2024-2025 Program Schedule

We are pleased to present the 2024-2025 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable program schedule. This year’s program contains an interesting mix of published authors and scholars as well as some members of our Roundtable. This year’s speakers will discuss a variety of topics related to the Civil War.
More information about the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable can be found on the About Us web page.


Location of the Meetings:

Holiday Inn, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio 44131
We anticipate that all of the 2024-2025 meetings will be held in person.

September 11, 2024

“Swope Manor: the Grand Inn Located in Downtown Gettysburg”
Speaker: Kellie Gormly

This presentation is based on Kellie Gormly’s book Cease Firing! Life and Death at The Swope Manor and contains three types of war history stories: the soldier’s story, the civilian’s story, and the house’s story. The Swope family was the wealthiest family in Gettysburg in 1863. Lieutenant William Pohlman of the 59th New York was wounded during Pickett’s Charge and taken to Swope Manor from a field hospital to have a better environment for recovery. The presentation will recount how the story ends.

Kellie Gormly is a veteran, award-winning journalist who writes regularly for publications including the Washington Post, the History Channel, and Smithsonian Magazine. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington, then a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Her professional career started in 1996 with an internship at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and since then has included stints with Copley News Service, The Associated Press, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. After 13 years at “the Trib,” she left and has become a successful and accomplished freelance journalist.

September 19-22, 2024

Annual Field Trip – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Battle of Gettysburg

The 2024 field trip is to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where we will study the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. Dates include travel time. More information about the 2024 field trip is available on the Roundtable’s website as a downloadable PDF.

October 9, 2024

“The Three General Presidents”
Speaker: Steve Pettyjohn

Only three Americans have held supreme military command in wars critical to the future of the United States and then have gone on to serve as president. All three created the strategy to win their wars. All three commanded the most daring campaigns of their time. Two of them are ranked by presidential historians in the top ten of all presidents, and one has gone through a 70-year process of moving up in those rankings from last place to above average. This presentation focuses on the lives and careers of these three men: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The presentation highlights some comparisons between the three (some of which are humorous) and also notes some common traits that helped lead to their success. Topics in the presentation include how all three “learned their business,” used spies, dealt with difficult people, displayed different kinds of courage, exhibited strategic thinking, and achieved “domestic tranquility.” Lastly, the presentation addresses why these three men have different reputations, how we look at them now, and how the perception of these three has changed over time.

Steve Pettyjohn is president of Quality Assist Consulting and an avid amateur historian. He is also a past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and a founding member of the World at War Forum based at Westlake Porter Public Library. He has made presentations at the World at War Forum and at several Civil War roundtables as well as at other groups around Ohio. He lives in North Ridgeville, Ohio with his wife, a retired librarian, who tolerates his 1,500-book library and his hobby of playing war board games with friends.

November 13, 2023

“A Thousand May Fall: Life, Death, and Survival in the Union Army”
Speaker: Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan

This presentation, from a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is a pathbreaking history of the Civil War centered on the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment of immigrants with a connection to Cleveland, and their brutal experience of the conflict. The 107th Ohio was at once representative and exceptional. Its ranks weathered the human ordeal of war in painstakingly routine ways, fighting in two defining battles, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, each time in the thick of the killing. But the men of the 107th were not lauded as heroes for their bravery and their suffering. Most of them were ethnic Germans, set apart by language and identity, and their loyalties were regularly questioned by a nativist Northern press. So often it is assumed that the Civil War was a uniquely American conflict, yet the contributions made by immigrants to the Union cause are too often forgotten. An incredible one-quarter of the Union army was foreign born, with 200,000 native Germans fighting to save their adopted homeland and prove their patriotism.

Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Sam Houston State University, where he teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, American military history, and the U.S. history survey. A cultural historian of the nation’s fratricidal conflict, he is interested in the human longitude of the Civil War battles and the problem of memory. Dr. Jordan is the author of Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, a narrative history of the men who won the war but couldn’t bear the peace. The book was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in History and, in its dissertation form, won the George Washington Egleston Prize (for best U.S. history dissertation at Yale) and Yale’s John Addison Porter Prize. In 2020, he co-edited The War Went On: Reconsidering the Lives of Civil War Veterans. In 2021, he authored A Thousand May Fall: An Immigrant Regiment’s Civil War, which earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. He also co-edited Final Resting Places: Reflections on the Meaning of Civil War Graves. A native of Akron, Ohio, Dr. Jordan serves as the Book Review Editor for The Civil War Monitor and is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians. He is the founding co-editor of the Veterans Book Series (University of Massachusetts Press). His more than 100 articles, reviews, or essays have appeared in The Journal of the Civil War Era, Civil War History, and The New York Times.

December 11, 2024

“Connivers in Corsets”
Speaker: Barbara Toncheff

When 3 million men on both sides left to fight in the Civil War, they left behind the women that loved them. Many cooked and provided domestic skills, while over 400 enlisted as soldiers. However, others chose to use their feminine wiles to beguile their male enemies out of information and supplies. From commoner to socialite, both blue and gray, brave females of all ages schemed and risked incarceration and potential death if caught. Female prisoner exchanges, spy vs. spy, double agents and those who even seduced their captors are covered in this presentation. Their various clever tactics, juicy affairs and escapades are exposed in this entertaining first-person presentation by a seasoned female spy including props, photos, period news clippings, and short bios on display.

Warning: Male attendees may leave never trusting any woman ever again!

Barbara Toncheff is a retired cardiac technician. Barabara provides a living historian presentation as a female Civil War spy.

January 8, 2025

The Annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate
Topic: “Five-Minute Lesson”

Each debater is tasked with preparing a five-minute lesson on some aspect of the Civil War era that would be compelling to today’s college-aged student. Those in attendance at the meeting will vote for the “best short lesson” on why the Civil War is important for us to learn about.

As in past debates, William Vodrey will serve as moderator.

February 12, 2025

“‘You Will Never Kill the Devil with a Sword’: Shaker Pacifism during the Civil War”
Speaker: Andrew Slifkin

Shaker men were exempt from serving in the Union army during the Civil War, becoming some of the first conscientious objectors in American history. How did the Shakers, a utopian Christian sect that practiced equality for all, view the Civil War, and how did they participate in the war without serving in the military? This presentation will share the Shakers’ history and religious tenets, their perspective on the war, and their direct appeal to President Abraham Lincoln as conscientious objectors.

Andrew Slifkin is the Education and Outreach Manager at the Shaker Historical Society. He has a decade of experience in museum and classroom education and previously worked as Manager of Education and Outreach for The Florida Holocaust Museum. Andrew is passionate about immersing local learning initiatives into the classroom and helping people of all ages and backgrounds engage with local history.

March 12, 2025

“Lincoln’s Lawyers”
Speaker: Judge William F.B. Vodrey

Abraham Lincoln, a talented trial lawyer himself before his 1860 election to the Presidency, named two very different men to advise him as Attorney General of the United States: Edward Bates and James Speed. This presentation will discuss their service in the Lincoln Cabinet and will also examine how these two men differed from each other in their opinions regarding racial equality and how their opinions interfaced with that of Lincoln.

William Vodrey is a past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and a member of the American Battlefield Trust and the Blue and Gray Education Society. William has given numerous presentations to the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and to other Civil War roundtables.

April 9, 2025

“Civil War Medicine”
Speaker: Dr. Fred Marquinez

At the beginning of the Civil War, the U.S. Army Medical Department was ill-prepared to handle the overwhelming number of casualties produced by the conflict. It is said that the Civil War was fought at the “end of the Medical Middle Ages”- a time of transition in medical knowledge. Papers on antisepsis and “germ theory” would not be published until years later. However, the experience gained by surgeons, the development of a system to deal with mass casualties, and the improvements in public health and nursing as well as other innovations all led to dramatic improvement in the care of wounded and ill soldiers. New standards in trauma and military medicine were established, some of which are still in use today.

Dr. Fred Marquinez is a Medical Oncologist and a Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. A lifelong Northeast Ohioan (born in Akron and raised in Kent), Dr. Marquinez graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University in 1985. He completed an internal medicine residency at St. Thomas Medical Center (now Summa Health-St. Thomas Campus) in Akron and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He is also a Flight Surgeon and the Commander of the 179th Medical Group in the 179th Cyberspace Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, United States Air Force.

May 14, 2025

“Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmire, NY”
Speaker: Derek Maxfield

Long called by some the “Andersonville of the North,” the prisoner of war camp in Elmira, New York, is remembered as the most notorious of all Union-run POW camps. It existed for only a year – from the summer of 1864 to July 1865 – but in that time, and for long after, it became darkly emblematic of man’s inhumanity to man. Confederate prisoners called it “Hellmira.” Based on his book Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmira, NY, Derek contextualizes the rise of prison camps during the Civil War, explores the failed exchange of prisoners, and tells the tale of the creation and evolution of the prison camp in Elmira. In the end, Derek suggests that it is time to move on from the blame game and see prisoner of war camps – North and South – as a great humanitarian failure.

Derek Maxfield is an associate professor of history at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York and the author of the book Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmira, NY in addition to the book Man of Fire: William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War. Derek has written for Emerging Civil War since 2015. In 2019, he was honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2013, he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Click on any of the book links on this page to purchase 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.

Meeting Times and Location

Second Wednesday of the month from September through May at 7:00 p.m.

Holiday Inn Independence, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio 44131

6:00 p.m. – Drinks & Socializing / 6:30 p.m. – Dinner

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Meeting & Presentation

Dinner is $35 per person. Reservations should be made no later than seven days before the meeting.

Reservations should be made via email to ccwrtreserve@gmail.com

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Annual dues – $60

The annual dues are used to support our speakers program and other initiatives (such as the technology needed for our internet sites) and to help support preservation efforts.