September 2020 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

September 8, 2020


The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its ninth year will kick off Tuesday September 8, 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 September 8, 2020 at 7pm. Not a member. please reach out to us at to learn how to become a member.

Please keep in mind with the Covid-19 pandemic still affecting us, this schedule is subject to change at a moments notice. Check with us for notifications and updates. It is our intention to resume regular meetings at the Maryland Veterans Museum as soon as we can.

Guest Speaker:  John Grady

Tonight we take a look at at one of the ways in which to build a Navy. It can be built, i.e, constructed on the ways, but that it a bit costly and might hamper the development of a newly formed nation. Existent vessels can be converted, but this can be a bit time consuming. One other possibility is to commandeer it and while not without its risks, it is cheaper and faster. John Grady is going to share with us the story of Matthew Fontaine Maury and his pivotal role in the earliest Confederate plot to seize a Union warship patrolling the Potomac, the Pawnee and shell Washington — before the Battle of First Manassas. We will learn how this plot unfolded and meet some of the Southern Marylander’s who played a lead role in a scheme that just missed succeeding.

John Grady, a managing editor of Navy Times for more than eight years and retired communications director of the Association of the United States Army after 17 years, is the author of  Matthew Fontaine Maury: Father of Oceanography. It was nominated for the Library of Virginia’s 2016 non-fiction award. He also has contributed to Sea History, Naval History, the New York Times “Disunion” series, Civil War Monitor and was a blogger for the Navy’s Sesquicentennial of the Civil War site.

He continues writing on national security and defense. His later work has appeared on, BreakingDefense, Government Executive,,, among others. 

Grady has spoken at conferences of the North American Society for Oceanic History, and as part of the Banner Lecture Series of the Virginia Historical Society and the Great Lives series at Mary Washington University.  He also has spoken  at the Navy Museum, Navy Memorial, Museum of  the Confederacy, Mariners Museum, the Maritime Museum of Annapolis and the Fredericksburg Area Cultural Center and to a number of organizations interested in naval and Civil War history.

Grady holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in communications from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

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!

May 2019 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

May 14, 2019

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 14, 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:  William Connery

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table closes out its 7th season with a visit from yet another old friend. Those of you who enjoyed hearing William Connery speak to us in January 2017 about the Civil War in Northern Virginia, will be enraptured with his latest presentation, Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

In the 1850s, Stephen R. Mallory was Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. When his state of Florida left the Union in early 1861, he joined the Confederacy and was appointed Secretary of the Navy. Because no one else cared that much about naval policy, Mallory was able to shape naval doctrine. After viewing the disparity between the shipbuilding and other manufacturing facilities of the Confederacy and those of the Union, he set forth a fourfold naval plan:

  1. Send out commerce raiders to destroy the enemy’s mercantile marine.
  2. Build ironclad vessels in Southern shipyards for defensive purposes.
  3. Obtain by purchase or construction abroad armored ships capable of fighting on the seas.
  4. Employ new weapons and techniques of warfare.

 The talk focuses on Mallory’s three most successful commerce raiders: the CSS Florida, Alabama and Shenandoah.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mr. Connery has a degree in History from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal, from the Fairfax Chapter of the UDC, for his History Press book Civil War Northern Virginia 1861. His other book, Mosby’s Raids in Civil War Northern Virginia, deals with the Gray Ghost of the Confederacy, and his amazing life before, during, and after the War! He has power-point presentations on his books and other Civil War topics. He is a frequently requested speaker in the Washington DC metro region. Mr. Connery can be reached at

Help us bring a successful conclusion to another great season by joining us for this look at the Confederate Navy.  Attendance is free, but membership is recommended. For more details, please call 443-975-9142 or email at