May 2014 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

May 13, 2014

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 13, 2014  at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprise Conference Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in LaPlata.

Guest Speaker:  Mr. Robert C. Plumb

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table’s last meeting of the season will author Robert C. Plumb discussing his book “robertplumbYour Brother in Arms:  A Union Soldier’s Odyssey“.

In the summer of 1862, George P. McClelland, not to be confused with Gen. George B. McClellan, begins his Civil War odyssey by journeying to Pittsburgh, PA to enlist in the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Thus began his story as McClelland was sent to Washington, D.C, then on a march to Antietam, to be followed by encounters in the critical battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna River, Petersburg and Five Forks, where he would be gravely injured.

Throughout it all, young McClelland would write to his family, keeping them abreast of his whereabouts and making them aware of the harrowing experiences he endured in battle.  His letters convey his connection to his siblings and his longing fro home, but also reflect the social, cultural and political currents of the war that he was fighting.

Ultimately recovering form his injuries, McClelland would be discharged as a brevet-major in 1865; a common man who performed uncommon service.

Mr. Plumb will read selected letters from “Your Brother in Arms“, which will detail George McClelland’s reaction to the key battles and engagements he was involved in, his opinions of Union commanding generals and some of the trials and tribulations of a front line soldier in the Civil War.  A letter from his sister Anne, describing finding her seriously wounded brother in a field yourbrothersinarmshospital near Petersburg, VA will also be discussed.

Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier’s Odyssey, published in July 2011 by the University of Missouri Press, is Mr. Plumb’s first book. He has written other published pieces including book reviews for the Newport News, Virginia Daily Press while serving in the US Navy and articles published recently in the Washington Post’s Style, Editorial and Travel sections.

Born and raised in upstate New York, where he received his education from grade school to graduate school, he would serve in the Navy as an officer in the Atlantic Fleet and would command a patrol boat in Vietnam. Upon departing the military, Mr. Plumb held marketing executive positions with General Electric and Fannie Mae. He is a member of the Civil War Trust, the Montgomery County (MD) Civil War Roundtable, the Montgomery County Historical Society and the Society of Civil War Historians. He resides in Potomac, MD with his wife Louise.

2014 Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table Spring Field Trip

Wilderness & Spotsylvania Battlefield Tour

Saturday April 26, 2014

9:00AM – 5:00PM

140th New York at the Wilderness

The Tour:

Join us for the 2nd annual Spring Tour presented by The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table.  This tour, led by National Park Service historian Phillip Greenwalt, will begin in La Plata (CSM Campus).  The cost of the trip (bus, lunch and guide) is $50 for members and $60 for non-members.  Save money through early bird registration period (through March 11, 2014) – $45 for members and $55 for non-members.

Participants will board a chartered bus for the trip to the Chancellorsville/Wilderness NPS Visitor’s Center. After a quick stop, the tour will start at the command post of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on the the Wilderness Battlefield and follow through the bloody fighting at Saunders Field, down the park road to the Widow Tapp field and then back up the Orange Plank Road to where Confederate General James “Pete” Longstreet was severely wounded.

From here we will follow the Brock Road, just as the Union and Confederate soldiers would have done on May 7th toward Spotsylvania Court House.

After a delicious box lunch, we will tour the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, following the ebb and flow of the combat that erupted around this quiet and quaint Virginia town.  Sites include the “Bloody Angle”; the spot where Union Major General John Sedgwick was killed, and retracing part of the route Union Brigadier General Emory Upton utilized to strike the Confederate line, in a prelude to heavier fighting two days later.

During the program, accounts; some well known, others lesser known will be used to explain the horrors of the battlefield, the observations of the soldiers and officers and the overall picture of what war in Virginia in May 1864 was all about.

You will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, stand in the spots where other generals; including John Sedgwick breathed their last and taken all together will tour a landscape that is considered one of the bloodiest in all of North America. Within 30 miles of Fredericksburg, VA (which encompasses both of the battlefields we will visit) over 100,000 men were killed or wounded.  That is approximately 1/7th of al the men killed or wounded in the entire Civil War!

Come join this bus and walking tour of the 2 battles that set the tone for the rest of the Overland Campaign plus was the final nails being hammered into the coffin of the Confederacy by the Northern war machine.

The Background:

On May 5, 1864, Major General George Meade, in command of the dependable Union Army of the Potomac, being overseen by newly minted Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, made contact with Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his vaunted Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Wilderness, west of Fredericksburg, VA.

What ensued was two days of bitter fighting through the clearings, along road traces and even within the tangles and brushes of the second and third growth forests.

With casualties mounting and no progress being made, Grant stepped into a more active role and decided to move the Army of the Potomac around Lee’s right flank toward the strategic town of Spotsylvania Court House.  Lee and his army were able to get to Spotsylvania Court House first and dig in.  What would ensue was approximately two weeks of fighting, including some of the most savage on May 10 and 12, 1864.

These two battles set the tone for the rest of what history now knows as the Overland Campaign. From May 5th until the armies were ensconced around Petersburg in mid-June, the two antagonists would lock horns in a death struggle across central and Tidewater Virginia.

Historians now agree that the beginning of the end of the war in the Eastern theater, and the start of the collapse of the Confederacy as a whole, began at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.  This is where our battlefield odyssey will commence.

The Guide:

Our trip leader will be Phillip Greenwalt; historian with the National Park Service at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument and the Thomas Stone National Historic Site.  Mr. Greenwalt began his NPS career as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He holds a bachelor degree in history from Wheeling Jesuit University and a graduate degree in American History from George Mason University.

Mr. Greenwalt’s first publication, co-authored with Dan Davis; “Bloody Autumn, The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864“, is part of the Emerging Civil War Series and was published by Savas Beattie LLC in  November 2013.  His second book, also co-authored with Dan Davis, entitled “Hurricane From the Heavens, The Battle of Cold Harbor” is due out in June 2014.  He is also a full time contributor to the blog Emerging Civil War ( and has spoken at lecture series and history round tables in numerous states.

Come join us for a fantastic day on April 26th!



December 2013 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

December 10, 2013

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprise Conference Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata.

Guest Speaker: Dr. James I. Robertson

The Southern Maryland Civil War Roundtable will host a presentation by Civil War author Dr. James I. Robertson, Alumni Distinguished drjamesirobertsonProfessor Emeritus from Virginia Tech and author of over 20 books, whose works includeStonewall Jackson, The Man, The Myth, and The Legend”, “Civil War!”, “America Becomes One Nation”, “General A.P. Hill”, and “Soldiers Blue and Gray”.

Prior to the meeting beginning at 7:00 PM, there will be a book signing beginning at 6:15 PM.

Dr. Robertson will lecture on one of his recent books: “The Untold Stories of the Civil War, Exploring the Human Side of the War” published by the National Geographic Society.

The event is co-sponsored by the Annapolis Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.

Dr. James I.”Bud” Robertson is one of the most distinguished names in Civil War history. The Danville, VA native is a nationally acclaimed teacher and lecturer and has written or edited two dozen books on the Civil War era. His award-winning biography of Stonewall Jackson was hailed as “a book every student of the war should read and every chronicle should emulate.”  The massive biography won eight national awards and was used as the base for the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. mega-movie, “Gods and Generals”.   Robertson was chief historical consultant for the film.

Early in his career, Robertson was appointed executive of the US Civil War Centennial Commission by President Kennedy.  He is an Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus DrRobertson12102013 flyerat Virginia Tech where he taught for 40 years.  His Civil War Era courses at Virginia Tech, attracted 300 students per semester, and were the largest of its kind in the nation.

The recipient of every major award given in the Civil War field, and a lecturer of national acclaim, Dr. Robertson is probably more in demand as a speaker before Civil War groups than anyone else in the field.

For information, contact the roundtable’s president, Brad Gottfried, at or 301-934-7625.

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.