Upcoming CCWRT Program
Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.

Meeting Summary: April 2024 – “Hardships & Dangers Will Bind Men as Brothers: The Ohio National Guard in 1864”

The April 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable featured an illuminating presentation by Jon-Erik Gilot about the Ohio National Guard in the Civil War. Jon-Erik’s presentation focused on two National Guard regiments that were mustered in for duty in the late spring of 1864. As Jon-Erik explained, Ulysses Grant planned to initiate multiple offensives in 1864, for which he would need a large number of troops. However, Jon-Erik noted that by this time in the Civil War, almost everyone who should be participating in the war was already doing so, which meant that it would be necessary to draw upon other sources of manpower. In order to provide sufficient manpower for the planned offensives, National Guard units were called up to serve in duties behind the front lines. This would free up the veteran troops who were performing those duties so that they could join in front-line combat operations. But as Jon-Erik discussed, in some cases the National Guard units ended up participating in combat duties, which was more than their original responsibilities called for.

Jon-Erik Gilot

The two National guard units that were the focus of Jon-Erik’s presentation were from southeastern Ohio. The men comprising these units were mostly farmers, and they were very reluctant to join the war, because doing so would greatly interfere with their farming livelihood. Moreover, a significant number of the men in this region were Quakers and, thus, were avowedly anti-war. Nevertheless, National Guard units were organized, mustered in, and sent to join the war. One of the units discussed by Jon-Erik was assigned to the forces that opposed Jubal Early’s 1864 invasion of Maryland, and, as such participated in some heavy fighting rather than its original planned duties behind the lines. Another unit served at a prisoner of war camp where it came under criticism for alleged mistreatment of Confederate prisoners. In particular, one member of this unit shot and killed a prisoner for dawdling after repeated orders not to lag behind. However, other prisoners insisted that this prisoner had difficulty walking, which they claimed was the reason that he was not moving as quickly as he was ordered to do. Jon-Erik also discussed how the Quakers who served in these units were scathingly criticized by the members of their Quaker communities for participating in a war, and they subsequently had to suppress their service after the war ended and they returned home.

Jon-Erik’s presentation was quite informative, because it shed light on an area of the Civil War that has been largely forgotten. In fact, Jon-Erik pointed out that many of the men who served in these National Guard units, such as the Quakers, preferred that their service be forgotten. Moreover, the National Guard units were looked down on by the more seasoned units, which contributed to the service of the National Guard units not receiving the recognition that it merited. Jon-Erik conveyed his subject in a very engaging manner, and the specific information and anecdotes that he included made his presentation engrossing, enjoyable, and instructive. The Roundtable thanks Jon-Erik for his excellent presentation.

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable at National History Day

This year the Roundtable participated in the National History Day competition, which is an annual event for students in grades 6-12. For this competition, students prepare projects on a historical topic that is related to the theme of the competition. For the 2024 competition, the Roundtable presented awards for three projects that were judged to be the best projects on a Civil War-era topic. A short article about this can be found by clicking on this link.

April 2024 Charger Uploaded

The April 2024 issue of The Charger has been uploaded. It can be accessed by clicking on this link.

2024 Field Trip – Itinerary and Information for Making a Reservation

The Roundtable’s 2024 field trip is scheduled for September 19-22, 2024 to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A block of rooms has been reserved, and the itinerary includes the cupola of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Lee’s headquarters trail, a group dinner at the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center with access to the Museum and Cyclorama, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Seminary Ridge Museum, and a number of the historic sites on the battlefield (Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard, Culp’s Hill, and others). For those who are interested, there will be an opportunity to walk the ground of Pickett’s Charge as well as a Sunday visit to Spangler Farm. Check back for updates. A downloadable PDF, which contains the itinerary and information about making a reservation, can be found by clicking on this link.

Ulysses S. Grant’s Grandson and the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable

Roundtable President Bob Pence is going through the Roundtable’s old hard copy records in preparation for digitizing these records. While he was doing this, he came across an article that was the presentation at the joint meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and the Western Reserve Historical Society on December 3, 1958. This presentation was given by Major General Ulysses S. Grant III, the grandson of the famous Civil War general and U.S. president. The presentation was titled “The Strategy of the Civil War.” Of note, this presentation occurred during the third year of the Roundtable’s existence. The text of this presentation can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Ulysses S. Grant III

Ulysses S. Grant III was born in Chicago on the 4th of July in 1881. After education in Austria, where his father was an American diplomat, he attended Columbia University, but left in 1898 when he received an appointment to West Point. Grant and Douglas MacArthur joined their first summer camp at West Point in July and August 1899. They soon learned that they were plebes who were especially marked for hazing by upperclassmen, because they were the grandson and son, respectively, of well-known military men (Ulysses S. Grant and Arthur MacArthur). Grant graduated sixth in the Class of 1903, while Douglas MacArthur graduated first in that class.

After graduation, Grant served on Mindanao in the Philippines (1903-04), in the Cuban Pacification (1906), in Mexican Border Service (1913-1917 including the Veracruz Expedition in 1914), and in the Pancho Villa Expedition (1916). He also served in World War I and World War II. In 1904 Grant was as an aide to President Theodore Roosevelt, and he met his future wife while he was at the White House. In 1907 Grant married Edith Ruth Root (1878-1962), the daughter of Elihu Root, former Secretary of War and Secretary of State. They had three daughters: Edith, Clara Frances, and Julia. Grant died in 1968 at age 87.

Help promote our Roundtable with a car magnet

The following note about the Roundtable’s car magnets was provided by Steve Pettyjohn, who arranged for the donation of the car magnets.

Put this Roundtable car magnet on your vehicle!

One of the things we learned at the National Congress of Civil War Roundtables held in Gettysburg last month was this simple and painful reality. Most people who are interested in the Civil War era do not join a local Civil War roundtable for the plain and simple reason that they don’t know we exist. This year our Roundtable will be launching many initiatives to create awareness about us. One of these initiatives is Cleveland Civil War Roundtable car magnets. The magnets are being given to members as they pay their dues, and we are encouraging everyone to put one on the back of your vehicle. If our members put these magnets on their vehicles, then the magnets will be seen by thousands of people over the next few months. This is an easy (and no-cost) way to advertise our Roundtable.

Instructions: Clean the area of the vehicle where the magnet will be placed. Pinch the sides of the magnet in, both left and right and top and bottom. Apply the magnet to the vehicle. I have two similar magnets from the same provider, and they don’t come off even in the car wash.

Our thanks to Tim Smith for providing the magnets as a donation to our Roundtable. Tim is president of SJT Enterprises in Westlake. For a look at his product line, check out the SJT Enterprises website or call 440-617-1100.

When these magnets are seen on vehicles throughout our region, many people will be made aware of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.

2023-2024 Program Schedule Now Posted

Roundtable President Bob Pence has put together an excellent program for the Roundtable’s 2023-2024 monthly meetings that will take place during the typical season from September through May. The theme that Bob has chosen for the 2023-2024 series is “Union leaders and Ohio in the Civil War.” The schedule for 2023-2024 can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Membership Roster and Contact Information

We have worked very hard to improve our membership database and contact information this year, but we know we probably have more work to do. Please be sure to keep us advised of changes in contact information by sending us the information at clecwrt@gmail.com. We monitor that email account on a regular basis, so this would be a big help in making sure we can keep you informed of group activities. If you want to see what has been posted on our Facebook page or Twitter account, you do not have to become a member of the Roundtable. Everyone is welcome to view our Facebook page and Twitter account. These can also be accessed by googling “Cleveland Civil War Roundtable” and either “Facebook” or “Twitter” and clicking on the appropriate link in the search results.

Cleveland Civil War Roundtable Monthly Meetings

Meeting Time: Monthly meetings of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable are typically held on the second Wednesday of the month from September through May. Meetings ordinarily begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7:30 p.m. Meetings usually end by around 9:00 p.m. Since the September 2021 meeting, all of our meetings have been held in person, and barring any future pandemic-related restrictions, we anticipate that all meetings will be held in person.

Meeting Location: In-person meetings are held at the Holiday Inn Independence, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio 44131.

Reservations: For in-person meetings, you must make a dinner reservation for any meeting you plan to attend. Reservations must be made no later than eight days prior to the meeting (so we can give a head count to the caterer). For information on making a dinner reservation, click on this link.

2023-2024 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable Program