Category Archives: Member profile

Wayne Blattner — Member Profile

Born in Norristown, PA in 1953, Wayne Blattner’s Civil War interest seems foreordained. He attended the Abraham Lincoln elementary school and as a Cub/Boy Scout (fortunate to earn Eagle Scout in 1968), participated in the Norristown Memorial Day parades which ended at the Montgomery Cemetery, where the Scouts placed flags on the graves of local Civil War veterans.

Wayne with Ed Bearrs

After high school, Wayne studied at a technical drafting school in Reading, PA, where he received a certificate of Drafting and Design. This launched him on his career of drafting electrical engineering diagrams showing the locations of the electrical wiring, outlets, light receptacles, and fire alarms for building renovations and construction. Though Wayne jokingly referred to himself as “the dinosaur in the room” because all the other engineers had degrees, he had great bosses who helped him advance his skills. He worked 24 years as a Senior Electrical Designer for Bala Consulting Engineers in King of Prussia and retired in 2020 from his final job at Kupper Engineering in Ambler, PA.

As a kid, Wayne attended Camp Innabah in Chester County. He liked it so much that in his late teens he took a second job joining the camp support staff. This proved fortuitous as he met his future wife, Cheryl, there in 1975. She was working in the program staff, as a camp counselor. They hit it off and got married two years later, moving to Royersford, PA. They have two children – Kurt (who is also an Eagle Scout) and Corrine, born in 1982 and 1985, respectively.

Wayne’s Civil War interest stems from a family reunion in the late 1980s. He was talking to his great aunt, who told him that when she was a child she often spoke with her two grandfathers, both of whom fought in the Civil War. These were Mills Williamson, who served first with the 4th PA Infantry (a 90-day unit) and then the 95th PA Infantry (part of Upton’s VI Corps brigade), while William Charles was with the 5th PA Cavalry. William Charles was a widower who lived his final years with Wayne’s great aunt’s family. This inspired Wayne to research his great-great grandfathers’ Civil War service.

Then in 1990, Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary came out and Wayne was hooked. He did additional research and learned of five other relatives who fought in the Civil War, one of whom, John Burnett, also served in the 95th PA Infantry. Burnett’s sister, Martha, married Mills Williamson, and the two brothers-in-law enlisted together in the 95th PA after Williamson’s service with the 4th PA ended. Wayne also discovered that Williamson was wounded during Grant’s May 12, 1864 attack at Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle. Later, Wayne was on a tour of the Spotsylvania battlefield with the legendary Ed Bearss (one of his six Ed Bearss tours). The night before the tour he asked if the next day Ed could show him where his ancestor got wounded and Ed said OK. The next day was a hot, humid, 95-degree scorcher. As the day and tour drew to a close and people began returning to the buses, Wayne figured Ed must have forgotten their conversation. Suddenly, Ed called out, “WHO’S THE GUY FROM THE 95th PA?!!!!” Wayne meekly raised his hand and Ed walked him over to the spot where the 95th PA did its fighting and where his great-great grandfather probably got wounded.

Wayne’s favorite Civil War books include Gordon Rhea’s volumes on Grant’s Overland Campaign as well as Eric Wittenberg’s books on cavalry engagements. His favorite battlefields are Gettysburg, where three of his ancestors fought, followed closely by Antietam. Besides Old Baldy, which Wayne joined in 1995, he belongs to many other Civil War organizations, such as the Civil War Round Table of Montgomery County, which meets in Norristown (Wayne’s “home” Round Table); the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, General Hartranft Camp #15, which meets in Harrisburg; the Gettysburg Foundation; and the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, which also organizes Civil War tours.

Wayne’s other outside interests include both model trains and vintage steam engine trains. While his model train setups as a kid were limited to layouts around the tree at Christmas, later in the 1980s and 90s, he began to take 1-2 day steam engine excursions, ranging from the more local Scranton to the Poconos trips to a 2–day steam engine outing from San Jose, CA to San Francisco and back. One possible train inspiration was Wayne’s maternal grandfather, who worked as a fireman and then an engineer for the Reading Railroad. Wayne must have thought of him every time he “took a ride on the Reading” when playing Monopoly. In addition, Wayne is an avid ancestry.com guy who has researched over 35 families for family members and friends. He has traced his own family tree back to his 7th great-grandparents, who were part of the Schwenkfelder 1734 migration from the Poland/Germany area of Europe. They came to William Penn’s new colony to escape Europe’s religious intolerance and most settled in Montgomery County.

Wayne’s Civil War connections start with his ancestors who fought in the war and continue today to his numerous Civil War groups which, happily, include the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table.

Ellen Preston — Member Profile

Ellen Preston grew up in Bellmawr, NJ, attending Highland High School. If you went to a Highland HS sporting event back in the 1970s, you may have seen Ellen as she was the Highland Tartans’ school mascot. Her outfit included a kilt, sash, gaiters, hat and bagpipes. How did she come to play the bagpipes? Ellen played clarinet in the school band and her teacher encouraged her to try bagpipes. While not easy to learn, she did it and still plays to this day, including at her son’s wedding. And yes, she did get to bonnie Scotland—three times.

In high school, Ellen read Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, sparking a lifetime interest in the Civil War (another favorite Civil War book is Tony Horowitz’s Confederates in the Attic). Her Civil War focus was further nurtured by a trip to Gettysburg with her Girl Scout troop when she and her Scout-mates reenacted the fighting at Devil’s Den and Pickett’s Charge.

After high school, Ellen attended Sterling College in Vermont before joining the Air Force as a life support specialist. She later took night school courses at Camden County College and got a Master of Science degree on-line from Swinburne University in Australia. Since getting her degree, Ellen has held many diverse jobs, including an anti-terrorist food expert, working for Amtrak on its $100 million labor schedule system, and her current position for the Delaware River Port Authority running its SAP Systems Upgrade project.

Ellen’s husband, Dietrich, is another Old Baldy member and Civil War enthusiast. They’ve been married 8 years though have known each other long before that, having met on South Street in Philly 26 years ago. Ellen saw him and a voice in her head said, “He’s the one.” So she went over and struck up a conversation. It turned out they both had mutual friends and they kept in touch over the years. And eventually they got married. Between them, they have three children from a prior marriage: Rowen Gunn (39) lives in Colorado while Remy (16) and Liam (18) reside in Pennsylvania.

Ellen has been with Old Baldy for 6 years and has served on its Board of Directors. But her most famous Old Baldy contribution has been her New Jersey Civil War map. The map started as a lark—she’s always had an interest in local history—and began researching places in New Jersey with Civil War connections. She then placed them on a map which eventually became the New Jersey Civil War map featured at our Old Baldy meetings. “It’s been a fun project,” Ellen noted, “which has really taken off.”

While Ellen does not have a favorite battlefield, she has visited many Civil War sites. Rich Jankowski likes to kid her as being the only other person he knows who has visited the Prairie Grove battlefield in Arkansas (Ellen was out there on a business trip). But her most memorable trip to a Civil War site was in 2017 when she was on a Fort Sumter tour during the total solar eclipse. Her group was at the fort when the eclipse began before moving onto a boat and seeing the climax on the water. “It was probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” recalled Ellen. “As it got closer to totality, a really creepy feeling came over us. The shadows were all wrong. While not totally black, it was dark enough.”

Her many other interests include life in the 1800s, nature photography (she has 30,000 photos, including eagles, ospreys and herons, her current favorite focus), kayaking and horses. Ellen has also served as the chairperson of the U.S.–Icelandic Horse Congress. This group helps with the importation of horses from Iceland. Because the breed is raised in this far north island nation, the isolation results in a unique small and sturdy steed. Ellen once wrote an article for an equine publication on riding Icelandic horses in the Pine Barrens which still generates comments from those fond of this unusual breed.

As can be seen, Ellen is a person of many interests and we are fortunate that her interests include the Civil War and the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table.

Jim Heenehan — Member Profile

Jim Heenehan
Jim Heenehan

As a child growing up in New Rochelle, New York, Jim Heenehan received a special gift from his parents: a Marx Civil War toy soldier set. Not long after, he began collecting Topps Civil War Trading cards, and in April 1965, his parents took him to Gettysburg where he climbed a cannon and walked up Little Round Top. A lifelong passion for Civil War History ensued.

Years later, two books, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, and Twentieth Maine by John Pullen, ensured that his interest would continue.

“I found these books compelling as they tell the story of the heroic actions of Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment in their defense of Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg,” said Heenehan. “The bravery of Chamberlain and the 20th Maine helped save Little Round Top, the loss of which would have spelled defeat for the Union cause.”

“For his tenacity and heroism at Gettysburg, Chamberlain was later awarded the Medal of Honor in 1893,” he added.

Yet Heenehan’s interest in the Civil War goes far beyond just visiting battlefields or reading about Civil War history—he has also published four articles about the war, including one on the Philadelphia Brigade defending against Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg and one recounting the Civil War service of five key Union regiments that defended Gettysburg’s Little Round Top, which were published in The Gettysburg Magazine and America’s Civil War Magazine.

“The Battle of Gettysburg has always been of special interest,” said Heenehan. “And that interest is one of the reasons I joined the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table 25 years ago.”

Currently a resident of Bryn Mawr. Pennsylvania, Heenehan is a retiree from the Environmental Protection Agency where he litigated administrative law cases. It was while working for the EPA that that he met his future wife, Carolyn, who was in Philadelphia temporarily on a fellowship from The Pennsylvania Council of The Arts. She is also a Civil War buff.

“Pre-covid, I was a regular attendee at the Old Baldy monthly meetings and participated in a number of the group’s activities,” he said. Now meetings are twice a month on Zoom, although we are hoping that in-person meetings will resume later this summer or fall.”

“I think most members are looking forward to that,” he added.

Heenehan is also looking forward to the return of another activity: baseball, in particular Philadelphia Phillies baseball. An avid fan for many years, he was in the stands when the Phillies won their first World Series in 1980.

“Since this was their first World Series win, I had plans to go on the field and celebrate at the end of the game, which was traditional,” he said. “I had no idea that this would be
the first time that fans would be prohibited from coming onto the field after the home team clinched the world series.”

“So, when policeman on horseback surrounded the field, I had to come up with another plan,” he said.

With a chutzpah that only a Philly Fanatic could understand, Heenehan joined a group of women he surmised were the Philly wives and walked with them onto the ballfield and into the dugout, telling the security guard that he was the younger brother of Del Unser, a reserve Philly outfielder who had a good post-season. No further questions were asked, and he was escorted into the clubhouse to celebrate with the with the team. Sadly, his ruse was discovered when he sat down next to Del Unser’s wife who blew the whistle on him.

But there are no regrets on Heenehan’s part for this somewhat devious incident, and indeed, perhaps even a sense of pride. After all, how often do you get the chance to meet someone you idolize? And, if you ever take chances in life, won’t you regret it later on?

If I were to ask James Heenehan that question, I have no doubt what his answer will be: go for it.

Priscilla Gabosch — Member Profile

By just about any standard Priscilla Gabosch has had a full and interesting life.

Born in the Midwest outside of Chicago, she also attended college in a rural area and subsequently has lived on both coasts. We are fortunate that her husband’s job led to a relocation to the Delaware Valley and that she likes the East Coast best.

Priscilla went to Blackburn College where she received her B.A. degree with a major in English and a minor in languages.

In addition to her formal education Priscilla has taken advantage of the Center for Learning and Responsibility—including several courses on the Civil War. She is currently engaged in an Opera Appreciation class as well.

After college, Priscilla went to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad and having aptitude for technology, she was chosen to participate in the company’s program for training in computer programming, which has put her in good stead for her further work in the insurance and banking areas. At retirement, she was working as a Business Systems Analyst in IT at a bank involved in Mutual Fund management.

Priscilla and her husband have been breeding and showing Rhodesian Ridgebacks since 1983. From this, she has become involved in the AKC as a licensed judge and has been involved with several dog clubs, serving in a number of positions, including Chairman of one, AKC delegate, Treasurer, Past President, Recording Secretary and Chief Steward.

Priscilla is also an avid reader with, as she puts it, eclectic tastes.

Her interest in the Civil War was sparked after taking several courses at CCLR about generalship and battles of the Civil War. She particularly enjoys strategy, not only of the Civil War, but other conflicts as well—she lists “Zulu” as one of her favorite movies and was impressed by how a small group of soldiers could hold off a large attacking force. The subject of slavery and the WWII genocide has also moved her to learn more about these topics.

While she has many and varied interests and accomplishments, Priscilla feels particularly proud of her being chosen to judge the National Specialty of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States in 2005—selected by her peers. She has also been awarded the AKC’s Good Sportsmanship Medallion not once, but twice. In addition, she has been Gloucester County Kennel Club’s Show Chairman for 20 years.

All in all, a very accomplished life that most of us can aspire to.

Karl Pusch – Member Profile

One of the unique aspects of gathering information from members of Old Baldy CWRT and writing about them is the wide diversity of interests the members have. When you walk into a meeting and see the many individuals one could assume the simple fact that they are “Civil War Buffs.” However, how the members became part of OBCWRT is in itself a factor that separates this group from other fraternal organizations. Karl Pusch, in this writer’s opinion, is a person who exhibits a common interest that the membership shares about the Civil War, but as a different perspective on the how and why membership is important.

Karl was born and raised in Phillipsburg, NJ and although he moved to South Jersey in 1973, he will always consider Phillipsburg his home town. After graduating from Phillipsburg High School in 1963, he earned his BA in History from Lafayette College in 1967. Returning home from a three-year enlistment in the Army in 1970 Karl enrolled at Lehigh University working on an MA in history. After finishing his MA in 1973, he took a job at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and worked in the Training Division, EEO Office, and the Employee Relations Division. When the yard closed in 1995 Karl worked as a salesman for Macy’s and J.C. Penny and retired for good in 2008.

Through marriage to quote Karl he inherited two wonderful daughters who have blessed him with three granddaughters. Unfortunately, daughter Katherine lives in Arizona and daughter Jennifer lives in Oregon. He is a big fan of Lafayette football a Friend of Lafayette Football and holds memberships in the Maroon Club, the Marquis Society and the Fleck Society. Presently, Karl resides in Washington Township with his dog Buddy, who is a registered service dog, who has an official ID badge from Lafayette College and has been officially photographed with the college president. Karl enjoys riding his bike, skiing, and playing softball and enjoys doing home fix-up projects.

Karl’s became interested in the Civil War after seeing “Gone With the Wind” when it was re-released in 1954. About the same time, he read a mini-biography of Robert E. Lee, viewed a classic TV show “You Are There” that dramatized the surrender at Appomattox, and finally read a comic book dealing with Jackson’s role at Chancellorsville. In spite of that interest, Karl’s first love of history was always about Ancient Greece and Rome: his favorite comic book will always be the Classic “Caesar’s Conquest,” the condensed version of Caesar’s “Commentari de Bello Gallico.” He said he read it at least 20 times, to the point where he could recite portions of it. He can recall reading about the Second Punic War in James A. Breasted’s “Ancient Times….” and being the only person in his third and four grade classes who could spell or pronounce Epaminondas

One of Karl’s stated advantages of working at the Shipyard was the generous vacation time granted which has allowed him to visit almost every Civil War Battlefield east of the Mississippi River. A ROTC Summer Camp in 1966 allowed him to check off a trip to Gettysburg, an extended summer trip in 1974 allowed him to visit numerous sites in Kentucky and Tennessee with stops at Ft. Donelson, Perryville, Mill Springs, Shiloh, Nashville, Franklin, and Murfreesboro. Future summer trips allowed him to visit major battlefield and other historical sites in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Karl has also visited more than 25 countries in North America, South America, Europe, the Mideast, and Asia and several at least twice. He has visited an incredible number of historic sites along with major battlefields far too numerous to mention in this snapshot, but it is sufficed to say Karl has check offed major “bucket list” sites.

During his numerous visits to various battlefields he was concerned how American sites were being subjected to urban land development encroachment especially after visiting some battlefields in France and England. Except for modern paved roads, the battlefields at Crecy (where on August 26, 1346 Karl was serving as a Welch archer under the command of the Black Prince, on the right flank, on the downward slope near the windmill), Agincourt, Waterloo, Hastings, Naseby, Bosworth, Field, Flodden and Bannockburn look much the same as they did when these battles were fought. The French and English Governments are aggressively committed to preserving their historic sites. Karl had a hard time understanding why we weren’t doing the same here in the U.S. So, when the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites was formed in 1987, he immediately joined. As with many organizations, it had its growing pains and trials, but it is now known as the American Battlefield Trust, an organization committed to preserving sites from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War. It is because of the ABT that Karl is a member of the OBCWRT; Karl met member Ed Komczyk at a Trust conference four years ago, Ed told Karl about Old Baldy; Karl attended a meeting, liked what he experienced and has been with us since then.

Karl’s favorite Civil War movies are– Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Gettysburg, and The Horse Soldiers. His other favorite movies are Lawrence of Arabia (he feels this is the greatest movie ever made), Bridge on the River Kwai, The Sea Hawk, The Third Man, Quo Vadis, The Robe, 300 Spartans, Helen of Troy, and the Desert Fox. His favorite Civil War books are Douglas Southall Freeman’s “Lee’s Lieutenants” and Ed Coddington’s (one of Karl’s instructors at Lafayette) “Gettysburg: A Study in Command”.

Karl still has several “bucket list” things he would like to do; traveling the Trans-Canada Highway from Vancouver to Montreal, visit the Custer Battlefield, Mt. Rushmore, the Devils Tower, and the Mesa Verde. But most important to him is to see a Toledo Mud Hens game at Fifth/Third Bank Field

As you can see Karl has a unique perspective on our common interest.

Member profile written by Steve Peters

Nancy Bowker – Member Profile

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

Herb Kaufman – Member Profile

Treasurer, Old Baldy CWRT

HerbKaufman558In 1989 Herb was employed in the Labor Relations Department of the School District of Philadelphia. He was asked to meet with Mr. John Craft, the Director of Adult Education to discuss a labor issue. As they spoke, Herb learned of John’s involvement in the MOLLUS War Library (Civil War Museum of Philadelphia) then at 1805 Pine Street. John suggested that he visit the museum and consider becoming a volunteer. Well, as they say, the rest is history.

Having been a life-long student of American history, Herb was immediately overwhelmed by the breath of the collection and the wonderful library. In 1989 he became a museum volunteer, and went to his first Old Baldy CWRT meeting. He continued to participate in Old Baldy meetings, trips and events, as well as volunteer at the museum. In 2002 he was hired as an Educational Assistant with responsibility for doing research and giving tours and programs to the thousands of students and others visiting the museum. Herb continued to serve in this capacity until the museum’s unfortunate closure in October 2008.

man at a podium

Herb Kaufman

In other related activities Herb is an Adjunct Instructor and founding member of the faculty of the Civil War Institute at Manor College. He is also currently a member of the Editorial Staff of the Civil War News, writing both news and feature articles; a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library; and Treasurer of the Delaware Valley CWRT. He has been the Treasurer of the Old Baldy CWRT since 2007.

For 15 years he was a Civil War re-enactor with Company C, 28th Pennsylvania Regiment. After serving as both a private and corporal, Herb became a Surgeon specializing in the history and practice of Civil War medicine.

Over the years, Herb has been honored with numerous awards including the initial Merit Award given by the Delaware Valley CWRT, and the Samuel Towne Award from the G.A.R. Museum and Library.

At present he teaches at a number of local life-long learning institutes, and gives presentations and programs to civic, historical, and community groups throughout the area.

Don Wiles – Member Profile

Newsletter Editor, Old Baldy CWRT

Don Wiles shirtBorn in York, Pennsylvania (Captured by Confederates during the Gettysburg Campaign without firing a shot!). Grew up in York, which is about 25 miles from Gettysburg. Spent many family picnics there after WWll when gas became available again. We were able to spread out the food, sheets and blankets on any of the large flat boulders on the battlefield including “Devil’s Den”. Became fascinated with the monuments and had so many questions that my grandmother gave me my first Civil War book “Gettysburg, The Pictures and the Story” Pub. 1913 of which I still have.

My father had purchased the Dobbin House in Gettysburg in the early 1950s and set up a museum and a large diorama of the Gettysburg Battlefield. He had sold the Dobbin House in the latter 1960s

Don Wiles kidTried college after high school, but soon quit to follow a desire to draw and took a job with a local adverting agency. Followed an uncle to Florida (an area called Cape Canaveral) in the late 1950s, married a girl from York, had three children (two boys, 1 girl… now have five grandchildren – all girls) and settled in Florida. Became friends with a high school teacher (Quaker) who had written books on Civil War prisons and did private research for Richard Nixon on his grandfather’s Civil War experiences, death and grave location (Gettysburg) for the President. He started my interest in the CW again by supplying my kids with CW books as gifts for me. He also got me to be a chaperon on CW field trips he took his students on to Olustee and Atlantic forts along Florida and Georgia.

My main interest changed to Space after going to work at the Kennedy Space Center. Worked there until the middle 1980s doing illustrations for the Astronauts, NASA and several different private company projects. Had received several awards and had some of my artwork go to the moon and back. My three children finished college and were on their way with life and my wife had died from cancer, so I moved back North and worked for several advertising agencies and companies. Remarried and my new wife showed me an article in the Philly Inquirer about a not so well known gold mine of CW history on Pine Street in Philly. Went to my first meeting in the late 1980s and renewed my interest with the museum and the Round Table. Kind of became a part time member of the Round table for a few years due to doing lots of seminars and tours.

I started doing the “Old Baldy” newsletter in 2004. I hope I have made the newsletter into a vehicle of not just news and events but a way to share interesting and learning articles of the Civil War.

I started going to CW seminars and tours for most of the 1990s and 2000s. Have collected several hundreds of CW books (ORs, Confederate Veterans, etc.). My main interested has gone back to Gettysburg of which I have collected information and thousands of photos of the Gettysburg Campaign. Have been on many private tours with Historians, Authors, ALBGs and Rangers. Walked the battlefield in the hot sun, rain, ice and snow, covered with multitudes of ticks, scratches from “sticker bushes”, found locations of missing monuments/markers, earthworks, battery lunettes and have met and enjoyed the friendship of many nice Civil War “Nuts” over a 30 year span.

For the commissioning of the new Aegis Missile Cruiser Gettysburg at Philadelphia in 1991 I was given the opportunity to do an illustration of the ship to hang in the captain’s wardroom.

I also got interested in Family history due to a granddaughter asking where our family came from. We always thought we were from Wales but not true. Turns out all the family lines came from the German area of Europe. Along with that I started looking for CW soldiers… I found over 30 soldiers in the major family lines. Have only done some research on 7-8 of them. Found over 600 pages of information on three of them from the National Archives, which lead to finding the lost grave of one of them. Also learned of great stories on some of them; Sultana survivor, West Point judge, a fort builder, several wounded ones and some who ended up captured and put in Libby, Andersonville and Salisbury prisons and those who were killed.

They say getting old sucks… it may have curtailed my traveling a little but won’t stop my love of history, research, photography and drawing on the Civil War and family.

Also attending the Annual Gettysburg Hog Maw dinner.

Mike Cavanaugh – Member Profile

seated man reading

Mike Cavanaugh

Mike Cavanaugh is a founding member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table, serving over the years as treasurer, program chairman, and twice president. His interest in the Civil War began in the early 1970s, when he found he had several ancestors in the war. Mike’s great grandfather, on his father’s side, Pvt. Thomas Holleran, was a member of the 96th PVI (raised in Schuylkill County) and on his mother’s side, Cpl. James Lindsey of the 1st New York Mounted Rifles (raised in New York City). Mike has authored and coauthored five books on the war and also founded the Civil War Book Exchange (now Civil War News). For more than thirty-five years, he has had an avid interest in the Battle of the Crater fought on July 30, 1864, in Petersburg, VA. This led to a book in 1989—coauthored with Bill Marvel—entitled The Horrid Pit, The Battle of the Crater. Continue reading