Famous Last Words

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 May 2019 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Clark W. Griswold Sr. in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: “I’m retiring.”

Retired NFL quarterback Jay Cutler: “I’m not really looking to do a lot of work right now. I’m looking to do the exact opposite of that.”

From the song “Closing Time” by the group Semisonic: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

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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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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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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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Europe’s Artistic Ambassador to the Post-Civil War United States

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 February 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The last painting from life that was made of Robert E. Lee was done in Lexington, Virginia, where Lee lived the final years of his life. But an interesting bit of Civil War trivia is the current location of this painting. The painting is in Washington, D.C., and it hangs in the residence of the Swiss ambassador to the U.S., where it has been since 2005. Prior to then, the painting was in a museum in Bern, Switzerland. This may seem surprising until the identity of the artist is revealed. The person who did this painting is Swiss painter Frank Buchser, and his life history, as well as the history of this painting, is quite interesting.

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Compassionate Confederate

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 January 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


“War is all hell.” “War is cruelty and you cannot refine it.” These words of William Tecumseh Sherman, which encapsulate the ethos of war, are familiar to Civil War enthusiasts. But sometimes even in the midst of hell, some small speck of heaven is present, an unexpected act of kindness for the enemy that runs counter to the primary objective of the perpetrator. One such incident that occurred at the Battle of Gettysburg was the encounter between John B. Gordon and Francis Barlow. Surprising as it seems, that was not the only one.

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All Her Hopes

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 December 2011 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The phrase “fratricidal war” has been used to describe the Civil War as a way of conveying how that war figuratively pitted brother against brother. In many cases it wasn’t just figurative, but literal. However, not all brothers fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, and one such example are the Moungers. John and Thomas Mounger were members of the 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, which was part of the Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment’s colonel was their father, also named John. On July 18, 1863, in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, son John sent the following letter to his mother.

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General Slocum and General Slocum

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 November 2011 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Sometimes connections to the Civil War are convoluted and unexpected. For example, if Civil War enthusiasts hear “General Slocum,” probably most of them think of Union General Henry W. Slocum, a corps commander during the Civil War. But there is another General Slocum, and this one italicized her name because she was a passenger steamboat.

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Forgotten Heroes

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 September 2011 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. William Tecumseh Sherman and Stonewall Jackson. Every Civil War enthusiast knows the contributions of these men to the Civil War. But that war, like all wars, included contributions of numerous people whose names are not known to history.

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The Rising of the Sun and of Gods

By David A. Carrino, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2012-2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the June 2013 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


One of the truly enjoyable aspects of the Civil War is the memorable quotes that were uttered by people who participated in it. No doubt everyone who is interested in the Civil War has some favorite Civil War quotes. Two excellent quotes, one Union and one Confederate, are associated with the Battle of Chancellorsville. One quote mentions the rising of the sun, and the other talks about how someone rose to an exalted position in history.

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