Speakers Bureau

The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable’s speakers bureau consists of members of the Roundtable who are available to give presentations on various topics related to the Civil War. Members of the speakers bureau can give their presentations to groups who are interested in subjects related to the Civil War. Below is the list of Roundtable members who are available to do this, including their contact information and the different presentations that they are prepared to give.

John C. Fazio

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Member: Lincoln Forum; Surratt Society; Cleveland Grays; Western Reserve Historical Society
Author: Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln
Author: “The Barlow-Gordon Controversy: Rest in Peace” (an article about the encounters between Union General Francis C. Barlow and Confederate General John B. Gordon, and their wives, which appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Gettysburg Magazine); “How the Civil War Was Won in Virginia City, Montana” (an article about how the gold that was discovered in Montana during the Civil War was secured for the Union, which appeared in the November 2010 issue of The Montana Pioneer); “Intrepid Mariners” (an article about the saga of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama, and their Commanders, which appeared in the February 2007 issue of Civil War Times magazine)
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  • Abraham Lincoln / Jefferson Davis Debate: A one act play about an unplanned meeting of Lincoln (played by Mel Maurer) and Davis (played by John Fazio) during the Hampton Roads Conference in February, 1865. The two are discovered by a reporter, Franklin Boyd (played by William Vodrey or Norton London), who, in asking them questions, precipitates a debate as to the causes and conduct of the Civil War.
  • Braxton Bragg: A Dour Martinet
  • Causes of the American Civil War
  • Combat in the American Civil War
  • Conclusions and Consequences of the American Civil War
  • Francis and Arabella; John and Fanny: Love and War (The intersections of the lives of Union General Francis C. Barlow and his wife, Arabella, with Confederate General John B. Gordon and his wife, Fanny)
  • Intrepid Mariners (The saga of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama and their commanders)
  • The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Black Flag and Its Relevance to the Events of April 14, 1865
  • The Great Kidnapping Myth (The ruse that concealed the attempted decapitation of the United States government in the closing days of the Civil War)
  • The Vigilantes of Montana (Frontier justice to secure newly discovered gold for the Union)
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • The Turning Point: The Wilderness and Spotsylvania

John C. Harkness

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Fellow of American Society for Metals
Principal Scientist, Materion Inc. (Retired)
Member: Company of Military Historians; Ohio Gun Collectors’ Association
Former Member: North-South Skirmish Association (competitive target shooting with Civil War small arms); Brigade of the American Revolution (reenactor, 23rd Foot, Royal Welch Fusiliers in America)
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  • Materials and Processes in the Manufacture of Civil War Small Arms (development of manufacturing technology to mass produce military arms ca, 1860’s; introduction to metallurgy of iron and steel and their production in mid-19th Century; a full metallurgical examination of original US Springfield and British Enfield rifle-musket components)

W. Dennis Keating

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
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  • The Irish in the Civil War
  • Thomas Francis Galwey, Cleveland’s Hibernian Guards, and the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
  • Cleveland and the Civil War

Brian Kowell

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Member: Civil War Trust
Author: “Pell-Mell Cavalry Clash” (an article about the Buckland Races, which appeared in the July 1992 issue of America’s Civil War magazine)
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  • Island No. 10
  • The Battle of Big Bethel
  • Kill Cavalry: Life of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
  • Buckland Races
  • Kilpatrick’s Shirt Tail Skedaddle: The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads
  • The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Richmond Raid
  • General George Gordon Meade
  • Civil War Horses
  • The Magnificent Seven: Pook’s Turtles in the Civil War
  • How Sheridan Won His Star: The Battle of Booneville, Mississippi

Mel Maurer

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Member: Lincoln Forum; Civil War Preservation Trust
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  • Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Real Story of How Lincoln Wrote the Gettysburg Address – The talk examines how Lincoln thought and wrote, taking the audience to Gettysburg that historic November 19, 1863 to hear Lincoln’s greatest speech and the reaction to it.
  • The Battle of Franklin – The talk focuses on the story of this significant 1864 battle. I lived in Franklin and came to know that battle well. (I also do a talk on the book, The Widow of the South. The woman in the story lived in Franklin during the war and created a cemetery on her land for fallen Confederates.)
  • Jesse James: The Last Rebel of the Civil War – The true story of Jesse James, Confederate guerrilla and notorious outlaw, the subject of countless articles, numerous books, and over 70 movies and TV shows. Was he a true folk hero, an American Robin Hood? Or was he a ruthless criminal, a killer who served only his own interests?
  • Lincoln: The Man and His Legacy – A short talk on Lincoln that focuses on his human side as lawyer, politician, and family man – with some of his humor and his major contributions to our country.
  • Performance as President Lincoln: An Evening with President Abraham Lincoln – It is February of 1865, and Mary Lincoln, in her efforts to raise money for soldiers and their families, has committed Lincoln to a talk at a fundraiser before an audience in Washington, D.C. at Ford’s Theatre. The President speaks about his life, beliefs, policies, and the war as it nears its end. His words will provide insights into that era, seasoned with his characteristic sense of humor.
  • Performance as President Lincoln: Lincoln on Leadership – Lincoln speaks to an audience of West Point cadets and gives his views on leadership, the good and the bad, using examples of Civil War leaders to illustrate the points he is making.
  • The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln – The full story of how our 16th president was assassinated on April 14, 1865: the co-conspirators, the murder, and their escape and capture.
  • The Escape and Capture of John Wilkes Booth – The complete story of the escape and then capture, 12 days later, of Lincoln’s assassin after he shot the president.
  • Lincoln’s Last Great Debate: Lincoln’s Confrontation with Jefferson Davis at Hampton Roads – This is a three-person play which imagines that Lincoln and Davis came together at a peace conference at Hampton Roads in 1865. They are asked questions by a reporter and in the course of answering they debate policies and the war. I play Lincoln, John Fazio plays Davis, and William Vodrey plays reporter Franklin Boyd.
  • The Unknown Lincoln-Douglas Debate – A three-person, one act play wherein Lincoln and Douglas meet with an old friend, a judge who is writing a book on their Senate campaign debates, to discuss those debates and the issues raised in them, thus leading to one last informal debate.
  • The Last Full Measure of Devotion – A Memorial Day talk honoring all who served and especially all those who gave their lives in all of our nation’s wars and conflicts.
  • The Abe Lincoln Trivia Game – I act as game show host and ask questions about Lincoln, having some fun with the facts and with the audience. By the end of the presentation, the audience usually knows more than they ever did before about Abe.
  • Abraham Lincoln and His War – A six-class course on aspects of Lincoln and the Civil War. Each class is one of my talks.
  • President Grant and General Lee at the White House – I portray Robert E. Lee in a one-act play imagining their meeting at the White House in 1868.
  • Debate on the propriety of Confederate monuments with fellow Roundtable member John Fazio – I believe that any monument or tribute of any kind that would be appropriate in a “Confederate States of America” does not belong in the United States of America. John takes the opposing position.
  • Debate on whether Jefferson Davis approved the actions of John Wilkes Booth with fellow Roundtable member John Fazio – John has written a book, Decapitating the Union, in which he makes the case that Jefferson Davis was involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, while I assert that there are no facts supporting that position.

William McGrath

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
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  • CS.S Alabama and USS Kearsarge
  • USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

William Vodrey

Past President, Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Member: American Battlefield Trust; Blue and Gray Education Society
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  • Dennison, Tod, and Brough: Ohio’s Civil War Governors
  • Blood in the Streets: The New York City Draft Riots
  • Political Graverobbery: The Confederacy and George Washington
  • The Gettysburg Address: Lincoln Redefines America
  • What If?: An Overview of Civil War Alternative Histories
  • Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet: Traitors All?
  • The Last Naval Duel: The USS Kearsarge vs. the CSS Alabama
  • Brown Water, Black Ships: U.S. Navy Operations on the Mississippi
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Scholar, Citizen, Soldier
  • Lincoln’s Commando: William Cushing and the Sinking of the CSS Albemarle
  • Clash of Ironclads: The USS Monitor vs. the CSS Virginia
  • The War that Never Was: Britain, the U.S., and the Trent Affair
  • Raid!: The Confederacy Comes to St. Albans, Vermont
  • The Lincoln You Thought You Knew
  • Lincoln’s Vice Presidents: Hamlin and Johnson
  • William H. Seward and Civil War Diplomacy
  • Edwin M. Stanton, Buckeye Warlord
  • Father Neptune: Gideon Welles and the U.S. Navy in the Civil War
  • The Battle of New Hope Church, Georgia