Fort Stevens

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023-2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the October 2023 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


The Union’s panicked and disorganized retreat from the First Battle of Bull Run laid bare an obvious danger to the North. The Union capital of Washington, D.C. was vulnerable to attack from a Confederate army. But for the Confederate’s own disorganization after their victory, the very first major battle in the Eastern Theater of the war could have resulted in the capture of the Union’s government. Accordingly, it was soon determined that substantial fortifications around the capital needed to be deliberately, quickly, and diligently constructed.

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Lincoln’s Cottage

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023-2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the October 2023 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


Many Americans think of Abraham Lincoln as our greatest president, including me and I’m sure a lot of others in the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable. There are numerous reasons that can be given for this. For example, Lincoln steered the country through an unprecedented civil war that in many ways defines our country to this day. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He set the tone for a peaceful end to the war. He listened to his advisors, he made wartime decisions based on learned experience and the self-study of military strategy, and he understood the need not to vanquish the southern enemy because those who rebelled were still Americans. The list could go on and on. Lincoln did the things that made him great under extreme pressure from many and varied directions. Sensing this pressure, Lincoln, for his personal well-being and to unknowingly help cultivate that greatness, sought and found a way to relieve some of the wartime pressure, escape the capital, and clear his mind; he gathered his family at a summer retreat at what became known as the “Lincoln Cottage.” After our excellent annual field trip to Manassas, that was planned by Roundtable President Bob Pence, I had the pleasure of taking the opportunity to visit the cottage.

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President Lincoln on Emancipation Proclamation Day, January 1, 1863

By Daniel J. Ursu, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022-2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was the history brief for the January 2023 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable.


On January 1, 1863, 160 years ago this month, arguably the most important action by President Lincoln and perhaps the most consequential and important result of the Civil War took place. It was the official signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Students of the Civil War know this, but often overlook what the day was like for President Lincoln and some of those around him.

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History Briefs: 2009-2010

By Mel Maurer, Roundtable Historian
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2009-2010, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: From 2007 to 2011, Mel Maurer filled the position of Roundtable historian. During Mel’s tenure as historian, each Roundtable meeting opened with a ‘history brief’ presented by Mel, each ‘brief’ providing a small glimpse into a less-explored corner of the story of the Civil War. This page collects the history briefs from the 2009-2010 Roundtable season. Following Mel’s tenure as historian, his successors likewise presented history briefs at the beginning of each Roundtable meeting. The history briefs that were written by Mel’s successors are also on the Roundtable’s website, each of those history briefs on a separate web page.


September 2009

September 1862: Union forces under General George McClellan hold back the invading forces of General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. Some words of those days:

General George McClellan, upon being handed the Battle plan of General Lee:

“Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobbie Lee, I will be willing to go home.”

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Ex Parte Milligan Anniversary

By Dennis Keating
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2016, All Rights Reserved

The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Milligan. In 2012, I wrote about “Lincoln’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus” for The Charger. In this archived article I recounted the issues and U.S. Supreme Court cases surrounding Lincoln’s controversial wartime policy.

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Where is Lincoln Memorial University? What Was One of Lincoln’s Biggest Tactical Errors of the Civil War? What’s the Connection Between The Two?

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

Lincoln Memorial University must be in Illinois or Washington, D.C. or Kentucky, right? No, no, and no, Lincoln Memorial University is in one of the strongest of Confederate states, Tennessee.

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Lincoln and the Black Hawk War

By Dale Thomas
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2004, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from a chapter of Dale Thomas’s book, Lincoln’s Old Friends of Menard County, Illinois. After his failure to win the Whig nomination for Congress in 1843, Lincoln wrote to a political associate: “It is truly gratifying to me to learn that while the people of Sangamon [County] have cast me off, my old friends of Menard [County] who have known me longest and best of any, still retain their confidence in me.”1


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Lincoln and Cleveland

By Dale Thomas
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2003, All Rights Reserved


Artemus Ward

In 1857, Charles Farrar Brown became the local editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and began to write articles about an itinerant showman named Artemus Ward. Later moving on to Vanity Fair in New York City, Brown’s humorous commentary of the news was admired and enjoyed by Lincoln. “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day,” he told his Cabinet, “if I did not laugh I should die…”

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