A Brief Sketch of the Life and Death of Lt. Simeon W. Cummings

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

The Confederate raider CSS Alabama put in at Saldanha Bay in the Cape Colony (Western Cape in present day South Africa), 160 sea miles northwest of Cape Town on July 29th 1863. Captain Rafael Semmes’ vessel was desperately in need of repairs and he seized the opportunity to recaulk and paint the Alabama. Small parties of men and officers also made good use of the time to go ashore to hunt birds and other small game, often guided by local farmers.

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George Crook

By Dennis Keating
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved

Introduction

Ohio general George Crook had one of the most adventurous and interesting Civil War and post-Civil War military careers. This included participation in many of the major battles of the Civil War (both East and West), acrimonious feuds with Phil Sheridan and Nelson Miles, and postwar campaigns against such notable Native American chiefs as Crazy Horse and Geronimo.

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Jacob Dolson Cox

By Dennis Keating
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved

As Eugene Schmiel concludes in his biography of Jacob Dolson Cox, he was a Renaissance Man in the Gilded Age. Schmiel recounts his many pursuits as a Citizen-General. These include his life as a lawyer, politician, corporate executive, educator, author, and Civil War general.

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The Barlow-Gordon Controversy: Rest In Peace

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: An abbreviated version of this article along with biographical sketches of Francis and Arabella Barlow and John and Fanny Gordon first appeared in the Charger in 2005 and then in 2006 on this website. The much expanded article below was published in the July 2009 issue of The Gettysburg Magazine and appears here through the courtesy of the author.


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John and Fanny – A Love Story

By John C. Fazio
The Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved

All right, I admit it. I’m an incurable romantic. I love those touching, poignant scenes that reflect the best that is in us, if not always the strongest. I’m talking about Spencer Tracy grabbing John Carradine’s shirt, under his neck, telling him that he’ll kill him if he lays a finger on the boy, Freddie Bartholomew (Captains Courageous), or Rod Steiger putting a gun into brother Marlon Brando’s ribs in the back seat of a car, pleading with him to “take that job,” the one that will save his life, followed by Brando’s plaintive lament that he could have been a contender (On the Waterfront), or Charles Boyer, Cary Grant and Warren Beatty realizing, at the last split second before walking out on their true loves forever (Irene Dunne, Deborah Kerr and Annette Bening, respectively), that the latter missed their appointment atop the Empire State Building because of an automobile accident (An Affair to Remember, a love story so gripping that it has been filmed three times), and countless others that jerk our tears and put lumps in our throats.

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Francis and Arabella – A Love Story

By John C. Fazio
The Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved

The Civil War is filled with touching, poignant, human interest stories, which is not surprising given the human drama that comprised this American Iliad. Examples abound of men who had cushy private lives and could therefore have easily avoided service, but chose, instead, to storm the roaring cannon because of their sense of duty (the most sublime word in the English language, said Robert E. Lee) and their dedication to their country; of men given up for dead by doctors, but who defied the odds and lived to fight another day; of angels of mercy wending their way through enemy lines to be with their beloveds, finding them, snatching them from the jaws of death, as only love and devotion can do, only to later succumb to disease, disease, disease that was all around them; of combatants who stepped away from the maelstrom for a few golden moments to give care, comfort and kindness to a gravely wounded enemy, only to face that very enemy in mortal combat at another time and on a different field; and of men who, when the national fratricide was over, continued the fight for right, as they saw it, in a different arena, and by different means, and succeeded in felling mighty predators. One Civil War story combines all of these scenes. Here it is.

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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Scholar, Citizen, Soldier

By William F.B. Vodrey
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the presentation William Vodrey made to the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable in February 2006.


Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1974 novel The Killer Angels and the movie Gettysburg reintroduced a new generation to a long-obscure hero of the battle, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Chamberlain, then colonel of the 20th Maine infantry regiment, saved the Union left with a desperate bayonet charge down Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. Chamberlain’s reputation was also boosted by Ken Burns’s PBS series The Civil War. He was a genuine hero, much deserving of our study, admiration and respect. Had he not been where he was, when he was, the Confederacy might well have won the Civil War.

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Lovejoy of Illinois

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2010, All Rights Reserved

In a very real sense, the Civil War’s first casualty fell not at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1861 (Pvt. David Hough, killed during a post-bombardment salute to Old Glory), or even in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 24, 1861 (Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, killed after tearing down a Confederate flag atop the Marshall House Inn), but in Alton, Illinois, on November 7, 1837. For there and then it was that the first volley from a pro-slavery mob ended the life of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a courageous idealist who paid with his life for his defense of free speech and a free press and his opposition to slavery. In so doing, he added his name to a very, very long list of men and women for whom principle was more important than convenience, so much so, in fact, that it was worth dying for. It would be left to another Illinoisan and the Northern coalition he led, twenty-seven and a half years later, to vindicate this Illinoisan’s message.

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The Pemberton Who Succeeded

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2011-2012, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the May 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Raise a glass of the bubbly to toast the bubbly. Not champagne, but America’s beverage: Coca-Cola, which was invented and first sold in 1886. After all, isn’t it always a good time to toast “the real thing”? Another good reason to toast Coca-Cola is because there are some connections between Coca-Cola and the Civil War.

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Preston Brooks’ Caning Collaborator

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2011-2012, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the March 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


In the years leading up to the Civil War, feelings of hostility were high on both sides. But on May 22, 1856 this hostility surpassed the level of feelings. Nearly four years before the outbreak of hostilities at Fort Sumter, hostilities erupted in the halls of Congress when Preston Brooks, a congressman from South Carolina, beat Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner with a cane in the chamber of the U.S. Senate. Brooks was incensed at Sumner because of a speech that Sumner had given two days earlier, which Brooks found insulting to both his home state and to one of his relatives. One thing that may be puzzling about the Sumner caning is why no one who watched Brooks hammer Sumner did anything to put an end to it. That question can be answered in two words: Laurence Keitt.

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