Posted by: cocwrt | March 22, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:  April 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: Dale Phillips

Topic:  Red River Campaign

In the early spring of 1864, the new overall commander of the Federal forces, General U.S. Grant, was determined to bring the full weight of all his available resources against the Confederates. General George Meade’s Army of the Potomac was to advance on Richmond supported by other Union thrusts up the Shenandoah Valley and James River. General William Sherman’s forces were to advance from Chattanooga toward Atlanta. This left only the Army of the Gulf under General Nathaniel Banks without a clear objective. Most thought it would be the Confederate port of Mobile but instead the army was ordered to advance up the Red River valley with Shreveport, Louisiana being its primary target. The objectives of the campaign were many. The primary reason was the seizure of masses of cotton needed by northern mills. Another objective was the destruction of the Confederate forces and military support facilities in the upper Red River region. There was the political objective of trying to return as much of Louisiana to the Union fold before the 1864 election.
A powerful Union army and naval force was assembled under the command of Banks and Admiral David Dixon Porter. Opposing this force was a much smaller Confederate army under the command of Richard Taylor. My presentation will look at the successes and failures of both commanders. We will discuss the route of the Union forces as they advanced from the mouth of the Red River to within 12 miles of Shreveport. We will look at and discuss the mistakes and the results of this very unique campaign.
The presentation will take a special look at Alexandria, Louisiana. During the Civil War Alexandria was a major city on the Red River because it was a portage point around a series of huge rapids that, at times of low water, blocked the river. These rapids would also play a key role in the Civil War story.  My program will open with the assault on Fort DeRussey.  It will then follow the route of the advancing Union forces to Alexandria, Nachitoches, and Mansfield. We will discuss the battlefield at Mansfield where on, April 8, 1864, General Richard Taylor halted his retreat and inflicted a devastating defeat on the Federal forces. We also discuss the battlefield at Pleasant Hill where, on April 9, 1864, the largest battle of the campaign would be waged. Even though Pleasant Hill would be a Union victory it would so unnerve General Banks that he will order his forces to retreat.
The presentation will then cover the Union forces return to Alexandria where they found the Red River too low to get their fleet over the rapids. Engineer Joseph Bailey would enter the picture and supervise the construction of a series of dams that would eventually allow the Union fleet to escape. We will discuss the entire retreat route and the battlefields on which Taylor attempted to block the Union withdrawal and destroy the Army of the Gulf. The presentation will include the engagements at Blair’s Landing, Monett’s Ferry, Mansura and Yellow Bayou. The program will end with the conclusion of the campaign on the banks of the Atchafayla River. It was here that a bridge of river steamers tied together by Engineer Joseph Bailey would allow the Union forces to complete their escape from the pursing Confederates.

Dale Phillips is a native of New Jersey. He earned a BA degree in American History from York College of Pennsylvania in 1978 and beganDale_Phillips working for the National Park service as an interpreter at Gettysburg in 1976. His other duties have included being a law enforcement ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville, Illinois, a interpretive ranger at Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina, supervisory park ranger/historian at Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park, unit manager of the Chalmette (Battle of New Orleans site) Unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, unit manager of the Acadian Unit of Jean Lafitte, and superintendent of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.
His present position is that of superintendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. He has written numerous articles on U.S. military history for various publications and is also  a guide/lecturer for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Civil War Roundtables, and other history touring organizations. His area of expertise is from the colonial period (French and Indian War) through the American Civil War.

Mr. Phillips is married to the former Carol Patton Bernstein of Shreveport, Louisiana. They have one daughter, Laura, who attends college in Phoenix, Arizona.


Posted by: cocwrt | March 1, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:   March 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:  Mark Jenkins

Topic:      Union Naval Officer Henry Walke.

Virginia-born Ohioan Henry Walke exerted a double influence on the American Civil War:  first as a senior naval officer on the western rivers and in the Atlantic, and second as a recorder and illustrator of those events.  His sketches and paintings of naval operations on the rivers in the Civil War (and in the earlier Mexican War) form a primary part of our view of those events, and his first-hand account of the river war is a major source of information for its history.
Mark F. Jenkins, a COCWRT member, has been interested in Civil War naval operations since childhood.  He constructed a website on ironclads and blockade runners that has been up on the Internet continuously since late 1996, provided information to several other authors and researchers, spoke to several Civil War Round Tables, published a two-part article on ironclads in the “Naval Gazette” in Nov-Dec 1998 and Jan-Feb 1999, and provided a biographical foreword on Lt. John Wilkinson for a recent reprint of Wilkinson’s Narrative of a Blockade Runner.  He is currently writing the first full-length biography of Henry Walke.  Mark lives in Westerville, Ohio, with his wife Jennifer and three children.

Ironclads and Blockade Runners

March Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | January 28, 2013

Meeting Announcement

When:   February  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: Jamie Ryan

Topic:  The Camden Expedition.

Jamie Ryan, 53, is a charter member of the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable, and has served in every office and role the organization has to offer. Jamie is a graduate of the University of Dayton, where he earned a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in American Studies in 1982, and of The Ohio State University College of Law, where he earned his J.D. Cum Laude in 1985. Jamie has practiced law privately for over 27 years, and is a member of (and serves on the Board of Directors of) Bailey Cavalieri LLC, where he has developed a nationwide practice in the law of gift cards and unclaimed property, representing companies such as Limited Brands, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Battelle Memorial Institute, Nationwide Insurance, American Signature Furniture,, The Home Depot, CBS, Brinks, Ecolab, Legal Seafood and many other retailers, manufacturers and insurance companies. Jamie also represents many local companies in general corporate matters, including Blue & Gray Magazine and The Columbus Crew. Jamie is a frequent lecturer on unclaimed property, gift card and sports law issues at local and national legal conventions. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Buckeye Ranch, The Crew Soccer Foundation, The Loeb Electric Company and St. Francis DeSales High School Finance Committee. Jamie is married to Elizabeth (nee Mund), a fourth grade teacher at St. Paul School in Westerville, and has two children: Molly (24) and Pete (19).

Jamie has been interested in the Civil War since his parents took his family to Gettysburg in 1966, has read extensively on   the conflict and has James G. Ryanvisited many of the battlefields of the War. He loves visiting any place where the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac fought. Jamie is a Brigade Color Bearer in the Civil War Trust.

Jamie has spoken to the Roundtable on many topics over the years, but this month’s meeting will mark his first venture into the Trans-Mississippi Theatre.  Jamie will discuss the Camden Expedition, the name given to the federal offensive launched in late March of 1864 from Little Rock, Arkansas, an operation that a Unionist St. Louis newspaper accurately described as “a campaign of forty days in which nothing has been gained but defeat, hard blows, and poor fare.” The Camden Expedition featured hard-bitten Confederate cavalry officered by such legendary leaders as John Marmaduke and Jo Shelby, Union volunteer regiments formed from freed slaves (the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry) and Indians affiliated with the Confederate forces (the 1st & 2nd Chickasaw Mounted Rifles). The contending forces fought three pitched battles and numerous skirmishes over the 40 days of the campaign.  The campaign featured numerous incidents that would be categorized as war crimes today.

Jamie toured the battlefields of the Camden Expedition with Mike Peters, Tim Maurice and Pete Zuhars in 2011.

Camden Expedition Maps
Poison Spring
Mark’s Mill
Jenkin’s Ferry

February Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | December 28, 2012

Meeting Announcement

When:  January 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: The roundtable membership

Topic: Annual Round Table Group Discussion:  Battlefield Visits

January Newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | December 8, 2012

Meeting Announcement

The Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable does not meet in December


The next meeting is January 9th 2013

December 2012 newsletter

Posted by: cocwrt | October 21, 2012

Meeting Announcement

When:    November 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: J. David Petruzzi

Topic:       Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses; June 9th to July 14th

 Known to most folks as just “J.D.”, J. David Petruzzi has been a life-long student of history.  Although his primary interest is the American Civil War, he also enjoys studying all aspects of American and world history.
        Following his graduation from The Pennsylvania State  University, J.D. became more serious about studying the Civil War.  His special penchant is for the cavalry, so he began researching the mounted arms of both sides.  He visited many repositories such as university and historical collections, the U.S. Army War College, and National Park Service and other government archives and began gathering a large amount of primary source material.  J.D. also began collecting books, and now has a primary and secondary book collection of Civil War and related topics that numbers about 4,000 volumes.  He soon began reenacting, often portraying a Union cavalry officer.
        In 2003, J.D. began writing articles on cavalry and Gettysburg topics for popular Civil War magazines such as America’s Civil War, Civil War Times, Blue&Gray, and The Gettysburg Magazine.  Most of his articles dealt with little-known, obscure events during the war, events that he enjoys discovering, learning about, and teaching to others.
        In 2004, J.D. wanted to begin writing books about the subjects he loves, and in 2006 his first book appeared (co-authored with Eric J. Wittenberg) titled Plenty of Blame To Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg which opened to wide acclaim.  Since then, J.D. has authored several more books with many more in the works.  He also was a Historical Adviser and actor in two television docudramas produced at the time.
        While writing the articles for magazines, J.D. met and befriended master cartographer Steven Stanley, most noted for his beautiful and deeply-researched maps produced for the Civil War Trust.  Steve produced the maps that accompanied J.D.’s articles, with the pair working closely together since J.D.’s subjects had mostly never been mapped previously.  For a number of years, J.D. had considered the idea of writing a guidebook for the various Gettysburg battlefields and surrounding sites of interest.  Steve graciously agreed to produce the maps for the book.  But finding that in addition to his map-making abilities that Steve was also an extremely talented media designer, publisher Theodore Savas of Savas Beatie LLC agreed to have Steve also design the entire book.  In 2009, the fruits of J.D.’s and Steve’s labors appeared – The Complete Gettysburg Guide.  Featuring an easy-to-follow tour of the entire main battlefield, the book also features tours of the town, cemeteries, surrounding cavalry battlfields, field hospital sites, and even the historical rock carvings on the battlefield.  Entirely in full color with 70 of Steve’s original maps, the book has won several prestigious awards and has been widely praised as setting a new standard for historical guidebooks.  The pair plan a series of such guides for many more battlefields.
         In early 2011, J.D. was selected to be the Historical Advisor for an upcoming television miniseries, set to air in 2013, titled To Appomattox.  Written and produced by screen writer Michael Frost Beckner (Spy Game, CSI, The Agency) and directed by Mikael Solomon (Band of Brothers, Rome) the eight-part series follows the lives and careers of main characters Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, William T. Sherman, and James Longstreet.  In addition to advising the writer, producers, and cast (which include William Petersen, Michael C. Hall, Paul Giamatti, Stephen Lang, and several other television/movie actors as well as Country Music stars and Nascar drivers), J.D. is also coordinating the efforts of a world-class team of consultants which include National Park Service Historian Emeritus Edwin Bearss and about a dozen authors and historians.  J.D. has also been assisting the production company by helping to write portions of the script and conducting research that is the foundation for the series’ storyboards and sets.  The series is anticipated to be the media highlight of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and J.D. is both humbled and honored to be a part of the project.
          Living in western Pennsylvania with his wife Karen and their dacshund Buddy, J.D. works steadily on his book projects.  The owner and manager of a successful insurance brokerage, in his free time J.D. also enjoys gardening, fishing, and watching movies.

Historical Advisor to the upcoming TV miniseries To Appomattox
Books at;;
The Complete Gettysburg Guide – Winner of the 2009 US Army Historical Foundation’s Award for Excellence, Reference Category.

November Newsletter

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