifying the next of kin, or providing aid to the suffering families of dead veterans; no federal organizations; no effective ambulance corps; no adequate federal hospitals.

At the conclusion of tonight’s film, please feel free to stay for a presentation by Hilda Koontz about the Sultana Disaster.  The regularly scheduled meeting will begin at 7:00pm.

Park Day – April 2, 2016

April 2, 2016


WHAT:   Park Day Volunteer Event at Fort Lincoln, Point Lookout State Park

WHEN:   April 2, 2016 beginning at 10:00am until 2:00pm

WHERE:  Meet at Fort Lincoln Point Lookout State Park

Fort Lincoln - Point Lookout State Park | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, history buffs, community leaders and preservationists will team up with the Civil War Trust at more than 125 sites in 29 states to answer the call to service on Park Day.  Celebrating its twentieth year, Park Day has attracted volunteers of all ages and abilities bound by their dedication to serving their communities at historic sites nationwide.

Point Lookout State Park and the Friends of Point Lookout will host a Park Day event beginning at 9:00am.  Needs range from general cleanup to maintenance of historic, restored Fort Lincoln.  Refreshments will be provided free of charge thanks to the Friends of Point Lookout, Inc.  A local historian may also be available to describe the park’s significance.  For more information about Park Day at Point Lookout State Park, please contact Bob Crickenberger at 301-872-5688 or Meg Martin of The Civil War Trust at 202-367-1861 x7231.

The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds.  Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save battlefields connected to the revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  To date, the Trust has preserved close to 43,000 acres of battlefield land in 23 states.  For a complete list of participating Park Day sites, visit


April 2016 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

April 12, 2016

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 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:  Ms. Hilda Koontz


HildaKoontzPhoto (2)

The Sultana Disaster:  Freedom’s Dream Gone Awry

On the night of April 27, 1865, the steamship “Sultana” exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, seven miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.  Aboard the ship were 2400 people, mostly Union prisoners of war, 1800 of whom perished in the disaster.  And yet, the deadliest maritime disaster in Unites States history is hardly mentioned in the annals of the Civil War.  This program will introduce you to the ship, the hapless souls who traveled on the Sultana that night, their heroic acts and the greed and incompetence that sealed their fate.

Hilda Koontz, MA, is a writer, editor and former journalist.  She lectures frequently for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Washington, D.C. and Frederick, MD, for the Civil War Roundtables of Chicago, Il, Gettysburg, PA, Chambersburg, PA, Frederick, MD and Westminster, MD, The Historical Society of Carroll County, MD, the Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) program and for the annual “Maryland and The Civil War:  A Regional Perspective” conference.  Ms. Koontz is a current board member and Past president of the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table and has been a Civil War reenactor for over 20 years.  She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Bachelor of Arts from Hood College in Frederick, MD and has devoted 20 years to the practice of career and organizational development.  We welcome Hilda Koontz as she enlightens us on an overlooked and tragic episode from the end of the Civil War.

Attendance is free for all, but membership is recommended.  For information, contact the Round Table’s president, Brad Gottfried, at or 301-934-7625.