Join Us for Our Next Program...
Wednesday, December 9, 2015 @ 6:30 p.m.
Jefferson Davis: A Changing
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.”
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
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
FULL 2015-16 PROGRAM SCHEDULE>>
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.
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
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.
440-449-9311 and leave a message on the voice mail.
From the Charger
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.
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
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
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.
small glimpse into the Civil War era
A Civil War Greek Tragedy
By David A. Carrino
"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
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.
rendering of the Alligator
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.