On to Richmond!

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2014-2015, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the December 2014 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


On to Richmond! This was the battle cry in the North at the beginning of the Civil War, and it signified the objective to capture the Confederate capital and thereby bring a quick end to the rebellion. The history books state that it took nearly four years from the war’s outset until that goal was attained. However, Richmond actually fell under Union control by the end of 1862, but before this happened there was a battle there that was not only the most one-sided Confederate victory, but the most one-sided victory by either side during the Civil War. Moreover, the commander of the Union army at Richmond was killed by Jefferson Davis. Of course, these statements do not refer to Richmond, Virginia, but to Richmond, Kentucky, although there is a connection between these two cities. The Richmond in Kentucky was founded by Revolutionary War veteran John Miller in 1798, and it was named in honor of Miller’s birthplace, Richmond, Virginia.

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Erin’s Spartans in Gray

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2015-2016, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the March 2016 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Rightly or wrongly, some months of the year in the U.S. are dominated by a holiday that happens to fall in that month: New Year’s Day for January, Independence Day for July, Halloween for October, Thanksgiving Day for November, and Christmas for December. Any religious significance aside, these holidays and the monthly focus on them transcend any ethnic ancestry. However, there is one month which, in a sense, belongs to a particular ethnic group due to a holiday which falls in that month. That month is the month of March, which can be said to belong to the Irish, because Saint Patrick’s Day falls in March. Likewise, some units that fought in the Civil War had an Irish heritage. Of course, the most well-known Irish unit of the Civil War was the Union’s Irish Brigade. But for those who also wear gray while they do their wearing of the green, there were some Irish units in the Confederacy. While some of these were regiments, such as the 6th Louisiana, 10th Tennessee, and 8th Alabama, most of the Irish units in the Confederate army were companies rather than regiments or brigades. One of these Irish companies was Company F of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, and this unit has an illustrious history.

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Some Other South Carolina Rebels Who Fought for Secession

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2015-2016, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the December 2015 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Near the end of the movie Glory there is a depiction of the attack by the 54th Massachusetts Regiment on Fort Wagner. This attack took place on July 18, 1863 on Morris Island near Charleston, South Carolina as an attempt by forces of the national government to take Charleston from the rebels who held it. Some years prior to this assault, government forces attempted to capture Charleston by attacking a fort that was situated on a different island near Charleston, an island named Sullivan’s Island. In the battle on Sullivan’s Island, the rebels held a fort that guarded the entrance to Charleston harbor. Combined naval and ground forces of the national government planned to take the fort and then capture Charleston. In ground forces alone, the rebels on Sullivan’s Island were outnumbered two to one. The naval fleet of the national government included nine warships, while the rebels had no naval force during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. In spite of this, the rebels repulsed the forces of the national government, inflicted five times as many casualties as they suffered, and prevented the capture of Charleston. Although the Battle of Sullivan’s Island pit rebel troops against forces of the national government, this battle was not between men in blue and men in gray. In the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, the rebel forces were American colonists, the government forces were British, and the battle took place on June 28, 1776 or four score and seven years before the attack of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment on Fort Wagner. In December 1860 South Carolina’s defiance was expressed by its secession from the United States. But in an earlier act of defiance, some other South Carolina rebels fought in support of secession against forces of their national government in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

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The Union Army’s NBA Regiment

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2016-2017, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the November 2016 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ astonishing and (dare it be said) historic championship that they won in June 2016, the last Cleveland team to win a championship in one of the major sports was the Cleveland Browns in 1964. Unfortunately for Cleveland sports fans, the Indians did not add a second championship to Cleveland in 2016, but at least the Cavaliers ended the 52-year drought that existed since the Cleveland Browns 1964 championship. As that Browns team was preparing to defend its championship in the 1965 season, the team’s head coach, Blanton Collier, reportedly told the players a sports aphorism which perhaps not everyone agrees with, and which, for that matter, may not be true. Collier said this to the team in an attempt to motivate the players so that they would not become complacent during the season that followed their championship. Collier told the team that defending a championship is more difficult than winning a championship. On October 25, 2016 the Cavaliers raised their championship banner and began defense of their championship. If Collier is correct about defending a championship, then the Cavaliers will need as much if not more effort and focus as they gave in the previous season, and some additional personnel might also be beneficial.

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Two Wars at a Time: The War within the Civil War

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2018-2019, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the January 2019 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


On September 4, 1957, Ford Motor Company introduced a car that it predicted would revolutionize American automobiles. That car was the Edsel, and rather than revolutionize American automobiles, the Edsel was, without exaggeration, a spectacular failure, so much so that the name Edsel is now synonymous with commercial failure. As part of the marketing campaign for the Edsel, Ford Motor Company coined a slogan to describe its new car, specifically, the car of the future. That dynamic slogan was intended to instill in people a high regard for the Edsel and to motivate them to purchase one. But the future for the so-called car of the future lasted only two years, because production ceased in 1959, and that slogan became a source of ridicule. In the Civil War, there was a slogan that someone introduced which also sounded dynamic and was intended to instill in soldiers a high regard for the person who introduced the slogan and to motivate the soldiers to buy into that person’s leadership. The Civil War leader in question is John Pope, who truly was an Edsel of an army commander. When Pope was given command of a Union army in the East, he introduced something of a slogan about himself when he wrote that his headquarters would be in the saddle. Pope’s intent with this slogan was to indicate to his men that he would not dawdle when it came to campaigns against the enemy. Instead, he would be aggressive and continuously on the move. But after Pope’s dismal failure at the Second Battle of Bull Run, many people twisted Pope’s slogan and said that if Pope’s headquarters really were in the saddle, then his headquarters were where his hindquarters should be.

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What I did on my Summer Vacation

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2018-2019, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the September 2018 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The stereotypical first assignment for students who are returning to school after the summer is to write a report about what they did on their summer vacation. Since the September meeting is routinely the first meeting after the Roundtable’s summer break, this history brief is about something that I did on my summer vacation. The Roundtable’s president for 2018-2019, Dan Ursu, chose Southern invasions and raids of the North as the theme for this session. With that in mind, this history brief focuses on an invasion of the North, in fact, an invasion of that state up north, which all Ohioans know is the correct pronunciation for the state whose name is spelled M-i-c-h-i-g-a-n. The invasion that is the subject of this history brief was not a Southern invasion, but a British invasion. And not the British invasion of the 1960s that was led by the Beatles, but a British invasion that occurred during the War of 1812. However, there is a Civil War connection, which will become clear below. The subject of this history brief is the Battle of the River Raisin, which took place in southeastern Michigan from January 18 to 22, 1813. Like a number of Civil War battles, the Battle of the River Raisin goes by a couple of names, one for the body of water near its location and one for the town near its location. Hence, this battle is known as the Battle of the River Raisin and the Battle of Frenchtown.

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The History That the Victors Chose Not to Write

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017-2018, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the March 2018 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


There is a well-known axiom that all is fair in love and war, or, as the expression appears in its earliest known form, “The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.” This expression is used to justify that in love and in war, it is acceptable to resort to anything in order to achieve the ultimate goal. Since our organization is the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, which focuses its interest on a war, this is not the appropriate forum to discuss whether or not this axiom applies to love. On the other hand, there is more than enough evidence to prove that this axiom applies to war, and a great deal of such evidence can be found in the Civil War. Far too often, the axiom that all is fair in war has been used to justify cruelty, and there are many examples of cruelty in the Civil War. Perhaps the most well-known is the treatment of Union prisoners at Andersonville. But the Confederates were not alone in their cruel treatment of enemy prisoners. It is not as widely known that Confederate prisoners of war in Union prisons were also subjected to cruel treatment. The cruelty that both sides inflicted on prisoners is disturbing for the most basic, primal, and biological of reasons. Of all the species that exist on planet Earth, the one that displays the worst cruelty is Homo sapiens. This is because cruelty in other species arises from instinct, but for humans, cruelty very often arises by choice.

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The Chief Chemist of the Confederacy

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017-2018, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the October 2017 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The statement, “An army marches on its stomach,” has been attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, but it may have originated with Frederick the Great. It may even be that this statement, or at least the concept embodied in it, originated much earlier with the Roman physician Claudius Galen. But whoever deserves credit for this anatomically incorrect statement, it is meant to convey that an army must be well provisioned in order to conduct operations. Nevertheless, an army has to do more than just march and eat. Often when an army arrives at its destination, it then has to fight, and to do this it needs more than just food, unless the battles resemble the cafeteria scene from the movie Animal House. For the Confederacy, one important ingredient necessary to fight Civil War battles was in perilously short supply early in the war. Fortunately for the secessionist war effort, a resourceful and industrious person who was knowledgeable in chemistry found a way to provide ample amounts of this ingredient, although this person’s success worked to the detriment of any Union military personnel who were killed or wounded by projectiles that were propelled by gunpowder.

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Wilson’s 1865 Raid

By Dennis Keating
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved


On March 22, 1865, 13,480 Yankee cavalry in three divisions left their camps at Eastport, Alabama on the south shore of the Tennessee River for the biggest raid of the Civil War. Armed with Spencer carbines whose purchase for the expedition was arranged by its commander James H. Wilson, this corps would have devastating firepower as it aimed at the destruction of the South’s remaining war manufacturing centers in the deep South of the states of Alabama and Georgia. Wilson had successfully argued with George Thomas for this campaign in the waning weeks of the Civil War.

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