Upcoming CCWRT Program Via Zoom
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm

March 2021 Roundtable Meeting – At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War

Dr. Tamika Nunley will be with us on March 10 to discuss highlights from her first book At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. It tells the story of enslaved and free African American women’s claims to liberty in the nation’s capital. The topic of the March Roundtable meeting is perfectly placed as the calendar moves from February’s Black History Month to March’s Women’s History Month.

In the 19th century, Washington, D.C., the capital city of a nation that was founded on the premise of liberty, was both an entrepot of urban slavery and the target of abolitionist ferment. The growing slave trade and the enactment of Black codes placed the city’s Black women within the rigid confines of a social hierarchy ordered by race and gender. At the Threshold of Liberty reveals how these women – enslaved, fugitive, and free – imagined new identities and lives beyond the oppressive restrictions intended to prevent them from ever experiencing liberty, self-respect, and power.

Consulting newspapers, government documents, letters, abolitionist records, legislation, and memoirs, Tamika Y. Nunley traces how Black women navigated social and legal proscriptions to develop their own ideas about liberty as they escaped from slavery, initiated freedom suits, created entrepreneurial economies, pursued education, and participated in political work. In telling these stories, Dr. Nunley places Black women at the vanguard of the history of Washington, D.C., and the momentous transformations of 19th America.

Click on either of the book links above to purchase Dr. Nunley’s book from Amazon. Part of the proceeds from any book purchased from Amazon through the CCWRT website is returned to the CCWRT to support its education and preservation programs.

Our March Speaker: Tamika Nunley

Dr. Tamika Nunley is an Associate Professor of American history at Oberlin College and Conservatory. Her research and teaching interests include slavery, gender, 19th century legal history, digital history, and the American Civil War. At Oberlin, she created the History Design Lab, which allows students to develop scholarly projects that involve methodological approaches such as digital humanities, public history, creative nonfiction, and curatorial practices. Her book, At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. (University of North Carolina Press), examines African American women’s strategies of self-definition in the contexts of slavery, fugitivity, courts, schools, streets, and the government during the period from the founding of the nation’s capital to the Civil War. Her work has been supported by the Andrew Mellon and Woodrow Wilson foundations as well as the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Nunley, a 2003 Euclid High graduate, spent over six years diving into historical archives and court records while researching for her first nonfiction book, At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery & Shifting Identities in Washington D.C. Dr. Nunley spent several years out of state pursuing her master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and her doctorate from The University of Virginia, before returning home to the Cleveland area to become an associate professor at Oberlin College in the history department. Now residing in Cleveland Heights, Dr. Nunley said she loved growing up as a Euclid resident and student, and high school left lasting impressions on her. “Growing up in Euclid was really special, and attending the high school was wonderful,” she said. “My life has been really positively impacted by the teachers at Euclid High School. It has a special place in my heart.”

Petersburg Field Trip – March Update

At this point, we are still planning to have the Petersburg field trip on April 30-May 1. We have confirmed arrangements with Pamplin Park to use their facilities for lunch on both days and dinner on Saturday evening which will include an evening at the Museum of the Civil War Soldier. We have had to change guides and have engaged the services of the Executive Director at Pamplin Park, Mr. Tim Talbott. I am making final arrangements with the Holiday Inn Express, which is five minutes from the battlefield and Pamplin Park.

We are planning on the car caravan approach to the trip instead of using a bus. Members and their guests will be welcome for the trip, but I want to let you know that Pamplin Park may have a limit on how many can attend their events. If that occurs, attendance will be based on a first come basis (i.e., when did you send the attendance fee?). At this point the fee is $150 per person. The hotel costs and dinner on Friday night will be your responsibility.

Please contact Steve Pettyjohn at stevepcwrt@yahoo.com if you have questions or if you want to go.

Field Trip Itinerary: On to Petersburg with the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable

April 30, 2021

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Grant’s Headquarters City Point (Hopewell, VA) Set the scene.

  • USCT actions at Baylor’s Farm, June 15, 1864
  • XVIII Corps attacks on June 15, 1864 (Battery 5-Dictator, Battery 8-USCT actions, Battery 9-USCT action)
  • Box lunch at Battery 9
  • June 18 Union assaults and March 25, 1865 Confederate attack at Fort Stedman and support from Fort Haskell
  • Fort Morton
  • The Battle of the Crater (July 30, 1864)
  • Battle of Weldon Railroad (August 18-21, 1864)
  • Poplar Grove National Cemetery
  • Fort Fisher

May 1, 2021

Meet at 9:00 am at Pamplin Historical Park parking lot. Review and preview.

  • Battle of White Oak Road (March 31, 1865)
  • Battle of Five Forks (April 1, 1865)
  • VI Corps Breakthrough (April 2, 1865)
  • Box lunch at Pamplin Historical Park
  • A.P. Hill Death Site (April 2, 1865)
  • Banks House-Grant’s HQ on April 2
  • Fort Gregg (April 2, 1865)
  • Edge Hill-Lee’s HQ on April 2
  • Appomattox River crossing and evacuation of Petersburg

Dinner at Pamplin Park and a Night at the Museum of the Civil War Soldier

After Action Report (for those who missed the February meeting)

After a trivia contest about a statue of a young Abe Lincoln, and announcements from President Pettyjohn on the current status of the field trip, the possibility of an in-person meeting in May, and upcoming officer elections and the need for a new Secretary, Phil Spaugy regaled us with tales of the 19th Indiana, and the dangerous lives of color bearers. Although part of the famed “Iron Brigade,” the 19th Indiana is perhaps the least known regiment from it, and no regimental history was written, making research difficult. Still, the story that is known is a compelling one, and Spaugy introduced many of the regiment’s officers and key figures before diving into their difficult first day at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Brigadier General Solomon Meredith was a political appointee, given his original position of Colonel of the 19th Indiana by the Governor of Indiana, Oliver Morton. He used his political connections to advance in rank and eventually assume command of the Iron Brigade as a whole, causing him to be held in low esteem by Brigadier General John Gibbon, the Iron Brigade’s former commander. Still, Meredith was wounded multiple times in the war, including at Gettysburg, and he lost two sons in the conflict, so his motivation appears to have been sincere, despite his lack of prior military experience. Colonel Samuel Williams, a Virginian by birth, headed the 19th at the Battle of Gettysburg. The real stars of the tale, however, were the gallant Color Guard and Color Bearers, nearly all of whom were injured or killed in rapid succession. Burlington Cunningham was wounded twice during the course of the battle while carrying the flag, and future Medal of Honor recipient Abram Buckles was wounded carrying the flag as well – man after man picked up the colors only to be struck down. When one soldier was told to go pick up the flag after yet another man had been shot carrying it, he was alleged to have said “Go to hell! I won’t do it!” – and yet, somehow, there was always still someone willing to pick it up, until the flags were eventually ordered “shucked” (covered away) due to the heavy fire every bearer was immediately subjected to.

Phil Spaugy also covered the story of the “Asa Blanchard flag,” a flag which had allegedly covered the body of Asa Blanchard, one of the many men to carry the flag and die at Gettysburg. This was clearly not a regimental flag, as too many details of it did not line up with the materials, shape, or overall appearance of regimental flags. However, Asa’s brother Lucien died on a naval vessel around the same time, and many aspects of the flag aligned more with those used on ships, so it is possible the flag may have been sent home with a different Blanchard son upon his death instead.

The lecture ended with a discussion of how the Don Troiani print of the Iron Brigade, The Black Hats, was made, followed by audience questions. Spaugy expressed regret that he was unable to bring his reproduction 19th Indiana regimental flags with him to the meeting as it was virtual, but he shared a number of photographs of the flags in action. Perhaps when the threat of the pandemic is behind us, our members will have the chance to see those flags in person!

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 Lily Korte has been posting on Twitter and Facebook, you don’t have to join or anything like that. Just google either “Cleveland Civil War Roundtable” and either “Facebook” or “Twitter” and you can see our posts.

Secretary Position – Your Roundtable Wants You!

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable will be needing a new secretary for the 2021-2022 program year. As such, a volunteer is needed to take the position and also assume the responsibility of moving through the officer positions (treasurer, vice president, and president).

Below are the responsibilities of the secretary position as outlined in the Roundtable’s Constitution. Being secretary is an opportunity to go through orientation regarding how our group operates, learn the background of why and how we do certain things, and get to know more of our members. The only identified duty of the secretary is to take minutes at meetings, and there really aren’t that many meetings. The position description indicates that the secretary may assume other duties as requested by the president or the Executive Committee. For example, this year Lily Korte, our current secretary, has also worked as Social Media Chair, where she has vastly improved our presence on Facebook and Twitter, helped Dave Carrino with the website, and helped with our Zoom meetings. Whether current vice president Mark Porter will continue that arrangement will be up to him and next year’s leadership group. If you appreciate our group and want to contribute to its continued success, please consider serving in this position.

Here is the section from our Constitution.

Section 4. Duties of the Secretary; Term.

  • In general. The secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the members and of the Executive Committee and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Executive Committee or the president.
  • Term. The secretary shall be elected for one year and shall be eligible for re-election, but may serve not more than two consecutive terms.

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Steve Pettyjohn at his email address or set up a time for a phone call: stevepcwrt@yahoo.com; 440-452-5414.

New Recruits in the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable

New members in the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable are encouraged to introduce themselves to the group by emailing a photograph and a short biography to the Roundtable (clecwrt@gmail.com). If you don’t want to send a picture or bio, just let us know and give us approval to post your name on the website as a new member.

YouTube Channel

YES! The Cleveland Civil War Round Table has a YouTube Channel! At this time, we have our last three speakers’ presentations online. You can simply Google Cleveland Civil War Roundtable YouTube and get to our “channel.” You can also use the following link:


Meeting Time: In ordinary times, 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 around 9. In the COVID-19 age, meetings will be done by Zoom.

Note New Meeting Location: Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed, in-person meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn Independence, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio 4413.

Reservations: For in-person meetings, you must make a dinner reservation for any meeting you plan to attend no later than the Sunday prior to that meeting (so we can give a headcount to the caterer). Make your reservation by sending an email to: clecwrt@gmail.com