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 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
Stephen Wright on “Battle of Fredericksburg” and Michael A. Cavanaugh on a Defense of Gen. Burnside
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
Sid Copel on “Civil War Spies & Guerrillas”
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
John Nagy on “Invisible Ink, Spycraft of the American Revolution”
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
Jim Heenehan on “Colonel Ira Grover, 7th Indiana Volunteer Infantry: The True Story of his Court-Martial and Acquittal”
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
Jerry Carrier on “Meet John Hay — A One-Man Historical Presentation”
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
Ed Root on “General Butler’s 1862 Tenure in 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
Herb Kaufman on “A People at War: American Jewry and the Civil War”
Our own Herb Kaufman presented us with another of his excellent programs. “A People at War: American Jewry in the Civil War.” He gave us examples of how the War split Jewish families as it did other families in America—Brother fighting brother. How Jewish families in the South supported the Southern cause as did the Jewish families in the North supported to keep the Union together. He spoke on Jewish soldiers (7) winning the Medal of Honor for their bravery in the Union Army. The bravery of Jewish soldiers in the Confederate Army. That there were some Regiments that were made up of almost entirely Jewish soldiers because of the communities were they were organized. Continue reading
Mike Burkhimer on “The Reports of the Lincolns’ Political Partnership Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”
Mike Burkhimer gave us an excellent program on the Political Partnership of the Lincolns. He spoke on Lincoln’s political experiences before the marriage to Mary. That Abe had already established his political knowledge. He discussed how many modern authors have been writing on the abilities of Mary to guide Abe in his politics. He has done a tremendous amount of research and has found no evidence of Mary writing or rewriting Abe’s speeches and helping him make political decisions that effected his government. Lincoln would ask people their opinions on varying subjects, but he would follow his own feelings and ultimately make the decisions. The consensus of the program was that Abe was his own man and Mary was the First Lady of the White House. Mike is an excellent and knowledgeable speaker and will be welcomed back anytime.