Registration form is now available: Civil War Navy conference form
A visit to the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia on Pine Street in the early 1990s and viewing the preserved bust of Old Baldy by a self-described horse and history nut influenced Nancy Bowker to join the OBCWRT to learn more about Old Baldy.
Growing up in Riverton, NJ, Nancy’s artist father took her and her brother and sister to many museums to do research for his paintings of soldiers of the American Revolution. Nancy’s mother was a librarian and it must have had an influence on her literary skills as Nancy is the author of two horse related books and is co-author of a third. She has also had articles published in several trade horse magazines. Nancy’s education includes Palmyra High School, college in Vermont and Burlington County, NJ, a year at The Sterling School in Craftbury Commons, Vermont and a year in Horsemanship School in Chester Springs, PA.
It was research for her second book about horse trainer John S. Rarey that peaked her interest in the Civil War. Rarey was a world famous “horse whisperer” and was an important figure in the rehabilitation of abused and vicious horses during the 1850s. Nancy’s research on Mr. Rarey showed he was present as an observer in Thaddeus Lowe’s balloon during the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, even drawing Confederate fire. In order to gain more information on Mr. Rarey Nancy did more research on the battle and as she puts it, “became hooked.”
Nancy lives on a New Jersey farm with her husband Russ, two rescue horses that are smart, funny and noble;m and old mellow Golden Retriever and two cats. Her daughter Jessica is a social worker who also has a horse and is an ardent animal lover. Her background besides writing about horses includes working in horse stables, working at racing stables, a horse and carriage wedding service and volunteering with a therapeutic riding program. She currently works as a book seller at Barnes & Noble.
Overall Nancy is very interested in the cavalry aspects of the war. She enjoys studying the use of horses and mules, she also has interest in the generals Meade, Grant, and Sheridan. She has worked on a children’s book on Meade’s Old Baldy and is working to get it published.
She has traveled to various Civil War sites. It is not surprising that Nancy has visited Brandy Station, along with The Wilderness, Fredricksburg, City Point, Richmond, and Gettysburg. Besides the actual battlefields, she has enjoyed visiting the GAR Museum, The Smith Memorial in Fairmount Park and the stature of General Meade and Old Baldy behind Centennial Hall.
She has read many books on the Civil War. Favorites include The Passing of the Armies by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the three book series on the Union Cavalry by Stephen Z. Starr, and books by Bruce Catton, Eric Wittenberg, Ed Longacre, and our own Dr. Andy Waskie. Her favorite Civil War movies are Gettysburg and The Colt. Other favorite movies are The Black Stallion, Field of Dreams, The Patriot, and Funny Farm.
Besides OBCWRT Nancy is a member of The General Meade Society and the Civil War Trust. She is a member of the following; The Author’s Guild, Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Hooved Animal Humane Society. Nancy loves music and enjoys attending concerts, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City. She enjoys going to plays and horse events with her daughter.
Profile text by Steve Peters
A message from John C. Fazio:
Fellow Roundtablers and History Lovers:
This year, as with the last two, I will again be teaching an overview of the Civil War at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York (Causes, Combat, Conclusions and Consequences). The course number is 1420, a description of which you can access on-line by Googling “Chautauqua Institution”, then “2018 Season”, then “Take a Class”, then “Register for Classes”, then “Go to Course Number 1420”. The course consists of three two-hour lectures, complete with hundreds of PowerPoint slides, from 1:00 through 3:00 pm, on August 20, 21 and 22, at the Turner Conference Center. Tuition is quite modest–$85 for the entire course, with a daily rate if one wishes to attend only one or two of the lectures.
Incidentally, it happens, quite by chance and quite fortuitously, that Ken Burns will be speaking on two of the days that I will be lecturing. His program is titled “The Filmmaker as Collaborator: A Conversation With Ken Burns and Friends. His “Friends” are Dayton Duncan, a documentary filmmaker and author, and Geoffrey C. Ward, a scriptwriter and author. Burns’s program will be given on August 20 and 21 at 10:45 am, so one could easily schedule both his program and the Civil War lectures on both days. Burns hardly needs an introduction. He is the creator of numerous made-for-TV historical masterpieces, one of which, of course, is “The Civil War”, which George Will said was the best thing ever to be shown on television.
You can register at three different places on the grounds or, in advance, by using this address: http://chq.org/classes, which will take you to the registration information.
I hope to see some of you there. If you do come, please identify yourself to me.
John C. Fazio
Joseph-James Ahern on “The Philadelphia Navy Yard: Mainstay of the Fleet, 1801–1995”
The Philadelphia Navy Yard was one of five government shipyard established at the start of the nineteenth century to support the infant United States Navy. Originally located in the Southwark section of the city, the Philadelphia Navy Yard conducted ship repair and construction through the Antebellum period. In its first sixty years the Yard would see the fleet transition from sail to steam, and adjust its workforce accordingly. With the coming of the Civil War, the Philadelphia Navy Yard was challenged by the demands of the growing Federal Navy, and the new technologies introduced into naval warfare. The Civil War was also the catalyst for the move of the Yard from its original location to League Island. A move that would establish the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as one of the nation’s important naval industrial sites during World War II and the Cold War. In his presentation, naval historian and archivist Joseph-James Ahern will explore the history of the Navy Yard, from its establishment in 1801 to its closure in 1995. The talk will explore how the events of the Civil War impacted the Yard, and were the catalyst for the changes that lead to its development as an important twentieth century industrial site.
Joseph-James Ahern is currently a senior archivist at the University Archives and Records Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. A resident of Riverside, N.J., Mr. Ahern graduated from Rutgers University – Camden with a Master of Arts in Public History. He has worked for such notable institutions as the Atwater Kent Museum – The History Museum of Philadelphia, and the American Philosophical Society Library. He has also been a consulting historian to the National Archives and Records Administration – Mid-Atlantic Region for their exhibit Mainstay of the Fleet: The Philadelphia Navy Yard 1801–1997, and Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections for their exhibit From Wharf to Ward: Pennsylvania Hospital & Maritime Health, 1799–1830. He has focused his scholarly research in U.S. military and naval history, primarily in the areas of military operations and technical development. In November 1997 he published Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, a photographic look at the historic shipyard located on League Island. In addition, Mr. Ahern has published articles in American Neptune, International Journal of Naval History, Encyclopedia of New Jersey, and Encyclopedia of the Atomic Age. In 2003 he published the article “‘We had the hose turned on us!’: Ross Gunn and the Naval Research Laboratory’s Early Research into Nuclear Propulsion, 1939–1946” in Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences. Mr. Ahern is also a regular reviewer for the Naval Historical Foundation, Army Historical Foundation, Maryland Historical Society, and Civil War Book Reviews. He is also a member of the Civil War Trust, Friends of Gettysburg, Naval Historical Foundation, and Army Historical Foundation.
Melissa Ziobro on “Women in the US Military”
“If you really want to do something, go for it … even if it doesn’t come to fruition, when you’re in that rocking chair on the porch, you’ll be like, ‘I don’t have any regrets. I went after it.’”
–Admiral Michelle Howard
On July 1, 2014, Admiral Michelle Howard became the first female four-star Admiral in the United States Navy’s history. She assumed her new rank at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. With this rank also came assignment as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, making her the number two officer in the naval service. She is not only the first woman to hold the job, but also the first African-American to do so. Why was this day so long in the making? Who are some of the trailblazing military women that helped pave the way for her throughout our nation’s history? And just who is Michelle Howard, the woman who earned this remarkable distinction? While there have been short, popular media articles written about Admiral Howard, and she is mentioned in several compilation volumes on notable military leaders, African Americans, and women, this talk is based on will be the first in-depth, scholarly piece dedicated to her biography and her place in history.
Melissa Ziobro is currently the Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, teaching courses to include Introduction to Public History, Oral History, and Museums and Archives Management. Her service to the University includes coordinating the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program and her Department’s social media and newsletter. Melissa serves on the Executive Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region; as a Trustee of the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, NJ; and as the editor for New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, a joint venture of the NJ Historical Commission, Rutgers University Libraries, and Monmouth University. She has worked with public history organizations such as the Monmouth County Park System, InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum, Monmouth County Park System, Monmouth County Historical Association, Monmouth County Historical Commission, Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage, National Guard Militia Museum of NJ, and more. She served as a command historian at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ from 2004 to 2011.
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.
Bob Russo on “Arlington National Cemetery—Garden of Stone”
Bob is presenting for our Community Outreach initiative: 10:30 am, July 2, 2018, at the Katz JCC Community Center, Cherry Hill, NJ. The JCC charges a $5 donation to cover refreshments.
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, is 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. Year’s 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.
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.
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.
Now Available on Amazon pay-per-view: A new Civil War Documentary, “Civil War Prisons – An American Tragedy”
This edgy documentary covers one of the saddest and least covered chapters of the war. Check out the review by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the link to the film.