Wounded Lion: U.S. Grant’s Last Campaign

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2005, All Rights Reserved

Ulysses S. Grant, his wife, Julia, and their family had always enjoyed their annual vacations at their summer home on the beach in New Jersey. However, the summer of 1884 would be different from all the rest. As they moved there in June of that year, Grant was no longer president, nor was he any longer a wealthy former president. This time Grant had not come here to relax, but rather to seriously consider his future.

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Balthasar Best and the American Dream

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2005, All Rights Reserved

I was first introduced to Balthasar (also Balthazar) Best by his great grandson, Bill Lasswell, almost two years ago (2003) on the battlefield at Gettysburg. My grandson, Eric, and I had just parked near the Pennsylvania Monument on our auto tour and had walked across the road to the tableau describing the actions of the 1st Minnesota when an older couple approached us. The man said he had noticed that my license plates were from Cuyahoga County. He told us how his great grandfather, Balthasar Best, who had fought with the 1st Minnesota, had survived a shipwreck in 1850 somewhere off the shores of Cuyahoga County when he was just a boy. Mr. Lasswell then asked if I might know anyone named Kleinschmidt – the name of the family that took the young Balthasar in when he managed to reach shore. I told him that I didn’t but that I would do some research when I got home on the shipwreck and the Kleinschmidts.

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Andersonville’s “Clerk of the Dead”

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Civil War prison Andersonville was only in operation for fourteen months, but is considered the most notorious United States prison. During this short period of just over a year of operation, 45,000 Union soldiers would suffer miserably and 13,000 would die.

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An Ancestor at Shiloh

By Dale Thomas
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2001, 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the winter of 2001.


I did not have any ancestors who fought in the Civil War since they were still back in Europe, but my wife, Lea, had a great grandfather, John J. Babbitt, who served three years in the 50th Illinois. A farmer living in St. Augustine, Illinois, Babbitt was twenty years old when he and his uncle, along with a number of cousins, volunteered on September 24, 1861. After less than a month of training in Quincy, Illinois, the Regiment crossed the Mississippi River and began operations against guerrillas in Missouri that continued until late January of 1862. In February, the 50th Illinois was reassigned and ordered to Tennessee where it saw action at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson and then took part in the occupation of Clarksville and Nashville. At the end of March, the Regiment was sent by river boat to Pittsburg Landing.

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Officer Profiles: Short Biographical Sketches of Civil War Officers

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This page contains a collection of brief biographical profiles of Civil War officers published in the Charger over the years. Most of these profiles are not original to either the Charger or this website but were cobbled together from various sources. The focus of these profiles is on less well-known players in the Civil War drama and not the superstar generals on whom we tend to more often focus our attention.


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Ulysses Grant: Dual Personality?

By Dan Zeiser
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved

I have often thought that Ulysses Grant exhibited far different command skills in the West than he did in the East during the Civil War. Generally, my thoughts were that Grant used maneuver much better in the West than when he was in overall command. Look at the Vicksburg Campaign, which is still used today by the U.S. Army as an excellent example of feint and maneuver to keep the enemy off guard. Once Grant crossed the Mississippi at Bruinsburg, he kept Confederate General John Pemberton guessing as to his next move. This resulted in Confederate paralysis and led to the siege at Vicksburg and inevitable victory. In the East, however, Grant’s movements appear much more predictable and less inspired. He seemed simply to attempt to hammer away at Lee until the latter became exhausted and lost enough troops. Recently, however, I have come to re-examine my conclusions. Was Grant a different commander in the West? Did he come east and become simply the butcher he was decried as being? I think not.

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The Civil War’s #1 Pain in the Butt: The Life of William G. “Parson” Brownlow

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the fall of 2000.


William G. Brownlow, Civil War editor and preacher was called by everyone “Parson Brownlow.” He was the editor/owner of the Knoxville, Tennessee newspaper, The Knoxville Whig and a circuit rider for the Methodist Church. He is best known as a southerner who strongly opposed session from the United States and was scheduled to hang for his attitude.

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John C. Breckinridge – He Should Have Been Hanged

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the fall of 2000.


The most well-known person from the Civil War to be hanged for war crimes was Henry Wirz. He was the commandant of the Andersonville Confederate prison.

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The Angry Abolitionist – William Lloyd Garrison

By Dick Crews
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2001, 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in the winter of 2001.


Prior to the Civil War, and indeed during the war, people continually talked about the Abolitionists. Southerners of course hated them and made it clear if they caught one he would be hanged. It is less well known that a majority of people in the North did not like them either.

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William H. Seward and Civil War Diplomacy

By William F.B. Vodrey
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article is the transcript of a presentation made by the author to the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable on March 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.


Abraham Lincoln, elected President of the United States in November 1860, soon found his country facing the mortal threat of secession. He turned to the top men of the Republican Party, his celebrated “team of rivals,” in forming his Cabinet. First among equals was William Henry Seward, who just about everyone expected to have been the GOP nominee that year and who, at least initially, perhaps still thought of himself as the rightful occupant of the White House and the better man to be leading the nation. In time he became one of Lincoln’s most trusted advisors, recognizing the prairie lawyer’s wisdom and political skills; in time they also came to be close friends.

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