Southern MD Civil War Round Table Spring Field Trip

Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table

 Fredericksburg Battlefield Tour

Saturday, April 20, 2019

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Tour: Join us for the Southern Maryland Civil War Round table’s annual Spring 2019 Field Trip and Tour of the Fredericksburg National Battlefield. Remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the war, with Union Casualties more than three times as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates, the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in mid-December 1862, and s noteworthy for its intensity and winter fighting. The tour features visits to three locations:

  • Prospect Hill, where George Meade’s division almost knocked Stonewall Jackson’s Corps off the heights and came close to winning the battle. This phase of the your includes a walk along the Slaughter Pen, Pelham’s Corner and Prospect Hill.
  • Mayre’s Heights, including the stone wall, with a stop at the National Park Service Visitor’s Center and bookstore.
  • The Town of Fredericksburg, including the river crossing by the Union II Corps, and a variety of interesting sites.

The tour begins in LaPlata at the College of Southern Maryland campus, where we will board a chartered bus for the trip to the Fredericksburg Battlefield. The tour will be under the guidance of Dr. Brad Gottfried, former president of the Southern Maryland Civil War Round table and noted author of twelve books on the Civil War, including his latest, The Maps of Fredericksburg: An Atlas of the Fredericksburg Campaign.

The Cost of the trip (bus, lunch, maps and guide) is $55 for members and $65 for non-members. Save money through early bird registration (March 12, 2019): $50 for members and $60 for non-members.

For additional information, or to register, contact Ben Sunderland, SMCWRT President, Phone: 443-975-9142, or email: bsunderland@somdcwrt.org.

February 2019 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

February 12, 2019

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resource Center, Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Mr. Gary Dyson

 

Having joined us last year to discuss with us his book, “The Ambush of the Isaac P. Smith, Family Ties and the Battle on the Stono, January 30, 1863″, Mr. Gary Dyson returns to the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table, to present, “A Civil War Correspondent in New Orleans“.

 

“A Civil War Correspondent in New Orleans” explores the eyewitness account of Boston Journal War Correspondent Albert Gaius Hills from the day he left Boston Harbor in November 1861 through the New Orleans Campaign of 1862. Hills recorded his observations while with the Union fleet in the Gulf of Mexico and on Ship Island as well as his account of the bombardments of Forts Jackson and St. Philip and impression of captured New Orleans.  Hills’ life and his relationships with other correspondents are also part of the presentation.

Gary L. Dyson is a retired Environmental Specialist from the city of Gaithersburg, MD and a former Marine. He is a lifelong history enthusiast and has spent countless hours reading, researching and exploring battlefields – from the French and Indian War to World War II. Gary owns Dyson Genealogy and Historical Research and is the author of “Ambush of the Isaac P. Smith” and “A Civil War Correspondent in New Orleans, the Journals and Reports of Albert Gaius Hills of the Boston Journal.” He has a BS in Natural Resources Management from Oregon State University. Gary lives in Mount Airy, MD with his wife Emily and has two children away at college. He is also a board member for the Frederick County Civil War Round Table. We invite everyone to join us and Mr. Dyson, as we learn about how one member of the press covered the Civil War.

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

January 2019 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

January 8, 2019

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resource Center Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Bradley Gottfried

The new year kicks off with the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table welcoming back its first past president, Dr. Brad Gottfried, as he discusses a place near and dear to us; Point Lookout!

The Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp was the largest Northern internment site for Confederate prisoners.  The population topped over 20,000 late in the war and over 50,000 prisoners spent time at the camp.  Located at the tip of St. Mary’s County, the War Department deemed the site to be an ideal mix of proximity to battlefields, isolation, ease of defense, and mild weather.

In this presentation, Brad and Linda Gottfried will describe the origins of the prison and the large hospital (Hammond Hospital) also housed nearby, life and death in the prison, and will touch on the politics surrounding these camps as the war became increasingly intense.

The Gottfrieds will have copies of their new Point Lookout Prisoner of War book for sale.

Dr. Brad Gottfried combines a long and distinguished career of outstanding leadership in higher education with an expertise of the Gettysburg Campaign. After receiving his Ph.D. from Miami University, Brad was a full-time, tenured professor at the college level for eleven years before entering higher education administration. He ultimately served as President/Chief Executive Officer of three colleges (University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Sussex County Community College, and College of Southern Maryland) for almost 25 years. Gottfried has received a number of national and regional awards and recognitions for his leadership including: the NCMPR National Pacesetter of the Year and Leadership Maryland’s Gold Leadership Award,. Brad retired in 2017 and is devoting his life to the study of the Civil War and the traits of effective leaders.

 

As an historian, Brad has authored twelve books and four additional works are moving through the editorial process. Most of his recent works involved maps studies of Eastern Theater Campaigns and include volumes on First Bull Run, Maryland Campaign, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg Campaign, Bristoe Station/Mine Run, and the Wilderness

 

Please come out and catch up with our friend Brad Gottfried and learn a little more about a part of Southern Maryland’s Civil War history.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

December 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

December 11, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resources Center, Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Gene Schimel

Join us tonight as we welcome Mr. Gene Schimel, who will discuss Union General Jacob Cox and the Battle of Franklin, TN.

“Like so many men of his era, Jacob Cox never expected to be a military man, especially one who would play a key role for the Union at, among others, the Battles of Antietam and Franklin.  In his youth Cox was a ministerial student at Oberlin College, and his quiet, studious, introverted persona seemed to be ill-suited to the military life.  However, he rose to the occasion sufficiently well that General W.T. Sherman offered him a brigadier generalship in the regular army at the war’s end.  Instead Cox returned to civilian life, where he became a true Renaissance man, becoming Governor of Ohio, Secretary of the Interior, congressman, president of the Wabash Railroad, president of the University of Cincinnati, and Dean of the Cincinnati Law School.  He also wrote four histories of the war which are still today considered objective analyses of that conflict.

 

The Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, dealt a major body blow to the Confederate Army of Tennessee, which suffered its final defeat and resultant dissolution two weeks later at the Battle of Nashville, effectively ending the war in the West.  Confederate commander John Bell Hood launched the Civil War’s final major offensive charge that day with 20,000 men, fully 50% larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, attacking 13,000 Union men, most of whom were stationed behind hastily-constructed but formidable barriers.  Hood suffered an inevitable debacle at a time when most commanders had learned that fighting on the defensive was a far preferable tactic.

The Union defensive line at Franklin was commanded and created by General Jacob D. Cox.  He was given this role by the Union commander, John Schofield, who had learned during the Atlanta campaign earlier that year that Cox was a dependable and capable subordinate.  The defensive line was nearly-impregnable, but a mistake by one of Cox’s subordinates allowed the Confederates to penetrate a hundred yards into the center of the line.  At that critical time Cox, who had presciently created a potential second line of defense behind the first, displayed conspicuous leadership and saved the day.  As one of his men wrote later,  ‘General Cox remained mounted while the confusion was greatest, and during the break in the line, he was in the midst, displaying heroic bravery, with hopeful look and sword poised above. Gen. Cox’s quiet but superb magnetism impelled every man who caught his eye to redoubled effort in wresting victory from defeat.’

While Hood announced to his  men the next day that Franklin was a victory, the author of a superb Confederate memoir, Company Aytch, Private Sam Watkins, wrote later, “I shrink from the butchery…My flesh trembles, and creeps and crawls when I think of it today.  It was the finishing stroke to the independence of the Southern Confederacy.”

 

Gene Schmiel is a student of the Civil War whose book, “Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era,” was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press.  The book, a History Book Club selection, was labeled “best biography of the year” by the Civil War Books and Authors web-site.  Gene holds a Ph. D. degree from The Ohio State University and was an assistant professor of History at St. Francis University (PA)  before becoming  a foreign service officer with the Department of State.  He resides in Gainesville, Virginia with his wife Bonnie Kathryn.  Together they wrote a book, “Welcome Home: Who Are You; Tales of a Foreign Service Family,” which is featured on his amazon.com author’s page:  https://www.amazon.com/Gene-Schmiel/e/B00HV4SSWK?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060.

Come on out and join us before all of your holiday preparations and celebrations begin as Gene Schimel introduces us to this remarkable man and a battle in the Western Theater that would prove to be a very pivotal one. Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

November 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

November 13, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resource Center, Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Carleton Young

Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of letters written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there.

Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching the two Vermont soldiers. In Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters.

 

 

Voices From the Attic is a substantial contribution to the genre of first-person Civil War accounts becoming so popular today … (and) would make a worthwhile addition to any Civil War student’s bookshelf.”

Civil War News

 

“More than another good narrative, the book is an adventure of historical research and discovery.”

Vermont History Journal

 

“Offers a deeply interesting look into two detailed experiences of the war which explore the battles as well as life in between … Unlike other soldiers who may have skipped over tough details when writing home to families, the brothers did not shy away from describing the horror of battles, their hardships in camp, and what they saw as they marched through the South … More than merely satisfying an interest in the war, the author demonstrates our surprising connections to each other both past and present.”

Western Pennsylvania History Journal

Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in economics and English from Westminster College and Point Park University, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his PhD in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American history at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He has also taught classes as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Please come out and join us as we welcome Carleton Young to the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table and enjoy his presentation about 2 brothers and their unique perspective and reflections on some of the amazing events and battles of the Civil War.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

 

 

October 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

October 9, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resources Center, Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD. (PLEASE NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE)

Guest Speaker:  Chris Mackowski

Tonight we take a look at arguably one of America’s greatest fighting generals and his battle against a foe that not even he could outflank.  We welcome Chris Mackowski and he discusses his book, “Grant’s Last Battle:  The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant“.

 

Facing financial ruin and struggling against terminal throat cancer, Ulysses S. Grant fought his last battle to preserve the meaning of the American Civil War. His war of words, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, would cement his place as not only one of America’s greatest heroes but also as one of its most sublime literary voices.

We welcome you to join us as we learn more about a man whose place in Civil War History, as well as in American History continues to be re-examined.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

 

September 2018 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

September 11, 2018

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its 7th Season will kick off on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Learning Resources Center, Room LR-102, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD. (PLEASE NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE)

Guest Speaker:  Daniel Davis

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce the beginning of its seventh (7th) season by welcoming Mr. Daniel Davis, co-author of “Out Flew The Sabres” The Battle of Brandy Station.

Following his twin victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee was poised to launch a second Northern invasion. A key element of moving his Army of Northern Virginia from the Rappahannock to the Potomac was to screen the infantry march from the Union cavalry. To this end, Lee directed his cavalry commander, Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart to assemble his force in Culpeper County. It was not long before this concentration was discovered by the Federals. With fears that Stuart was about to launch one of his famous raids, the Union high command planned an expedition of their own to destroy Stuart’s force. The ensuring battle lasted 14 hours and opened the Getttysburg Campaign.

Please come out and join us as we inaugurate another year of insightful discussions presented by the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table. Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more information, please call 443-975-9142 or email at bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

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 bsunderland@somdcwrt.org

Park Day 2018

April 7, 2018

Point Lookout State Park SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR PARK DAY

(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 crickenberger@comcast.net.

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 Civilwar.org.

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

                                                       Point Lookout State Park – (301)876-5688

                                                        crickenberger@comcast.net

 

For a complete list of participating Park Day Sites, visit Civilwar.org/parkday. 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

http://www.marcleepson.com/images/bio-portrait2.jpg

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. 

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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 www.marcleepson.com.

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