Meeting of February 11, 2016

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, February 11, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Steven J. Wright and William C. Holdsworth on “Return to Iwo Jima”

Steven Wright (L) and Bill Holdsworth (R) on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, flanking their friend and Iwo Jima survivor, Carl DeHaven. Mr. DeHaven (of League City, TX) served with the Fifth Marines on Iwo Jima and Guam.

Steven Wright (L) and Bill Holdsworth (R) on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, flanking their friend and Iwo Jima survivor, Carl DeHaven. Mr. DeHaven (of League City, TX) served with the Fifth Marines on Iwo Jima and Guam.

On February 19, 1945, the first of 70,000 U.S. Marines landed on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima, to face over 20,000 determined Imperial Japanese defenders. By the time it was over thirty-six days later, Americans had suffered over 26,000 casualties, of which more than 6,800 were killed. Japanese losses were staggering: of the nearly 21,000 defenders, only 216 were captured alive.

In March 2015, as part of the joint American–Japanese 70th anniversary “Reunion of Honor” ceremonies, independent historians Steven J. Wright and William C. Holdsworth visited the island with more than fifty veterans of the battle—including one Japanese survivor, Tsuruji Akikusa—and the last surviving Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. Holdsworth and Wright will present their experience in the program: Return to Iwo Jima.

Steven J. Wright has authored two books and over 300 articles and reviews on the American Civil War. He holds advanced degrees in American History and American Indian Studies, and Library and Information Science. He is a member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute of Manor College, and is a member and past President of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.

William C. Holdsworth attended Montgomery County Community College, and has made a successful career in Sales & Marketing in the record business, working for RCA Records, PolyGram Records, and the Universal Music Group. He and his wife have three sons, one of whom is a U. S. Marine. Bill is a member and former Vice President of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.

February 2016 Newsletter

Old Baldy Civil War Symposium, October 22, 2016

The Old Baldy Civil War Round Table will be hosting 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 musical performance. Details are still being finalized. More information will be available at this website in the future. Mark the date on your calendar as we look forward to seeing you there.

Meeting of March 10, 2016

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

Robert E. Hanrahan, Jr. on “The U.S.S. Kearsarge vs. the C.S.S. Alabama

Sinking of the CSS Alabama

Sinking of the CSS Alabama (by Xanthus Smith, 1922)

On June 19, 1864, one of the most celebrated naval battles of the American Civil War was fought not in Southern waters, but on the other side of the Atlantic. It was a long awaited duel at the end of a long and frustrating chase that came to a climax off the coast of Cherbourg, France. Two ships—the notorious Confederate commerce raider Alabama faced the U.S.S. Kearsarge in a fight to the finish.

Bob’s program is accompanied by maps, period pictures, and illustrations of the two ships, and comparison charts between the ships themselves, their armament, and their respective captains.

Robert E. Hanrahan, Jr. (portraying Major General John Gibbon)

Robert E. Hanrahan, Jr.
(portraying Major General John Gibbon)

Robert E. Hanrahan, Jr. is a founding member of the Confederation of Union Generals, and has a long history in the Philadelphia area civic and business communities. He received his undergraduate degree in marketing from La Salle University, and is currently a retired consultant in the information technology field.

Bob’s late father (Robert E. Hanrahan Sr.) served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a seaman 1st Class aboard the Battleship U.S.S New York, which engaged in numerous actions including the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Bob is also an active participant and member of the United States Naval Institute, including the Arleigh Burke Society and the Commodore’s Club. During the Civil War, Bob’s Great-Great Grandfather James Murphy, served in the 20th P.V.I. and 6th U.S. Cavalry.

Bob’s other present interests include his involvement with La Salle University as a member of the Presidents Council, Investments Committee Member of The William Penn Foundation; InspiriTec, Board Member; President of G.A.R. Sons of the Union Veterans Camp 299, The Heritage Foundation: Washington, D.C., Presidents Council Member; Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, Board Member; Majority Inspector of Elections: Precinct 249, East Goshen Township, PA. The Longport Historical Society: Longport, NJ, Trustee, and Past President. The Civil War Preservation Trust, Friends of Historic Goshenville, PA, and National Republican Party.

Bob lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and has three children, Katherine born in 1985, John born in 1986 and Dorothy born in 1988.

Meeting of April 14, 2016

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, April 14, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Joanne Hulme on “Actor, Assassin, Patriot, Pawn; What You Think You Know About John Wilkes Booth”

Joanne HulmeIf you are sure that recorded history is accurate, come and talk about the myths and mysteries of the Lincoln assassination, the escape and death of the assassin, and what it is about the recorded history that keeps this story alive. A Booth descendant brings family history and knowledge passed down through 3 generations to spark the debate.

Philadelphia resident Joanne Hulme is a 3rd generation descendant of John Wilkes Booth, having the same grandfather as the Booth brothers. Her mother is a cousin to Joseph Adrian Booth, JWB’S youngest brother, as well as a great niece. Hulme is often seen in interviews in print and television, talking about the family connections and stories.

Meeting of January 14, 2016

Roundtable discussion night: “Your Family Military History”

– Do you have a Civil War ancestor?
– Do you have a family member with other service?
– Do you have military experience?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…

Uncle Sam

… to share your story at our January Roundtable meeting.

Volunteer Now

Plan to use about 10 minutes, and just let Herb, Harry, or Dave know in advance!

January 2016 Newsletter

Meeting of December 10, 2015

Randy Drais on “Rock Carvings at Gettysburg”

Randy DraisOne of the more unusual facets of the Gettysburg battlefield is the existence of many rock carvings. Made by soldiers during the battle or by veterans upon their return or by civilians or tourists, rock carvings can be found on many areas of the 6,000 or so acres that encompass the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Looking for rock carvings is an extremely interesting and unusual way to explore the battlefield, but it is also an extremely interesting and unusual way to discover some of the battlefield history that is often overlooked or quickly forgotten, especially of the personal and often tragic stories of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who left their mark, both figuratively and literally, on this hallowed ground.

Randy Drais, amateur Civil War historian and Battle of Gettysburg buff, looked at many of the rock carvings on the Gettysburg battlefield and the stories behind them.

Born and raised in York, Pennsylvania, Randy Drais developed a keen interest in the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Campaign immediately after a 5th grade field trip to that famous Civil War battlefield. A lifelong passion to learn more resulted in his creation in March 2008 of a website, http://battleofgettysburgbuff.com/, for individuals who wish to learn and do more than the average visitor to the battlefield. A companion website, http://battleofgettysburgbuff.net, Facebook page, and a quarterly newsletter soon followed.

A graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Studies, Randy has worked in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania Department of State, and the Pennsylvania Senate. Married with two daughters, Randy recently retired on January 1, 2015, and will be able to devote even more time to his main passion, learning even more about the Battle of Gettysburg and sharing that information with others.

December 2015 Newsletter

Meeting of November 11, 2015

Paula Gidjunis on “A Country Worth Fighting For: The History of the 128th PA”

Paula GidjunisThe 128th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry men came from the counties of Bucks, Berks, and Lehigh. These volunteers enlisted in August 1862 for nine months in response to the fear of invasion of the North by the Confederate Army. Entering the battle of Antietam in Maryland after one month’s service, they had very little military training and paid with heavy casualties. By the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 they were fully trained soldiers and possibly were the catalyst in the friendly fire shooting of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. As they became hardened veterans, their enlistment expired.

Paula Gidjunis is a retired middle school Social Studies teacher and currently works as a bookkeeper for JPG Photography and teaches history at Manor College. She serves on the board of the Delaware Valley CWRT and chairs their Preservation Committee. She also serves on the board of the Historical Society of Montgomery County. She has a B.A. in History/Education, a certificate in Historical Preservation, an M.B.A., and recently earned her M.A. in History from LaSalle University.

November 2015 Newsletter

Meeting of October 8, 2015

Robert Hicks on “‘Straight and swift to my wounded I go’: The Reality of Civil War Medicine”

Bearing the bandages, water and sponge, Straight and swift to my wounded I go… To each and all one after another I draw near, not one do I miss.

– Walt Whitman, “The Wound Dresser”

Robert Hicks tintypeDespite recent commemorations of Civil War battles and leaders, the war’s medical dimension has received comparatively little public attention. America’s “good gray poet,” Walt Whitman, who volunteered in hospitals during the war, observed that “the real war will not get in the books.” For Whitman, the war’s true story was found in the hospital. The war affected every family: on average, one citizen in ten was killed, wounded, or became sick because of the war. The massive casualties made huge demands on medical practice, stimulating the reorganization of professional medicine. Faced with catastrophe, the federal medical establishment re-invented itself and created the modern hospital-centered mode of emergency care that remains the Civil War’s chief legacy to medicine. Focusing on specific wounded soldiers as lenses to understand the larger picture of the medical war, this presentation follows their experiences from the battlefield to distant general hospitals. The presentation previews the permanent exhibition of “the real war” at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits: Injury, Death, and Healing in Civil War Philadelphia.

Robert Hicks with leechesRobert D. Hicks, PhD is the director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He also directs the F. C. Wood Institute and holds the William Maul Measey Chair for the History of Medicine. Formerly, he supervised exhibits, collections, and educational outreach at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. He has worked with museum-based education and exhibits for over three decades, primarily as a consultant to historic sites and museums. This work led Robert to obtain a doctorate in maritime history from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. Concurrent with the museum consulting, Robert worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia as a senior program manager in criminal justice, providing managerial assistance throughout the state. Earlier, he performed criminal justice work in Arizona, and obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology and archaeology at the University of Arizona. He also served as a naval officer with the U.S. Naval Security Group. His most recent book is Voyage to Jamestown: Practical Navigation in the Age of Discovery (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2011).

October 2015 Newsletter