November 2022 Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table Meeting

November 8, 2022

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 7:00pm at The Maryland Veterans Museum, 11000 Crain Highway North, Newburg, MD 20664.

Guest Speaker:  Chris Bryan

The II Corps, Army of Virginia suffered a bloody and demoralizing defeat at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9th, 1862, after initial success where it nearly defeated Stonewall Jackson’s command. This talk will describe the fighting at Cedar Mountain in detail and will also briefly describe the aftermath for the II Corps that summer, which culminated in conspicuous success at Antietam.

Chris Bryan is a native of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in History, he served as a naval aviator for eight years. He has since worked as a project manager, during which time he earned an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and a Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland, College Park where his studies focused on architectural investigations of antebellum domestic and agricultural outbuildings in the Chesapeake Bay region. He has remained active with historic preservation and architectural investigations following graduation. Chris Bryan lives in Southern Maryland with his wife and two kids.

We eagerly anticipate your attendance as we all learn a bit more about a battle that some classify as the final battle of the Peninsula Campaign, while others refer to it as the initial battle of Second Manassas.  Attendance is free, but membership is encouraged.  Please contact is with any questions at!

November 2020 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

November 10, 2020

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its October meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday November 10, 2020 at 7:00pm from your computer. Due to continuing concerns over the COVID 19 virus and in the interest of member health and safety, we are moving our meeting on line for the immediate future. Members should be checking their email for directions on how to connect to the meeting on November 10, 2020 at 7pm. Not a member! Please reach out to us at to learn how to become a member.

Guest Speaker:  Matt Borders

“Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam”

Join us this evening as Matt Borders shares with us images and stories of some of the 36 Union soldiers highlighted in his latest work, “Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam“. Written and published with his fellow National Park Service guide (and friend of the Round Table, Joseph Stahl), this work looks into 36 individual soldiers that fought at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, America’s Bloodiest Day. These images are previously unpublished and are of the men in the ranks, not the generals that commanded them. Matt will discuss a sampling of these soldiers, who they were, what they did on the field, and what we can glean from their images.

A long time student of American History and the Civil War, Matthew Borders holds a BA in US History and an MS in Historic Preservation. He has worked as a National Park Service ranger at Antietam National Battlefield, as well as a historian and battlefield surveyor for the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He is also a Certified Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harper’s Ferry.  Currently Matthew is a Park Ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, MD.   In 2019, Matthew was honored to be the recipient of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation’s prestigious Dr. Joseph Harsh Award for his research topic, The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862: McClellan’s Final Advance.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at or at 443-975-9142. We look forward to seeing you!

September 2019 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

September 10, 2019

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its eighth year will begin on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 7:00pm at our NEW meeting location, The Maryland Veterans Museum, 11000 Crain Highway North, Newburg, MD 20664.

Guest Speaker:  Robert Orrison and Kevin R. Pawlak

Kevin Pawlak
Rob Orrison

You saw it correctly! The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table kicks off its eighth year tonight as Kevin Pawlak and Rob Orrison will discuss their newest book “To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862“.

Their book traces the routes of the Union and Confederate armies during the Maryland Campaign and the ultimate bloody confrontation on the nearby banks of Antietam Creek. To this day, that clash on September 17, 1862, remains the bloodiest single day in American history. The book also includes several day trip tours and a guide many out-of-the-way sites related to the Maryland Campaign.

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division and works as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield.  Kevin also sits on the Board of Directors of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. He is the author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital published by The History Press in 2015 and ‘The Heaviest Blow Yet Given the Confederacy’: The Emancipation Proclamation Changes the Civil War in Turning Points of the Civil War, part of Emerging Civil War’s Engaging the Civil War Series with Southern Illinois University Press.

Born and raised in Loudoun County, Virginia, Rob Orrison received his Bachelor’s Degree in Historic Preservation at Longwood College and received his Master’s Degree in Public History from George Mason University. Currently Rob serves as the Division Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division.  Outside of work Rob serves on the Board of Directors of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, Board of Directors of Virginia Civil War Trails; and serves as the Vice President of the Virginia Association of Museums. His published works include: A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign; The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign 1863; In A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Beginning of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775; To Hazard All: Guide to the 1862 Maryland Campaign. 

Please come out and join us as we remember the coming anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. As always, attendance is free, but membership is recommended. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at or at 443-975-9142. We look forward to seeing you!

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 author’s page:

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

May 2016 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

May 10, 2016

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 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:  Dr. Bradley Gottfried


As we eagerly anticipate our annual field trip; this year to the Antietam National Battlefield, Round Table President Brad Gottfried will get us ready for our great adventure on Saturday, May 14th.  Author of the book, “The Maps of Antietam“, join us as Dr. Gottfried provide his unique insight, analysis and perspective of the battle that marked Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North.  Bruised and battered after a long spring and summer of battles on the Virginia peninsula and at Manassas, the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Gen. Robert E. Lee decides to seize momentum and move the theater of battle away from his native state and give the north a taste of the conflict.  An audacious gambit indeed, that if successful might bring a negotiated peace and Southern independence.  Meanwhile, The Army of the Potomac has just had its beloved leader, Gen. George B. McClellan, restored to overall command, in an attempt to boost troop morale and  blunt the advances of the Confederate Army.  The result of these two behemoth’s clashing in the Maryland countryside on September 17, 1862 was one of the bloodiest days in American History.

Battle of Antietam - The New York Times

Not able to go on the field trip!  That’s OK!  Come on out anyway and hear Brad as he lays out the important events that took place prior to, during and in the aftermath of a battle that  would ultimately make the Battle of Antietam arguably one of the most significant battles ever fought.  Dunker Church!  The Cornfield! The Sunken Road! Burnside Bridge!  Dr. Gottfried will cover them and whet our appetites for the sites we shall see on the field.

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table invites all to attend this lecture on a battle fought on our own soil! Attendance is free for all, but membership is recommended.  For information, contact the Round Table’s president, Brad Gottfried, at or 301-934-7625.