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Presidents Corner

March 2019 Newsletter

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”.

February 2019 Program

Our February program was presented by Don Pfanz on “Clara Barton”. We appreciate his insight, knowledge, humor, and passion regarding this iconic figure during the war.

Albert Z. Conner Internship Selection

Austin J. Sundstrom has accepted the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg sponsored Albert Z. Conner Internship at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park for the summer of 2019. Austin is from Chicago, Illinois. He has a bachelor's degree in history from Northern Illinois University and is currently a graduate student in Public History at Loyola University - Chicago. Austin has written an interesting paper about a song "Who Will Save the Left" and the myth of the 19th Illinois Infantry at the Battle of Stones River regarding the role of the unit on the left flank of the army during the last day of the battle. He has also written articles on Vicksburg and Shiloh for Military Images Magazine. He will arrive in May to begin his internship.

Reservations for Dinner Meetings

Please make your reservations for our March 27, 2019 meeting by Friday, March 22nd, by calling (540) 361-2105, emailing or responding to this newsletter by email. Late reservations can present difficulties in food preparation. Our caterer prepares our meals based on our expected attendance and we do not want to be short of food. If you, subsequently, find that you cannot attend, please be sure to cancel your reservation in a timely manner so that the club does not have to assume the cost of that meal.

Policy for Members Concerning Non-Attendance after Making a Reservation

Over the years, we have a small number of people make reservations for our dinner meetings, but fail to appear. The club bears the meal and club overhead cost of $32.00 on each occurrence. This issue was addressed at the March 25, 2016 meeting of the Executive Committee and the following Resolution was passed:

"In the future, short of an emergency (classified as a personal unforeseen emergency event, which is reported by the member to the treasurer within five (5) business days’ post meeting), the treasurer shall be authorized to invoice the non-appearing member for the meeting/dinner costs incurred when such member(s) fails to honor his or her reservation(s) for the scheduled CWRTF meeting/dinner event."

If you have a personal unforeseen emergency and inform the Secretary in a timely fashion as denoted above, you will not be invoiced for the missed meeting. No shows are obviously of greater concern when we consistently have 4 or 5 members make reservations and then fail to appear for the event.

If you have made a reservation and realize you will not be able to attend, prior to the dinner, please contact Beth Daly immediately either by email ( or telephone (540-729-0260).

Speakers for the 2018 - 2019 Program Years

The Program Committee consists of Pat Quinn, Scott Boyd, John Pavlansky and Paul Scott. I wish to personally thank them for their knowledge, input and the contacts made to the prospective speakers and for arranging such unique and interesting programs for this calendar year. (See Program Year 2018-2019 )

The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table

As a courtesy to our sister round table, we publish the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table's meeting dates and program schedule. The RVCWRT meets the second Monday of each month at Brock's Riverside Grill, Sophia Street at Lafayette Blvd. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m., dinner begins at 6:45 p.m., and the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Reservations should be made by emailing Bob Jones at (preferred) or call (540) 399-1702.

Brochures and Community Contacts

Brochures have been printed and distributed throughout the city retail establishments, libraries and local museums. Professional cards for our officers and general membership have been printed and are available. See Beth Daly, Secretary, if you would like some cards. Special thanks goes to Ted Watkins for his expertise in designing the brochures and professional cards. Front Porch Magazine continues our ads each month. Notices of our meetings are printed in Alan Zirkle's History Alert, The Civil War News newspaper, North South Traders Civil War magazine and the History Calendar of the Town & County Section of the Free Lance-Star.

CWRTF Website, Facebook and Email Address




Membership and Roster

We have 131 members as of this newsletter. Our member meeting attendance is tremendous with a proportionate number of guests. Please make our guests and new members feel at home by introducing yourself and inviting them to sit at your table. Continue to bring your friends and acquaintances as guests to our meetings and ask them to join. Membership is an investment into the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. I hope you will agree that the learning and social experiences of our monthly meetings, as well as our Heritage Awards and Albert Z. Conner Internship make for an excellent return on investment.

Rather than having an officers' head table as we have had in the past, the officers are sitting with the membership to facilitate getting better acquainted. Besides the speaker, we have also endeavored to seat some guests and new members at the head table. So take the opportunity to ask your fellow members about themselves, their backgrounds, their history, whether it be professional or military or whatever, and you'd be surprised at the "history" of each person.

Updating our membership roster is an ongoing process. Members can update their contact information by signing into our website or by giving it to our secretary, Beth Daly.

Thank you, members, for your attendance, participation and input in our club. It has, indeed, been a pleasure to see and experience the passion and interest of our members both in the study of the Civil and War and in sharing it with others by bringing guests and new members aboard.

I look forward to seeing you all at the March 27th, 2019 meeting.

John Harris

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

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