On Trees and Forests: Correcting History’s View of J. Wilkes Booth

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: John C. Fazio is a past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and the author of numerous articles on the Lincoln assassination as well as the book, Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln, published in 2015 by McFarland.


Even the masters go astray occasionally. Edison thought direct current was the wave of the future. Ezra Pound thought Mussolini and Hitler were statesmen instead of the buffoons and bloody tyrants they were. Einstein thought nuclear energy would never be obtainable. So it is, too, sometimes, with historians. Otherwise brilliant and conscientious men and women spend so much time studying trees that they lose sight of the forests.

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Man, Not Myth

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 April 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The topic of the presentation at the April 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable was how Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War. With this in mind, there is a page in the August 24, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly, which contains a short note about Robert E. Lee. The note gives a brief description of Lee’s military career in the U.S. Army and then concludes with this. “After filling this honorable and agreeable post in the military service of his country for several years, he crowned his career by deserting his flag at the moment of his country’s sorest need. When the Richmond politicians passed what they called an Ordinance of Secession, Robert E. Lee threw up his commission and accepted the rank of General in the rebel army.”

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The First, and Second, Battles of Selma

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 May 2015 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


On May 13, 1865 the last battle of the Civil War came to an end, or so most people say. The Civil War’s battles are considered by most people to have taken place between April 12, 1861 and May 13, 1865, because this time period encompasses what are generally accepted to be the Civil War’s first battle and its last battle. But not every ‘Civil War battle’ took place between April 12, 1861, the date of the Battle of Fort Sumter, and May 12-13, 1865, the date of the Battle of Palmito Ranch, which is considered to be the last battle of the Civil War.

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Some Thoughts on the Removal of Southern Civil War-Related Symbols

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved


The recent dismantling and removal of Southern statuary, monuments and other symbols relating to the Civil War and its aftermath has, not surprisingly, generated a lot of heat between those favoring the same and those opposed. It is also unsurprising that proponents and opponents are often identified by race, so that a political and regional conflict morphs into a racial one. For this and other reasons, we need to ask ourselves if what appears to be such a good idea, and one whose time has come, is really that, or if our country and its citizenry would be better served by a different approach, one more in keeping with “the better angels of our nature,” to use Lincoln’s immortal phrase from his First Inaugural Address.

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