America, Love it or Leave it

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 April 2018 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


America, love it or leave it. People who lived during the 1960s are familiar with this expression, because it became popular during the Vietnam War as a way of declaring unwavering, even unquestioning support for the United States in the face of strong anti-war protests. But this expression can, in a sense, also be applied to those who joined the secessionist movement that culminated in the Civil War. The secessionists of the mid-19th century were dissatisfied with America, and they chose to leave it, but in a way that involved taking some of the country’s territory with them. The secessionists no longer loved America, and their goal was to leave America by forming a separate country from land that was part of the United States.

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The First Memorial Day

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 May 2018 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Near the end of May, we in the U.S. participate in an annual remembrance of those who gave, as Abraham Lincoln said, “the last full measure of devotion” in defense of our country. This is done on the day that has come to be known as Memorial Day. This commemoration was codified by John Logan, the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, which was an organization of Union veterans who had fought in the Civil War. On May 5, 1868 Logan issued his directive for this commemoration in his General Orders No. 11, in which he specified that the remembrance would take place on May 30, 1868. Logan’s directive stated that May 30, 1868 “is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” The wording that Logan used led to the day of commemoration being called Decoration Day, although the Grand Army of the Republic stipulated in a follow-up directive that “the proper designation of May 30th is Memorial Day” and further stipulated that it should be an annual event. After World War I, Memorial Day came to be a day to remember those who died not just in the Civil War, but in all of America’s wars. On Memorial Day, when we commemorate those who gave their lives for our country, we are following a long-standing tradition, a tradition that began in 1868. Or did it?

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Like Father, Like Son…or Not

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 November 2017 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


I remember when I was much younger, maybe age 12, my father took my brother and me to see the movie Taras Bulba. The movie stars Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis as, respectively, a father and son, and I suppose that this pairing strains credulity for genetic inheritance of physical appearance. The father and son in the movie are members of a Cossack community, and this community is in conflict with a Polish principality. During the movie, the son falls in love with a Polish woman and makes the decision to fight with the Poles in their conflict against the Cossacks. Near the end of the movie, the enraged father kills his son for supporting the cause that he opposes. As it happens, the Civil War had something of a Taras Bulba episode, and it occurred at the Battle of Galveston.

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