Chuck Veit on “Monitor’s Unknown Mission: The Navy Raid on the Petersburg Bridges”
Here is the unsung and all but forgotten story of a major failed mission of the American Civil War. Undertaken at the request of the President, the Navy dedicated a dozen gunboats (including the ironclads Monitor and Galena) and an untried secret weapon, to the destruction of the railroad bridges connecting Petersburg with Richmond. Success would not attend their efforts, but the attempt was well worth the risk.
Had it succeeded, the naval expedition might well have brought about or at least hastened the end of the Rebellion. That most of the squadron escaped unscathed was due entirely to the battles raging on the peninsula to the north. Southern leadership was necessarily focused on the Union army sitting but a few miles from their capitol, and missed the opportunity to capture or destroy a dozen of the Yankee ships on the James River.
Chuck Veit is the author of original research books, including A Dog Before a Soldier: Almost-lost Episodes in the Navy’s Civil War; Sea Miner: Major E. B. Hunt’s Rocket Torpedo; Natural Genius: Brutus de Villeroi and the U.S. Navy’s First Submarine; and two books focusing on the salvage exploits of Massachusetts native, John E. Gowen: Raising Missouri and The Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol. Sea Miner claimed the 2016 award for Narrative Non-fiction from the Independent Publishers of New England, and Yankee Expedition won awards in both the Perennial Seller category and Book of the Year in 2017.
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.
Carole Adrienne on “Healing a Divided Nation: How the American Civil War Revolutionized Western Medicine”
At the start of the Civil War, the medical field in America was rudimentary, unsanitary, and woefully underprepared to address what would become the bloodiest conflict on U.S. soil. However, in this historic moment of pivotal social and political change, medicine was also fast evolving to meet the needs of the time. Unprecedented strides were made in the science of medicine, and as women and African Americans were admitted into the field for the first time.
The Civil War marked a revolution in healthcare as a whole, laying the foundations for the system we know today. In Healing a Divided Nation, Carole Adrienne tracks this remarkable and bloody transformation in its cultural and historical context, illustrating how the advancements made in these four years reverberated throughout the western world for years to come.
Carole Adrienne received her B.F.A. from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. She has organized an archive for Old St. Joseph’s National Shrine, twice chaired “Archives Week” in Philadelphia, and has served on advisory panels for the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, The Mutter Museum’s “Civil War Medicine” exhibit and its “Spit Spreads Death: The 1918 Flu Epidemic” exhibit. She is working on a documentary film series on Civil War medicine and lives in Philadelphia, PA. This is her first book.
Brett Gibbons on “The Influence of the Crimean War on the American Civil War”
In 1853 a conflict began that, for the first time since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, pitted most of the great powers of Europe against each other. What initially started as a conflict between the Russian and Ottoman empires quickly escalated to involve the western European maritime powers, Great Britain and France. The Crimean War signaled the arrival of modern warfare and offered keen observers an opportunity to learn important lessons. New technology altered the fighting and forced adjustments. While military planners quickly forgot most lessons of the Crimean War, turning the conflict into one of the century’s forgotten wars, the struggle had a profound impact on the American Civil War.
Brett Gibbons is an author and historical researcher, having written several books on 19th century arms, ammunition, logistics, and military history, including The Destroying Angel, The English Cartridge, and Like Fire and Powder. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2010, and was later commissioned as an Ordnance Officer at Fort Benning Officer Candidate School. Today he serves as a Logistics staff officer, and had the privilege of commanding two Army Reserve sustainment companies on two overseas deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Spartan Shield. Brett is the owner of Paper Cartridges LLC located in Gettysburg, Pa, and has been researching and making historically correct Civil War era bullets and cartridges for the reenacting and historical shooting communities for the last 15 years.
Derek D. Maxfield on “Man of Fire: William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War”
Man of Fire tells the story of a man who found himself in war—and that, in turn, secured him a place in history. Condemned for his barbarousness or hailed for his heroics, the life of this peculiar general is nonetheless compelling—and thoroughly American.
After leading his troops at the battle of Bull Run, the anxious brigadier general was sent West to Kentucky. Apprehensive over the situation in the Blue Grass State, suffering from stress, insomnia, and anxiety, Sherman begged to be relieved. Sent home to recover, the newspapers announced he was insane. Colleagues concluded he was “gone in the head.”
Instead, like a phoenix, he rose from the ashes to become a hero of the republic. Forging an identity in the fire of war, the unconventional general kindled a friendship with Ulysses S. Grant and proved to everyone at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Georgia, and in the Carolinas that while he was unorthodox, he was also brilliant and creative. More than that, he was eminently successful and played an important role in the Union’s victory.
Derek Maxfield is an associate professor of history at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York. He holds a BA in History from SUNY Cortland, an MA in History from Villanova University, and was a PhD candidate at the University of Buffalo, where he is ABD. In 2013, Maxfield was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities and, more recently, was awarded the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. When he is not engaged in academic pursuits, he is usually found working on genealogy with a cat in his lap.
Most, if not all, Battle of Gettysburg buffs have heard of Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, and women such as Lydia Leister (whose home was used as General Meade’s headquarters), Mary Thompson (whose property was the site of General Lee’s headquarters), and others like Tillie Pierce and Elizabeth Thorn. But what about the many other women who were there during or after the battle?
Join independent historian Randy Drais to learn not only about the more well-known women, but also the more lesser known ones like Marie Tepe (“French Mary”), Cornelia Hancock, Catherine Heagen, Lucinda Horne, Rose Quinn Rooney, and many more. We will also learn about the monument on the battlefield that has not one, but two women mentioned on the plaques of that monument!
Steven Knowlton on “Thirteen Months in Dixie, or, the Adventures of a Federal Prisoner in Texas”
Thirteen Months in Dixie tells a rollicking tale of adventure, captivity, hardship, and heroism during the last year of the Civil War—in the protagonist’s own words. After being hidden away for decades as a family heirloom, the incredible manuscript is finally available, annotated and illustrated, for the first time.
Steven A. Knowlton is Librarian for History and African American Studies at Princeton University. His historical research has been published in many peer-reviewed journals. He is the recipient of the William Driver Award from the North American Vexillological Association and the Marshall Wingfield Award from the West Tennessee Historical Society and has won the Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award twice. This is his first book.
Walt Lafty on “The Real War Will Never Get in The Books – The Civil War’s Poet Patriot Walt Whitman”
This presentation will focus on how the Civil War impacted the life and writings of Walt Whitman. While many people know him as a poet and author, it will be his love of country and his contributions to the war effort during the Civil War which will be highlighted.
Walt Lafty has been active in various Civil War groups for almost twenty years. Currently those include the Delaware Valley CWRT where he is a board member as well as a member of the preservation committee; and he is also an active member of the Old Baldy CWRT.
In addition, Walt is a volunteer and research administrator at the G.A.R. Museum in Philadelphia. He is also a member of Baker-Fisher Camp 101 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Hatboro PA, where he serves as the camp secretary, and he is also a member of the General Meade Society.
Brad Gottfried on “Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns”
The two major battles, Antietam and Gettysburg, that ended Lee’s invasion of the North are among the most studied conflicts in the American Civil War. However, no full treatment comparing the two campaigns has been published. This work attempts to rectify that deficiency.
Dr. Gottfried reviews and compares of all aspects of the two campaigns, including: The military and political environment at the beginning of each campaign; Why Lee undertook the invasions; The armies and their leaders; The condition of the armies; Military intelligence; Getting to the battlefield; Battles along the way; Battlefield terrain; Initial encounters; The three phases of battle in each campaign; The armies and their commanders-in-chiefs; and Post-campaign events and Final thoughts.
After receiving his doctorate in 1976, Brad Gottfried worked in higher education for over 40 years, retiring as the President of the College of Southern Maryland in 2017. He has written 13 books on the Civil War, including Brigades of Gettysburg, Kearny’s Own: The History of the First New Jersey Brigade, Hell Comes to Southern Maryland: The Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp for Confederates, and the iconic Maps series of battlefields. Brad became an Antietam Battlefield Guide in 2019 and also serves as a Gettysburg Town Guide.
Dan Casella on “We are not Soldiers, but Bulldogs: Cedarville Men in the 7th New Jersey”
In early December 1861, a group of newly minted infantrymen walked into a Washington City photographer’s studio dressed in their freshly issued sky blue overcoats and arranged themselves to have their likeness taken. The five men were either directly related to each other or were friends before they answered Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers and enlisted about a month earlier. Their overcoats were unstained from the rigors of any campaign and their cloth forage caps were stiff from the warehouse. As they waited for the photographer to lift the cover off his lens, they made last-minute adjustments to those coats and caps, the position of their hands, and the expression on their faces. None of these men had any idea of the trials and tribulations that lay ahead during the course of their three-year enlistment.
The green soldiers were a part of Company H of the 7th New Jersey Infantry, a regiment recruited out of Cumberland and Gloucester Counties in southern New Jersey. Cedarville and Fairton, where these men hail from, are small towns close to Delaware Bay. The area is interlaced by tidal rivers and streams, and many buildings from as far back as the 1750s to the turn of the early 20th century remain. The vacation destination of Cape May is not far away.
Some 160 years after it was taken, that image would send me on a quest to learn all I could about these men. I would quickly find out that Cedarville and Cumberland County have a rich and proud Civil War history.
Dan Casella writes from Cedarville N.J. A chef by training, he spends many weekends interpreting the Civil War to the public as a member of Liberty Rifles living history organization. President of the Lawrence Township Historical Society since 2019, he hopes to compile dozens of accounts in the society’s collections into a book about Cedarville men in the war.
Timothy D Walker on “Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad”
In 1858, Mary Millburn successfully made her escape from Norfolk, Virginia, to Philadelphia aboard an express steamship. Millburn’s maritime route to freedom was far from uncommon. By the mid-nineteenth century an increasing number of enslaved people had fled northward along the Atlantic seaboard. While scholarship on the Underground Railroad has focused almost exclusively on overland escape routes from the antebellum South, this groundbreaking volume expands our understanding of how freedom was achieved by sea and what the journey looked like for many African Americans.
With innovative scholarship and thorough research, Sailing to Freedom highlights little-known stories and describes the less-understood maritime side of the Underground Railroad, including the impact of African Americans’ paid and unpaid waterfront labor. These ten essays reconsider and contextualize how escapes were managed along the East Coast, moving from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland to safe harbor in northern cities such as Philadelphia, New York, New Bedford, and Boston.
Dr. Timothy Walker is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and serves as Fulbright Program Advisor. He is a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Portuguese and an affiliated faculty member of the Center of Indian Studies and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Walker is also an Affiliated Researcher of the Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM) at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. In September 2018 he was appointed Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Dr. Walker’s teaching fields include Early Modern Europe, the Atlantic World, the Portuguese and their empire, maritime history and European global colonial expansion. Current research topics include the adoption of colonial indigenous medicines by Europeans; climate data derived from colonial-era archival documentation; slave trading in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; as well as commercial and cultural links between the Portuguese overseas colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.