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2018 2019 Program Year

September 26, 2018

Topic: General Ulysses S. Grant in Character

Our September meeting is our first of the 2018-2019 Program Year. On September 26th, Brian Withrow will present "General Ulysses S. Grant in Character". This is a change to the previously published schedule and I am confident you will find General Grant as interesting and informative as the Lees. I look forward to the Union Commander's visit.

Grant laid plans for the major features of what he called "sanguinary war". He and General Sherman pored over maps and planned simultaneous attacks with Richmond and Atlanta, the armies of Lee and Johnston, as targets. The new strategy was reducible to two points: unity of command and "attrition of power of the Confederate armies by a continuous series of battles." By mid-April 1864 Grant had issued specific orders to each commander of the Federal armies that were to execute the grand strategy. In round numbers, the Union armies were sending 300,000 combat troops against 150,000 Confederates defending the invasion paths.

Impressionist Brian Withrow portrays Ulysses S. Grant in 1864-65 from the period of his appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General to the end of the war.

Brian Withrow was born in Carrollton, Illinois, to an Air Force father. Brian spent his early years on the move until settling long-term in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brian graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology-Archaeology from Northern Arizona University in 1987 and concurrently earned a commission in the United States Air Force through the AFROTC Program. Brian retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving over 20 years as a Munitions & Aircraft Maintenance Officer of distinguished accomplishment in positions at Headquarters, United States Air Force, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and as a Munitions Squadron Commander at Ellsworth AFB. While serving on active duty, he pursued an interest in graphics and multimedia presentation and graduated with a Master's Degree in Information Technology.

Over the past fifteen years performing as a historical reenactor and impressionists, Brian fulfilled a personal devotion to public edification on the experiences of the ordinary soldier during the American Revolution and the Civil War through interactive presentation. He's performed thousands of hours of volunteer service for living history programs at nationally renowned historic sites operated by the National Park Service, State and Local Historic Parks, and Private Museums. Brian has conducted lectures, demonstrations, and historical vignettes to present soldier's personal reflections obtained through research of letters, diaries, and other primary sources. He's stimulated an understanding of inanimate artifacts on display in exhibits through observable and/or interactive demonstration of their use. Brian has served as a Military Staff organizer, advisor, and participant in numerous battle reenactments, including the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg.

He served as a director on the board of the Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites working on the creation of the Stafford Civil War Park that opened in April 2013. Brian resides in Stafford Virginia with his wife, Nancy.

October 24, 2018

Topic: Maps of the Battle of Fredericksburg

Our October program is our second of the 2018-2019 Program Year, which runs from September 2018 through June 2019. On October 24th, Dr. Bradley Gottfried will present his program "Maps of the Battle of Fredericksburg".

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Brad Gottfried earned his Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University and has spent the last 37 years as an educator in higher education. He has served as a full-time faculty member, department head, campus dean, chief academic officer and president. He served as President of Sussex County Community College (NJ) and College of Southern Maryland for the past 16 years.

In his free time, Dr. Gottfried is a civil war historian. His early writing primarily centered on the Battle of Gettysburg, and he wrote 5 books on this topic. He has also written two brigade-level histories. His current "niche" is map books, where he thoroughly describes campaigns through the use of maps. Six books have been published in this series: Gettysburg, First Bull Rum, Antietam, Bristoe/Mine Run, the Wilderness and Fredericksburg. Dr. Gottfried also serves on the Board of Directors of the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust (CVBT).

Brad is married to his wife, Linda, and between them, they have four grown children and six grandchildren. The Gottfried's live in Gettysburg.

November 14, 2018

Topic: Confederate Generals’ Uniforms

Our November program is our third of the 2018-2019 Program Year. On November 14th, Richard Lewis, NPS, will present his program “Confederate Generals’ Uniforms”. Details found in Civil War photography sometimes yield big surprises. For Richard Lewis, a lifelong student of Confederate generals and a uniform enthusiast, a seemingly insignificant detail in a general's studio portrait led to a five-year (and counting) project and two articles in Civil War Times magazine. This talk takes an illustrated look at the uniform of the generals of the Confederacy and a step-by-step discovery of a big secret that eluded historians for more than a century. Mr. Lewis is the retired Director of National Media Relations for Virginia Tourism Corporation, is the Secretary and Board Member of Civil War Trails, Inc., and was liaison to the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission (2010-2015. Mr. Lewis has authored articles in “Civil War Times” and “Hallowed Ground” magazines. Mr. Lewis graduated in 1978 from Louisiana State University with a BA in History.

January 23, 2019

Topic: Civil War Railroads

Our January guest speaker is Robert “Bert” M. Dunkerly. Bert's presentation will be on "Civil War Railroads". He is a historian, award-winning author, and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research. He holds a degree in History from St. Vincent College and a Masters in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University. He has worked at nine historic sites, written eleven books and over twenty articles. His research includes archaeology, colonial life, military history, and historic commemoration. Dunkerly is currently a Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park. He has visited over 400 battlefields and over 700 historic sites worldwide. When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking, camping, and photography.

February 27, 2019

Topic: Clara Barton

Donald Pfanz will present his program “Clara Barton.” Donald C. Pfanz gained his interest in military history early in life. As a boy, he grew up on the Gettysburg Battlefield, where his father, Harry W. Pfanz, worked as a National Park Service (NPS) historian. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1980 with a B.A. in History, Don followed his father into the NPS. In the course his 32-year career, Don worked at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County National Military Park (1981-85); the City Point Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield (1985-88); and Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston, South Carolina (1988-1991). He returned to Fredericksburg as staff historian in 1991 and retired from the NPS in 2013.

In the mid-1980s, the Civil War Round Table Associates asked Don to speak at the conference focusing on the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. He chose as his topic "Stonewall" Jackson's second in command, General Richard Stoddert Ewell. For the next 30 years, Don studied Ewell, producing two books about the general: "Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier's Life" (1998) and "The Letters of General Richard S. Ewell, Stonewall's Successor."

President Abraham Lincoln spent two of the last three weeks of his life at City Point, General Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters during the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia. While working at that site, Don wrote a detailed study of Lincoln's stay at City Point, which in 1989 was published under the title "Lengthening Shadows, Abraham Lincoln at City Point." He also wrote an unpublished report on the Depot Field Hospital at City Point, where tens of thousands of Union soldiers received treatment, and did research that resulted in the furnishing of General Grant's headquarters cabin at the site.

In 2001, after returning to Fredericksburg, Don wrote a series of articles for the local newspaper on the battle that took place at that town in December 1862. He published those articles in 2003 under the title "War So Terrible: A Popular History of the Battle of Fredericksburg." A few years later, he began work on a driving tour of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House battlefields utilizing information and quotations he had uncovered during his years as a historian at those battlefields. In 2014 he teamed up with fellow NPS historians David Ruth and Bert Dunkerly of Richmond National Battlefields Park to produce "No Turning Back: A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign from Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May 4 - June 13, 1864." Designed as a companion guide to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Lee vs. Grant Civil War Trail, the guide takes readers on a step-by-step, 120-mile odyssey that follows the Union and Confederate armies along Virginia back roads from the Rapidan River to the James, stopping at 84 points of interest along the way. Don completed two books in 2018, “Where Valor Proudly Sleeps” and “Clara Barton’s Civil War: Between Bullet and Hospital.”

March 27, 2019

Topic: James Hanger and the Hanger Company

Our March program is our sixth of the 2018-2019 Program Year, which runs from September 2018 through June 2019. On March 27, 2019, Bob O’Connor presents his program “James Hanger and the Hanger Company”.

Bob lives in Charles Town, West Virginia, close to most of the sites of his books. He has been involved in public speaking for years. Since 2006, he has presented or set up over 1,000 times in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

His interest in history goes back to a trip in 1958 to Galesburg, IL where he attended the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Carl Sandburg was the featured speaker. He has worked full time and part time as a newspaper reporter, and at various jobs — many that required writing press releases, news articles, or reports. Bob’s first article was published when he was in the 7th grade – in an Illinois Historical Society for junior high students.

While Director of Tourism in Washington County, Maryland, he became involved in touring local places like Antietam Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn.

Along the way he worked with Superintendent Rich Rambur at Antietam Battlefield. Superintendent Rambur allowed Bob to start two marvelous events at the national park that are still going strong. They are the Independence Concert at Antietam Battlefield in July and the Memorial Illumination at Antietam Battlefield in December.

Bob is author of The Perfect Steel Trap: Harpers Ferry 1859, The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln, The Life of Abraham Lincoln as President, Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War, The Return of Catesby, A House Divided Against Itself, Southern Oasis at Gettysburg, Harriett Lane: The Original First Lady of Washington, The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison, Countdown to West Virginia Statehood, The History of Ranson, WV – 1910 - 2010, The Murphy Farm: Refuge from Racism, I was a Drummer Boy in the American Civil War and The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hanger, Civil War Soldier.

Bob graduated from Dixon High School in Dixon, Illinois and has a Biology degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He lives close to his son Craig, daughter Kelli, and his seven grandchildren.

Besides writing, he also does volunteer work for various organizations and writes for several local and regional publications.

Bob also hosts the national podcast “The Chronicles of the American Civil War”.

April 24, 2019

The 1861 Peace Conference

Our April program is our seventh of the 2018-2019 Program Year, which runs from September 2018 through June 2019. On April 24th, 2019, Mark Tooley will present his program “The 1861 Peace Conference”.

The Peace Conference of 1861 was a meeting of 131 leading American politicians in February 1861, at the Willard's Hotel in Washington, DC, on the eve of the American Civil War. The success of President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in the 1860 presidential elections led to a flurry of political activity. In much of the South, elections were held to select delegates to special conventions to consider secession from the Union. In Congress, efforts were made in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to reach compromise over the issues relating to slavery that were dividing the nation. The conference was the final effort by the individual states to resolve the crisis. With the seven states of the Cotton South already committed to secession, the emphasis to preserve the Union peacefully focused on the eight slaveholding states representing the Upper and Border South, with the states of Virginia and Kentucky playing key roles.

Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, DC. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review Online, The Washington Examiner, The Chicago Tribune, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Christianity Today, World, and Gettysburg. He writes regularly for The American Spectator and The Weekly Standard and lives outside of northern Virginia.

May 22, 2019

Zouaves: America's Forgotten Soldiers

Patrick Schroeder presents Zouaves: America’s Forgotten Soldiers. Patrick will discuss the origins of Zouaves in North Africa, the French Zouaves distinguished exploits in the Crimean War and in Italy, and Elmer Ellsworth and the “Zouave craze” in America. Slides will demonstrate various styles of American Zouave uniforms as well as brief capsule histories on several famous Zouave units. There will be reproduction uniforms brought for display and details of this unique uniform explained.

Civil War Author/Historian – In the spring of 1990, Patrick A. Schroeder graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Historical Park Administration from Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV. He has a M.A. in Civil War History from Virginia Tech. Patrick has written, edited and/or contributed to more than twenty-five Civil War titles. Patrick resides in Lynchburg, VA, and has worked as an independent researcher, author, historian, and tour guide. In an effort to protect sites relevant to the Appomattox Campaign, Patrick has set up the “Appomattox Fund” with the Civil War Trust, to save land important to the climatic events of April 1865.

June 19, 2019

The Vicksburg Canal

Our June program is our last of the 2018-2019 Program Year. On June 19, 2019, Dave Bastian presents his program, “The Vicksburg Canal”. Mr. Bastian has spoken to over 80 Civil War round tables. The program is based upon his book and will cover the two Union campaigns against Vicksburg, specifically the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging a canal across the narrow bend opposite the town. The evening’s presentation will explore Vicksburg’s geographical importance and the topographical characteristics that made it so defensible. As a civil engineer who lived in Vicksburg, Dave understands the river and how close the Union came in succeeding. Had they succeeded, Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target. This was an engineering project — diverting the Mighty Mississippi — an engineering solution to a military problem. Mr. Bastian has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a master’s degree from Delft University in the Netherlands. He was a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal that produced the feasibility study for the Canal’s current enlargement. Dave has also worked on the post-Katrina levee rebuild in New Orleans.

Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.

Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.
Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.
Civil War Round Table or Fredericksburg, Inc.

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