Category Archives: Meeting announcement

Meeting of September 13, 2018

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

Melissa Ziobro on “Women in the US Military”

“If you really want to do something, go for it … even if it doesn’t come to fruition, when you’re in that rocking chair on the porch, you’ll be like, ‘I don’t have any regrets. I went after it.’”

–Admiral Michelle Howard

On July 1, 2014, Admiral Michelle Howard became the first female four-star Admiral in the United States Navy’s history. She assumed her new rank at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. With this rank also came assignment as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, making her the number two officer in the naval service. She is not only the first woman to hold the job, but also the first African-American to do so. Why was this day so long in the making? Who are some of the trailblazing military women that helped pave the way for her throughout our nation’s history? And just who is Michelle Howard, the woman who earned this remarkable distinction? While there have been short, popular media articles written about Admiral Howard, and she is mentioned in several compilation volumes on notable military leaders, African Americans, and women, this talk is based on will be the first in-depth, scholarly piece dedicated to her biography and her place in history.

Melissa Ziobro is currently the Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, teaching courses to include Introduction to Public History, Oral History, and Museums and Archives Management. Her service to the University includes coordinating the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program and her Department’s social media and newsletter. Melissa serves on the Executive Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region; as a Trustee of the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, NJ; and as the editor for New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, a joint venture of the NJ Historical Commission, Rutgers University Libraries, and Monmouth University. She has worked with public history organizations such as the Monmouth County Park System, InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum, Monmouth County Park System, Monmouth County Historical Association, Monmouth County Historical Commission, Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage, National Guard Militia Museum of NJ, and more. She served as a command historian at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ from 2004 to 2011.

Meeting of October 11, 2018

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

Joseph-James Ahern on “The Philadelphia Navy Yard: Mainstay of the Fleet, 1801–1995”

The Philadelphia Navy Yard was one of five government shipyard established at the start of the nineteenth century to support the infant United States Navy. Originally located in the Southwark section of the city, the Philadelphia Navy Yard conducted ship repair and construction through the Antebellum period. In its first sixty years the Yard would see the fleet transition from sail to steam, and adjust its workforce accordingly. With the coming of the Civil War, the Philadelphia Navy Yard was challenged by the demands of the growing Federal Navy, and the new technologies introduced into naval warfare. The Civil War was also the catalyst for the move of the Yard from its original location to League Island. A move that would establish the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as one of the nation’s important naval industrial sites during World War II and the Cold War. In his presentation, naval historian and archivist Joseph-James Ahern will explore the history of the Navy Yard, from its establishment in 1801 to its closure in 1995. The talk will explore how the events of the Civil War impacted the Yard, and were the catalyst for the changes that lead to its development as an important twentieth century industrial site.

Joseph-James Ahern is currently a senior archivist at the University Archives and Records Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. A resident of Riverside, N.J., Mr. Ahern graduated from Rutgers University – Camden with a Master of Arts in Public History. He has worked for such notable institutions as the Atwater Kent Museum – The History Museum of Philadelphia, and the American Philosophical Society Library. He has also been a consulting historian to the National Archives and Records Administration – Mid-Atlantic Region for their exhibit Mainstay of the Fleet: The Philadelphia Navy Yard 1801–1997, and Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections for their exhibit From Wharf to Ward: Pennsylvania Hospital & Maritime Health, 1799–1830. He has focused his scholarly research in U.S. military and naval history, primarily in the areas of military operations and technical development. In November 1997 he published Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, a photographic look at the historic shipyard located on League Island. In addition, Mr. Ahern has published articles in American Neptune, International Journal of Naval History, Encyclopedia of New Jersey, and Encyclopedia of the Atomic Age. In 2003 he published the article “‘We had the hose turned on us!’: Ross Gunn and the Naval Research Laboratory’s Early Research into Nuclear Propulsion, 1939–1946” in Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences. Mr. Ahern is also a regular reviewer for the Naval Historical Foundation, Army Historical Foundation, Maryland Historical Society, and Civil War Book Reviews. He is also a member of the Civil War Trust, Friends of Gettysburg, Naval Historical Foundation, and Army Historical Foundation.

Meeting of November 8, 2018

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

Scott Mingus on “The Second Battle of Winchester: The Confederate Victory That Opened the Door to Gettysburg”

In the summer of 1863, as Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began its inexorable push northward toward Pennsylvania, only one significant force stood in the way — Union Maj. Gen. Robert H. Milroy’s division of the Eighth Army Corps in the vicinity of Winchester and Berryville. Milroy, affectionately known to his men as the Old Grey Eagle, would stubbornly defy repeated instructions to withdraw to safety even as the overpowering Rebel force approached. Believing that the enemy was merely a cavalry raid or feint, the veteran Indiana politician-turned-general chose to stand and fight. His controversial decision put his outnumbered and largely inexperienced men on a path to what most observers considered to be a military fiasco when Milroy lost half his force and routed ingloriously from the final battlefield. Many of the Northern soldiers who fought at Second Winchester, however, believed their three-day, ultimately unwinnable resistance delayed the vaunted Rebels from entering Pennsylvania long enough to buy time for the Army of the Potomac to arrive and defeat Lee at Gettysburg.

Today largely forgotten in the plethora of Gettysburg media attention, the Second Battle of Winchester in its time proved to be politically charged for the Union, with President Lincoln and the War Department seeking to save face; Milroy seeking to save his now tainted career; and the beleaguered soldiers seeking redemption. On the Confederate side, Robert E. Lee believed he had found in Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell a worthy successor to the late, lamented Stonewall Jackson. Gettysburg would prove that the promise of Second Winchester was only an illusion on many fronts. Lee’s inner circle of senior leaders was lacking a significant cog, and his army was not as invincible as the overwhelming victory over Milroy had suggested.

In this book, multiple award-winning authors Eric J. Wittenberg and Scott L. Mingus, Sr. combine their writing and research talents into what may be the definitive account of Second Winchester. Using more than a hundred fresh sources, they weave together the individual soldier’s stories into a comprehensive, highly readable narrative that takes the reader back to the pivotal battle that opened the door to Gettysburg.

Scott Mingus is a scientist and consultant in the global pulp & paper industry, and holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamps and bar code labels. The Ohio native graduated from the Paper Science & Engineering program at Miami University. While working for Avery Dennison, he was part of the research team that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive U.S. postage stamps. He has written nineteen Civil War and Underground Railroad books. His biography of Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith won multiple awards, including the Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize for Confederate History. He has also written several articles for Gettysburg Magazine, as well as for various historical journals.

Scott and his wife Debi live in York, Pa., and for more than a decade, he was written a blog on the Civil War history of York County (www.yorkblog.com/cannonball). He received the 2013 Heritage Profile Award from the York County Heritage Trust for his contributions to local Civil War history. He also has written six scenario books for Civil War miniature wargaming. His great-great-grandfather was a 15-year-old drummer and rifleman in the 51st Ohio Infantry under General George “Pap” Thomas, and other family members fought at Antietam and Gettysburg in the 7th West Virginia.

Meeting of December 13, 2018

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

Jim Mundy on “In the Right Place at the Right Time – The Tanner Manuscript”

At the ripe old age of 18, Corporal James Tanner lost both legs below the knees at Second Bull Run. Almost three years later, in the early morning hours of April 15, Tanner would create one of the most compelling documents recording the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Jim Mundy, Director of Education and Programming at the Union League of Philadelphia, will talk about Tanner, his manuscript, and the circumstances of his life that led up to that night, and his life afterwards as a veteran and citizen.

Jim Mundy is a native Philadelphian. He graduated from La Salle University with a BA in History that included a concentration of courses in archival management. He started working at the Union League May 15, 1978, as the Associate Archivist. Between 1979 and 1989, Jim held the positions of Librarian and Archivist/Curator. In 1989 Jim moved into club management, holding several positions including House Manager and Membership Director, before moving back into the history and archival fields. In October 1996 he became the Director of Library & Historical Collections. In 2012, now as part of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation staff, Jim became the Director of Education & Programming. Jim is also the Curator of Art. In his current position, Jim is responsible for the research and installation of the exhibits in the Heritage Center; the training and scheduling of docents and tours; scheduling the League’s cultural programming; and the management and care of the League’s fine art collection. Jim also serves as the League’s historian.

Jim is the past President of The Woodlands Cemetery Company and The Woodlands Trust for Historic Preservation in West Philadelphia, the German Society of Pennsylvania and The Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, and the past Vice President of Development of the American Friends of the Attingham Summer School for the Study of British Country Houses and Collections. Jim also served on the Board of Directors of The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association.