About Us

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is a nonprofit, all-volunteer historical society and social group founded in 1956 and dedicated to the study and discussion of the American Civil War and that period of our nation’s history. Its approximately 120 members range in age from the 20s to the 80s and reflect every level of historical interest and expertise. The common bond shared by the Roundtable’s members is a deep interest in the Civil War, a desire to learn more about the war, and an enjoyment of participating in discussions about the war. Our interest is not just in the Civil War and its battles. Rather, our interest encompasses many aspects of the Civil War period: the people who lived during that troubled time, the experiences and exploits of those people, the issues and challenges confronting those people, and the efforts by those people to address the issues and overcome the challenges that they faced. (More on Cleveland Civil War Roundtable history.)

The Roundtable meets over dinner on the second Wednesday of the month from September through May to hear talks by noted Civil War historians and authors as well as by members. Speakers have included renowned historians Terry Winschel, A. Wilson Greene, John Quarstein, Wayne Motts, and Curt Fields (aka U.S. Grant) along with Lincoln Scholar Judge Frank J. Williams. We have also been fortunate to have speakers who are well-known to Civil War enthusiasts, such as Shelby Foote, Ed Bearss, James (Bud) Robertson, Ulysses S. Grant III (the grandson of Ulysses S. Grant), Harold Holzer, John Marszalek, Jim Getty (as Abraham Lincoln), Eric Wittenberg, and Robert Lee Hodge (of Confederates in the Attic fame). In addition, we have featured younger speakers such as Dan Vermilya and Codie Eash from the Emerging Civil War group, Cory Pfarr of the Department of Defense, Fay Yarbrough of Rice University, and Tamika Nunley of Oberlin College. (Representative examples of the speakers and topics at Roundtable meetings can be found in the recent program schedules: 2024-2025 program schedule, 2023-2024 program schedule, 2022-2023 program schedule.)

A highlight of the Roundtable’s year is the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate in January when members hit their libraries for research and sharpen their debating and rhetorical skills to compete for bragging rights and “fabulous prizes.” Topics have included the following debate questions: Who was the absolute worst general of the Civil War?, Who was the most overrated general of the Civil War?, What was the innovation that had the greatest effect on the Civil War?, Was the C.S.A. a viable state?, Would foreign intervention have won the war for the Confederacy?, Was Mary Surratt guilty?, and If Robert E. Lee had won at Gettysburg could he have captured Washington?

Additionally, the Roundtable organizes a field trip each fall to a Civil War battlefield or related site. Recent destinations have included Antietam, MD, Fredericksburg, VA, Petersburg, VA, Franklin, TN, Shiloh, TN, the Appomattox Campaign, and a field trip that included Hampton Roads and the Peninsula Campaign. For one of our recent field trips, we went on a non-battlefield field trip to Springfield, IL to visit the land of Lincoln. Our most recent field trip was to Manassas, VA in September 2023 to study the First and Second Battles of Bull Run. The 2024 field trip (in September) will be to Gettysburg, PA.

In addition, the organization is active in various Civil War educational and preservationist causes and publishes a newsletter, The Charger, each month of the nine-month Roundtable season. The Roundtable also maintains this website for distribution of information about our organization and for publication of Civil War-related articles. Moreover, the Roundtable has a Facebook page and a Twitter account as well as a YouTube channel.

Executive Committee

President – Gene Claridge III
Vice President – Charles Patton
Treasurer – John Syroney
Secretary -Gary Taylor

Historian – Dan Ursu

Past President* – Robert Pence
Past President* – Lily Korte

Director – Richard Hronek
Director – Hans Kuenzi
Director – Steve Pettyjohn
Director – Dave Carrino

Charger Editor – Kent Fonner
Website Manager – Paul Burkholder

*The two most recent Past Presidents of the Roundtable serve as Directors ex officio, each serving for two years after his or her term as president.

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable has established guidelines for publication in its various platforms, including its newsletter (The Charger), its website, and its social media (Facebook and Twitter). These guidelines were adopted March 24, 2021 and can be viewed on the Publication Guidelines web page.