No Caps, No Guns: The Struggle for Confederate Copper

By Brian D. Kowell
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October 2023.


In the dark, the Yankee colonel heard the popping sounds from along his picket line and ordered his troopers to their support. As dawn broke, he was surprised by the booming of rebel cannon followed by a Confederate charge to test his lines. As the Confederates withdrew, the colonel inspected his lines, noticing a large copper rolling mill that anchored his right flank. As the colonel clenched his pipe, he needed to make some decisions before the Confederates tried again.

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General Henry J. Hunt, Union Chief of Artillery

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023-2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the May 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


For most of the Civil War the Union had an artillery advantage over the South for numerous reasons. Paramount among those many reasons, and especially for the Union Army of the Potomac, was the Chief of Artillery, General Henry J. Hunt. He made a big difference in organizational philosophy for the entirety of the North’s artillery arm, but most decisively in his battlefield exploits for the Army of the Potomac, especially at the Battles of Malvern Hill, Antietam, and Gettysburg and also the siege of Petersburg. None other than the incomparable Mr. Ed Bearss, Historian Emeritus, U.S. National Park Service, in his book Fields of Honor called General Henry J. Hunt “one of the Civil War’s premier artillerists.”

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Top Four Elite Brigades of the American Civil War

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023-2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the February 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


During the Roundtable’s 2023 field trip to Manassas, the participants heard a lot about General Thomas Jackson’s “Stonewall Brigade.” Accordingly, it occurred to me to do a history brief about my top four most elite brigades of the Civil War. I will highlight my top two Confederate and top two Union brigades starting with the “Stonewall Brigade.” I’m sure that many of our members have a similar list in mind for comparison.

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The Great Debate of 2024

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved


The January 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable featured the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate. The topic for debate was the question: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Meade was criticized, including by President Abraham Lincoln, for not being sufficiently aggressive in pursuing Lee’s defeated Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg. The 2024 Dick Crews Memorial Debate examined this question. Four debaters presented arguments in support of their stance on this question. Two debaters argued in favor of Meade, and two debaters argued against him. Below are the texts of those four arguments, along with moderator William Vodrey’s opening remarks.

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The Great Debate of 2024: Opening Remarks

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?

By William F.B. Vodrey – debate moderator
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the January 2024 Roundtable meeting was: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was the opening remarks made by the moderator of the debate.


We’re here tonight for the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate, named after Dick Crews, my longtime predecessor as moderator. Dick once told me that the debate got its start as a Roundtable tradition because of the difficulty of finding speakers who were willing to travel to Cleveland in January. In moderating again tonight for, God help me, my 20th year, I stand on the shoulders of giants, including Dick.

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Evaluating George Gordon Meade’s Leadership in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg – Caution, Hesitancy, and Timidity

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg? No

By Gary W. Taylor
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the January 2024 Roundtable meeting was: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those four presentations.


Meade’s cautious pursuit of Lee instantly and energetically following the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 was one of the greatest errors and misfortunes of the Civil War. Let’s consider some facts following Meade’s successful defense of Cemetery Ridge on July 3rd:

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Evaluating George Gordon Meade’s Leadership in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg – Skill, Vigor, and Wisdom

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg? Yes

By William J. Toler
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the January 2024 Roundtable meeting was: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those four presentations. The argument on this web page was written by Bill Toler, who was one of the debaters. Because of illness, Bill was not able to present his argument at the debate. Lily Korte substituted for Bill, and the information that Bill compiled and organized was used by Lily to present Bill’s argument at the debate. The essay on this web page was written by Bill from that information and presents Bill’s argument as he would have done had he been able to participate in the debate himself.


The question before us this evening is: “Was Meade aggressive enough in chasing Lee after Gettysburg?” How we define “aggressive enough” will certainly matter, and the consideration of “aggressive enough for whom” has mattered since July 1863.

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Evaluating George Gordon Meade’s Leadership in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg – A Letdown to the Army, to the Country, and to George Meade

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg? No

By Steve Pettyjohn
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the January 2024 Roundtable meeting was: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those four presentations.


While not trying to be anti-climactic, the title of this debate suggests the answer. If Meade had been aggressive enough, we probably would be having a far different topic for our debate. Perhaps the topic would be something along the lines of “was poor U.S. Grant the forgotten hero of the Civil War?” We would be discussing the question of whether Grant’s contributions in the West were far overshadowed by “MEADE OF GETTYSBURG!” We would note that Meade eclipsed all other Civil War generals. We would laud Meade and praise how he had conducted a very skillful defense at Gettysburg for three days and then followed up with a series of counterattacks and overall pursuit of Lee’s army that resulted in Lee being trapped against the raging floodwaters of the Potomac River a week later. We would be celebrating Meade and the Army of the Potomac’s twin victories at Williamsport and Falling Waters, where the Army of Northern Viriginia was crushed and crippled as it attempted to cross the Potomac and flee into western Maryland. This would be followed by Meade’s triumphant march to Richmond where he ended the rebellion.

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Evaluating George Gordon Meade’s Leadership in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg – As Much or More Than Could Be Expected

Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg? Yes

By Chris Howard
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the January 2024 Roundtable meeting was: “Was George Gordon Meade aggressive enough in chasing Robert E. Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those four presentations.


I stand for the proposition that “Meade WAS aggressive enough in pursuing Lee after Gettysburg.” Let me first summarize some key issues, and then I will describe some aspects of Meade’s pursuit of Lee in more detail.

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General Lee’s Standing in the South after Gettysburg

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023-2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the February 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


General George Gordon Meade (one of my favorite Union generals and the nautical surveyor of the Great Lakes) was the tactical and strategic victor of the Battle of Gettysburg, arguably the most important battle of the war. In spite of this, Meade conversely faced harsh criticism at the January 2024 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable. At that meeting, the Roundtable held its annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate, which in 2024 involved opposing opinions regarding Meade’s post-Gettysburg pursuit of the defeated Confederate army. As affirmed by vote of the attendees at that meeting, the unfavorable opinion of Meade’s actions was considered the appropriate point of view. So be it.

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