THE THREE DAY BATTLE AT GETTYSBURG is certainly one of the most famous military conflicts in American history. Each year the National Park at Gettysburg is visited by tens of thousands of students ranging from fifth graders to those from the National War College. Many casual observers assume that Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War, an assumption that will be thoroughly discussed at our next Round Table meeting. To stimulate our thinking, as well as to add a few new wrinkles and angles, our roundtable session will be preceded by the views of Edward T. O’Donnell, an associate professor of history at the College of Holy Cross. Professor O’Donnell has appeared on several popular media outlets, including the History Channel, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. Since we could not afford his travel expenses the good professor’s 30 minute presentation will come to us via an excellent DVD. A round table discussion after the DVD is viewed will be moderated by David Frey.
David Frey will discuss “A Southerner’s View of the Defeat at Gettysburg.” His main text for this examination will be the writings of Douglas S. Freeman. Frey cautions that the ideas he is presenting do not necessarily reflect those of the presenter nor of the Round Table.
Freeman, as noted historian James M. McPherson has pointed out, portrays “a Lee almost without blemish or warts.” As such this presentation is imbued with much of what has become known as the Lost Cause mythology. Nonetheless, it is worth studying Freeman’s work and discussing his point of view to better understand the Confederate point of view on this most crucial of Civil War battles.
Mr. Lincoln’s Camera Man: An Evening with Matthew Brady, with living historian Mark Holbrook, of the Ohio Historical Society. Brady’s photographs of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War have become icons of the early days of photography. Come hear the story from Matthew Brady himself as the world renowned photographer and chronicler of the American Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln shares some of his photographs and the stories behind them.
Mark Holbrook, Marketing Manager for the Ohio Historical Society, is a native Ohioan, graduate of Ohio State University and an avid student of history. Mark has been a Civil War reenactor for more than 15 years and has given numerous lectures to adults and children about the life of a Civil War soldier. An author of several articles on the Civil War and reenacting, Mark is the editor of the regimental history of the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. In addition to overseeing the Society’s marketing, Mark portrays historic characters for Society events, and acts in the Echoes in Time theatre series at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus.
Sherman and Sheridan:
Andrew Stout (from Sherman’s point of view) and David Frey (from Sheridan’s point of view) will discuss various Civil War topics.
This presentation will consist of Brian Schoen’s overview of David Blight’s book Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory and Carl J. Denbow’s review of Albion Tourgée’s novel, A Fool’s Errand: A Novel of the South During Reconstruction. Both of these books deal with post-war America and how the country coped with the aftermath and legacy of those horrible years.
An amazon.com summary of Blight’s book says that it “delves deeply into the shifting meanings of death and sacrifice, Reconstruction, the romanticized South of literature, soldiers’ reminiscences of battle, the idea of the Lost Cause, and the ritual of Memorial Day.” The summary goes on to say that Blight “resurrects the variety of African-American voices and memories of the war and the efforts to preserve the emancipationist legacy in the midst of a culture built on its denial.”
Even though Tourgée’s book is a novel, scholars believe the book to be largely biographical as it describes the futility of the efforts of its main character to bring racial reconciliation to the South.
David Frey and Bill Walker will review several books about various battles, leaders and issues of the Civil War. Audience participation is to be greatly encouraged.
Ann Cramer will discuss archeological findings relative to the Underground Railroad in the Wayne National Forest.
Following our traditional summer hiatus, the General Charles H. Grosvenor Civil War Round Table will meet on Sept. 12, shortly before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. This battle is frequently cited as one of the most significant events in American history. It not only gave the Union a much-needed victory after a string of Confederate successes, but it gave Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
The meeting will begin with a half-hour DVD from the Great Courses Series about the Battle of Antietam. The presenter is Dr. Edward T. O’Donnell, an associate professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass. He is active in the field of public history and has provided insight for programs on the History Channel, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. O’Donnell’s books include his comprehenisve “Vision of America: A History of the United States.”
Following the DVD, David Frey will lead a roundtable discussion. During this session we will explore the military, political and cultural consequences of the battle. Later in the meeting, if time permits, we will have an open discussion of any other areas of interest to participants in the Round Table.
Eric Burke: Federal Soldiers from Southern Ohio: my work deals with the lives and experiences of “common” Federal soldiers in the western theater, in particular those from southern Ohio.
May 9, 2012: Medical Advancements of the Civil War
- Dr. Peter D’Onofrio, Presenter
- Dr. Anthony Chila: Round Table discussion with speaker
The Civil War was the first modern war and resulted in the highest number of U.S. casualties per capita of any of our wars as approximately 620,000 men perished, including 360,000 in the North and 260,000 in the South; 25 percent of those involved died. These casualties exceeded those of all other U.S. wars and affected nearly every family in the North and South. What is not often understood or appreciated now are the rapid advancements made in American medicine that were stimulated by this conflict. Dr. D’Onofrio’s PowerPoint illustrated presentation explains those advances and their impact on the subsequent development of American Medicine.
Dr. D’Onofrio is President of the Society of Civil War Surgeons and editor of its quarterly publication, The Journal of Civil War Medicine. The specific goal of The Society of Civil War Surgeons is to promote, in both members as well as the general public, a deep and abiding appreciation for rich medical heritage of the American Civil War. To accomplish this, The Society will foster fellowship, provide a continuing forum for education and the exchange of information, and provide communications among people who have similar interests. The Society will also serve as a resource for those seeking authoritative information of Civil War medical and surgical practices