Steven James Wright – Member Profile

guy in a baseball cap

Steven James Wright

A native of Silver Bay, Minnesota, Steven James Wright developed a fascination with history by listening to his grandfather’s stories of World War I and by exploring his father’s vast library of Civil War books as a child. This interest led to his majoring in history in college at St. John’s University (B.A., Collegeville, MN, 1978) and the University of Minnesota–Duluth (M.A., Duluth, MN, 1981. He also received an M.L.I.S., Drexel University, 2003.) He worked for more than twenty-five years in the history field at such places as Gettysburg National Military Park as a seasonal Park Ranger, a full-time Park Ranger at Independence National Historical Park, and the Curator of Collections at the late Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia. In addition, he has written two books and contributed to four others, and has had more than 300 articles and book reviews printed in such publications as The Surratt Courier, Blue and Gray, Civil War News, Gettysburg Magazine, Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, to name but a few. A member of a number of historical and preservation associations, he has served more than five terms as President of Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia. Continue reading

Henry Shaffner – Member Profile

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Henry Shaffner

You could assume that Henry Shaffner, being a great-great Grandson of Confederate General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson might be a Civil War buff. You would be right. But, in Henry’s family, as he was recently quoted in USA Today‘s Civil War series, “Don’t rely on your ancestors” were the watchwords. Because of all the history in Henry’s family–generals in the Revolutionary War, as well as the Civil War, and Framers of the Constitution, too, he decided on a different field in which to operate. Continue reading

Craig Schoeller – Member Profile

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Craig Schoeller

Craig Schoeller became interested in the Civil War at the time of the Centennial (1961-1965) when he read all of Bruce Catton’s books. In following years he visited most of the battlefields from Gettysburg, Antietam, Chickamauga, and to Atlanta. Later he set foot at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Post Hudson. With the passage of time he became less interested in battle details and more attracted to human interest and people’s actions and interactions. Continue reading

Meeting of December 9, 2010

Stephen Wright on “Battle of Fredericksburg” and Michael A. Cavanaugh on a Defense of Gen. Burnside

man at podium

Stephen Wright

seated man reading

Mike Cavanaugh

Noted as being one of the most one-sided battles of the Civil War, the battle of Fredericksburg is also remarkable in that Union casualties were more than twice those suffered by the Confederates and the armies at Fredericksburg represented the largest number of armed men ever to confront each other for combat during the war. Continue reading

Meeting of November 11, 2010

Sid Copel on “Civil War Spies & Guerrillas”

portrait of Civil War soldier

Sam Davis

portrait of Civil War Confederate officer

John S. Mosby

Dr. Sidney Copel is a clinical psychologist who is now retired. He received his undergraduate and graduate training at Temple University. He was for many years the Administrator of the Psychological Clinic at the Devereux Foundation where he ran one of the biggest programs of its kind in the country. After leaving Devereux he went into private practice until his retirement in 1995. Continue reading

Meeting of October 14, 2010

John Nagy on “Invisible Ink, Spycraft of the American Revolution”

man presenting

John Nagy

John’s presentation on gathering and transmitting military information during the Revolutionary War was very intriguing. The sophistication of codes designed for use to conceal information in letters is still being used today. They used alphabet matrices, cut out masks placed over written groups of words and words themselves that have different meanings. John showed us how sophisticated intelligence information was transmitted in colonial times. John is greatly welcome to come back even though his presentations are of another time period. Continue reading

Meeting of September 9, 2010

Jim Heenehan on “Colonel Ira Grover, 7th Indiana Volunteer Infantry: The True Story of his Court-Martial and Acquittal”

man at podium

Jim Heenehan

July 1, 1863, Emmitsburg, MD. – The higher the sun rose in the sky that morning, the more impatient Col. Ira Grover became with his regiment’s overdue relief. Finally, at 10 a.m., he ordered his 7th Indiana to move north to rejoin the main army. On the march, Grover heard that fighting had broken out at Gettysburg and quickened the pace. Arriving that evening, his men were posted to Culp’s Hill. Continue reading

Meeting of July 8, 2010

Jerry Carrier on “Meet John Hay — A One-Man Historical Presentation”

man in 19th-century civilian costume

Jerry Carrier

John Hay (1838–1905) was a unique figure in the history of the United States. No other statesman was so close—both personally and politically—to both Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

As a young man, Hay was one of Lincoln’s White House secretaries. He was not only a trusted aide, but their personal relationship was like that of father and son.

Late in his life, Hay was secretary of state under Roosevelt. Again, their relationship was more than professional. The two men had a lifelong friendship, which began when Roosevelt was 12. Roosevelt’s father (also named Theodore) had worked closely with Hay on Army-related matters during the Civil War. Continue reading

Meeting of June 10, 2010

Ed Root on “General Butler’s 1862 Tenure in New Orleans”

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Ed Root

engraving of Benjamin Franklin Butler

The “Beast” of New Orleans

Ed Root’s program of General Benjamin Butler explored one of those historic characters who never fails to elicit strong opinion. He was both reviled as a criminal and scalawag and praised as a patriot in his own time. Today, he is most often one of the answers to questions about the Civil War’s most inept officers. Ed’s presentation was very fair and balanced (like Fox News!). Butler was not as bad as historians have made him out to be. There were the usual stories, some of which were quite humorous. Lots of new information. Ed is always welcomed back to Old Baldy. Continue reading