The Sound and the Fury: William Faulkner’s Great-Grandfather

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2021, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in December 2021.


“I want to be a writer like my great-granddaddy.”

–William Faulkner

William Clark Falkner was a lawyer, farmer, businessman, politician, soldier, poet, and great-grandfather to one of the greatest writers in American literary history. Born September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, the writer William Faulkner never knew his great-grandfather. The young Faulkner spent his boyhood listening to stories told by his elders about the Civil War, slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Falkner family. Faulkner’s grandfather also told him about the exploits of William’s great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner – or as the family referred to him – the “Old Colonel.”

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I’ll trade you a Fredericksburg for a Winchester and a Pea Ridge.

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

The October 2021 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable was an especially enjoyable one for me. It was not so much a memorable meeting, but a memory-able one. By memory-able, I mean that the meeting brought back memories for me. What made the meeting memory-able is that I sat with AJ Cianflocco, who at the time of the October meeting was a recent recruit to our organization. AJ and I were classmates at John Carroll University, Class of 1972, and we had not really seen each other since our days at John Carroll. The October meeting was a nice opportunity for us to catch up on the decades since our graduation. Talking with AJ is one of the things that made the meeting memory-able, because we had the opportunity to tell each other about our lives since graduation. AJ, like me, has a professional background in an area other than history. AJ is a physician, and I had no idea that he is interested in the Civil War. Because of this, I asked him how he came to acquire an interest in that conflict. His answer was another reason that the October meeting was memory-able for me, because AJ’s answer brought back a memory from my youth. AJ said that his interest in the Civil War began with trading cards about the Civil War that were sold many years ago. I likewise collected those cards, and while I remember the cards, I do not remember much about the specifics of them. This led me to do some investigation into those cards.

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Was “Prince John” Only Acting?

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2021, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October/November 2021.


“He’s the hero for the times,
The furious fighting Johnny B. Magruder”

– Civil War Ballad

Though a small engagement, the Battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861, made General John Bankhead Magruder a celebrity. Pompous, egotistical, and given to theatrical behavior, he thrived on the recognition. Nicknamed “Prince John” because of his penchant for lavish entertainment, courtliness toward ladies, and fashionably ornate military dress, he also was fond of strong drink.

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The Confederacy’s Ferrous Stonewall in a Far East Civil War

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in April 2022.


A common practice in sports is to compare the great players of the current generation to great players of the past. This happens for many players and in a number of different sports. For some players it happens even before those players have amassed a track record that allows such comparisons to be valid. LeBron James, even early in his career, was being compared to Michael Jordan. Patrick Mahomes, after just one Super Bowl victory, was being called the next Tom Brady. Shohei Otani, in only his fourth season, was being hailed as the new Babe Ruth. Although such comparisons quite often lead to vociferous disagreements among sports fans, these kinds of comparisons will continue to be made for as long as great players emerge in sports and for as long as sports fans have opinions. Perhaps the comparisons of past sports stars with subsequent ones come from a desire to affirm the perpetuation of sports excellence.

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A Footnote in Civil War History

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in February 2022.


There are 18 outdoor Civil War statues spread throughout much of central and northwest Washington, D.C. There are 11 statutes of Union generals, two of Union admirals, and one (which was recently removed) of Confederate General Albert Pike, who was depicted as a Mason and not as a general. The other Civil War statues in Washington, D.C. are a G.A.R. Memorial, Peace Monument, Emancipation Memorial, and, the newest, an African American Civil War Memorial.

In addition to the statuary, there are a number of historical plaques to the Civil War at various sites. One of the strangest sites is located on the grounds of the Washington Naval Yard. The plaque there reads:

“Within this wall is deposited the leg of Col. Ulric Dahlgren U S V
wounded July 6th 1863 while skirmishing in the streets of Hagerstown
with the rebels after the Battle of Gettysburgh”

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A Review of Robert E. Lee: A Life by Allen C. Guelzo

By Paul Siedel
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in April 2022.


In deference to the recent controversy concerning Robert E. Lee and his monuments, I decided to purchase a recent book by Allen Guelzo, a senior research scholar at the Council of Humanities at Princeton University. The title of the book is Robert E. Lee: A Life. Although I have read several biographies of Lee, in the past they tended to overlook many of the questions one may have, especially those questions concerning his decision to side with the Confederacy in 1861. The author does a tremendous amount of research concerning Lee’s boyhood, his appointment to West Point, his military career, his frustration with the U.S. Army, his stellar performance in the Mexican-American War, and finally his assault on John Brown at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859.

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The Highest Ranking Black Officer in the Civil War

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in May 2022.


Although regiments of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) were staffed mostly by white officers, 120 African Americans were commissioned in the Union army during the Civil War. The highest ranking of those Black officers was Alexander Thomas Augusta, who left the U.S. Army in 1866 with the rank of brevet lieutenant colonel.

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The Near Capture of Ulysses Grant by Confederate General Jackson

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in January 2022.


Perhaps the two most intriguing words in history are “What if?” This is true whether the word “history” is used in the context of the past, itself, or in the context of the study of the past. In the latter context, “What if?” leads to interesting, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and sometimes intense discussions. When people who are interested in history concoct alternative histories based on some event happening differently (i.e., a what-if), the discussions that follow are one of the things that contribute to people’s interest in history. In the former context of the word “history,” a real-life what-if strategically placed into the past (if such a thing were possible) could, as George Bailey learned, produce a substantially different present than the one in which we now live, and this is a significant reason for those interesting, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and sometimes intense discussions when “What if?” is inserted into the study of the past.

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David vs. Goliath at Hampton Roads: The CSS Squib vs. the USS Minnesota

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2021, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October/November 2021.


On March 8, 1862, the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) sank two Federal warships in Hampton Roads, Virginia. A third ship to be targeted was the USS Minnesota, which had run aground while steaming toward the enemy. After unsuccessfully bombarding the Minnesota, the ebbing tide and falling darkness forced the Virginia to return to her dock in the Elizabeth River. On the 9th, when she steamed out to finish off the Minnesota, the Virginia was confronted by the USS Monitor, and in their epic battle of ironclads, the Minnesota was saved.

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Jackson in the Shenandoah River Valley – March 10 to May 22, 1862

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2021-2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the March 2022 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


As mentioned in last month’s history brief, to whet the appetite of members for vice president Lily Korte’s September 2022 Cleveland Civil War Roundtable annual field trip to cover General Phil Sheridan’s 1864 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, the next several history briefs will focus on General Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign of 1862. The accompanying map will be helpful in following this narrative.

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