2019-2020 Program Schedule

We are pleased to present the 2019 – 2020 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable program schedule. This year’s schedule provides an interesting mix of published authors and scholars who will discuss a variety of topics relating to the Civil War. The October meeting will provide a unique hand on experience at the Western Reserve Historical Society. On February 12, 2020 we will mark the 211th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln with a special celebration and speaker. Please join us for what promises to be an exciting and stimulating year. We encourage members to bring a friend.

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 around 9.

Meeting Location: Our meetings are held at Judson Manor (the former Wade Park Manor residential hotel), 1890 E 107th St, Cleveland, OH, at the corner of East 107th Street and Chester, 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 Sunday prior to that meeting (so we can give a headcount to the caterer). Make your reservation by sending an email to:

September 11, 2019

Henry P. “Hank” Elliott
In the Steps of Stonewall Jackson: Prelude to Second Manassas

In August 1862, Stonewall Jackson led 24,000 Confederate troops on a fifty-mile encircling march around and behind John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Considered one of the boldest maneuvers of its kind during the Civil War, Jackson’s movement transformed the military picture in central Virginia – causing the Federals to abandon their strong defensive position along the Rappahannock River, allowing the Confederates to seize the initiative, and setting the stage for Southern victory. Although often remembered only for the legendary plunder that resulted from the capture of the Federal supply base at Manassas Junction, Jackson’s march was, in fact, the watershed moment of the entire Second Manassas campaign.

Our speaker: Henry P. Elliott is an historian at Manassas National Battlefield Park, where he has worked since 2007. During his twenty-year career with the National Park Service, he has also worked at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Chalmette Battlefield, a unit of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. He is the author of the feature article on First Manassas in Blue and Gray Magazine and is currently writing a regimental history of the 4th South Carolina Volunteers. He resides in Jeffersontown, Virginia and joins us as a result of a collaborative effort with the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table and the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table.

September 19 – September 21, 2019

CCWRT Annual Field Trip
Visiting the Land of Lincoln – Springfield, Illinois

Trip Overview:

This year’s field trip will be a unique opportunity to visit the home of our 16th and greatest President, Abraham Lincoln. A change from our annual battlefield sojourns, our journey includes a visit to the President’s home, grave, the State Capital Building and the Lincoln Museum and Presidential Library along with walking tours of Springfield . The program will open with an orientation and welcome from Lincoln’s friend and body guard, Ward Hill Lamon as portrayed by local guide Garret Moffett. Garrett will also be our guide on Saturday for a tour of the cemetery. Saturday night’s dinner will include a visit from President Abraham Lincoln. Transportation will be provided from downtown Springfield to the Oak Ridge Cemetery; other parts of the tour will require brief walks.

Attendees are encouraged to go to www.visitspringfieldillinos.com for an overview of the city.

Visiting New Salem, Illinois – Pre- or Post-Springfield Visit

Lincoln lived in New Salem, Illinois from 1831–1837. New Salem is now a State Historic Site located about two miles south of Petersburg, Illinois and 20 miles northwest of Springfield. It is a reconstruction of the village where Lincoln spent his early years. From May to October it is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Because of the logistics and timing of getting the entire group to New Salem within the time frame of a weekend field trip, it is suggested that travelers stop at New Salem either on their way to Springfield or on their way home. For more information, see www.lincolnnewsalem.com.

Tour Base:

Make hotel reservations for the weekend (3night) at the Red Roof Inn Springfield, Il. Double rate $109. Single rate 99. Mention the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable when making reservations. Reservations within the block of rooms set aside and receiving the special rate must be made by August 15, 2019.

The State House Red Roof Inn
101 East Adams Street
Springfield, Illinois
Phone: 217-582-5100
Fax: 217-528-4358


The cost is $195 per person which includes guide fees, admission to the Lincoln Museum and Presidential Library and lunch at the museum which will include a speaker during lunch. We will also provide transportation to the Oak Ridge Cemetery after lunch on Saturday and return to the hotel. All meals are included – lunch and dinner on both Friday and Saturday. Breakfast is provided at the hotel. The Friday night Ghost Tour is optional (fee: $10/person).

Travel to Springfield, Illinois, hotel and other incidental meals are not included Reserve your spot by 9/1/19.


Thursday, September 19
7:00 p.m. Meet at the State House Red Roof Inn, Springfield, Illinois. Guests will be welcomed to the city by Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and bodyguard, as portrayed by local guide Garret Moffett, who will be our guide on Saturday. Dinner on your own.

Friday, September 20
8:30 a.m. Depart for the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (.7 mile walk or drive on your own).
9:00 a.m. Museum opens – explore on your own.
11:30 a.m. Lunch at the Museum with speaker – Lincoln as Commander in Chief.
1:00 p.m. Meet local guide Garret Moffett for a walking tour of downtown Springfield including, Lincoln sites, sites of race riots, prohibition and more.
5:45 p.m. Dinner at Maldaner’s Restaurant – 222 South Sixth Street
7:30 p.m. Lincoln Ghost Walk: Legends and Lore (optional, cost: $10/person). This 90-minute 5-block lantern-lit walking tour uses the Lincoln sites as a backdrop for strange and eerie stories surrounding Lincoln’s life and death; Lincoln’s bizarre dreams of his death, spiritualism, Mary’s séances in the White House, and skullduggery at the tomb site. This is a factual history tour that includes some ghostly lore surrounding the Lincolns. Suitable for all ages, not a scary tour. The tour begins at #1 Old State Capital Plaza, corner of 6th and Adams – across the street from the Maldaner’s Restaurant. Garret Moffett is the host.

Saturday, September 21
8:30 a.m. Depart hotel with local guide Garret Moffett for .3 mile walk to Illinois State Capital.
9:00 a.m. Tour of the State Capital building
9:35 a.m. Depart State Capital building for .4 mile walk to Lincoln’s home.
10:10 a.m. Tour Lincoln Home – National Historic Site.
11:45 a.m. Depart Lincoln Historic Site for .3 mile walk to Maldaner’s Restaurant.
12:00 p.m. Lunch at Maldaner’s – 225 South 6th Street.
1:30 p.m. Depart Maldaner’s via bus to Oakridge Cemetery.
2:00 p.m. Tour Lincoln’s Tomb.
2:30 p.m. Cemetery tour conducted by Garret Moffett.
4:30 p.m. Return to hotel by bus.
7:00 p.m. Banquet at State House Inn with Abraham Lincoln as Special Guest.

Sunday, September 22
Return home.

October 9, 2019
(Note change in meeting location)

A Night at the Museum
Western Reserve Historical Society

Visit the Western Reserve Historical Society and have a hands-on experience with Civil War artifacts and memorabilia housed at the Historical Society. Visitors will be required to wear white gloves – provided by WRHS – so that they can touch and feel significant parts of their Civil War Collection that will be on display in the library reading room. Materials will be on display starting at 5:00 PM.

Dinner will be served among the vintage cars and members will have time to explore the many vehicles on display. During dinner, staff of the historical society will discuss the details of their Civil War collection.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is located at 10835 East Blvd. Cleveland Oho – across from the Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Hospital. Free parking will be provided in the rear of the museum (enter off Magnolia Drive).

Because this event is being catered, it is imperative that reservations be made by Sept. 27.

November 13, 2019

Paul Huff
Summit County and the Sultana Disaster – Akron’s Connection to One of the Worst Disasters in US Naval History

The Sultana was a Mississippi River side-wheel steamboat, which exploded on April 27, 1985 in the worst maritime disaster in United States History. Constructed of wood in 1863 at the John Litherbury Boatyard in Cincinnati, she was intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade but was ultimately used to carry troops. Although designed with a capacity of only 376 passengers, she was carrying 2,137 when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded. The Sultana burned to the waterline and then sank near Memphis, Tennessee. The disaster was overshadowed in the press by events surrounding the end of the Civil War, including the death of President Lincoln. Many of the casualties were from Summit County. Mr. Huff will discuss the impact of this disaster on Summit County.

Our speaker: Paul Huff is the President of the Cuyahoga Valley Civil War Roundtable and Past Camp Commander of the General A. C. Voris Camp, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Mr. Huff has spoken throughout Northeast Ohio on various topics including “Mobile Bay: The Ultimate Naval Battle of the Civil War,” “The Women in the Window: Summit County Women and the Civil War,” “The Best and Worst of It: Cuyahoga Falls’ Civil War P.O.W.s” and “Summit County and the Sultana Disaster.” In 2016, he organized the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Civil War Monument at Oakwood Cemetery in Cuyahoga Falls.

Mr. Huff graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with a degree in History and Political Science in 1980. Following graduation, he worked as a reporter for the Cuyahoga Falls News-Press and the Stow Sentry. It was while working as a reporter that his childhood interest in the Civil War was rekindled when covering the rededication of the Civil War Monument in Cuyahoga Falls. Mr. Huff later worked for the city of Cuyahoga Falls, serving as Lab Technician at its water plant before retiring.

December 11, 2019

Peter J. D’Onofrio
President of the Society of Civil War Surgeons
The Medical Advancements of the Civil War – as Seen Through the Eyes of Robert Nelson Barr, Ohio’s Surgeon General During the Civil War

The Civil War was the first modern war and resulted in the highest number of U.S. casualties per capita of any of our wars: roughly 750,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians; 25% of those involved, died. What is not appreciated, even now, is the rapid advances made by American medicine during the conflict.

Dr. D’Onofrio’s presentation will inform the audience of the background procedures and personnel that led to these advances (many of which are the basis for techniques still used today) and their impact on the development of American medicine. Dr. D’Onofrio will present his talk in the guise of Ohio Civil War Surgeon General Robert Nelson Barr, in period uniform, as if this meeting were taking place only a few months following the end of the War.

Our Speaker: Peter D’Onofrio, Ph.D. is a Civil War Medical historian. He is President of the Society of Civil War Surgeons and editor of The Journal of Civil War Medicine. The society is a nonprofit international, educational organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Civil War era medicine and surgery and those persons, both North and South, who labored to ease the suffering of the sick, wounded and dying of the conflict. A native of New York, Dr. D’Onofrio came to Ohio compliments of the U.S. Air Force and decided to stay. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton and has a Doctorate in American History from LaSalle University. Dr. D’Onofrio has been instrumental in setting up the medical re-enactments at numerous battle fields including the Battles of First Manassas and Antietam and has served as a consultant in many re-enactment/living history units as well as for the National Park Service and several television series. He has been re-enacting since 1978, starting as an infantryman with the 35th OVI, but since 1980, exclusively portraying a surgeon.

January 8, 2020

The Dick Crews Annual Debate:
Who Was the Most Important Ohioan of the Civil War?
Moderator: William F. B. Vodrey

Ohioans played a vital role in the victory of the Union in the Civil War. The State of Ohio also played a key role in providing troops – some 320,000 men – along with military officers and supplies to the Union Army. Several leading generals came from Ohio, including, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, William Rosecrans and Philip H. Sheridan. Five Ohio-born Civil War officers would later serve as President of the United States – U.S. Grant, James A. Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.

The Fighting McCooks of Ohio gained fame as the largest immediate family group ever to become officers in the U.S. Army. But Ohio also gave rise to other notables including Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, John Sherman, Benjamin Wade, Joshua Giddings and John Bingham whose lives and careers had considerable impact on the Civil War era. And no story of the Civil War can be told with out discussing the importance of Abolitionist John Brown and Author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Join us to debate and decide “Who was the most important Ohioan in the Civil War?

Prospective debaters are encouraged to contact Moderator William Vodrey to become a part of this lively debate.

February 12, 2020

Judge Frank J. Williams
Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Courts (Retired)
Reconstruction: What Went Wrong – Lincoln’s Big Mistake – Selecting Andrew Johnson

If slavery is the original sin of American democracy, then the Reconstruction period following the end of the Civil War was our first and greatest missed opportunity to repent that sin. With the war’s victorious end followed by the rapid passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in 1865, 1866 and 1870 respectively, progress for the freedmen of America looked promising. Sadly, hopes for progress and justice were soon dashed and Reconstruction’s collapse opened the door to the Jim Crow era condemning black Americans to an additional 150 years of oppression that extends to today.

Why did Reconstruction fail? Our speaker, Frank J. Williams, will attempt to answer that question.

Our speaker: Frank J. Williams is a native of Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Boston College and Boston University School of Law. He also received a master’s in taxation from Bryant University. Williams served his country in the United States Army with distinction during the Vietnam War. In 2003, President Bush appointed him to the United States Court of Military Commission Review, ultimately becoming the chief judge where he served until 2009.

Judge Williams was a member of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and co-founded and for 16 years served as chair the Lincoln Forum. He is past president of The Lincoln Group of Boston, The Abraham Lincoln Association and currently serves as President of Ulysses S. Grant Association. Judge Williams was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2009 as a Bicentennial Laureate. He stepped down from the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 2009 and is a frequent lecturer on the topic of Lincoln. He is the author of Judging Lincoln a collection of nine of the most insightful essays written by Judge Williams over the last twenty years. The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable would like to thank past president Mel Maurer for arranging Judge Williams’s visit.

March 11, 2020

Anthony Gibbs
Freedom, Citizenship and Equality:
The Story of the United States Colored Troops

Almost 200,000 black soldiers fought for the United States during the Civil War. Their story is a unique chapter in the American conflict. These men were freedom fighters who fought for emancipation and for full citizenship rights. Mr. Gibbs discusses events significant to these men that led up to the Civil War, and what made these men different from other thousands who fought and died in the War Between the States.

Our speaker: Anthony Gibbs has traveled throughout the State of Ohio as a teaching artist and living history performer. Anthony has portrayed living history characters such as John Parker, an Underground Railroad conductor from Ripley, Ohio; Milton Holland, a soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the 5th U.S.C. T; and other key figures in African American History. For 12 years Anthony has presented historical workshops and performances on the United States Colored Troops and their participation in the Civil War. Anthony is a graduate of The Ohio State University. He is currently employed by the Ohio History Connection as the Manager of Local History Services. He is a founder and Creative Director of Historic Impressions, an organization dedicated to the remembrance, appreciation, and exhibition of African American contributions to history.

April 8, 2020

Todd Arrington, Ph.D.
Deconstructing the Gettysburg Address

In November 1863, Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver a “few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the new National Cemetery there. In just a few minutes and with less than 300 words Lincoln delivered an address that redefined American democracy and rededicated our nation’s commitment to freedom.

Our speaker, Todd Arrington joins us to do a line-by-line deconstruction of and exposition on what is, without question, the most famous and, arguably, most consequential speech in American history.

Our speaker: Todd Arrington is the Site Manager of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. As a career National Park Service Historian and park ranger, he has also worked at the Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska and Gettysburg National Historic Site & Eisenhower National Historic Site both in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a PH.D in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a widely published author on many aspects of the Civil War and has appeared on PBS, C-Span, numerous television and radio news programs and appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary Murder of the President about James A. Garfield. Arrington has taught history and humanities courses at several northeast Ohio colleges, including Lake Erie College, John Carroll University, Lorain County Community College, and Lakeland Community College. He is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table.

May 13, 2020

William A. Blair, Ph.D.
Ohio, Lincoln and Civil Liberties:
Creating a Dangerous or a Necessary Policy

In 1863, Clement L. Vallandigham was arrested by the U.S. Army for treason as he campaigned to become the governor of Ohio. His offense was criticism of the Lincoln Administration’s conduct of the war and its arrest of political opponents. The incident sparked controversy in the North and a public letter by Democrats in New York. President Lincoln responded with his own public letter, doubling down on arrests of civilians by the military and proclaiming that detention without the reading of rights was appropriate even before people committed a crime against the state. After going through the details of the controversy, Dr. Blair will discuss with the audience whether this was necessary action or an abuse of executive power.

Our speaker: Retired since July 2019, Dr. William Blair is the Ferree Professor Emeritus of American History and Emeritus Director of the Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University. He was the founding editor of The Journal of the Civil War Era, published in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Press, and the former editor of The Brose Lecture Series with the UNC Press. His books included With Malice Toward Some: Treason in the Civil War Era (2014) which was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize; Virginia’s Private War: Feeding Body and Soul in the Confederacy 1861-1865 (1998) and Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South -1865-1914 (2004) He is currently working on a book about how the Army gathered information of atrocities against African Americans after the war into a record titled Murders and Outrages in order to help Congress justify harder measurers against former rebels after the Civil War ended. He holds a BA, MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.