Civil War Book Discussion: March and America’s War (Part I)

January 29, 2013

The College of Southern Maryland is pleased to announce it will be hosting Civil War Book Discussions, Tuesdays through March.  The first of Civil War Book Discussions-combo bookCivil War Book Discussions this five part series, sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, will take place at The College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus on January 29, 2013, from 7-9PM in the Center for Business and Industry Building, Room BI-113.  Loaner copies of the books to discussed are available on a first come first serve basis in the La Plata campus library.

Civil War Book Discussion:  March and America’s War Anthology Part I

Discussions center around Geraldine Brooks book, March, which tells its story through the characters of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, by representing the point of view of the father of the girls in Little Women, Reverend March.  The reader travels with the chaplain into places where he is not wanted, where his values elicit ridicule and contempt.  The harsh world of slavery, men and war challenges everything the March family believes in, including one another.  Another voice in the first conversation is Louisa May Alcott’s, drawn from her experiences as a nurse for the union in 1862.  Alcott tells of her determination to find a purpose for her life by helping the hospitals in Washington, D.C.  She experiences the horror, satisfaction and deep personal trials during her time with the wounded, ill and dying men.  Attendance is free.  For more information, please call 301-934-7606 or visit

Download a Flyer Here



February Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

February 12, 2013

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce its next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at the College of 750px-Abraham_Lincoln_half_length_seated,_April_10,_1865Southern Maryland (La Plata Campus) at 7:00pm in the Business and Industry Building, Room 113.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Bradley Gottfried

In honor of our 16th President’s 203rd birthday, our own Dr. Brad Gottfried, President of the College of Southern Maryland will give a presentation on “Lincoln as Commander in Chief“. More than most President’s, Lincoln took an active role in directing the war effort.  In this presentation, Dr. Gottfried, author of nine books on the Civil War, will cover a variety of topics, including Lincoln’s approach to directing the war effort, his successes and failures, and how his personality helped to win the war.



Southern MD Civil War Round Table 2013 Spring Trip

A Tour of the Civil War Forts of Washington D.C.

Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table

Saturday, April 27, 2013

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is hosting its first tour.  All of us have heard about the large number of forts built around Fort StevensWashington during the Civil War, but few have visited them.  This tour will visit the following forts:

  • De Russy
  • Foote
  • Marcy
  • Stevens
  • Ward
  • Washington

We will also drive by a number of other forts, which may include (depending on time): Willard, Farnsworth, Lyons, Barnard, Albany, Myer, Craig, C.F. Smith and Ethan Allen, Bayard, Reno, Slocum. We may also swing by Battery Martin Scott and Battery Bailey. Finally, we will drive by Walter Reed Hospital to view Confederate battle lines.

Our guide will be Peter MacNeill, who has always had a fascination for American military history since he began watching John Wayne and Errol Flynn movies with his father on Saturday mornings in the 50s. He still remembers being 5 years old in 1956 and seeing the cannon at Vicksburg. Moving to the Washington region in 1971 he has visited regional Civil War battlefields such as Antietam and Gettysburg thousands of times. In 1990 he passed the NPS Gettysburg battlefield guide written exam. In 1992 he began his career as a licensed Washington DC tour guide and specializes in veteran’s military reunion tours and Civil War battlefield tours

twoThe cost of the tour includes a Keller bus, guided tour, and lunch at the Great American Steakhouse (buffet) in Falls Church.

The cost is $55 for members of the Round Table (and their guests). Those paying by or at the February 12, 2013 Round Table meeting will only pay $50.

The cost for nonmembers is $60.

January Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

January 8, 2013

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce its next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at the College of Southern Maryland (LaPlata campus) at 7:00pm in the Business & Industry Building, Room 113.

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Thomas Jarvis

A new year brings a new format for the first meeting of the Southern Maryland Civil Dr. Thomas JarvisWar Round Table in 2013, as Dr. Thomas Jarvis will speak on the causes of the Civil War.  Historians still debate this issue, with strong feelings regarding what on the surface may appear to be a simple question.  Great events in history, such as the outbreak of a war,  may seem to have been caused by a single event, but there are usually a complex series of issues, events and causes which lead to the actual outbreak of hostilities.  The attack on Fort Sumter started the bloodiest war in U. S history, but there a great number of issues between the North and South that had festered over the years, which finally came to a head and triggered warfare.  Dr. Jarvis will discuss various historical interpretations regarding the outbreak of the Civil War, review issues that caused sectional tensions and categorize general causes of the war. Those attending  the meeting will have the opportunity question Dr. Jarvis and bring forth their own interpretation of the causes of the Civil War.  (Kindly and gently, of course 🙂 ).

Dr. Thomas Jarvis has taught history as a Professorial Instructor at American University in Washington, D.C. and as a member of the adjunct faculty at the College of Southern Maryland.  While at CSM, Dr. Jarvis developed and taught two specialty courses; “The History of American Warfare” and “The U.S. and Twentieth Century World Affairs.”  He has a B.A. in history from Stony Brook University, NY, a master’s degree from the School of International Service, American University and a Ph.D in U.S. History from American University.  Dr. Jarvis served three years in the Unites States Army, where he worked in the intelligence field with the Army Security Agency and retired from the Central Intelligence Agency as a Senior Executive.


December Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

Mosby’s Rangers will be the topic of this month’s Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table program.  Commanded by Colonel John Singleton Mosby, the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry was one fo the most famous units of the Civil War.  The unit was formed on June 10, 1863, at Rector’s Cross Roads, Virginia and became noted for its lighting strikes on Union targets and its ability to consistently elude pursuit.  It played a large role in disrupting Federal communications and supply lines.  The troopers melted into the civilian population until called to arms for a mission.  Speed, surprise and shock were the secrets of the success of Mosby’s command, allowing them to successfully strike much larger bodies of enemy troops.  Capturing a Union general was perhaps its most celebrated feat.

The speaker for December will be Eric Buckland, author of several books on Mosby’s command.  His talk is entitled, “A Few Mosby Men.”  After graduating from the University of Kansas, Mr. Buckland entered the U.S. Army, serving with distinction for twenty two years in the Special Forces and several airborne divisions.  He was deployed in Panama, Honduras and El Salvador.  He retired from the military in 1999 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Mr. Buckland’s interest in Mosby’s Rangers began as a young boy and increased with his military service. He is especially interested in the individual stories of Mosby’s men.  You can learn more at Mr. Buckland’s website,

Our program is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2012 in BI 113 (Business and Industry Building) at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend, but membership in the Round Table is encouraged.



November Southern MD Civil War Roundtable Meeting

November 13, 2012

The November meeting of the Southern MD Civil War Round Table gives members the opportunity to learn of the role of Annapolis, MD in the Civil War, as Rebecca Morris, author of the book “A Low, Dirty Place – The Parole Camps of Annapolis, MD 1862-1865“, will be our speaker.

In 1862, Annapolis became the main depot on the East Coast for Union prisoners; released on parole by the Confederacy.  These parole camps, as well as the army regiments stationed around the city, changed Annapolis from a sleepy market town to an over crowded city full of thieves, murderers and prostitutes.

Ms. Morris’ book describes those days and those men who came to Annapolis to march off to war, many of who returned, broken in mind and body from the southern prisons, whose last, best hope of freedom was Camp Parole in Annapolis, MD.

Rebecca Morris, a resident of Annapolis, has a life long interest in local history, particularly that of the Civil War era.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Anne Arundel County Historical Society (AACHS) for the past 5 years and is currently the Treasurer of that organization.

In addition to her recent book, she has written a number of articles for “History Notes“, the AACHS quarterly publication and is a member of and contributor to several historical associations, including the Annapolis History Consortium, The Chesapeake Civil War Round Table, the Surratt Society and the Lincoln Forum. Ms. Morris is a frequent speaker at local civic and historical society meetings and is a 1971 graduate of the University of Maryland.

The November meeting will be held Tuesday,  November 13, 2012 at 7:00PM in room BI (Business & Industry Building) 113. All are welcome to attend the lecture, but membership is the Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is encouraged.  For more information please contact Dr. Brad Gottfried at 3201-934-7625 or at




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

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 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.