A 12-minute video about Civil War prisons is located here:
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.
A 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.
Back 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.
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 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.
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.
Over 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.
Joanne Hulme on “Actor, Assassin, Patriot, Pawn; What You Think You Know About John Wilkes Booth”
If you are sure that recorded history is accurate, come and talk about the myths and mysteries of the Lincoln assassination, the escape and death of the assassin, and what it is about the recorded history that keeps this story alive. A Booth descendant brings family history and knowledge passed down through 3 generations to spark the debate.
Philadelphia resident Joanne Hulme is a third generation descendant of John Wilkes Booth, having the same grandfather as the Booth brothers. Her mother is a cousin to Joseph Adrian Booth, JWB’S youngest brother, as well as a great niece. Hulme is often seen in interviews in print and television, talking about the family connections and stories.
On June 19, 1864, one of the most celebrated naval battles of the American Civil War was fought not in Southern waters, but on the other side of the Atlantic. It was a long awaited duel at the end of a long and frustrating chase that came to a climax off the coast of Cherbourg, France. Two ships—the notorious Confederate commerce raider Alabama faced the U.S.S. Kearsarge in a fight to the finish.
Bob’s program was accompanied by maps, period pictures, and illustrations of the two ships, and comparison charts between the ships themselves, their armament, and their respective captains.
Robert E. Hanrahan, Jr. is a founding member of the Confederation of Union Generals, and has a long history in the Philadelphia area civic and business communities. He received his undergraduate degree in marketing from La Salle University, and is currently a retired consultant in the information technology field.
Bob’s late father (Robert E. Hanrahan Sr.) served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a seaman 1st Class aboard the Battleship U.S.S New York, which engaged in numerous actions including the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Bob is also an active participant and member of the United States Naval Institute, including the Arleigh Burke Society and the Commodore’s Club. During the Civil War, Bob’s Great-Great Grandfather James Murphy, served in the 20th P.V.I. and 6th U.S. Cavalry.
Bob’s other present interests include his involvement with La Salle University as a member of the Presidents Council, Investments Committee Member of The William Penn Foundation; InspiriTec, Board Member; President of G.A.R. Sons of the Union Veterans Camp 299, The Heritage Foundation: Washington, D.C., Presidents Council Member; Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, Board Member; Majority Inspector of Elections: Precinct 249, East Goshen Township, PA. The Longport Historical Society: Longport, NJ, Trustee, and Past President. The Civil War Preservation Trust, Friends of Historic Goshenville, PA, and National Republican Party.
Bob lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and has three children, Katherine born in 1985, John born in 1986 and Dorothy born in 1988.
On February 19, 1945, the first of 70,000 U.S. Marines landed on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima, to face over 20,000 determined Imperial Japanese defenders. By the time it was over thirty-six days later, Americans had suffered over 26,000 casualties, of which more than 6,800 were killed. Japanese losses were staggering: of the nearly 21,000 defenders, only 216 were captured alive.
In March 2015, as part of the joint American–Japanese 70th anniversary “Reunion of Honor” ceremonies, independent historians Steven J. Wright and William C. Holdsworth visited the island with more than fifty veterans of the battle—including one Japanese survivor, Tsuruji Akikusa—and the last surviving Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. Holdsworth and Wright presented their experience in the program: Return to Iwo Jima.
Steven J. Wright has authored two books and over 300 articles and reviews on the American Civil War. He holds advanced degrees in American History and American Indian Studies, and Library and Information Science. He is a member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute of Manor College, and is a member and past President of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.
William C. Holdsworth attended Montgomery County Community College, and has made a successful career in Sales & Marketing in the record business, working for RCA Records, PolyGram Records, and the Universal Music Group. He and his wife have three sons, one of whom is a U. S. Marine. Bill is a member and former Vice President of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.