Category Archives: Meeting announcement

Meeting of May 9, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, May 9, 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@verizon.net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

Victor Vignola on “Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks”

Surprisingly little has been written about the important Battle of Fair Oaks (and the simultaneous Seven Pines). The bloody two-day affair (May 31-June 1, 1862), fought on the doorstep of the Confederate capital, was the first major battle in the Eastern Theater since Bull Run/Manassas the previous summer. It left more than 11,000 casualties in its wake and the primary Southern army without its commander. The possession of Richmond hung in the balance. Victor Vignola’s Contrasts in Command, which is centered around the Fair Oaks fighting, rectifies this gap in the literature.

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan marched his Army of the Potomac up the Virginia Peninsula during the spring weeks of 1862 before committing a near-fatal error by placing his inexperienced IV Corps at the tip of the spear south of the flood-prone Chickahominy River. Opposing McClellan at the head of the Virginia army was Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who had fallen back without offering much in the way of opposition. When the opportunity to strike beckoned, Johnston crafted an overly complex attack plan to crush the exposed IV Corps. A series of bungled Confederate marches, piecemeal assaults, and a lack of assertive leadership doomed the Southern plan. One of the wounded late in the day on May 31 was Gen. Johnston, whose injury led to the appointment of Gen. Robert E. Lee to take his place—a decision that changed the course of the entire Civil War.

Victor Vignola is a lifelong student of the Civil War and has written articles for publication in North and South Magazine and other forums. Victor delivers historical programs, conducts tours, and regularly visits various Civil War sites. Vic’s career included executive-level labor and interagency relations for the Office of Mental Health in New York State. He lives with his family in Orange County, New York, home of the 124th New York “Orange Blossoms” Regiment.

Meeting of June 13, 2024

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, June 13, 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@verizon.net at least 24 hours prior to request Zoom access. This month’s topic is

James Scythes on “Letters to Lizzie: The Story of 16 Men in the Civil War and the One Woman Who Connected Them All”

During the American Civil War, soldiers frequently wrote letters to friends and family members as a way of maintaining their connections to loved ones at home. However, most of the published collections of Civil War letters contain correspondence between just two individuals. Letters to Lizzie: The Story of Sixteen Men in the Civil War and the One Woman Who Connected Them All contains a collection of letters exchanged between 16 men—15 soldiers and a quartermaster at a military hospital—and one young woman, Lizzie Brick. Since Lizzie herself could not bear arms, she took up her pen and through ongoing correspondence helped these Union soldiers sustain their motivation for the cause.

James M. Scythes is assistant professor of history at West Chester University. He has written extensively on topics related to the Civil War era and is the author of This Will Make a Man of Me: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War.

Professor Scythes earned a B.A. in history at Rowan University and holds a Master of Arts in history from Villanova University. He teaches all of the 100-level History courses and has taught a course on the American Civil War. Professor Scythes also serves as a supervisor of student teachers. His research interests focus on antebellum America, American Civil War, and 19th century military history. Professor Scythes has published a number of encyclopedia articles, and in 2016 his first book, “This Will Make a Man of Me”: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War. He is also President of the Gloucester County NJ Historical Society.

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@verizon.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 October 13, 2022

Jim Remsen and Brad Upp on “Back From Battle: The Forgotten Story of Pennsylvania’s Camp Discharge and the Weary Civil War Soldiers It Served”

In the final year of the American Civil War, a special Union Army post was constructed just outside Philadelphia to handle a jumble of returning citizen-soldiers.

Many soldiers bore bullet wounds, broken bones, and other scars of combat. Some had lost limbs. Some were laid low by illness. Hundreds arrived half-dead as survivors of wretched prison camps. Others were blessedly unscathed—but all grappled with the fresh, ferocious memories of their time at war.

The post, known as Camp Discharge, did its best to move the young Union veterans on to their next assignment or, more often, back to civilian life. During its brief existence, it sat on a bluff overlooking what is today one of the nation’s busiest highways, the Schuylkill Expressway. The post was quickly dismantled, its story forgotten. The authors reclaim that remarkable history and trace the often tumultuous lives of the Pennsylvania volunteer soldiers who passed through Camp Discharge’s gates.

Jim Remsen is a journalist and author of several prior books; The Intermarriage Handbook; Visions of Teaoga; and Embattled Freedom. Since retiring as Religion Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jim has pursued his keen interest in history, with a focus on underappreciated aspects of our nation’s local histories.

Jim Remsen and Brad Upp

Brad Upp is a board member of the Lower Merion Historical Society and a former educator. His upbringing near Camp Discharge stoked a fascination with history and led him to become a Civil War historian, relic hunter and re-enactor representing the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry. Brad is a skilled collector of artifacts from various periods of history, a passion that has taken him to a myriad of locations throughout the United States.