Meeting of July 11, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, July 11, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. We will meet at The Kettle & Grill, 230 N Maple Ave, Marlton, NJ 08053 (Crispin Square Shopping Center) at 5:30 PM before the meeting for dinner and fellowship. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt [at] verizon [dot] net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Scott Mingus on “Unceasing Fury: Texans at the Battle of Chickamauga”

After Gettysburg, it was the Civil War’s largest battle, but until recently, little of consequence had been written about Chickamauga. You can count on one hand the number of authors who have tackled Chickamauga in any real depth, and most of their works cover the entire battle. Left unmined and mostly forgotten are the experiences of specific brigades, regiments, and state-affiliated troops. Scott Mingus and Joseph Owen’s Unceasing Fury: Texans at the Battle of Chickamauga, September 18–20, 1863, is the first full-length book to examine in detail the role of troops from the Lone Star State.

Texas troops fought in almost every major sector of the sprawling Chickamauga battlefield, from the first attacks on September 18 on the bridges spanning the creek to the final attack on Snodgrass Hill on September 20. Fortunately, many of the survivors left vivid descriptions of battle action, the anguish of losing friends, the pain and loneliness of being so far away from home, and their often-colorful opinions of their generals.

Scott Mingus, a scientist and consultant in the global pulp & paper industry, holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamps and bar code labels. The Ohio native graduated from the Paper Science & Engineering program at Miami University. He has written 19 Civil War and Underground Railroad books. His biography Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith won multiple awards, including the Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. Literary Award for Confederate history. He has also written articles for many publications including Gettysburg Magazine.

Meeting of August 8, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, August 8th, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. We will meet at The Kettle & Grill, 230 N Maple Ave, Marlton, NJ 08053 (Crispin Square Shopping Center) at 5:30 PM before the meeting for dinner and fellowship. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt [at] verizon [dot] net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Alex Rossino on “Calamity at Frederick: Robert E. Lee, Special Orders No. 191, and Confederate Misfortune on the Road to Antietam”

In this new work, Dr. Alex Rossino makes extensive use of primary sources to explore these subjects and other important questions related to the orders, including why General Lee thought his army could operate north of the Potomac until winter; why Lee found it necessary to seize the Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry; what Lee hoped to accomplish after capturing Harpers Ferry; where Corporal Barton Mitchell of the 27th Indiana found the Lost Orders; and if D. H. Hill or someone else was to blame for losing the orders. The result is a well-documented reassessment that sheds new light while challenging long-held assumptions.

A resident of Boonsboro, Dr. Alex Rossino earned his PhD in History at Syracuse University. In addition to being a frequent public speaker about Civil War history, Dr. Rossino is also the author of several books and articles, including Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia from the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862 and The Tale Untwisted: General George B. McClellan, the Maryland Campaign, and the Discovery of Lee’s Lost Orders, which he co-wrote with Gene Thorp. His newest book, Calamity at Frederick: Robert E. Lee, Special Orders No. 191, and Confederate Misfortune on the Road to Antietam, came out with Savas Beatie in October 2023. Dr. Rossino does not limit his writing to history, either. He is also a novelist. His book, Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee’s Army in Maryland, has been praised for its historical accuracy by Civil War enthusiasts, and his next novel, The Guns of September: A Novel of McClellan’s Army in Maryland, is due out in 2024.

Meeting of September 12, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, September 12th, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. We will meet at The Kettle & Grill, 230 N Maple Ave, Marlton, NJ 08053 (Crispin Square Shopping Center) at 5:30 PM before the meeting for dinner and fellowship. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt [at] verizon [dot] net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Tom Scurria on “Gabriel’s Graduation Trip: Virginia and Maryland Battlefield Tour”

Join Old Baldy member Tom Scurria on a Major Battlefield Tour of Virginia and Maryland, with New Members of OBCWRT. He has visited; Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Manassas (First and Second), Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg [with a side trip to Mt. Vernon].

One of the best ways to appreciate the passion of preserving and learning about the Civil War is a tour of where it happened. See the terrain, the physical layout of the battled fields, the rivers, streams, hills, plateaus, the valleys, the boulders, the enormity of the distances involved, the challenges of the logistics, the strategy at a high level, the tactics of the forces as they clashed the brilliance and failures of the officers, the bravery and the savagery, the movements of the infantry, the artillery, the cavalry, seeing and reading the monuments, the grave stones, the farms and buildings. Looking through a binocular with the same views the generals and officers saw. Learn about how one battle set up the next battles to come. Seeing, touching, reading, hiking the fields – no book or article can match the reality of these settings.

We followed an itinerary created by Sean Glisson. Tom Scurria and Sean did this trip in October 2021. The trip was recreated with Sean’s three sons in June of 2023. The itinerary will be shared, the logistics, the use of guides, the lodging, maybe even the dinners. It can be done in 7 days.

Meeting of October 10, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, October 10th 2024, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. We will meet at The Kettle & Grill, 230 N Maple Ave, Marlton, NJ 08053 (Crispin Square Shopping Center) at 5:30 PM before the meeting for dinner and fellowship. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt [at] verizon [dot] net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Allen R. Thompson on “In the Shadow of the Round Tops: Longstreet’s Countermarch, Johnston’s Reconnaissance, and the Enduring Battles for the Memory of July 2, 1863”

James Longstreet’s countermarch and Samuel Johnston’s morning reconnaissance are two of the most enigmatic events of the Battle of Gettysburg. Both have been viewed as major factors in the Confederacy’s loss of the battle and, in turn, the war. Yet much of it lies shrouded in mystery.

Though the battle is one of the most well-documented events in history, the vast majority of our knowledge comes from the words of the veterans and civilians who experienced it. Without action photography, video, or audio recordings, our primary window into what happened is the memory of those who were there. The story of the Battle of Gettysburg is simply the compilation of the memories of those who fought it. But memory is anything but objective.

Recognizing the multitude of factors that affect human memory, In the Shadow of the Round Tops explores how the individual soldiers experienced, remembered, and wrote about the battle, and how those memories have created a cloud over James Longstreet’s enigmatic countermarch and Samuel Johnston’s infamous reconnaissance. Each soldier had a particular view of these historic events. Because many people saw part of the story, but no one saw all of it, each memory is a critical piece to the puzzle. By comparing the veterans’ memories and sifting through the factors that affected each memory, the picture of the countermarch, reconnaissance, and the entire battle, comes into sharper focus.

Allen R. Thompson is a practicing attorney in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and three kids. His writing focuses on reevaluating primary source materials to examine the standard interpretations of historical subjects, from legal doctrines to historical events. His articles have appeared in the St. Thomas Law Review and Gettysburg Magazine.

Meeting of November 14, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, November 14th, in Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center, 1889 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. We will meet at The Kettle & Grill, 230 N Maple Ave, Marlton, NJ 08053 (Crispin Square Shopping Center) at 5:30 PM before the meeting for dinner and fellowship. The program will also be simulcast on Zoom for the benefit of those members and friends who are unable to attend; please email oldbaldycwrt [at] verizon [dot] net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Chuck Veit on “Edward B. Hunt’s Sea Miner”

“Sea Miner” is not a talk for the faint of heart–-it is, quite literally, rocket science. Edward Hunt’s incredible weapon seems to belong to at least the Second World War (or perhaps much later). If you are tired of the “same old Civil War stories” of bludgeoning tactics and staggering losses from wounds and disease, Sea Miner will show you what the scientists were up to during the war. Don’t worry: there is no math in the presentation!

Sea Miner is the painstakingly reconstructed story of the U.S. Navy’s first sponsored torpedo development program. Begun in 1862, the project was beyond “top secret,” for the weapon it sought to create would overnight make the U.S. Navy supreme upon the oceans. This was critical, as global war against an alliance of the Confederacy, England and France was anticipated. The inventor, Major Edward B. Hunt of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, succeeded, but his mania for secrecy left no details of his activities–all plans, records and diagrams were destroyed at the conclusion of each stage of development.  In the absence of hard facts, historians have long considered Sea Miner to have been a failure; nothing could be further from the truth. This is a story from the Civil War that doesn’t seem to belong to that period at all; it is wholly unexpected. The advances made by Hunt would not be seen again for eighty years, and not replicated by the U.S. Navy until the mid-1950s.

In addition to researching and writing little-known naval history, Chuck Veit enjoys delivering presentations on a number of the episodes he’s discovered. He has spoken twice at the Maritime Heritage Conference in Norfolk, six times at the Naval War College in Newport, to the Naval Order of the United States in Jacksonville, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard’s 238th Anniversary Ball, and at the Mariners’ Museum Civil War Navy Conference in Newport News. Other venues include a large number of historical societies, Civil War Roundtables and schools in the Northeast and in Seattle. Chuck has also been interviewed on Civil War Talk Radio to discuss A Dog Before a Soldier as well as Sea Miner.

Meeting of March 14, 2024

John Reeves on “Soldier of Destiny: Slavery, Secession, and the Redemption of Ulysses S. Grant”

Soldier of Destiny is about the rise of Ulysses S. Grant. Captain Ulysses S. Grant, an obscure army officer who was expelled for alcohol abuse in 1854, rose to become general-in-chief of the United States Army in 1864. What accounts for this astonishing turn-around during this extraordinary decade? Was it destiny? Or was he just an ordinary man, opportunistically benefiting from the turmoil of the Civil War to advance to the highest military rank?

Soldier of Destiny reveals that Grant always possessed the latent abilities of a skilled commander—and he was able to develop these skills out West without the overwhelming pressure faced by more senior commanders in the Eastern theater at the beginning of the Civil War. Grant was a true Westerner himself and it was his experience in the West—before and during the Civil War—that was central to his rise.

John Reeves is the author of A Fire in the Wilderness and The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee. He has taught European and American history at Lehman College, Bronx Community College, and Southbank University in London. John received an MA in European History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. You can learn more about him at john-reeves.com. He lives near Washington, DC.

Bill Hughes — Member Profile

Bill Hughes is a Vineland, New Jersey boy, raised up around a father and grandfather whose work ethics and positive role model lives made a deep impact on him.

Bill is a graduate of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, with a Master of Education degree from West Chester University. He taught physical education and drivers’ education at Pennsauken High School for 38 years. He also coached soccer, and refereed soccer and track & field. He was inducted into the Pfeiffer University Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame. He served on the board of the Sterling Regional School District for 18 yrs.; before joining the board, he spent 25 years as a volunteer fireman.

Over his 81 years, Bill has become quite the writer and publisher as he accomplished with his two books pertaining to the Civil War era. The U.S. General Hospital at Beverly, New Jersey, 1864-1865 traces the hospital’s roots and the people who shaped it.“The hospital was the reason for the beginning of Beverly National Cemetery.” The book was later used as a source for a mail-related story in The Journal of the New Jersey Postal History Society.

The Civil War Papers of Lt. Col. Newton T. Colby, New York Infantry is a compilation of Colby’s personal letters, newspaper articles, and accounts of fighting and daily life from other soldiers. Colby served with two New York regiments, the 23rd and the 107th, until getting typhoid fever after Chancellorsville. He served later in the Veteran Reserve Corps as superintendent of the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. at the time of Lincoln’s assassination. Colby, recognized as an excellent soldier by his peers and commanding officers, was Bill’s great-great-grandfather. “It started with over 100 of his personal letters home to his father during the war. With about 10 years of research on my part, I found many other documents and side stories about him. I felt it was history that should be preserved.” (Bill had two other Civil War veteran ancestors, his wife had one.)

Bill is nearing completion on a Civil War history of Vineland, a city that did not exist in 1861. “I have identified over 600 veterans that had something to do with Vineland. There are over 300 veterans buried here, and that to me was an amazing number. I wrote a bio for each one.” Two are special: Dr. Charles Brewer, a surgeon general on General Robert E. Lee’s staff in Richmond and brother-in-law to Major General J.E.B. Stuart; and Sergeant William Pittenger, one of the Andrews’ Raiders who went south and stole a locomotive from the Confederates, spent time in a Rebel prison, and then won the Medal of Honor.

It is obvious the substantial amount of time Bill spends on researching Civil War history. He and his wife of 47 years, Marty, have traveled many years in RVs to Civil War sites and have followed J.E.B. Stuart’s trail around the Union Army and Colonel John S. Mosby all over Virginia.

Bill is a member of the American Battlefield Trust, Millville Army Air Field Museum, Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, numerous Elks and Masonic lodges, the NRA, and is a trustee of the historic Siloam Cemetery in Vineland.

As for the Old Baldy Civil War Roundtable of Philadelphia, Bill has been a faithful member for 31 years and is a past secretary. To write the history of the group — founded in 1977 — Bill has had the monumental task of tracking down past members, gathering pictures, and rounding up newsletters.

“I have dabbled in many things.” We noticed, Bill. Thank you!

Profile written by Kim Weaver

Arlene Schnaare — Member Profile

Before joining the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table nine years ago, Arlene Schnaare believed everything she was told about the American Civil War. Case in point: the old legend that coded messages were embedded in quilts hung on a fence or clothesline along the Underground Railroad to direct runaway slaves to safe houses and routes to freedom. It is an exciting tale, one that is easy to believe as it has been told and written as truth for generations. But the story that quilts contained secret codes before and during the Civil War has been entirely dismissed by history scholars and quilt historians. A bear paw design sewn into a quilt did not mean a slave should follow an animal trail into the woods to find water and food, or that a quilt with a monkey wrench block signaled slaves to start gathering tools for a planned escape North. There is simply no evidence of truth, which came as a surprise to the quilt-making Arlene Schnaare. “Before Old Baldy, I believed all the stories I knew about the Civil War. The quilts? It is a feel-good story but it’s not true. There are lots of fallacies in Civil War history. I’m learning to separate truth from fiction.”

Arlene was not interested in the Civil War, or quilts, when she was living in St. Louis, Missouri, her birthplace. After graduating from Mercy High School, Arlene enrolled in a three-year registered nurse program at St. John’s School of Nursing and worked at its affiliate, St. John’s Hospital. Across the street was the St. Louis College of Pharmacy where she met a student named Roger Schnaare. They married in 1960.

The couple moved to Indiana for Roger’s graduate studies at Purdue University and lived there for four years. They moved back to St. Louis, stayed for three years, and then moved east to Turnersville, New Jersey. They have three children: Tim, Mary and Theresa; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Arlene and Roger currently reside in Haddonfield.

After she retired from nursing, Arlene went to work part-time at a needlepoint store and began an interest in the craft as well as cross stitch. Then she developed an overwhelming love of quilting. “I call it a disease. I’ve made 35 so far. I’m just fascinated by the colors and designs.” Although Arlene is currently working on a copy of an 1820 quilt, Civil War reproduction quilts are her forte. In fact, Arlene already has all the materials she needs to make a reproduction of a quilt that reportedly hung in Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home at Knob Creek in Kentucky. “I promised Abe I would do it.”

It was through quilting that Arlene developed an interest in the Civil War, an era she says she knew little about. She and Roger have visited the Gettysburg Battlefield and also made a trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. She was in awe of the history around her. “I touched the Liberty Bell. At Gettysburg I stood there. I stood there.”

Arlene was taking continuing education classes at The Center at Camden County College when she first bumped into Richard Jankowski and Frank Barletta of Old Baldy. After looking over a brochure Rich handed her, Arlene asked Frank if a test was required to get into the group. He replied no and encouraged her to attend a meeting. It was one of the best decisions she had ever made. “Old Baldy has been good for me. Walking across the campus I feel like I’m 19 again. I like the feeling of being there. Everyone is so smart about the Civil War.” Arlene spoke about her reproduction quilt collection at an OB meeting in 2017.

Soon after she joined Old Baldy, Arlene and member Priscilla Gabosch were recruited to create a membership committee; their first job was to convert the old paper records to a computer-based system. Both women have done a wonderful job with the membership program. Their spreadsheet format is still in use today.

Profile written by Kim Weaver

Gary Salkind — Member Profile

Gary Salkind was born in Wynnefield, Philadelphia on July 30th, 1953. He grew up in the area, living in Wynnewood, Havertown, Overbrook Park, and Drexel Hill. He went to Lower Merion High School in Ardmore and graduated in 1971. Gary continued his education at Saint Joseph’s University and then at Temple University School of Medicine. He was a practicing physician who taught at a residency program; worked at the Philadelphia Nursing Home; and performed house calls for patients until he retired in 2019.

Gary’s family consists of his wife, two children, four grandchildren, and a sister and her family. He and his wife Mindy have been married for 45 years. They met in 1975 at a Messianic Jewish congregation in Philadelphia.

In retirement, Gary has found more time to spend on his hobbies. He enjoys reading about his historical interests and visiting historic sites. He and Mindy are members of the Tapestry Historic Dance Ensemble, a group that performs social dances of different periods of history.

Ever since he was a child, Gary has had a love for history. He and his childhood friends would act out World War II fighting. Some of his main interests include military technology and the experiences of common soldiers. He says it is convenient to love Civil War history because the battlefields are near enough to visit.

Gary became a part of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table in 2020 after he discovered an old OB pamphlet when he was cleaning out his files. He searched online for more information and found that he could join the meetings virtually. He says membership now has the ability to expand regardless of where the meetings take place.

Gary is a member of the Friends of Gettysburg, a group that helps raise funds to preserve and maintain the battlefield. He is also a member of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.