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 17 to 94 and reflect every level of historical interest and expertise. The common bond shared by its members is the belief that the Civil War is the defining event of American history. (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. Roundtable 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 and Oberlin professor Dr. Tamika Nunley.
A highlight of the Roundtable 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?, If Robert E. Lee had won at Gettysburg could he have captured Washington?, and this year’s theme of Hollywood goes to War: What was the most influential movie or TV program to impact how we look at the Civil War? (There was a tie this year with the movies Gone with the Wind and Gettysburg beating out the PBS TV series Ken Burns’ The Civil War and the movies Lincoln, and The Birth of a Nation.)
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 next field trip is to Chickamauga and Chattanooga in September 2021.
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 and also maintains this website for distribution of information about the Roundtable and for publication of Civil War-related articles. The Roundtable also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account as well as a YouTube channel on which are posted videos of the presentations at our meetings beginning with the video of the October 2020 meeting.
President – Mark Porter
Vice President – Lily Korte
Treasurer – Robert Pence
Secretary – Jimmy Menkhaus
Historian – Dan Ursu
Past President – Steve Pettyjohn
Director – Ellen Connally
Director – Richard Hronek
Director – Hans Kuenzi
Director – Michael Wells
Director – Dan Zeiser
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 Publications Guidelines web page.