Posted by: cocwrt | September 26, 2015

Meeting Announcement

When:  October 14th

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:  Dave Bastian, author of Grant’s Canal: The Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg.

Topic:  Grants Canal

Our speaker for October is Dave Bastian, the author of Grant’s Canal; the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg (now out of print). He has given his presentations to over 80 CWRTs. His presentation is based on his book and is about the two51W3KB9GXDL Union campaigns against Vicksburg. It focuses on the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging a canal across the narrow bend opposite the town. Had the Union succeeded, they would have had immediate and complete control of the river (definitely in the summer of 1862 and possibly in the winter of 1863). The presentation explores Vicksburg’s geographical importance and the topographical characteristics that made it so defensible.

Most books are a new twist on a battle, campaign or leader. His book and presentation is about a totally new topic; one that historians have really not understood to date. As a civil engineer who lived in Vicksburg, he understands the river and how close the Union came in succeeding. Had they succeeded, Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target.

This was an engineering project – diverting the Mighty Mississippi! – an engineering solution to a military problem.

CanDave has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters from Delft University in the Netherlands.  Of interest, he was a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal that produced the feasibility study for the Canal’s current enlargement. More recently he worked on the post-Katrina levee rebuild in New Orleans and co-authored a book that comes out in May, New Orleans, Hurricanes from the Start.

His book, Grant’s Canal, the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg is out of print but available on Amazon & Ebay.

Here is a link to the review,

He also has a book that was published June 2014 about the history of hurricanes hitting New Orleans and what the future holds,

Posted by: cocwrt | September 4, 2015

Meeting Announcement

When:   September 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:  David R. Bush;  Professor of Anthropology, Heidelberg University

Topic:      Johnson’s Island

David R. Bush, Ph.D.

Heidelberg University

310 E. Market Street

Tiffin, Ohio  44883

Professor of Anthropology, Heidelberg University

Director, Center for Historic and Military Archaeology

Chair, Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison

Contact Information:  419-618-0151,


-B.A., Miami University, Ohio Anthropology                                                  Dave Bush

-M.A., Kent State University Anthropology-Archaeology

-Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University Anthropology/Archaeology

The study of archaeology allows Dr. David R. Bush to honor history, humanity, and the earth.  “It’s so important to understand that the ground contains your history and to be respectful of it.  My goal is to make people think about what the Earth and archaeology represent.”

Dr. Bush has been immersed in the investigation of the Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot-a Union prison confining Confederate Officers-located in Lake Erie, since 1988.  His early efforts to legitimize its significance let to it being recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1990.  Over the years, Bush has now led thousands of students and volunteers of all ages in exploring this Civil War prison site.  Dr. Bush is an emphatic advocate for diligent awareness and constant evaluation of the overall context in which material culture is found.  He directs the Experiential Learning Program in Historic Archaeology which uses the Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot site to introduce 5-12 grade students to the science of archaeology and the history of the Civil War.  Since 2001, Dr. Bush has been Chair of the Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison.  This not-for-profit historic preservation organization has purchased 17 acres of the prison compound and Fort Johnson for education, research, and interpretative use.  These are the only acres of the prison preserved besides the 2 acres owned by the Federal Government protecting the cemetery.students

Dr. Bush has spent many years and a great deal of energy in gathering and reviewing documents from museums, historical societies, and living relatives of the prisoners and guard to help in the understanding of this complex site.  Combining the archaeological and historical records has allowed Dr. Bush to publish several articles on Johnson’s Island, and he is currently writing one of several planned books.

Dr. Bush joined Heidelberg University’s Center for Historic and Military Archaeology in 1998 to focus exclusively on the Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot.  Prior to this, he served as director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Cultural Resource Research from 1991-1998 and as director of Case Western Reserve University’s archaeological laboratory from 1980-1991.

Although Dr. Bush continues to write many articles and chapters of books, his first book on Johnson’s Island was published in 2011.  It is titled I Fear I Shall Never Leave This Island.  This book contextualizes the archaeological and historical data from Johnson’s Island with a set of letters written by Wesley Makely (a PoW at Johnson’s Island) with his wife Kate.

Title:  Johnson’s Island Prison Uncovered: An Archaeological Exploration of a Northern Civil War Prison

Historical and archaeological evidence from the Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison (Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio) allows examination of the choices that POWs had during the American Civil War.  Over 10,000 Confederate Officers were imprisoned at Johnson’s Island throughout the war.  Newly confined Confederate officers had to cope with thoughts about survival, escape, or assimilation.  This well illustrated presentation summarizes the results of twenty plus years of research exploring prisoners attempting to cope with these choices and highlights the latest discoveries both in the field and from primary documents all over the United States.

New Otterbein Parking Pass

Posted by: cocwrt | August 18, 2015

The Civil War in Indian Territory

Roundtable members and and friends, below is a link to Toms write up on Zachary Cowsert’s talk on the Civil War in Indian Territory. If you were at the meeting you know that it was a fun talk about a little know subject. if you weren’t then thanks to Tom your going to feel like you had a front row seat!

Civil War in Indian lands

Posted by: cocwrt | August 3, 2015

Meeting Announcement

When:  August 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: Phill Greenwalt

Topic:  The Battle of Groveton

Phill Greenwalt is co-author of Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and Hurricane from the Heavens:The Battle of Cold Harbor (both with Daniel Davis). Phill graduated from George Mason University with a M.A. in American History and also has a B.A. in history from Wheeling Jesuit University. He is currently a historian with the National Park Service at George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Thomas Stone National Historic Site. He started with the National Park Service as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He currently resides in the historic Northern Neck of Virginia with his wife, Adel.



  • Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville. Savas Beatie, 2015. (co-authored with Daniel T. Davis)
  • Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor. Savas Beatie, 2014. (co-authored with Daniel T. Davis)
  • Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. Savas Beatie, 2014. (co-authored with Daniel T. Davis)
  • “A Scary Sequel: The Battle and Ramifications of the Battle of Brawner’s Farm at Second Manassas.” Hallowed Ground. Summer 2012. (co-authored with Daniel T. Davis)

Atlanta Campaign Tour

Posted by: cocwrt | July 9, 2015

Meeting Wrap Up

Zach Cowsert

Zach Cowsert presenting  to 45 members and guests at the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable

Posted by: cocwrt | July 1, 2015

Meeting Announcement

When:  July 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:  Zachary Cowsert

Topic:  “The Civil War in Indian Territory” In early months of 1861, Native-Americans of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole) looked on with increasing fear and consternation as the Union tore itself apart.  These proud tribes, once residents of the southeastern United States, had been removed several decades prior to Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma).  As the nascent Confederacy grew, Native-Americans faced a crossroads:  should they ally with the South, attempt neutrality, or remain loyal to the United States? In this presentation, Zac Cowsert explores the political dilemma faced by Indian leaders in the summer of 1861, and how those decisions produced one of the most destructive Indian wars in American history, leaving Indian Territory in ruins and its inhabitants destitute or dead.Zach

Zac Cowsert graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science.  He is currently pursuing his doctorate in history at West Virginia University, where he also earned his master’s degree in history.  His master’s thesis explored the Civil War in Indian Territory, a topic upon which he hopes to build his dissertation. Zac has worked previously for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.  He contributes to Civil Discourse, a blog of the Civil War era, and his work has appeared in Hallowed Ground magazine of the Civil War Trust.

July Newsletter

Conservation Fund: Historic Lands

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