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2020 2021 Program Year

September 23, 2020

Topic: The Legacy of War: A Conversation about Remembering and Forgetting

Speaker: John Hennessy

John Hennessy, Chief Historian and Chief of Interpretation at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will lead us in a conversation about how the Civil War relates to the ongoing unrest in America--how we got here, and where we might be going. This is intended to be an interactive program, so come ready to participate or listen according to your inclinations.

October 28, 2020

Topic: The Lawrence Massacre

Speaker: Dr Matthew Hulbert

On August 21, 1863, as if out of thin air, approximately 300 pro-Confederate bushwhackers descended upon the abolitionist stronghold of Lawrence, Kansas. After overwhelming a small federal encampment, Quantrill's guerrillas broke into bands and swept through Lawrence. They moved methodically from house to house, store to store, killing, burning, and pillaging as they went. Owing to their experiences in the Missouri-Kansas guerrilla war -- a conflict of household against household, in which the traditional line between soldier and civilian blurred away -- the bushwhackers chose their targets liberally. In addition to the Union recruits stationed in Lawrence, teen-aged boys, old men, and even preachers were cut down by revolver fire. The "Lawrence Massacre," with its nearly 200 dead and $2,000,000 in property destruction, shocked Unionists from coast to coast. Easterners, in particular, were not accustomed to the domestic nature of irregular war in the western borderlands. They didn't like what they saw. Almost immediately, a second fight began to control where it would fit, if at all, in mainstream memory narratives of the Civil War.

Today, Quantrill's raid is often represented as the worst atrocity of the Civil War. At the same time, owing to its scale, the Lawrence Massacre is frequently interpreted as an anomaly within the broader Missouri-Kansas guerrilla war. My talk, "Anatomy of a Massacre: Quantrill's Guerrillas at Lawrence," narrates the day's events in gritty detail while also focusing on how the westerners who actually experienced it in real-time made sense of the bloodletting. In that context, I contend that for the Kansans who survived it, the jarring, unfamiliar elements of the Lawrence Massacre weren't the things that shocked easterners: guerrillas gunning down "civilians" or violence unfolding in households. Rather, for Kansans well-versed in irregular violence, what set August 21, 1863 apart was how much the raid resembled an engagement from the regular theater.

Dr. Matthew Hulbert, Assistant Professor of History, Hampden-Sydney College, is an historian of nineteenth-century America, with special interests in the Civil War, guerrilla violence, memory, and film. He is the author or editor of four books, including The Ghosts of Guerrilla Memory: How Civil War Bushwhackers Became Gunslinger in the American West, which won the 2017 Wiley-Silver Prize, and Martial Culture, Silver Screen: War Movies and the Construction of American Identity forthcoming from LSU Press in November 2020. Dr. Hulbert is currently at work on an intellectual biography of Major John Newman Edwards, CSA. Edwards served as Jo Shelby's adjutant during the war, spent two years in Mexican exile as a Confederado, created the legend of Jesse James, and laid the foundation for how Missouri bushwhackers would be remembered to this day.

November 18, 2020

Topic: The Lost Gettysburg Address

Speaker: David Dixon 

Few remember Edward Everett's oration that preceded Lincoln's masterpiece, but hardly anyone is aware of Louisville, Kentucky native Charles Anderson's speech, which concluded the day's events.

David Dixon argues that the three featured speeches need to be viewed as a rhetorical ensemble to better understand Lincoln’s address and the political context of the Gettysburg dedication.

The back story is the saga of Anderson himself, a slaveholder who sacrificed nearly everything to help Lincoln save the Union.

David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and magazines. Most focus on Union sympathizers in the Civil War South.

He hosts B-List History, a website that features obscure characters and their compelling stories. You may download free pdf versions of his published articles on that website at

David’s latest book is the biography of German revolutionary and Union General August Willich, published by the University of Tennessee Press in September 2020. It highlights the contributions of 200,000 German-born immigrants to the Union effort in the Civil War. Transatlantic radicals like Willich viewed the war as part of a much larger, global revolution for social justice and republican government.

December 16, 2020

Topic: Civil War Genealogy

Speaker: Bob Epp 

CWRTF member, Bob Epp, will talk with us about Civil War ancestry genealogy. This will be an event worth participating in.  We will gather via Zoom on December 16th at 6 p.m.  A link to participate will be sent later this month.  No registration for this event is required. 

Take advantage of this event to chat with and catch up with other members of the club. Bring your favorite beverage and charcuterie board items.

January 27, 2021

Topic: Catholics and the Confederacy

Speaker: Father Francis de Rosa 

Father Francis de Rosa is the pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Colonial Beach and St. Anthony Mission in King George.  He has been a priest for 23 years and has served in six parishes in the Diocese of Arlington.  After having completed philosophy studies in Rome, Father de Rosa went on for graduate studies in theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  He did further graduate work at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Washington DC and earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, specializing in bioethics. He has also studied in Mexico and France.

Father de Rosa has lived in the South for almost 25 years.  During these years he has done much research into the role and place of Catholics and the Catholic Church during the War Between the States.

February 24, 2021

Topic: Matthew Fontaine Maury

Speaker: John Grady 

Matthew Fontaine Maury lived an extraordinary life.  What were his contributions to the Confederacy?  The sciences? What was his connection to Fredericksburg, VA?  These questions and many more will be addressed by our February guest speaker, John Grady. 

John Grady, a managing editor of Navy Times for more than eight years and retired communications director of the Association of the United States Army after 17 years, continues writing on national security and defense.  He is a contributor to the Naval History and Heritage Command's Civil War blog and lives in Fairfax, Virginia.  His book, "Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography: A Biography, 1806-1873", was published in January 2015.

Matthew Fontaine Maury (January 14, 1806 – February 1, 1873) was an American astronomer, naval officer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator.

He was nicknamed "Pathfinder of the Seas" and "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology" and later, "Scientist of the Seas" for his extensive works in his books, especially The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), the first such extensive and comprehensive book on oceanography to be published. Maury made many important new contributions to charting winds and ocean currents, including ocean lanes for passing ships at sea.

In 1825, at 19, Maury obtained, through US Representative Sam Houston, a midshipman's warrant in the United States Navy. As a midshipman on board the frigate USS Brandywine, he almost immediately began to study the seas and record methods of navigation. When a leg injury left him unfit for sea duty, Maury devoted his time to the study of navigation, meteorology, winds, and currents. He became Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory and head of the Depot of Charts and Instruments. There, Maury studied thousands of ships' logs and charts. He published the Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic, which showed sailors how to use the ocean's currents and winds to their advantage, drastically reducing the length of ocean voyages. Maury's uniform system of recording oceanographic data was adopted by navies and merchant marines around the world and was used to develop charts for all the major trade routes.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Maury, a Virginian, resigned his commission as a US Navy commander and joined the Confederacy. He spent the war in the South as well as abroad, in Great Britain, Ireland, and France. He helped acquire a ship, CSS Georgia, for the Confederacy while he also advocated stopping the war in America among several European nations. Following the war, Maury accepted a teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. He died at the institute in 1873, after he had completed an exhausting state-to-state lecture tour on national and international weather forecasting on land. He had also completed his book, Geological Survey of Virginia, and a new series of geography for young people.

March 24, 2021

Topic: Civil War Troublemakers and Trailblazers

Speaker: Gene Schmiel

Gene Schmiel is a student of the Civil War whose book, Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era, in 2014  was deemed “best biography of the year” in 2014 by Civil War Books and Authors. He has lectured at many Round Tables around the country, from Ohio to New Jersey to North Carolina.  Gene holds a Ph. D. degree from The Ohio State University and was an assistant professor of History at St. Francis University (PA)  before becoming  a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State.

Early in 2020 Gene began work on a series of books entitled, CIVIL WAR PERSONALITIES, 50 AT A TIME.  Each of the six books highlights 50 people via short essays noting their impact on the Civil War era.  Using period photographs and other information from the era, such as political cartoons, the books bring to life these interesting personalities.  Each essay also includes a reading list for further information.  His talk, "Civil War Trailblazers and Troublemakers," will discuss relevant characters from each of the books.  The books are:

Civil War Trailblazers and Troublemakers

Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions

Civil War Political Generals in Blue and Grey

Civil War Women: Underestimated and Indispensable

Civil War Unsung Heroes and Other Key People "Behind the Scenes."

The Civil War in Statuary Hall

Gene's books are available via Amazon or by writing Gene at for autographed copies.

April 28, 2021

Topic: Voices From the Attic

Speaker: Carleton Young

Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of letters written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there. Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching the two  soldiers as well as other people who appear in the letters. The two brothers were members of the celebrated Vermont Brigade in the 6th Corps of the Army of the Potomac. In Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of these two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Bristoe Campaign, the Wilderness, Petersburg, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters. An additional element of the book as a final chapter involves a personal account of solving the mystery of how the letters ended up undisturbed a century and a half later in his parents’ attic in Pittsburgh and making the family connection to the soldiers.

The publication of the book was followed by many favorable reviews The Vermont History Journal called it “more than another good narrative, the book is an adventure of historical research and discovery.” Civil War News called it “a substantial contribution to the genre of first-person Civil War accounts becoming so popular today and would make a worthwhile addition to any Civil War student’s bookshelf.” The Western Pennsylvania History Journal said that the book “offers a deeply interesting look into two detailed experiences of the war which explore the battles as well as life in between.

About the author – Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in economics from Westminster College and in English from Point Park University, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his PhD in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American history at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He has also taught classes as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

May 26, 2021

Topic: Victor of Gettysburg: George Gordon Meade

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer M. Murray

Dr. Jennifer M. Murray is a military historian, with a specialization in the American Civil War, in the Department of History at Oklahoma State University.  In addition to delivering hundreds of Civil War battlefield tours, Murray has led World War I and World War II study abroad trips to Europe.  Murray’s most recent publication is On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013, published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2014.  Murray is also the author of The Civil War Begins, published by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History in 2012.  She is currently working on a full-length biography of George Gordon Meade, tentatively titled Meade at War.  Murray is a veteran faculty member at Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute and a coveted speaker at Civil War symposiums and roundtables.  In addition, Murray worked as a seasonal interpretive park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park for nine summers (2002-2010).

June 16, 2021

Topic: Civil War Music

Speaker: Geoff White

June is a special meeting for the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. It will be the first physical get together since September.  We will meet at Chatham on the upper terrace overlooking the river.  Start time is 6 p.m.  Our June speaker is Jeff White and his presentation is “Civil War Music.”  As an outdoor event, this should be fun as well as interesting.

Geoff White studied classical violin with Janie Ray in Boone, North Carolina, and played viola at Washington and Lee University. He played fiddle in the band Sugar Run from Blacksburg and has written songs for radio, such as "Leave the Bottle" and "What's it Called."

Geoff has played in bars, pubs, concert halls, farmers' markets, and battlefields across the east coast. He has a degree in History from Radford University, where his studies concentrated on music of the Civil War. He also has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Washington and Lee University.

Geoff plays fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and lives in Roanoke where he teaches private lessons. When he's not playing any of those instruments, he is learning the piano and drums.

July 28, 2021

Topic: Contested Crossing: The Pontoon Bridge Operations during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 11, 1862

Speaker: Ryan Quint & Danny Bryant

Ryan Quint was born in Maine, and after high school moved to Virginia. He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Ryan has worked for a number of museums, including the George Washington Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, and the National Park Service. His first book, Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, was published by Savas Beatie in 2017. He is currently a Park Guide at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, and is working on his second book, dealing with the Battle of Dranesville.

Danny is from Strongville, Ohio.  After he completes his Summer Intern, he will return for his junior year at the University of Notre Dame, where he is majoring in History and Theology.  Danny is active in university government and is the president of his residence hall.  He has been a student teacher and a participant in the Civil War Institute.  He has worked with the Irish American Archive Society at the Western Reserve.  He wants to engage people of all ages and backgrounds; and serve the people of the United States. 

Ryan discussed the details leading up to and including the bridge operations. He told us about the 15th and 50th New York Engineers who were detailed to build and deploy the pontoon bridges despite enemy fire.  The 50th had the more difficult task of building three bridges in two locations at the more heavily defended town of Fredericksburg.  Danny told us about the only Engineer Officer killed in the December bridge crossing operations.  Captain Augustus S. Perkins was shot through the neck and was likely dead before his body hit the ground. Falling victim to some of the opening shots of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Perkins was the only officer in the 50th New York Engineers to be killed during the entire Civil War.

August 25, 2021

Topic: The Sand Creek Massacre

Speaker: John Launius

John Lanius is originally from Newport News, Virginia.  Shortly after he was born, his family moved to Arkansas and later to Wisconsin. John enlisted into the Wisconsin Army National Guard after high school and completed his basic and advance training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After graduation, he entered the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, WI, where initially majored in mechanical engineering; however, he found it a poor fit, so switched majors to his real passion, history.

In 2014, John's college studies were abruptly interrupted when his National Guard Unit deployed to Afghanistan. His unit spent nine months providing artillery support for US and Coalition forces. After completing his combat tour in Afghanistan, John returned home and began an internship at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Over the next three months, John fell in love with the mission of the National Park Service and historical interpretation.

Once his internship at Fredericksburg ended, he returned to Wisconsin for his final semester of college and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History. Shortly after, he was hired at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, in Eads, Colorado, where he remained for just over three years. In 2019 John had the good luck and good fortune to return to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania, this time as a full-time permanent employee. 


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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