Meeting of February 9, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, February 9, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

James Scythes on “This will make a man of me: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War”

thomas-james-howellThis presentation focuses on the life of seventeen-year-old Thomas James Howell, who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Tom Howell’s experiences give us a rare look at the war through the eyes of a teenage officer. The letters that he wrote home to his family tell the story of a young man coming of age in the army. As a young officer, he faced particular challenges as he sought to earn the respect of both the men he commanded and his superiors. Despite the challenges he faced, Howell believed that it was his duty to serve and by serving he would prove that he was a man. This study represents a valuable addition to Civil War literature by offering a unique perspective of the war as it was seen through the eyes of a teenage officer.

james-scythesJames Scythes earned a B.A. in history at Rowan University and has a Master of Arts in history from Villanova University. He is a tenure track Instructor of History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on antebellum America, American Civil War, and 19th century military history. Professor Scythes has published a number of encyclopedia articles, and in July 2016 Lehigh University Press published his first book, “This Will Make a Man of Me”: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at the Gloucester County Historical Society, and is a member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.

February 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of March 9, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, March 9, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

David T. Dixon on “The Lost Gettysburg Address”

Two famous orators shared the stage with Lincoln at the Gettysburg dedication. The day’s concluding speech remained lost until an anthropologist stumbled upon it in a cardboard box at a remote ranch in Wyoming. Forgotten too was the incredible true story of its author, Charles Anderson, a slave owner who risked everything to save the Union. The New York Times called Anderson’s story, “among the most moving and romantic episodes of the war.”

David DixonDavid Dixon likes nothing better than spending hours dumpster-diving in archives and throughout cyberspace. 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 black history and on Union sympathizers in the Civil War South. His short biography of U.S. and Confederate congressman Augustus R. Wright appeared in The Georgia Historical Quarterly in 2010. He remains intrigued by the problem of defining “loyalty” in the context of civil war. David Dixon hosts “B-List History,” a website celebrating obscure characters and their amazing stories.

Meeting of April 13, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, April 13, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Herb Kaufman on “Duels, Fools, and Scoundrels”

Strange but true—this axiom was never more relevant than describing many of the unusual and extraordinary occurrences during the four years of the Civil War. While much of our history is dominated by the major battles such as Gettysburg and biographies of the key commanders such as Grant and Lee, the four years of the Civil War also included a significant number of strange and highly unusual personalities and incidents that have generally escaped modern discussion.

This presentation focuses on these unusual and often controversial incidents and events. Topics include soldier murderers, plot to bomb the White House, the strange case of Ulric Dahlgren and the plot to kill the Confederate President, the spy who was hung twice and buried in three places, dueling generals, the ill-fated life & death of General A. P. Hill, the adventures of Dan Sickles, and other unusual personalities and events.

Herb Kaufman has been a teacher, lecturer and living historian of the Civil War for more than 20 years. He is a founding member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute at Manor College and an Adjunct Instructor of Civil War history at Camden County College. He is a well-known speaker on a variety of topics relating to the era of the Civil War having presented programs to civic and community groups, and educational and historical associations throughout the Philadelphia area.

Herb has also been a Civil War reenactor, and was an Educational Associate at the former MOLLUS Civil War Museum & Library in Philadelphia. He has received numerous awards for his continuing work in education and support of the history of the Civil War. Mr. Kaufman is a member of the Board of Directors and Curator of the GAR Civil War Museum of Philadelphia. He is currently the treasurer of the Delaware Valley Civil War Roundtable, and has been a member of the Old Baldy CWRT for more than 20 years. He is also a member of numerous historical and community organizations. Herb possesses a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from Temple University.

Old Baldy 40th Anniversary Luncheon

The 40th anniversary luncheon celebration will be January 21, 2017, at the Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford, NJ, from 11:30 to 3:30. Charlie Zahm will be doing a presentation and performing. Tickets are $37 each or two for $70. Enjoy a buffet lunch with stories and pictures of 40 years.

Reserve your seat and pay for tickets online by clicking here.

If you prefer to download a registration form and mail it in, click here.

Meeting of January 12, 2017

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 ddsghh@comcast.net or Harry hj3bama@verizon.net.

Some of the topics this month are:

Member Kathy Clark:
On my 2015 Mississippi Gulf Coast bus tour, I visited Biloxi and the home of Jefferson Davis called Beauvoir. It survived hurricane Katrina with damage that took over ten years to repair. It now looks very much like the home as it was before the storm. The complex includes the Jefferson Davis Library and Museum, cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier, nature trails, gardens as well as a beautiful view of the Mississippi Sound from the front of the home. I want to talk about the history of the house, damage sustained as a result of Katrina and property today. If I have a few minutes would also like to talk about the Confederate Memorial Civil War museum in New Orleans. It is a small museum but has many portraits, flags and Civil War artifacts. This site too was part of my Mississippi Gulf Coast tour.

Member Jim Heenehan:
Jim will do a short presentation on the Appomattox Sesquicentennial ceremonies that took place April 8-12, 2015, commemorating Lee’s surrender to Grant, effectively ending the Civil War. Mr. Heenehan will cover the highlights of the Sesquicentennial, including Grant and Lee at the McLean House and the Chamberlain-Gordon “salute” preceding the Confederate laying down of arms on April 12.

Member John Galie:
A brief overview of the retreat of the Army of the Northern Virginia, Gen. Robert E. Lee Commanding, during the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1863 and the pursuit by the Army of the Potomac, MG George Gordon Mead Commanding will be presented. The logistic of the retreat as well as the overwhelming challenges faced by Gen. Lee will be detailed. The focus will be on the Battle of Monterey Pass, July 4-5, 1863 in the South Mountains of Pennsylvania in which over 10,00 soldiers were engaged; making it the second largest battle in Pennsylvania during the Civil War. Recent photographs of the my visit will be included.

January 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of December 8, 2016

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.

December 2016 Newsletter

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 November 10, 2016

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.

November 2016 Newsletter