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2015-16 Program Schedule

The Charger Archives | 11/15

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Featured Articles

A Report On: American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague, Civil War "Belle of the North" By John Oller
By Jean Rhodes

A Monument to Service: The Cuyahoga County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
By Tim Daley and Richard T. Prasse

The Confederate Battle Flag, Personal License Plates, and Litigation
By Dennis Keating

"Beyond the Battlefield": An Ohio History Connection Symposium
By William F.B. Vodrey

The April 1861 Madness
By Patrick Bray

Shelby Foote was Wrong!
By Dick Crews

A Rebuttal to “Shelby Foote Was Wrong”
By Greg Biggs

The Battle of Cedar Creek
By Dennis Keating

The U. S. Navy and the Naval Battles of Charleston, 1863
By Syd Overall

Jacob Dolson Cox
By Dennis Keating

Base Ball on Johnson's Island
By William F.B. Vodrey

The Case for Union
By John C. Fazio

A Review of Jennifer Chiaverini's
The Spymistress

By Dennis Keating

Ohio’s Civil War Generals:
Some Lesser Known

By Dennis Keating

The (Secret) Life and Letters of General George Gordon Meade
By George G. Meade

Lincoln and Grant:
The Westerners Who Won the Civil War

By Edward W. Bonekemper, III

My Thoughts Be Bloody
Prologue: The Players

By Nora Titone

Cleveland's Civil War Roundtable
Takes an Excursion into Fiction

By Karen R. Long

Gold, Greed, and a Vacuum of Law
By Carol Buchanan

’The Rebels are Upon Us’ The 1864 Confederate Invasion of Maryland, The Battle of Monocacy, and Jubal Early’s Move on Washington, D.C.
By Marc Leepson

The Great Battle of Gettysburg
By Max R. Terman

Assessing African American Attitudes Toward the Civil War (pdf)
A National Park Service Report prepared
by Hermina Glass-Avery

In the Shadow of the Civil War:
Passmore Williamson and the Rescue of Jane Johnson

By Nat Brandt with Yanna Kroyt Brandt

Scenes from The Fighting McCooks
By Barbara and Charles Whalen

Making a Covenant with Death:
Slavery and the Constitutional Convention

By Dr. Paul Finkelman

Blood, Tears and Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War
By Dr. James Bissland

Why Grant Won and Lee Lost
By Edward H. Bonekemper, III

Jefferson Davis's Imprisonment
at Fortress Monroe

By Clint Johnson

The Madness of Mary Lincoln
By Jason Emerson



History Under Siege
The Annual Report of the Civil War Preservation Trust



Search only CCWRT.com


Executive Committee

Chris Fortunato


Jean Rhodes

Vice President

Hans Kuenzi


Dan Ursu


Dave Carrino


Howard Besser


Patrick Bray


C. Ellen Connally


Jim Heflich


Paul Burkholder


Dennis Keating
Mike Wells

Charger Newsletter 

Membership in the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is open to anyone who shares the belief that the American Civil War is the defining event in U.S. history.






Join Us for Our Next Program...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 @ 6:30 p.m.

Jefferson Davis: A Changing Historical Reputation
Patrick Bray

Few American politicians have had a more impressive resume prior to assuming high office than Jefferson Davis. Indeed the case for Davis was all the more compelling considering his military credentials in a time of impending war. It was said of the newly elected President of the Confederate States of America in February 1861 that “The man and the hour have met.” And furthermore, it was announced that “Prosperity, honor, and victory await his administration.”

Poor prediction.

Davis had an exceedingly difficult task which was made more problematic by his prickly personality. His detractors emerged almost immediately including his Vice President, Alexander Stephens. By the end of the war he was described as “the most hated man in the South.” In the North a popular tune gleefully declared “We’ll hang Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree.” An early biography of Davis published in 1869 by Richmond journalist E.A. Pollard was unrelentingly critical. But Davis outlived many of his critics and rode a wave of Lost Cause mythology to at least a somewhat restored historical reputation in his native South. By 1970 his image carved in stone had joined the unquestioned members of the Confederate pantheon, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, on a gigantic memorial at Stone Mountain Georgia. A recent biography by preeminent Civil War historian, James M. McPherson, entitled Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Civil War will be discussed.

Our speaker: Patrick Bray, M.D. grew up on a Civil War battlefield in Franklin, Tennessee. Like his childhood hero and fellow Tennessean, Admiral David Farragut, he joined the U.S Navy (and remained loyal to the Union). He is now a semi-retired physician and the immediate past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Meeting Time: Meetings begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30, and the program at 7:30.  Meetings typically end by 9.

Meeting Location: Our meetings are held at Judson Manor (the former Wade Park Manor residential hotel), located at the corner of East 107th Street and Chester in downtown Cleveland, just off University Circle.  Map to Judson Manor History of Wade Park Manor

Reservations: You must make a dinner reservation for any meeting you plan to attend no later than the day prior to that meeting (so we can give a headcount to the caterer).  Make your reservation one of three ways:

  • Send an email to .
  • Click any of the 'Make a Dinner Reservation" links on this page.
  • Call 440-449-9311 and leave a message on the voice mail.

From the Charger

Newsletter of the Cleveland CWRT

No Horse of Mine
By William F.B. Vodrey

Sam was his name, or at least that’s what he told people. Not that too many asked, not these days, not when they saw his eyes.

He had once worn gray and cheered the Confederacy as loudly as anyone, but victory was no closer now than it had ever been. The war was the war, all-encompassing, and the news lately had been grim: Stonewall dead, Lee marching back downcast from Gettysburg, food riots in Richmond, niggers fleeing north by the thousands. If he was honest with himself – something that didn’t come naturally, not these days – he had to admit that he really didn’t care much anymore.

He had seen things and done things that he wouldn’t even have been able to imagine before the war. Terrible things, and too many of them, yes. He was not proud of it. He was a young man by years, not even yet twenty-three, but he had grown old, far too old, far too quickly after the deaths of his parents and sister. He had been away when it happened, on a now-forgotten errand to Somerset, and through his tears upon returning had found nothing to tie their murders and the ruination of their farm to those clad in either gray or blue. Freebooters, deserters, ruffians and vagabonds of both sides came through the area regularly by then; it could just have easily been either. As a Southerner, of course, it suited him to blame the Lincoln men, but in his heart he could not be sure.


The Campaign Against the Confederate Battle Flag
By Dennis Keating

July 9, 2015 saw Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, sign the bill removing the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capital. This ended a decades long struggle. The flag came down the next day, to be placed in a museum. This was triggered by the massacre of nine African-Americans participating in a bible study group in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston on June 17 by a white supremacist. He had posed with the flag before the killings. In 1961 (on the centennial of the beginning of the Civil War with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor), South Carolina had hoisted the flag to protest federal policies challenging racial segregation policies. The South Carolina NAACP launched a boycott to protest this. While a 2000 compromise later removed the flag from flying over the state house to being placed by the Confederate Memorial next to the state house, the boycott continued. Impassioned pleas in the South Carolina legislature for the flag’s removal came from Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, the segregationalist Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948, and Jenny Horne, whose ancestors include Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

This dramatic sequence of events followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the right of the state of Texas to deny ancestors of Confederate soldiers special license plates decorated with the Confederate battle flag. Several Southern States still allow this However, Virginia’s governor ordered the recall of 1,700 such license plates. This followed the decision of a federal judge invalidating his 2001 decision requiring Virginia to offer these plates to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.


History Briefs

A small glimpse into the Civil War era

A Civil War Greek Tragedy
By David A. Carrino
Roundtable Historian

William Hardee

"In times of peace sons bury their fathers; in times of war fathers bury their sons." This quote comes from the ancient Greek text The Histories, which was written by Herodotus in the second half of the Fourth Century B.C. The Histories chronicles events that happened in ancient times in Greece and western Asia. The Histories is part fact, part opinion, and part fable.

The quote about peace and war was spoken by a man named Croesus, who was king of Lydia, a kingdom in what is now western Turkey. Croesus was one of those fathers who buried his son, not because of war, but because of a tragic accident involving an ancient weapon of war. Croesus had had a dream in which he saw his son killed by a spear. Because of this he refused to allow his son to fight in battle. At one point during his reign, Croesus received a report of a giant boar that was ravaging a province in his kingdom, and the people in that province petitioned Croesus to send a hunting party to kill the boar. Croesus' son, Atys, told his father that he wanted to lead the hunting party, but Croesus refused because of the dream. However, Atys convinced Croesus to let him lead the hunting party by telling his father that a boar does not wield spears. When the hunting party found the boar, the members of the group surrounded the animal and began hurling spears at it. One of the spears missed the target and struck and killed Atys, which both fulfilled the prophecy in the dream and filled Croesus with deep remorse for allowing Atys to lead the hunting party. The Civil War has a story like that of Croesus and Atys, and it involves Confederate General William J. Hardee and his only son, Willie.


A Civil War First, or Not...
By David A. Carrino
Roundtable Historian

If a person-on-the-street quiz were done in Cleveland, and the participants were asked to name the inventor of the automobile, the most frequent answer would almost certainly be Henry Ford. This same answer would almost surely be most frequent if the quiz were given in New York or Atlanta or Los Angeles or definitely Detroit. But the answer would be different if the quiz were given in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, or certainly Mannheim. In Germany the inventor of the automobile is Karl Benz, and in reality Benz beat Ford by 11 years in the creation of an automobile. Sometimes, for reasons that are not entirely clear, inaccurate assignments are made to historical firsts. There are many historical firsts that are associated with the Civil War. For instance, as some, perhaps many, Civil War enthusiasts know, or think they know, the first submarine of the Civil War was the H.L. Hunley. Even Shelby Foote said so in volume 2 of his Civil War trilogy when he wrote about the Hunley, "She was, in short, the world's first submarine." Or was she?

In spite of Shelby Foote's statement, the Hunley was not "the world's first submarine," nor was she the Civil War's first submarine. In fact, the first submarine of the Civil War was built in the North. This submarine was the USS Alligator, and compared to the Hunley, the Alligator was more technologically advanced.

Artist rendering of the Alligator

The Alligator was 47 feet in length, which made her somewhat longer than the 40-foot Hunley, and the Alligator also had a somewhat larger crew (12 compared to 8). Originally the Alligator's propulsion was via 16 oars (8 on each side) in contrast to the Hunley's hand-cranked propeller. However, several months after her launch, the Alligator's oars were replaced with a hand-cranked propeller, which doubled her speed from 2 to 4 knots. The Hunley's designed method of attack was to use a spar to attach an underwater bomb to the target and then to detonate the bomb with a lanyard as the submarine withdrew. The Alligator's designed method of attack involved a diver who exited and re-entered the vessel through a forward chamber. Air was supplied to the diver with a hand-operated compressor inside the Alligator, the air was sent to the diver through an air tube. The diver was to attach an underwater bomb to the target, and the bomb would be detonated with electrical current supplied by a battery on the Alligator and transmitted to the bomb by an insulated copper wire. In addition, the Alligator had an innovative air purification system that chemically removed carbon dioxide from the air in the crew compartment and thereby allowed the vessel to remain submerged longer.


The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable