Category Archives: Meeting archive

Meeting of August 9, 2018

Chuck Veit on “How the US Navy Won the Civil War”

“How the US Navy Won the Civil War” presents, via Skype, period evidence of the far more critical role played by the Navy in the course of that war, arguing that the fall of New Orleans, rather than the Battle of Gettysburg, was the true turning point. Straddling that event in the Spring and Summer of 1862, the battles of Shiloh and Malvern Hill, denied the South the European recognition it relied upon. The real effects of the blockade as well as the Navy’s largely unstudied contribution in maintaining Union control in re-conquered territories are also examined.

Chuck Veit is president of the Navy & Marine Living History Association, a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting public awareness of American naval history, and is the proprietor of 31BY5 Publishing Services, a venture dedicated to providing quality book design, layout, and illustrations to self-publishing authors.

He has worked in the field of graphic design since 1976 and, for the past fifteen years, has pursued and succeeded in dual careers: corporate graphic design, and the research, writing, and presentation of U.S. Naval History. He is the author of six self-published books, and numerous articles on naval topics, and is the Layout Editor for the Journal of the Company of Military Historians.

As President of the Navy & Marine Living History Association, Chuck has presented naval history at living history events, lectures, and conferences including NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Education Conference, the 2012 Civil War Navy Conference at the Mariners’ Museum, the Naval War College, and the Naval Order of the United States at Jacksonville. As a freelance graphic designer, Chuck has taught Graphic Design at the university level and in a corporate environment. He holds a Bachelor’s in Studio Art and Historical Linguistics, and a Masters in Historical Linguistics from Clark University.

August 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of July 12, 2018

Bob Russo on “Independence: An Ideal, a National Park, and a World Heritage Site”

Only a few miles from where many of our members live, sits what is known as the most historic square mile in the United States of America. Independence National Historical Park, located in Old City Philadelphia, encompasses approximately 55 acres, and includes numerous original historic structures that tell the story of our Nation’s founding and our Founders. Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and Old City Hall where the United States Supreme Court met from 1791 to 1800, will be discussed in this presentation. Additional buildings, such as Benjamin’s Franklin’s Print Shop, the First and Second Banks of the United States, and some important players in our Nation’s founding will be discussed. Also discussed will be the famed Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom and liberty for people all over the world and an inspiration for oppressed people everywhere.

Stories of Independence Hall will include the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Room, the Assembly Room where great events happened and the Long Gallery on the second floor, which is often overlooked but has great importance in both the Revolutionary Era and just previous to the Civil War Era. The presentation occurs just a week after our July Fourth celebration.

In 1948, the National Park Service took over operations of the park and they continue to maintain the structures and grounds throughout the park. Previous to the Bicentennial of Independence in 1976 vast improvements were made throughout the park in advance of that celebration. We now look forward to the Nation’s 250 birthday in 2026 with improvements already taking place.

Bob’s expectation is that you’ll learn a few things about Independence National Historical Park and the momentous events that occurred in and around the hallowed buildings of the Park. Bob’s hope is that after experiencing the presentation you’ll want to visit the park at some point in the future.

Bob Russo is a current member and former Vice President of Old Baldy Civil War Round Table. He can also be found many Saturday mornings volunteering for the National Park Service at Independence National Historical Park. While there he conducts tours of Independence Hall and 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. He 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, the Museum of the American Revolution, and others. Bob recently became a Share Holder of the Library Company of Philadelphia. In 2014 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. Bob has been a resident of Cherry Hill for over twenty-five years and also served a full term on the Cherry Hill Board of Education from 2006 to 2009. He served one year as that Board’s Vice President.

July 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of June 14, 2018

John Fitzpatrick on “‘There is No Fail here.’ President Lincoln’s Leadership at Gettysburg”

Why did President Lincoln, a concerned, caring, conflicted, and careworn president, come to Gettysburg for only 25 hours on November 18 and 19, 1863? The governors of the 18 Union states that provided soldiers to the Union Army of the Potomac, who had fought and died there, not the Federal government, organized and managed the cemetery dedication ceremony. The President was not invited as the keynote speaker—indeed, he was asked to make only “a few appropriate remarks.” Yet he accepted that “secondary” role in the midst of the American Civil War with no end in sight—Why? Gain a greater appreciation of the immortal Gettysburg Address in light of the real back story, the enormous personal, political, and policy pressures impacting the president, and a fractured country, how this leader overcame them, his purposes [gratitude, equality, Union] and how the president achieved those objectives in his short, masterful presentation. Each of those pressures are particularly described in John’s presentation.

John Fitzpatrick is a Licensed Battlefield Guide Emeritus at Gettysburg having guided there for the past 14 years. John was a Senior Corporate Counsel in the Chevron Corporation Law Department for 32 years [including serving for 10 years as a facilitator in Chevron’s internal “Chevron Leadership and Management Forum”], retiring in 2006. Prior to entering Law School, John served on Active Duty as a United States Marine Corps Officer—Pilot, Tank Platoon Commander, including a Vietnam tour of duty where he flew 140 combat missions. Captain Fitzpatrick was Honorably Discharged from Active Duty in 1971. Contemporaneously with his civilian law and Arbitration career [admitted to practice in CA, PA and DC], he transferred to and served as an Active Reservist Pilot with the PA Air National Guard, then Legislative Liaison and finally as a JAG expert in Arbitration and Mediation in the United States Air Force Reserve, OGC, in the Pentagon. Colonel Fitzpatrick transferred to the Retired Reserve in 1997. John, an Honors Graduate of Villanova University and the University of Georgia School of Law where he co-authored and published a Law Journal Note on the legal issues involved with the U.S. recognition of China, now divides his time amongst Guiding at Gettysburg, volunteer Veterans’ Activities and his national and international Commercial, Construction, Securities and Securities Employment Arbitration practice.

June 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of May 10, 2018

Harry Jenkins on “With Cadence and Clarion Call: Bugle, Fife, and Drum: Military Music of Camp and Field”

The beginnings of American military music essentially started when William Diamond, the drummer of the Lexington Militia, beat the call to arms that gathered the men who fired “the shot heard ’round the world,” launching the colonists into a long struggle for our independence. The British troops brought with them their splendid military bands. In contrast, the Continental troops were as meagerly equipped musically as they were militarily. Despite a shortage of fighting gear and supplies, the Continental Army and its leaders were able to launch an effective fighting force. And the musicians as well always seemed to be able to muster a few drums and a fife or two to stir the hearts of Washington’s men. These fifers, drummers―and later buglers―held important places from the American Revolution, on through the Civil War, continuing and further evolving in today’s modern military.

As a student, performer, and instructor of this brand of music, Harry Jenkins has done numerous presentations on the topic. With his earlier focus on “Drums & Drummer Boys,” his new presentation takes a broader view that includes the fife and the bugle, as well as the drum, and their history and use primarily as “Field Music.” He describes the musicians’ role and duties―in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield. Using audio and visual recordings, along with authentic replica instruments, Mr. Jenkins describes and demonstrates some of the music they played. Weaving this together with military reports and historical records, letters-home and post-war memoirs, this presentation will paint a picture of these musicians―most of whom were youngsters―told through stories and vignettes―some sad and poignant, some receiving high praise, some heart-warming, and others often humorous. The presentation will conclude with an inspiring DVD presentation of various military music ensembles recorded in live performances, showing the rich history of the traditional music, as well as its evolution in today’s military pageantry.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Harry started on the bugle, and later on drum, at the age of ten in a Boy Scout Drum & Bugle Corps. After a few years he moved on to the arena of Drum Corps competition, and was a member of several State and National Champions, including the Blue Rock Drum & Bugle Corps of Wilmington, DE, the Golden Knights Senior Corps of Union, NJ, the great Yankee Rebels Corps from Baltimore, MD, and also with Philadelphia’s own world renown “Reilly Raiders” Drum & Bugle Corps. He also spent many years as a Drum Corps instructor, and served as a judge in Drum & Bugle Corps and Band competitions. Having spent 20 years in Civil War reenacting as a drummer, soldier, and officer, he is a member of the internationally recognized “Company of Fifers & Drummers,” and is an active performing member of the “United States Association of Rudimental Drummers.”

Harry is a 30-year member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia, serving as Program Chair and on the Board of Directors. He is also a member and supporter of The Friends of Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a long-time member of the Civil War Trust.

Educated in Architecture at Temple University and Arizona State, his career has included working as a Project Manager with architecture firms, construction companies, and government agencies, responsible for the design and construction of varied building projects that include government facilities, schools and colleges, and extensively with hospitals and other health care facilities. He now resides in Newark, Delaware, with wife Bobbie. Son Clayton, a graduate of George Washington University and a Certified Master Brewer, is also a drummer.

May 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of April 12, 2018

Randy Drais on “William H. Tipton: The Man Behind the Camera”

Most Battle of Gettysburg buffs have heard about Gettysburg photographer William H. Tipton. Tipton studied photography as the apprentice of Charles and Isaac Tyson, who were among the earliest Gettysburg photographers, and he later went into business for himself, taking thousands of photographs of visitors to the Gettysburg battlefield, where he also established Tipton Park and was a major force behind the establishment of the Gettysburg Electric Railway’s trolley line on the battlefield.

By 1888, Tipton had produced approximately 5,000 views of the Gettysburg battlefield (the vast majority of the collection was acquired by the Gettysburg National Military Park from C. Tyson Tipton in 1935) and more than 100,000 portraits. Join amateur historian Randy Drais as we learn not only about William H. Tipton’s many influences on Gettysburg, the battlefield, and the Gettysburg National Military Park, but also his family and their involvement as well, and view many of Tipton’s rarely seen battlefield photographs.

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 of 2008 of a website, battleofgettysburgbuff.com, for individuals who wish to learn and do more than the average visitor to the battlefield. A “companion” website, 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 Senate, and the Pennsylvania Department of State. Married with two daughters, Randy retired on January 1, 2015 and now devotes even more time to his main passion, learning even more about the Battle of Gettysburg and sharing that information with others. He has also co-authored “Texans at Gettysburg: Blood and Glory with Hood’s Texas Brigade” and is currently working on a second volume.

April 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of March 8, 2018

Robert C. Baumgartner on “The Historiography of the Confederacy”

Mr. Robert C. Baumgartner will present the Historiography of the Confederacy, through the works of Douglas Southall Freeman, T. Harry Williams, and C. Vann Woodward. The connection to modern historiography is from the works of George Rable and James McPherson, who were students of Williams and Woodward, respectively.

Robert C. Baumgartner is an adjunct professor of history at Camden County College teaching primarily with The Center. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rowan University, and has received training in historical preservation from Arizona State University. Mr. Baumgartner is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Declaration Project at Harvard University. He currently is a faculty member at Triton Regional High School and is working on two current research projects: one dealing with the history of Triton High School’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the second is a study on the lack of geographic education in the state of New Jersey. Bob is a member of the Old Baldy Civil War Roundtable, and presented The General in our 2017 Lecture Series on NJ in the Civil War.

March 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of February 8, 2018

Jim Remsen on “Freedom-Seekers Turned Freedom-Fighters”

Local journalist Jim Remsen’s illustrated history talk, “Freedom-Seekers Turned Freedom-Fighters,” chronicles the experiences of a group of fugitive slaves who escaped southern bondage and dared to openly build new lives in the North. Once the Civil War came, these men and their sons left their safe haven in northeastern Pennsylvania and returned south, into the bowels of slavery, to fight for the Union. Their valor under fire helped to change many minds about blacks. Remsen’s new history book, Embattled Freedom, lifts these thirteen remarkable lives out of the shadows, while also shedding light on the racial politics and social codes they and their people endured in the divided North.

The fugitives’ safe haven was little Waverly, Pa., Remsen’s boyhood hometown. Now a Bala Cynwyd resident, and a retired editor and reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, he spent several years researching this story as a way to bring some overdue tribute to Waverly’s unsung “colored troops” and the white abolitionists who stood by them. Embattled Freedom (Sunbury Press) has been praised by Lackawanna Historical Society director Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus as “a fascinating history that needs to be shared.” Mark Bowden, New York Times bestselling author of Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo and his latest, Hue 1968, calls it “a fine example of serious local history, which fleshes out in particulars the larger social issues over a century.” For more, visit embattledfreedom.org.

February 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of January 11, 2018

Matthew H. Bruce on “The Confederate Cruisers: The Confederacy’s Blue-Water Navy”

Even before the war began, the Confederacy-to-be, through its provisional legislature, recognized the need for a brown-water navy to keep ports open and patrol rivers, and a blue water navy to protect the shipping traffic. This led to moves, actually before secession, by the Confederacy’s provisional legislature to establish the basis for a navy, to name a secretary of the navy, and to send letters to any persons in the United States Navy who were deemed to have a Southern leaning to “come home” and join the Confederate Navy. Many took up on the invitation.

Early in the war, one of the “come-home” former Union Naval officers, now a Confederate officer, one Raphael Semmes, approached Navy Secretary Mallory with a proposal regarding how to end the war successfully. To wit, acquire a number of blue-water ships, to be converted to warships with which to assault the Union merchant marine, to an extent which would lead to a winnable suit for peace. Thus could the Confederacy attain a victory that wise heads could see was unlikely on the battlefield; this in spite of the somewhat wild-eyed view of the war-hawks.

Matthew H. Bruce is a retired teacher (forty-five years) at the high school and college/university levels, in the areas of mathematics and physics. Following finishing his baccalaureate degree, he completed military service in the Korean War, and then returned to pursue graduate work. He holds the Ph.D. degree from the Pennsylvania State University. He is retired from Temple University, where he taught statistics and research design, and physical science, and worked with intending science teachers.

Matt’s interest in the American Civil War goes back over fifty years, and he has been a long-time member of the Delaware Valley Civil War Round Table, and until recently a member of the Round Table’s Board. He teaches in the Round Table’s Civil War Institute, and looks forward to the expansion of the institute to include other U.S. military involvements such as WWI and WWII. He has done much writing on Civil War and other topics, and is currently involved in the preparation of a book on Civil War navies.

January 2018 Newsletter

Meeting of December 14, 2017

Walt Lafty on “Walt Whitman, the Civil War’s Poet Patriot”

Walt described how the Civil War impacted the writings of Walt Whitman and his contributions to the war effort.

For over 30 years, Walt Lafty Jr. has been an amateur genealogist and has researched three direct ancestors who served in the Civil War. With that information and a lifelong interest in history, he began studying and participating in Civil War history. Since that time, Walt joined various groups dedicated to preserving the memory of those ancestors and civil war history. Those groups include: Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), Bucks County CWRT, DELVAL CWRT, Old Baldy CWRT, and the G.A.R. Museum and Library.

Walt was born, raised, and currently lives in Philadelphia. After enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1968, he served 13 months in Vietnam with the 45th Military Intelligence Company and with the Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV). He became a Philadelphia Firefighter in 1975 and retired in 1999 to take a position with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Bureau of Alcohol Education. In 2016 he retired as a supervisor from the PLCB.

In 1996 he earned a B.A.in Psychology from Holy Family University after eight years of part time courses. Walt is married with three children, one step child (deceased), and ten grandchildren.

December 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of November 9, 2017

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.

November 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of October 12, 2017

David O. Stewart on “Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy”

Impeached traces the explosive impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson to its roots in the social and political revolutions that rocked the South with the end of slavery and of the Civil War. As president after Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson, a Tennessee Democrat, not only failed to heal the nation’s wounds but rather rubbed them raw, ignoring widespread violence against the freed slaves and encouraging former rebels to resume political control of the Southern states. His high-handed actions were opposed by the equally angry and aggressive Congress, led by Rep. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, an ardent foe of slavery who aimed to rebuild American society on principles of equality and fairness.

David O. Stewart’s first book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, was a Washington Post bestseller and won the Washington Writing Award as Best Book of 2007. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, was called “the best account of this troubled episode.” American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America, examines Burr’s Western expedition, which landed him on trial for treason. The Washington Post called Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, a portrait “rich in empathy and understanding” by “an acknowledged master of narrative history.” David also writes fiction. Bloomberg View said The Lincoln Deception, about the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy, was the best historical novel of 2013. The Washington Post described The Wilson Deception, set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, as ““Another terrific Fraser and Cook mystery.” In its review of The Babe Ruth Deception in 2016, the Washington Times described David as “one of our best new writers of historical mysteries.” He is president of the Washington Independent Review of Books.

October 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of September 14, 2017

Bill Hughes on “The History of Old Baldy”

Bill spoke on the history of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table. He has been gathering information and stories from older sources and has many pictures to display.

Bill attended Pfeiffer University and West Chester University. He has a Masters of Education and has taught and coached for 38 years. He spent 25 years as a volunteer fireman and six terms on school board. Bill first became interested in the Civil War about 1989 with visits to Harpers Ferry, Cedar Creek, Antietam, and Gettysburg. He belongs to the Civil War Trust and NRA. He is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society. Bill joined Old Baldy in 1990 or 1991. He has published two books and written several articles for the Old Baldy newsletter.

September 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of August 10, 2017

Membership Show & Tell Night

Members brought historical treasure or collection to show and share:

  • Arlene Schnaare: Quilt collection
  • Bob Lynch: Personal letters of Capt. John Lynch, 106th PA
  • Jim Heenehan: WW1 artifact – contraband war materiel
  • Bill Hughes: CW era stamps and envelopes

August 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of July 13, 2017

Dr. Jennifer M. Murray presents “On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013”

Dr. Murray provided a critical perspective to Gettysburg historiography by offering an in-depth exploration of the national military park and how the Gettysburg battlefield has evolved since the National Park Service acquired the site in August 1933. Haphazard landscape practices, promotion of tourism, encouragement of recreational pursuits, ill-defined policies of preserving cultural resources, and the inevitable turnover of administrators guided by very different preservation values regularly influenced the direction of the park and the presentation of the Civil War’s popular memory.

Dr. Jennifer M. Murray is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. She teaches a wide variety of course in 19th and 20th century American history. Murray’s most recent publication is On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013, published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2014. Murray is also the author of The Civil War Begins, published by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History in 2012. Murray is currently working on a biography of George Gordon Meade, tentatively titled Meade at War. In addition, Murray worked as a seasonal interpretive park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park for nine summers (2002-2010). She received her Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2010.

July 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of June 8, 2017

Gene Barr on “A Civil War Captain and His Lady: A True Story of Love, Courtship, and Combat”

More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Irish immigrant Josiah Moore met 19-year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be a long and bloody one. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, forms the basis of Gene Barr’s memorable A Civil War Captain and His Lady: A True Story of Love, Courtship, and Combat. The story of Josiah, Jennie, the men of the 17th and their families tracks the toll on our nation during the war and allows us to explore the often difficult recovery after the last gun sounded in 1865.

Gene Barr is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the commonwealth’s largest broad based business advocacy group. Prior to his work at the Chamber, he spent almost twenty years in the energy field including more than twelve years with BP America, the U.S. subsidiary of British Petroleum, and seven years at the Pennsylvania office of the American Petroleum Institute including three years as executive director of that operation. He also served for ten years as a local elected official in the Philadelphia area.

Barr is a board member and past chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, among numerous other community and professional activities. A native of the Philadelphia area, Barr has had a longstanding interest in American history, particularly the Civil War period, sparked by his first visit to Gettysburg as a youth. He enhanced his knowledge while residing in Atlanta where he became familiar with the western theater of the conflict. He was active in living history for more than a quarter century and participated as an ‘extra’ in four films depicting the Civil War period, including “Glory” and “Gettysburg.” He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. This is his first book.

June 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of May 11, 2017

Bruce W. Tucker portrays “Admiral David G. Farragut, USN”

David Farragut began his life as a sailor early; he commanded a prize ship captured in the War of 1812 when he was just twelve years old.

He was born July 5, 1801, and was commissioned Midshipman in the US Navy December 17, 1810, at age 9. By the time of the Civil War, Farragut had proven his ability repeatedly. Despite the fact that he was born and raised in the South, Farragut chose to side with the Union.

Farragut’s greatest fame came from the August 5, 1864, Battle of Mobile Bay. The Confederates had placed a large number of “torpedoes” in the waters. The monitor USS Tecumseh struck a torpedo and began to sink, causing the rest of the fleet to back away from the mine-infested waters. At the time, Farragut was watching the battle while lashed to the rigging of his flagship (USS Hartford). Alarmed, Farragut shouted, “What’s the trouble?” The USS Brooklyn answered, “Torpedoes!” Farragut shouted back, “Damn the torpedoes! Four Bells! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!” In the end, Farragut’s fleet defeated Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan and the last open seaport on the Gulf of Mexico fell to the Union.

Bruce Tucker holds a BA degree in Political Science & History from Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York and a MS degree in Information Technology & Project Management from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken New Jersey. Bruce spent 25 years working in advancing positions of Systems Support/Project Management, Process Design/Management, and Learning Development/Content Management. As a second career, Bruce now teaches history at Rutgers University in New Brunswick for the Osher Life Long Learning Program (OLLI-RU).

Since 2009, Bruce has presented living history as both Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and Captain Uriah Phillips Levy, USN, to churches, synagogues, schools, libraries, museums, senior centers, and Civil War roundtable groups in NY, NJ, CT, DE, and PA. He is currently the President of the USS LEHIGH/USS Monitor Naval Living History group and Corresponding Secretary of the Navy Marine Living History Association.

May 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of April 13, 2017

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 focused 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.

April 2017 Newsletter

Meeting of March 9, 2017

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.

March 2017 Newsletter

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

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

Meeting of September 8, 2016

Bill Vosseler on “They Called Him Father”

Bill presented 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.

September 2016 Newsletter

Meeting of August 11, 2016

Your Family Military History II

VeteransBack by popular demand, this month featured 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.

 

August 2016 Newsletter