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. 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. (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, 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.

A highlight of the Roundtable’s year is the annual Dick Crews 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, Gettysburg, PA, 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 the Shenandoah Valley in September 2022 to study Phil Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign. The next field trip, which is scheduled for September 22-23, 2024, will be to Manassas, VA to study the First and Second Battles of Bull Run.

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 – Robert Pence
Vice President – Jimmy Menkhaus
Treasurer – Gene Claridge
Secretary – Charles Patton

Historian – Dan Ursu

Past President – Lily Korte

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

Charger Editor – Kent Fonner
Website Manager – Paul Burkholder

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.