Meeting of November 10, 2016

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, November 10, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Paul Kahan on “Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War”

Simon CameronFrom abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of war, senator, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent political figures. In his wake, however, he left a series of questionable political and business dealings and, at the age of eighty, even a sex scandal.

Amiable Scoundrel puts Cameron’s actions into a larger historical context by demonstrating that many politicians of the time, including Abraham Lincoln, used similar tactics to win elections and advance their careers. This study is the fascinating story of Cameron’s life and an illuminating portrait of his times.

Paul KahanPaul Kahan is a lecturer at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. He is the author of “Eastern State Penitentiary: A History”, “Seminary of Virtue: The Ideology and Practice of Inmate Reform at Eastern State Penitentiary, 1829-1971”, “The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance”, “The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry”, and “Amiable Scoundrel – Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War”.

Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University where he worked with William W. Cutler, III. Prior to that, Dr. Kahan earned his M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University.

Remarkable Tales of the Civil War

After 18 months of hard work, “Remarkable Tales of the Civil War” is set to premiere on Thursday, October 20th, 6:30 p.m. The screening will take place at Camden County College in Civic Hall. Blackwood Campus. Admission is free.

These captivating tales are seldom told stories that fly under the radar. With a seasoned editor, an accomplished musician, a professional narrator, and a capable writer, these stories come to life.

Remarkable Tales Poster

Old Baldy Civil War Symposium, October 22, 2016

Symposium header

The Old Baldy Civil War Round Table will host a Civil War Symposium on October 22, 2016, from 9-4 in the Civic Hall at Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ. The event will include sessions on Civil War Ballooning, New Jersey’s role in providing resources to support the War, a Naval program, Civil War exhibits, and a lunchtime musical performance of Civil War Era songs by the Audubon High School Concert Choir.

Check out our Facebook event page.

Register online.

Or, download the flyer and registration form:

Meeting of December 8, 2016

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, December 8, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Ed Bonekemper on the “Myth of the Lost Cause: False Remembrance of the Civil War”

Myth of the Lost CauseThe Southern-created Myth of the Lost Cause has long dominated Americans’ remembrance of the Civil War, the country’s watershed event. In many ways, that Myth has been America’s most successful propaganda campaign.

Historian Ed Bonekemper examines the accuracy of the Myth and how it has affected our perception of slavery, states’ rights, the nature of the Civil War, and the military performance of Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and James Longstreet. He begins by discussing the nature of slavery in 1860, including whether it was a benign and dying institution.

The heart of his analysis is whether slavery was the primary cause of secession and the Confederacy’s creation. He does this by examining Federal protection of slavery, slavery demographics, seceding states’ conventions and declarations, their outreach to other slave states, Confederate leaders’ statements, and the Confederacy’s foreign policy, POW policy and rejection of black soldiers.

Drawing on decades of research, Bonekemper then discusses other controversial Myth issues, such as whether the South could have won the Civil War, whether Lee was a great general, whether Grant was a mere “butcher” who won by brute force, whether Longstreet lost Gettysburg for Lee, and whether the North won by waging “total war.”

Ed Bonekemper 2016 head shotEd Bonekemper earned a B.A., cum laude, in American history from Muhlenberg College, an M.A. in American history from Old Dominion University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is the author of six Civil War books. Ed was the Book Review Editor of Civil War News from 2010 until mid-2016 and was an adjunct lecturer in military history at Muhlenberg College from 2003 to 2010. He served as a Federal Government attorney for 34 years and is a retired Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.

Meeting of January 12, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, January 12, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Roundtable Discussion: “On the Trail with Old Baldy”

Old Baldy, in a photo taken after the war (Library of Congress)

Old Baldy, in a photo taken after the war (Library of Congress)

For our next Roundtable Discussion Night, we invite members to present an interesting Historical Site that you’ve visited. Plan to show the history, pictures, learnings, etc. Share your interests and enlighten us with your experience!

To ensure the best use of everyone’s time, participation in this month’s program will be limited to 3 topics of about 15 minutes each. The participation schedule will be confirmed no later than our December 8th Roundtable meeting.

If you would like to share your historical travel experience, please contact Dave or Harry

Meeting of October 13, 2016

Jack Lieberman presents “Captain Percival Drayton, United States Navy”

Percival DraytonPercival Drayton was the son of South Carolina Congressman William Drayton. He entered the US Navy as a midshipman in 1827, and served continuously up to the Civil War, being posted to stations that included the Mediterranean, the Pacific off the coast of Brazil, Paraguay, and at the Naval Observatory, Washington, DC. His older brother, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, was a West Point graduate and a US Army officer who remained loyal to the South and became a Confederate brigadier general. When the Civil War began Percival was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, but was soon given command of the warship USS Pocahontas. He commanded the vessel in the successful Union Naval assault on Port Royal, South Carolina in November 1861. In that action, he fired upon troops and positions commanded by his brother Thomas who was commanding Confederate troops on shore in a literal, classic instance of the “brother against brother” phrase often used to describe the American Civil War.

He was promoted to Captain, US Navy in July 1862, and was assigned to Admiral David Farragut’s West Gulf Squadron, and commanded Farragut’s flagship USS Hartford in the celebrated Naval assault and capture of Mobile Bay, Alabama, in August 1864. Percival died August 4, 1865, and was buried in St. John’s Church in Washington, DC, however his remains were exhumed three months later and he was re-buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery next to his father, William Drayton.

Jack LiebermanJack P. Lieberman, a native of Cheltenham Township, PA, obtained a B.S. in Economics in 1965 from Villanova University. Following graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and served as Gunnery Officer/Nuclear Weapons Officer aboard USS San Marcos (LSD-25). Subsequently, he served in Aviation and Surface Units and on the Readiness Commander (REDCOM FOUR) Inspector General’s Staff. Upon attaining the rank of Captain, he was appointed Commanding Officer of several Military Sealift Command units and Chief of Staff Officer during Exercise Rainbow Reef at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, a convoy training exercise, preceding Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991.

Jack retired from the Naval Reserve, after having served twenty-eight years. His military decorations include National Defense Service Medal with Gold Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hour Glass Device, Expert Rifle Medal and Expert Pistol Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon and the Navy Recruiting Service Ribbon. Jack is a Life Member of the Naval Reserve Association, Reserve Officers Association, U.S. Navy League, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), U.S Naval Institute, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Naval War College Foundation and the American Legion.

His community, professional activities and organizations include U.S Navy Memorial Foundation, Jewish War Veterans, Sons of Union Veterans, Chestnut Hill Historical Society, Springfield Township Historical Society, General Meade Society, Delaware Valley Civil War Round Table, Confederation of Union Generals and Congregation Keneseth Israel, and the Union League of Philadelphia. He is married to the former Carol Cooper of Wyndmoor, PA. They have one son, David, who is a graduate student at West Chester University.

October 2016 Newsletter

Old Baldy Book Award, 2016

Civil War Book Award to Doreen Rappaport for Abe’s Honest Words

Doreen RappaportOn Saturday, September 24, 2016, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, at Camden Community College’s Forum, Room 101, Connector Building, Blackwood, NJ, Doreen Rappaport, award-winning children’s author of fifty-three books, will be presented with the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table inaugural Michael A. Cavanaugh Book Award for her book, Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Madison, Wisconsin, the Chicago Public Library, and the New York Public Library voted Abe’s Honest Words voted it one of the best books of the year. It additionally won the prestigious Library of Virginia Whitney and Scott Cardoza Award. Ms. Rappaport will be giving a speech and answering questions after the award ceremony via Skype.

The Old Baldy Civil War Round Table has established the Michael A. Cavanaugh Book Award for an outstanding recent book for younger readers concerning important people or events of the Civil War Era (including the antebellum period and Reconstruction). The Civil War Round Table selected Abraham Lincoln as the topic for the first Michael A. Cavanaugh Book Award. The award is named in honor of one of the Round Table’s founding members.

The public is invited to attend this free event. Children of all ages—but especially those in grades two through six—will be fascinated to hear Ms. Rappaport talk about her book and to answer questions from the audience about her book on Lincoln and other of her books. Copies of Abe’s Honest Words will be available for purchase at the award ceremony.

Herb Kaufman – Member Profile

Treasurer, Old Baldy CWRT

HerbKaufman558In 1989 Herb was employed in the Labor Relations Department of the School District of Philadelphia. He was asked to meet with Mr. John Craft, the Director of Adult Education to discuss a labor issue. As they spoke, Herb learned of John’s involvement in the MOLLUS War Library (Civil War Museum of Philadelphia) then at 1805 Pine Street. John suggested that he visit the museum and consider becoming a volunteer. Well, as they say, the rest is history.

Having been a life-long student of American history, Herb was immediately overwhelmed by the breath of the collection and the wonderful library. In 1989 he became a museum volunteer, and went to his first Old Baldy CWRT meeting. He continued to participate in Old Baldy meetings, trips and events, as well as volunteer at the museum. In 2002 he was hired as an Educational Assistant with responsibility for doing research and giving tours and programs to the thousands of students and others visiting the museum. Herb continued to serve in this capacity until the museum’s unfortunate closure in October 2008.

man at a podium

Herb Kaufman

In other related activities Herb is an Adjunct Instructor and founding member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute at Manor College. He is also currently a member of the Editorial Staff of the Civil War News, writing both news and feature articles; a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library; and Treasurer of the Delaware Valley CWRT. He has been the Treasurer of the Old Baldy CWRT since 2007.

For 15 years he was a Civil War re-enactor with Company C, 28th Pennsylvania Regiment. After serving as both a private and corporal, Herb became a Surgeon specializing in the history and practice of Civil War medicine.

Over the years, Herb has been honored with numerous awards including the initial Merit Award given by the Delaware Valley CWRT, and the Samuel Towne Award from the G.A.R. Museum and Library.

At present he teaches at a number of local life-long learning institutes, and gives presentations and programs to civic, historical, and community groups throughout the area.

Don Wiles – Member Profile

Newsletter Editor, Old Baldy CWRT

Don Wiles shirtBorn in York, Pennsylvania (Captured by Confederates during the Gettysburg Campaign without firing a shot!). Grew up in York, which is about 25 miles from Gettysburg. Spent many family picnics there after WWll when gas became available again. We were able to spread out the food, sheets and blankets on any of the large flat boulders on the battlefield including “Devil’s Den”. Became fascinated with the monuments and had so many questions that my grandmother gave me my first Civil War book “Gettysburg, The Pictures and the Story” Pub. 1913 of which I still have.

My father had purchased the Dobbin House in Gettysburg in the early 1950s and set up a museum and a large diorama of the Gettysburg Battlefield. He had sold the Dobbin House in the latter 1960s

Don Wiles kidTried college after high school, but soon quit to follow a desire to draw and took a job with a local adverting agency. Followed an uncle to Florida (an area called Cape Canaveral) in the late 1950s, married a girl from York, had three children (two boys, 1 girl… now have five grandchildren – all girls) and settled in Florida. Became friends with a high school teacher (Quaker) who had written books on Civil War prisons and did private research for Richard Nixon on his grandfather’s Civil War experiences, death and grave location (Gettysburg) for the President. He started my interest in the CW again by supplying my kids with CW books as gifts for me. He also got me to be a chaperon on CW field trips he took his students on to Olustee and Atlantic forts along Florida and Georgia.

My main interest changed to Space after going to work at the Kennedy Space Center. Worked there until the middle 1980s doing illustrations for the Astronauts, NASA and several different private company projects. Had received several awards and had some of my artwork go to the moon and back. My three children finished college and were on their way with life and my wife had died from cancer, so I moved back North and worked for several advertising agencies and companies. Remarried and my new wife showed me an article in the Philly Inquirer about a not so well known gold mine of CW history on Pine Street in Philly. Went to my first meeting in the late 1980s and renewed my interest with the museum and the Round Table. Kind of became a part time member of the Round table for a few years due to doing lots of seminars and tours.

I started doing the “Old Baldy” newsletter in 2004. I hope I have made the newsletter into a vehicle of not just news and events but a way to share interesting and learning articles of the Civil War.

I started going to CW seminars and tours for most of the 1990s and 2000s. Have collected several hundreds of CW books (ORs, Confederate Veterans, etc.). My main interested has gone back to Gettysburg of which I have collected information and thousands of photos of the Gettysburg Campaign. Have been on many private tours with Historians, Authors, ALBGs and Rangers. Walked the battlefield in the hot sun, rain, ice and snow, covered with multitudes of ticks, scratches from “sticker bushes”, found locations of missing monuments/markers, earthworks, battery lunettes and have met and enjoyed the friendship of many nice Civil War “Nuts” over a 30 year span.

For the commissioning of the new Aegis Missile Cruiser Gettysburg at Philadelphia in 1991 I was given the opportunity to do an illustration of the ship to hang in the captain’s wardroom.

I also got interested in Family history due to a granddaughter asking where our family came from. We always thought we were from Wales but not true. Turns out all the family lines came from the German area of Europe. Along with that I started looking for CW soldiers… I found over 30 soldiers in the major family lines. Have only done some research on 7-8 of them. Found over 600 pages of information on three of them from the National Archives, which lead to finding the lost grave of one of them. Also learned of great stories on some of them; Sultana survivor, West Point judge, a fort builder, several wounded ones and some who ended up captured and put in Libby, Andersonville and Salisbury prisons and those who were killed.

They say getting old sucks… it may have curtailed my traveling a little but won’t stop my love of history, research, photography and drawing on the Civil War and family.

Also attending the Annual Gettysburg Hog Maw dinner.