Posted by: cocwrt | January 5, 2014

Meeting Announcement

When:   January 8th

Where:  Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.

Time:     7pm

Speaker:   YOU!   Annual member discussion month.

Topic:   This year’s subject will be how we
each became interested in the Civil
War—what sparked our interest and
how we stay involved.


January 2014 newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | November 29, 2013

No meeting in December

The Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable does not meet in December.

Please join us on January 8th 2014 for our annual roundtable discussion.

Happy Holidays

December Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | October 22, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:    November 13th

Where:  Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.

Time:      7pm

Speaker: Charles R. Knight

Charles R. Knight’s ‘Valley Thunder’ is the first full-length account in more than three decades to examine the combat at New Market on May 15, 1864-the battle that opened the pivotal 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

4681383754_89f04e3d87_bLt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who set in motion the wide-ranging operation to subjugate the South in 1864, intended to attack the Confederacy on multiple fronts so it could no longer “take advantage of interior lines.” One of the keys to success in the Eastern Theater was control of the Shenandoah Valley, a strategically important and agriculturally abundant region that helped feed Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Grant tasked Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel, a German immigrant with a mixed fighting record, and a motley collection of units numbering some 10,000 men to clear the Valley and threaten Lee’s left flank. Opposing Sigel was John C. Breckinridge, a former vice president and now Confederate major general who assembled a scratch command to repulse the invading Federals. Included within the ranks of his 4,500-man army were cadets from the Virginia Military Institute under the direction of VMI Commandant of Cadets Lt. Col. Scott Ship, who had marched eighty miles in just four days to fight Sigel.

When the two armies faced off at New Market, Breckinridge boldly announced, “I shall advance on him. We can attack and whip them here and we will do it!” As the general rode by the cadets he shouted, “Gentlemen, I trust I will not need your services today; but if I do, I know you will do your duty.” The sharp fighting seesawed back and forth during a drenching rainstorm, and was not concluded until the cadets were dramatically inserted into the battle line to repulse a Federal attack and launch one of their own.

The Confederate victory drove Union forces from the Valley, but they would return, reinforced and under new leadership, within a month. Before being repulsed, these Federals would march over the field at New Market and capture Staunton, burn VMI in Lexington (partly in retaliation for the cadets’ participation at New Market), and very nearly capture Lynchburg. Operations in the Valley on a much larger scale that summer would permanently sweep the Confederates from the “Bread Basket of the Confederacy.”

Charlie Knight is a native Virginian, having been born in Newport News and growing up in Richmond. He developed an interest in history at an early age,4681383678_993bde2ca5_o the Civil War in particular. He is a graduate of Bridgewater College, with a history degree, and is currently pursuing his masters degree in military history at American Military University.

He is a writer and museum professional, having worked at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park in the Shenandoah Valley. He currently works at the MacArthur Memorial in downtown Norfolk, serving as its curator since 2006.

He has written articles for various publications including Blue & Gray, Classic Trains and the Civil War Preservation Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine. His first book, Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, May 1864, was published in the Spring of 2010 by Savas Beatie. He is currently working on a biography of Confederate general and railroad magnate William Mahone.

November Newsletter

Charles R. Knight’s Blog

Posted by: cocwrt | September 30, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:   October 9th

Where:  Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.

Time:  7pm

Speaker:  Chris Hartley:

Lovingly referred to as a “history nerd” by his wife, Laurie, Chris J. Hartley was
raised at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Wilkesboro, N.C. As a child, he was captivated by stories of regular people who achieved greatness and became curious about
the historic events that happened in his own backyard.   
Chris graduated from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill with a degree
in journalism and a secondary concentration in history and has worked in the marketing
departments of such companies as Tyson Foods and Inmar. He is now the Vice President
of Marketing at Blue Rhino.
His first book, Stuart’s Tarheels: James B. Gordon and His North Carolina Cavalry, covered the
history of a general from Chris’s hometown. More
recently, Stoneman’s Raid, 1865 tells the complete
story of one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history. In addition to his books, Chris contributes his writing to popular history periodicals such
as Blue & Gray and America’s Civil War, and is a frequent speaker for history groups.
Chris lives inPfafftown,N.C.withhiswife and
two daughters, Caroline Ruth and Taylor Ann, both
named for real people from history—Caroline for
the sister of Confederate Brigadier General James B.
Gordon and Taylor for General Maxwell B. Taylor, a
World War II paratrooper general.


George Stoneman’s 1865 Union cavalry raid did much for his tattered reputation, perhaps even helping the major general to the governorship of California in 1883.

      But many take a darker view of Stoneman’s Raid. When the first North Carolinahistorical markers commemorating the raid were installed over seventy years afterward, citizens tore them down and threw them in a river.

      Stoneman’s Raid has always been like that. Some see it as a model action in which a mostly well-behaved force rode over a thousand miles and achieved important military objectives. Others say it was a brutal, unnecessary pillaging of a broad swath of six Confederate states after the Civil War was already decided.

      Regardless, no other such action has inspired both a classic song – The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – and a Disney TV movie.

      After leading a failed raid in the Chancellorsville campaign and later earning the dubious honor of being the highest-ranking Union prisoner of war, Stoneman was described as “one of the most worthless officers in the service” by Edwin Stanton. The 1865 raid was his last chance at redemption.

      Beginning in Knoxville in March 1865, Stoneman led about four thousand cavalrymen over the mountains and into North Carolina and Virginia. The raiders tore up tracks, burned bridges, destroyed Confederate stores, captured towns like Christiansburg and Salisbury, fought some surprisingly sharp skirmishes, and terrified the population, achieving a sometimes exaggerated reputation. Their mission did not end until Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured. Reconstruction would be harder in their wake.

      Chris J. Hartley’s Stoneman’s Raid, 1865 is the most detailed and complete account ever written of an action that remains as controversial today as it was in its time.

Stonemans Raid Website

October Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | July 9, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:  September 11th

Where: Otterbein University, Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Mel Maurer

Topic: Jesse James- The last Rebel

The true story of Jesse James – Confederate Guerrilla and notorious outlaw – subject of countless article, numerous books and over 70 movies and TV shows. Jesse James was an early celebrity for all the wrong reasons. Was he a true folk hero – an American Robin Hood – or was he a ruthless criminal – a killer who served only his own interests?  His life is covered from birth through assassination – told with a sense of history and with humor.

Mel Maurer is a retired Manager of Administrative Quality and Distribution for the Boston Weatherhead Division of Dana Corporation. During his 43 years with Dana, He held management positions in Accounting, Information Technology and Administrative Quality and Distribution.

Mr. Maurer’s civic duties when working included being a member of the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce serving as Chairman of the Government Relations Division and serving as host of the Chamber’s Public Affairs Roundtable. He was also member of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce – Government Affairs Committee and a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee. He also served as a member of the Williamson County Economic Development Showcase Committee, a member of the Tennessee Association Of Business Public Affairs Committee; a member of the Policy Board of Directors for INROADS/NASHVILLE INC. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Williamson County Heart Association.  He wrote columns on government affairs for the Chamber Newsletter and the Nashville Multiple Sclerosis Association. He chaired the Williamson County Toys For Tots  Campaign and  chaired the Government Relations Committee of the Middle Tennessee MS Society.

In his retirement, he is a member of the Government Relations committee of the Buckeye Chapter of the MS Society and a 2007 inducted into the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame and was selected as one of the “Faces of Westlake” in 2007. He is past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, now its Historian, and past president of the Philosophical Club of Cleveland and a  member of the Titanic Historic Society. He is the 2009 Chairman of Westlake’s Charter Review Committee. He also writes articles for various organizations and speaks on a variety of topics. He has had more than 600 “Letters to Editors” printed in a number of newspapers and magazines including: Time, Readers Digest, USA Today, The Plain Dealer, The Sun Press, The Nashville Tennessean, The New Republic and others. He is also a published poet. He has hosted over 50 hours of TV shows broadcast on on cable in Cleveland and other cities in Northeast Ohio and has appeared in two plays presented by the Civil War Roundtable and one at the Huntington Playhouse.

Mr. Maurer received a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife, Elaine, live in Westlake, Ohio. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. His interests include writing and speaking on  community affairs, charitable causes, history, political issues  and personal experiences.

Note:  There are new updates in the “Items of Interest”  and “Future Speakers” sections.

September Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | June 12, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When: July 10th

Where:  Otterbein University, Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Phil Seyfrit

Topic:  Battle of Richmond Ky.

Come and learn about the most complete victory one side had over the other during the entire American Civil War.  The absolute Confederate victory at Richmond, Kentucky, fought during the Kentucky campaign of the late summer/early fall 1862.

Confederate Major General Edmund Kirby Smith, along with Brig. General Patrick Cleburne, advances into central Kentucky and in the process utterly destroy a hastily organized army under Federal Major General William “Bull” Nelson.  Kirby Smith’s army presses on the capture Lexington and the state capital of Frankfort; the only time a Federal state capital fell during the entire war.  And yes, the Buckeye state was in the middle of it.

Up to 2001, the Battle of Richmond was barely a footnote in Kentucky’s Civil War history.  Bur since then, Richmond has taken its rightful place in the annals of Civil War history

A lifelong Madison County, Kentucky, resident, Phillip Seyfrit is a graduate of Model Laboratory School, Eastern Phillip%20Seyfrit%20(300)Kentucky University and the Mid- America College of Funeral Service.  After a twenty year career in funeral industry, in late 2007 Phillip changed direction and accepted the position of Historic Properties Director for Madison County, which duties include management and proper interpretation of the properties relating to the Battle of Richmond and the other Madison County parks sites.  Phil’s active in Richmond’s First Presbyterian Church, the Richmond Masonic bodies, and many national, state and local Civil War preservation and history groups.  He is also past president of the Madison County Historical Society. He has been published in several Civil War periodicals and enjoys visiting Civil War battlefields and related sites.
Phillip portrays Federal Colonel William Link and Confederate Colonel Preston Smith at events relating to the Battle of Richmond.  He is program chairman of the Madison Co. Civil War Roundtable and is a member of the Kentucky Civil War Roundtable and Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable.  He was elected as the inaugural president of the Central Kentucky World War II Roundtable in 2010.   He was recently appointed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.


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