Posted by: cocwrt | February 19, 2014

Meeting Announcement

When:   March 12th

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: Harry Smeltzer

Topic:   “McDowell’s  Plan for Bull Run: Brilliant, Sound or Something Less”

Irvin McDowell’s Plan and Other Bull Run Misconceptions. This program will explore what the presenter feels are popular misconceptions surrounding the First Bull Run campaign, with primary focus on the army commander’s intentions up to the early hours of July 21, 1861. We will discuss how we have come to know the story of Bull Run as we know it, various primary sources and secondary accounts of the campaign, treatments by historians and institutions, the general interest (or lack thereof) of Civil War enthusiasts in the details of the campaign, and other related – or even unrelated – topics. As always, the audience will likely play no small role in the content of the program as it progresses.

Harry Smeltzer, host of Bull Runnings, lives just outside Pittsburgh, and was born and raised in Southwestern PA.  He earned an undergraduate degree at The Pennsylvania State University and a graduate degree at the Katz School ofHarrySmeltzer4 the University of Pittsburgh.  He’s been published in the journal Civil War History, The Civil War Monitor, Civil War Times, and America’s Civil War.  He was a Contributing Writer for America’s Civil War and is a Digital History Advisor for The Civil War Monitor. He is Vice-President of the board of directors of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.  He’s presented programs on Bull Run and digital history related topics to organizations in five states and the District of Columbia. He’s available to lead tours of the battlefield of First Bull Run, and has been hosting Bull Runnings since November 2006.

March Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | January 14, 2014

Meeting Announcement

When:   February 12th

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:  Zach Fry

Topic:      59th New York  Infantry

Zach Fry graduated from Kent State in 2010 after participating in the Gettysburg Semester at Gettysburg College with Allen Guelzo, and  also interned with fellow Buckeye Wayne Motts at the Adams County Historical Society.  His honors thesis at Kent was a social/military history of the 59th New York, which was also the subject of his two Gettysburg Magazine articles in 2006 and 2009.  It’s currently under review with KSU Press.  Zach is a member of the Civil War Education Association, the Society for Military History, and the Society of Civil War Historians.  He’s now a Ph.D. candidate and graduate teaching associate in the Military History program at Ohio State, where his adviser is Mark Grimsley; His dissertation topic examines how the politics of emancipation affected the organization and administration of the Army of the Potomac.

Mr. Fry’s topic of the 59th New York, as the articles will show, deals with the oddity of 125 Ohioans serving in the regiment through its trials in the West Woods at Antietam, the streets of Fredericksburg, and behind the wall on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg.  He will tackle a controversy or two along the way.

February Newsletter

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

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