Posted by: TC Maurice | May 3, 2020

Meeting Announcement

The May Meeting has been Cancelled

Presidents Message:

My Fellow Roundtable Members:   Our meeting scheduled for May 13, 2020 is hereby cancelled pursuant to Governor DeWine’s order limiting gatherings in excess of ten people. Mike Peters and I asked our speaker if he wanted to do a Zoom presentation, but he deferred.  However, this raised an interesting question for me as we all deal with the concerns on gatherings created by COVID-19: would any of you be interested in having a Zoom (Or MicroSoft Teams or any other applicable online platform) meeting where we would have a speaker present a program?  I am envisioning a program where the speaker’s PowerPoint presentation would be displayed on your computer screen, with the speaker’s voice playing through your computer’s speakers.  Please send me an email response if you would be willing to try this type of virtual presentation.

The Treasurer’s report for April 2020  is the same as for March, since we have had no expenses.  I have received checks for dues from several members, but have not been able to get them to Dave to be deposited yet.

Treasurer’s Report for April 2020

Beginning checking account balance 4/1/2020 = $2,030.93

Ending checking account balance 5/1/2020 = $2,030.93

January started our new dues year.  Thank you to all the members who paid in January and February.  If you did not pay yet, please get your dues paid as soon as possible. Please give your payment to Dave or me; please do not pay Wendy cash for dues when she is trying to organize the book raffle, because it is very hard for us to keep track of who has paid. Also, please participate in our book raffle. I will continue to match the first $50 in contributions, but I would really appreciate it if EVERYONE buys at least one chance a month.  I know many of us do not really need any more books, but you can always donate the book back to the Roundtable.  The Raffle allows us to fund the great out-of-town speakers Mike Peters finds for us.

The Columbus Barracks Roundtable has cancelled their May meeting.

I am going to set a date in the late summer or fall (once we have more certainty on COVID-19 meeting restrictions)  to have everyone invite a person under the age of 35 to our meeting. We will have an open bar at La Navona for the “youngsters” where they can a beer, glass of wine or a soft drink.  I will coordinate with Mike Peters so that we will have the event on a night when we have a speaker who will fit that audience.  You can invite a grandchild, a child, a friend, a co-worker or a complete stranger, but I want to emphasize that I want everyone to bring someone.  This will be a fun event and will give you an excuse to bring someone who you might otherwise be not inclined to importune. So, start thinking about someone you would invite.

No one has contacted me regarding their burning desire to serve as an officer of the Roundtable, so Dave, Tom, Mike, Dale and I will retain our respective seats by acclimation.

I hope that you all have been able to access some of the great history and Civil War presentations that have been produced by hosts such as the American Battlefield Trust and The National Civil War Museum during the pandemic. These programs (“Zoom Goes the History”) and the YouTube channels have been great, and they have helped me deal with some of the isolation effects of the stay-at-home orders.  Go to Civilwar.org or search “The National civil War Museum” on YouTube and enjoy!!

Jamie Ryan
President .

Posted by: TC Maurice | April 1, 2020

Meeting Announcement

            The April Meeting has been cancelled.

 

April Presidents Message;

My Fellow Roundtable Members:   Our meeting scheduled for April 8, 2020 is hereby cancelled pursuant to Governor DeWine’s order. Our scheduled speaker is from Cincinnati, so he will be pretty easy to re-schedule.  We may end up doing so in December or January. 

Dave Delisio submitted the following Treasurer’s report for March 2020: 

Treasurer’s Report for March 2020 

Beginning checking account balance 3/1/2020 = $1,858.93 

March receipts = $427.00 ($152.00 from meeting book raffle; $275.00 from dues) 

March expenses = $255.00 ($155.00 to Mike Peters for meeting speaker dinner expenses; $100.00 for meeting speaker fee) 

Ending checking account balance 2/29/2020 = $2,030.93 

 January started our new dues year.  Thank you to all the members who paid in January and February.  If you did not pay yet, please get your dues paid as soon as possible. Please give your payment to Dave or me; please do not pay Wendy cash for dues when she is trying to organize the book raffle, because it is very hard for us to keep track of who has paid. Also, please participate in our book raffle. I will continue to match the first $50 in contributions, but I would really appreciate it if EVERYONE buys at least one chance a month.  I know many of us do not really need any more books, but you can always donate the book back to the Roundtable.  The Raffle allows us to fund the great out-of-town speakers Mike Peters finds for us. 

I have also attached Tom Ayres report on our March meeting, when Carlton Young related his fascinating story about William Henry Martin and Frank Martin, the Williamstown Boys. 

The Columbus Barracks Roundtable has cancelled their April meeting.   

The COVID 19 pandemic has presented challenges to all sorts of organizations, but the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable needs to be especially sensitive to the virus because many of our members are in the at-risk demographic.  We will watch how things develop over the next month and then make a determination on our May meeting at that time.  However, this temporary pause gives me an opportunity to introduce a topic that I have been discussing with several other members. I am going to set a date in the late summer or fall to have everyone invite a person under the age of 35 to our meeting. We will have an open bar at La Navona for the “youngsters” where they can a beer, glass of wine or a soft drink.  I will coordinate with Mike Peters so that we will have the event on a night when we have a speaker who will fit that audience.  You can invite a grandchild, a child, a friend, a co-worker or a complete stranger, but I want to emphasize that I want everyone to bring someone.  This will be a fun event and will give you an excuse to bring someone who you might otherwise be not inclined to importune. So, start thinking about someone you would invite, and I will talk to our officers further about the event and pick a date for the event by the end of April. 

 Finally, it is time for our annual elections. If you would like to serve the Roundtable as an officer, please let me know.  I have been blessed to serve with great people such as Dave Delisio, tom Ayres, Mike Peters and Dale Beck, and I am willing to continue to serve, However, if anyone wants to fulfill any role with the Roundtable, I am sure we can accommodate you. 

Jamie Ryan
President Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable

 

Voices from the Attic

The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War (2015)
By author Carleton G. Young
March 11, 2020 

Carleton Young, a high school history teacher in Pittsburgh for 37 years, had never taken a keen interest in the Civil War. That is, until his father died in 2002. And then it became all-consuming. 

While cleaning out his father’s house, also in Pittsburgh, he and his wife Carol found a “very old wooden box,” in the attic, stuffed with some 250 letters, many still in original envelopes, and other papers, including orders. (One of his grandmothers was related to the Martin family.) 

Miraculously, the Civil War correspondence from brothers William Henry Martin and Francis (known as Frank) Smith Martin of Williamstown, Vermont, had survived for more than 140 years. And they were still readable, at least with what turned out to be a Herculean effort. Carleton and Carol were joined by Carleton’s sister and husband, fellow history teacher Edd Hale and his wife Nancy and Civil War buff Bill Lutz. As the search for information expanded, the Youngs were assisted by historians and archivists in Vermont. 

Most of the letters were written by Henry, though younger than Frank, who served much longer in uniform. All of the Martin children, including an older sister and brother (who died at young ages), were well educated, having attended private academies in the Williamstown area and neighboring New Hampshire. Their father Chester earned a prosperous living selling the products of his farm and willow trees. The difficulty in deciphering the letters was Henry’s handwriting. Young explained that Henry may have started his lengthy letters legibly, but by the end his cursive style had become very sloppy. Plus, to conserve paper, he would write on both sides of a page and then superimpose his third page over page one, a practice called “cross-writing.” 

Young explained that the group met weekly for several years to transcribe the letters. Some words were simply unreadable. Having completed the translation task on all the correspondence, the group tackled the letters a second time to fill in the gaps, having gained a helpful familiarity with the style over the years. 

 Civil War correspondence from soldiers and from their spouses and relatives is fairly common and often moving. Young said he asked himself, ‘Does the 

world need another book of correspondence from the battlefield and camps?’ In the case of the Martin brothers, the answer was a resounding ‘yes.’ Because of the literacy and articulate manner of expression. Each of the brothers was a keen and discerning observer of the countryside through which they passed, of slavery and the Southern lifestyle, of their comrades and commanding officers and the combat they endured. 

For example, Henry’s VI Corps, having been sent to Harper’s Ferry, did not arrive at the battle of Antietam until 4:30 p.m., after much of the action had taken place. This deadliest single day in American military history left a staggering number of corpses, filling barns, houses, fields, roads and streams. Henry wrote that he witnessed Union soldiers burning the bodies of some of the fallen soldiers. Young said the lead ranger at the battlefield told him that this confirmed what had been alleged for generations. 

Henry, born in 1838, enlisted in the 4th Vermont regiment on August 19, 1861. Shortly thereafter the 2nd through 6th regiments were formed into the Vermont Brigade, also known as the Old Brigade. It would see heavy action throughout the East. 

The brigade left Brattleboro with 1,100 men in the fall of 1861 and eventually make camp at Camp Griffin outside Washington, D.C. Although some regiments saw light action, most of their time was spent training and warding off boredom. Illness took its toll on the troops. Henry was not impressed with many of his fellow soldiers or his superiors. He wrote to his mother in December, assuring her that he intended “to keep myself unspotted from the evils of army life & temptations. The soldiers are generally very thoughtless and profane…” and spent much time gambling. 

Movement came on March 17, 1862, as General George McClellan’s 121,500-man army set sail from Alexandria for the Virginia Peninsula. The Vermonters’ first serious action came on April 16 at Dam No. 1 on the Warwick River. “The 16th was a memorable day in my experience & the first time I ever faced cold lead from an enemies guns…Our colonel led the charge flourishing his sword & encouraging his men & not a man flinched from his duty. It was a desperate charge I will assure you in the face of thousands of rebils (sic).” At Chickahominy swamp east of Richmond Henry and his fellow troopers would see action holding off Stonewall Jackson at White Oak Swamp and at Savage’s Station and Malvern Hill. 

After the Seven Days battles, Henry wrote, “How long is this incessant fighting to continue? But trusting in the Lord, I go forward wherever I’m ordered.” 

At Crampton’s Gap of South Mountain east of Antietam on September 14, 1862, the 2nd and 6th Vermont drove the 2nd and 16th Virginia regiments off the the mountain. The Vermont troops did make it to the Sunken Road at Antietam where so many deaths occurred but pulled back. “After the battle was the worst of sights,” Henry wrote. “If ever I felt grateful, it was when darkness covered the field.” 

 At Fredericksburg in December 1962, Vermont regiments fought two North Carolina regiments downriver from the main action at Marye’s Heights. Again, at Fredericksburg during the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Henry and his Vermont comrades were part of the VI Corps under General John Sedgwick that drove rebels off Marye’s Heights and proceeded to Salem Church where they were checked by elements of Robert E. Lee’s army. 

Sedgwick’s corps was in the rear of the Army of the Potomac in the march to Gettysburg, not arriving at the town until about 4 p.m. on July 2, 1863, the second day of the battle. “We are dreadfully worn down…Thousands are going to be sacrificed in coming weeks…” Henry observed. On the third day the VI Corps was positioned at Little Round Top on the left flank of the Union army, far from the main action farther north. In the pursuit of Lee’s army on its retreat to Virginia, Henry was wounded by shell fragments in Funkstown, Maryland. 

Afterward, the entire VI Corps was hurriedly dispatched to New York to quell draft riots that had broken out. 

Brother Frank entered the army on September 17, 1863, having been spared military service earlier due to poor health, more specifically, stomach aches and depression, known as melancholy in that era. But in the army Frank thrived, renewed in spirit by the discipline and rigors of army life. He, too, was an accomplished writer, having written a regular feature column for the Vermont Watchman newspaper in Montpelier under the pseudonym “Conscript.” 

During Ulysses S. Grant’s grand Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864 to defeat Lee and take Richmond, the Vermont Brigade played a significant role in the battle of the Wilderness. On May 5, the first day of the battle, the Vermont brigade was detached from the VI Corps to hold the critical intersection of the Orange Plank and Brock roads. Reinforcements under General Winfield Hancock were late arriving, and the Vermonters were left to hold off overwhelming odds under General James Longstreet. The Vermonters held, but at great cost. It was the bloodiest day of the war for Vermont troops. They suffered 1,041 casualties: 297 killed, 721 wounded and 23 captured. Among the casualties were Henry and Frank. Henry was 

shot in the chest and died three days later. Frank was shot in the neck but recovered quickly enough to take part in the battle of Cold Harbor shortly thereafter. 

Sent to the Shenandoah Valley Frank’s corps encountered Confederate General Jubal Early, who surprised Union forces at Cedar Creek in October 1864 and drove them back. But the Vermont Brigade held strong and repelled Early. Confederate General John B. Gordon called the Vermont defense a “marble wall.” The Vermonters too had to withdraw until they rallied and drove the rebels from the field. In the counterattack Frank knelt to help a wounded comrade. When he stood up, a shot shattered the bones of his left leg, above the ankle. After lying on the cold ground for a day and a half awaiting treatment, he was taken to the surgeon’s tent where his lower leg was amputated. The first surgery was poorly executed, and a second amputation would be required. 

 In his last letter Frank wrote,”I did not regret that I responded to my country’s call. The cause is worthy of the sacrifice and I would bid them, go forward.” 

Back home in Williamstown, Frank worked on the farm to prove that his injury had not impaired his worth. In attempting to remove a large stone in the field one day, the stone rolled back in its hole, crushing Frank in the process. A newspaper reported the tragic accident under the headline “Shocking Accident.” Frank had been home only six weeks. 

As it turned out, both Martin boys were casualties of the war 

Tom Ayres
Secretary: Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable

 

 

 

Posted by: TC Maurice | March 4, 2020

Meeting Announcement

When:  March 11th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230

Time:  7pm

Speaker:  Carlton Young

Topic:  Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War

Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of lettersthumbnail_book cover written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there. Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching the two Vermont soldiers. In Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters.

“Voices From the Attic is a substantial contribution to the genre of first-person Civil War accounts becoming so popular today … (and) would make a worthwhile addition to any Civil War student’s bookshelf.”

Civil War News;      “More than another good narrative, the book is an adventure of historical research and discovery.”

Vermont History Journal;  “Offers a deeply interesting look into two detailed experiences of the war which explore the battles as well as life in between … Unlike other soldiers who may have skipped over tough details when writing home to families, the brothers did not shy away from describing the horror of battles, their hardships in camp, and what they saw as they marched through the South … More than merely satisfying an interest in the war, the author demonstrates our surprising connections to each other both past and present.”

Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in economics from Westminster College and in English from Point Park University, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his thumbnail_lettersPhD in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American history at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He has also taught classes as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Presidents Message

No Such Army since the Days of Julius Ceasar

 

Posted by: TC Maurice | January 29, 2020

Meeting Announcement

When: February 12th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Eric J. Wittenberg

Topic: “No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar”: Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign of 1865.

This talk addresses Sherman’s campaign to eviscerate the Carolinas in the winter of 1865. Intended to break the morale of the people of the Carolinas, and to punish South Carolina for starting the war, Sherman and his 60,000 men had to build roads through bottomless Lowland swamps in South Carolina, marking their way across the state in 28 days, culminating with the burning of the state capital, Columbia on February 17. Along the way, Union cavalry under Bvt. Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick was ambushed by the cavalry of Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler in the streets of the town of Aiken on February 11, 1865 in one of the final battlefield victories for the Confederacy. Kilpatrick was nearly captured, and only hard fighting by his command permitted it to escape. The campaign then entered North Carolina, climaxing with the brutal three-day battle at Bentonville from March 19-21. Gen. Joseph Johnston, with a scratch force of about 19,000 men, nearly defeated Sherman in detail at Bentonville before Union numbers finally overwhelmed Johnston’s small army. Eric J. Wittenberg will address these events.

Eric J. Wittenberg, a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, was educated at Dickinson Eric-2College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He manages the litigation practice at Cook, Sladoje & Wittenberg Co., L.P.A. Wittenberg is the author of 18 published books on the Civil War, and has won several awards for his work. His specialty is cavalry operations, with a particular emphasis on mounted operations in the Gettysburg Campaign. He frequently works with the Civil War Trust on various preservation projects, was a member of the Governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and is a past president of the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable. He, his wife Susan, and their three golden retrievers live in Columbus, Ohio.

February Presidents Message

 

Posted by: TC Maurice | January 8, 2020

Meeting Announcement

When:           JANUARY 15th 2020   PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DATE IS THE THIRD WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH.

Where:          La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230

Time:             7pm

Speaker:       You!  Annual Roundtable debate.

Topic:            What would have happened if the Confederates won the Civil War?”

Our annual debate topic will be “What would have happened if the Confederates won the Civil War?” Since this is a purely speculative question, there is no obvious right or wrong answer, so everyone should feel free to pitch in with their opinions and guesses.  We are looking for our members’ ideas on what would have happened to the United States and the Confederacy, and how would the 20th Century have been different? How would today be different?

January Presidents Message

 

Posted by: TC Maurice | January 2, 2020

Meeting Announcement

When:           JANUARY 15th 2020   PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DATE IS THE THIRD WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH.

Where:          La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230

Time:             7pm

Speaker:       You!  Annual Roundtable debate.

Topic:            What would have happened if the Confederates won the Civil War?”

Our annual debate topic will be “What would have happened if the Confederates won the Civil War?” Since this is a purely speculative question, there is no obvious right or wrong answer, so everyone should feel free to pitch in with their opinions and guesses.  We are looking for our members’ ideas on what would have happened to the United States and the Confederacy, and how would the 20th Century have been different? How would today be different?

January Presidents Message

 

 

 

 

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