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 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.

December 2016 Newsletter

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

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 Roundtable of Philadelphia.

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.

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

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.