Meeting of August 11, 2016

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

Your Family Military History II

VeteransBack by popular demand, this month will feature an encore Round Table presentation by Old Baldy members on their family military heritage—no matter what particular time of our country’s history, from the French and Indian War to the servicemen and women of today.

For our planning purposes, please let Herb, Harry, or Dave know in advance if you’d like to share your family story. We’d love to hear from you!

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 musical performance.

Download the flyer and registration form:

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.

Meeting of September 8, 2016

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

Bill Vosseler on “They Called Him Father”

Bill presents the life and military career of Major General George H. Thomas, USA, Commanding, Department and Army of the Cumberland, the greatest general in the line of Virginians from George Washington through Winfield Scott.

Born in Virginia, George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816–March 28, 1870) was a West Point graduate, a career U.S. Army officer, and one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater. Undefeated in battle, he was appointed by Lincoln a Major General in the Regular Army, one of only five authorized by Congress. “…it is doubtful whether his heroism and skill … has ever been surpassed in this world.” Abraham Lincoln commenting on General Thomas at Chickamauga.

Bill VosselerA native of Elizabeth, NJ, William S. (Bill) Vosseler holds a BS in Business from Rutgers University. Retired from the Prudential Insurance Co. of America, in 2007 he founded Civil War Recreations, a company specializing in the recreation and worldwide sale of historic Civil War medals, ribbons and uniform related items.

Bill serves as Executive Director of the American Civil War Charitable Trust (ACWCT), a non-profit organization that raises money to promote Civil War study and to help American Civil War related organizations, nationwide, in their historic preservation, veterans’ grave restoration, and educational efforts. In 2000, he founded the Union Library Civil War Round Table in Hatboro, PA, which met monthly until 2015.

Bill is also founder and past Camp Commander of the Baker/Fisher Camp 101, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), Department of Pennsylvania, and a Legacy Life Member of the 12th Armored Division (WWII) Association. Having served in the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam, he is a combat disabled Veteran and a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Bill and his wife Peggy reside in Garnet Valley, PA.

Meeting of October 13, 2016

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

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.

Meeting of July 14, 2016

Jim Heenehan on “The Court-Martial and Acquittal of Col. Ira Grover, 7th Indiana Infantry”

On July 1, 1863, while his 7th Indiana regiment guarded supplies at Emmitsburg, MD, Col. Ira Grover heard that fierce fighting had erupted at Gettysburg. Disregarding orders, he marched his men to the sound of the guns, ultimately saving Culp’s Hill from a Confederate night attack. His reward? A court-martial two weeks later – at least according to historians.

Although Grover violated orders, a court-martial seemed overly harsh for the man who saved Culp’s Hill, so Jim sent to the National Archives for a transcript of the Grover court-martial. To his surprise, the court-martial had nothing to do with Grover’s July 1st Gettysburg march, but was for two unrelated incidents. Jim’s talk will explore three questions: 1) How did historians confuse Grover’s court-martial with his July 1st march to Gettysburg?; 2) Who was Col. Grover?; and 3) What was the court-martial really about?

Jim HennehanJim Heenehan has been a member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table since the 1990s. He has written several Civil War articles, including one on the Col. Grover court-martial, which was published in The Gettysburg Magazine. Jim is an attorney who retired last year from the Environmental Protection Agency, after 37 years of service. His interest in the Civil War dates back to 1961, when he and his brother received the Marx Civil War playset for Christmas. And in 1991, on a sunny November day, Jim married his wife, Carolyn Guss, in the G.A.R. Hall in Gettysburg, PA.

July 2016 Newsletter

Meeting of June 9, 2016

Paul Quigley on “Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era”

How did Americans celebrate the anniversary of their nation’s birth when the nation was falling apart? In this lecture, Professor Paul Quigley explored Civil War Americans’ varied attitudes to the Fourth of the July. Northerners used the holiday to rejoice in Union victories. African Americans seized the opportunity to prove their American identity. And white southerners wondered whether they should celebrate Independence Day at all. These fascinating stories are hidden in thousands of newspaper articles, speeches, letters, and diaries from the Civil War years. Quigley demonstrated a new website, “Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era,” which allows anyone interested in Civil War history to transcribe, tag, and discuss these documents online.

Paul Quigley is Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the James I. Robertson, Jr., Associate Professor of Civil War History in the History Department at Virginia Tech. A native of Manchester, England, he holds degrees from Lancaster University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Quigley is the author of Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-65, which won the British Association for American Studies Book Prize and the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy.

June 2016 Newsletter

Meeting of May 12, 2016

Bob Russo on “Arlington National Cemetery—Garden of Stone”

Bob RussoOver many years Bob Russo made numerous trips to Arlington National Cemetery to better understand the history and sites of this National treasure, hallowed ground and final resting place of over 400,000 veterans and their family members. Bob’s presentation, Arlington National Cemetery—Garden of Stone, was the result of much of that work.

To stand at Arlington National Cemetery today it’s easy to look at the rows of tombstones, set in perfect alignment, and view the rolling hills as a Garden of Stone. What you see today involves years of evolution that started long before the Civil War. In fact the narrative of the ground at Arlington goes back to the time of the American Revolution when George Washington’s adopted son purchased the ground where the National Cemetery sits today. Years later Robert E. Lee resided here. The guards at today’s Tomb of the Unknowns tie directly to George Washington and his Continental Army. That connection can be seen at Valley Forge National Historical Park. These associations to the past convey an interesting story that spans over 235 years.

Many stones symbolize the story of an American hero, someone who served our Nation either in the military or some other capacity. Beyond the graves are numerous monuments that tell a tale of American courage, some from America’s most heart wrenching and iconic moments. Three of the Marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima are buried here, President Kennedy, his brothers, two Apollo 1 astronauts, Joe Louis, Audie Murphy, and many other well known Americans. Memorials to the Shuttle Challenger Astronauts, the Confederate Monument, the Memorial Amphitheatre, the Nurses Memorial, war memorials and the great dignity of the Tomb of the Unknowns, along with others, will be discussed in this presentation.

Bob Russo is the Vice President of Old Baldy Civil War Round Table and can also be found most Saturday mornings volunteering for the National Park Service at Independence National Historical Park. While there he conducts tours of Independence Hall, Congress Hall and offers interpretation at the Liberty Bell and other sites within the Park. Bob has a vast interest in American history that dates back to his teen years. Bob has been a member of numerous historical organizations over the years that include the Gettysburg Foundation, Surratt Society, Ford’s Theater Society, Civil War Trust, National Constitution Center and others. Bob also received the Certificate of Completion from the Civil War Institute at Manor College in Pennsylvania. In his employment Bob works as the Senior Vice President of a local structural steel and miscellaneous iron fabricator and erector.

This is an often-somber presentation that coincides with the solemn remembrances of Memorial Day. Bob’s hope is that you learn a few things about Arlington National Cemetery that you didn’t know and that this presentation causes you to want to visit or revisit this historic National Cemetery. He further hopes that you will be touched in some way by some of the stories and photos from, Arlington National Cemetery—Garden of Stone.

May 2016 Newsletter