When 1 Is Greater Than 620,000

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in January 2024.


Everyone who labored through grade school arithmetic is familiar with the mathematical signs for greater than (>) and less than (<). Students are required to do many simple arithmetic problems just to drill into them what each of those signs means. If students were presented with the equation “1 _ 620,000” and asked to fill in the blank with the correct mathematical sign, they would have to give “<” as the answer in order to be given credit for responding correctly. But in one circumstance, the equation “1 > 620,000” is correct, and that circumstance is hauntingly described in a poem and in a story based on the Civil War.

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The Most Osseous War in U.S. History

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in May 2023.


The movie Rocky III includes the song “Eye of the Tiger,” which was written by Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik and was performed in the soundtrack by the band Survivor. The lyrics of this song focus on the necessity for dedication, tenacity, and effort in order to achieve an ardently sought goal. A line from “Eye of the Tiger” describes a change that sometimes occurs when a person is pursuing a strongly desired ambition. This line is “So many times it happens too fast, you trade your passion for glory.” This line conveys the transformation that people sometimes undergo in which the passion that drew them into the pursuit of a goal becomes a quest for fame. A person may initially desire to achieve a worthwhile objective for pure and honorable reasons, that is, to accomplish something simply because it is worth accomplishing and simply for the sake of accomplishing it. But the quest later becomes tarnished by a shift in the primary goal from the accomplishment, itself, to the less noble things that come with the accomplishment, such as public acclaim and financial riches. In this way, the person trades the passion of focusing on a worthwhile achievement and exchanges that passion for a pursuit of fame and fortune or some other less noble goals. The worthwhile goal may still be achieved even when the motives are less honorable, but the quest and the person making it become less admirable.

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Pig-ett’s Charge: George Pickett’s Pre-Civil War Service in a Porcine-Provoked Conflict

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger as two parts in February 2023 and March 2023.


As most fans of science fiction know, Star Trek was a television series that appeared in several iterations and was set in the future. In the original Star Trek series, one of the episodes featured a character named Dr. Richard Daystrom. Daystrom was a brilliant computer scientist who, at the young age of 24, invented the duotronic elements that were essential for the functioning of Federation starships. In spite of his revolutionary invention and the fame that came with it, 20 years after his invention Daystrom had become a terribly despondent person, because he felt that he had come to be known for only that one accomplishment. Even though he was the recipient of widespread acclaim for his invention, Daystrom was deeply unhappy and spoke of how he had spent the 20 years since his invention “groping to prove the things I’d done before were not accidents” and of giving “seminars and lectures to rows of fools who couldn’t begin to understand my systems.” He was anguished because he thought that others saw him as “the boy wonder” who had developed a phenomenal invention, but had not contributed anything else since then. Here was someone who had done something that revolutionized his society, yet he was miserable because that was the only thing he was known for. The lesson of the fictional Dr. Daystrom is that while association with a historic event of immense magnitude can bestow on someone a place in history, that historic event, specifically because of its immense magnitude, can become the only thing that that person is known for.

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A Bit of Robert E. Lee in That State Up North

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022-2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger as two parts in December 2022 and January 2023.


On display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio are a number of outfits that were worn by iconic figures of rock and roll. Among these are the yellow military-style outfit that John Lennon wore on the album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, matching frilly-bottomed shapely dresses worn by the Supremes, a sleeveless jumpsuit with a plunging neckline that was worn on tour by Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley’s suit from his 1968 television special, a loose-fitting and suitably neon-colored outfit worn by Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket, a bright red outfit with broad pointed shoulders and a flashy blue and white lightning bolt that was worn by David Bowie, and, more recently, some outfits that were worn by Beyonce. It is a mark of prestige that Cleveland is the home of clothing that was worn by so many iconic figures of rock and roll. But a city in Michigan (or “that state up north” as it is known to Ohioans) is the location of an article of clothing that is the Civil War equivalent of the rock and roll outfits in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is because this article of clothing once belonged to the person who is unquestionably the most prominent military figure of the Confederacy.

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I’ll Trade You a Fredericksburg for a Winchester and a Pea Ridge.

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in October 2022.


The October 2021 meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable was an especially enjoyable one for me. It was not so much a memorable meeting, but a memory-able one. By memory-able, I mean that the meeting brought back memories for me. What made the meeting memory-able is that I sat with AJ Cianflocco, who at the time of the October meeting was a recent recruit to our organization. AJ and I were classmates at John Carroll University, Class of 1972, and we had not really seen each other since our days at John Carroll. The October meeting was a nice opportunity for us to catch up on the decades since our graduation. Talking with AJ is one of the things that made the meeting memory-able, because we had the opportunity to tell each other about our lives since graduation. AJ, like me, has a professional background in an area other than history. AJ is a physician, and I had no idea that he is interested in the Civil War. Because of this, I asked him how he came to acquire an interest in that conflict. His answer was another reason that the October meeting was memory-able for me, because AJ’s answer brought back a memory from my youth. AJ said that his interest in the Civil War began with trading cards about the Civil War that were sold many years ago. I likewise collected those cards, and while I remember the cards, I do not remember much about the specifics of them. This led me to do some investigation into those cards.

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The Confederacy’s Ferrous Stonewall in a Far East Civil War

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in April 2022.


A common practice in sports is to compare the great players of the current generation to great players of the past. This happens for many players and in a number of different sports. For some players it happens even before those players have amassed a track record that allows such comparisons to be valid. LeBron James, even early in his career, was being compared to Michael Jordan. Patrick Mahomes, after just one Super Bowl victory, was being called the next Tom Brady. Shohei Otani, in only his fourth season, was being hailed as the new Babe Ruth. Although such comparisons quite often lead to vociferous disagreements among sports fans, these kinds of comparisons will continue to be made for as long as great players emerge in sports and for as long as sports fans have opinions. Perhaps the comparisons of past sports stars with subsequent ones come from a desire to affirm the perpetuation of sports excellence.

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The Near Capture of Ulysses Grant by Confederate General Jackson

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2022, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger in January 2022.


Perhaps the two most intriguing words in history are “What if?” This is true whether the word “history” is used in the context of the past, itself, or in the context of the study of the past. In the latter context, “What if?” leads to interesting, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and sometimes intense discussions. When people who are interested in history concoct alternative histories based on some event happening differently (i.e., a what-if), the discussions that follow are one of the things that contribute to people’s interest in history. In the former context of the word “history,” a real-life what-if strategically placed into the past (if such a thing were possible) could, as George Bailey learned, produce a substantially different present than the one in which we now live, and this is a significant reason for those interesting, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and sometimes intense discussions when “What if?” is inserted into the study of the past.

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