Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

Current Newsletter and Archives

Williamsburg Civil War



  Meeting Place:


Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre

Volume LI Number 7                March 16, 2021

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 7 PM
Michael E. Block
"A Rusty Sword, Five Friends, and "As Perfect a Beauty Ever
Born on the Soil of The Old Dominion -
The Battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862 "

The meeting will be via Zoom. Zoom links will be sent to all email recipients no later than March 14th.

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at 7 PM on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (note change of meeting date to third Tuesday).

On Tuesday, March 16th, Michael E. Block will present “A Rusty Sword, Five Friends, and ‘as perfect a beauty ever born on the soil of the Old Dominion.” Incidents and anecdotes from the Battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862.

The Battle of Cedar Mountain is considered by some as the opening fight in the Second Manassas Campaign, others a one-off fight. Mike will give an overview of the Cedar Mountain Campaign and the battle itself. But his focus will be on the experiences soldiers who participated in the battle. Their stories are typically lost in the recounting of the fight, so tonight’s presentation features their tales.
Michael E. Block is a recently retired government consultant, having served 20 years in the U. S. Air Force and 19 with the firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He was recently the Vice-President of the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, but still volunteers for the organizations.  He has been published in Blue and Gray Magazine, Hallowed Ground and will have his first book published, “The Carnage Was Fearful: The Battle of Cedar Mountain”, in 2021. His specialty is the Civil War in the Virginia Piedmont, with an emphasis on Cedar Mountain and the Winter Encampment of 1863-64. He resides in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife of 39 years, Caryn. They have two married sons and three granddaughters.

Last Month

On Tuesday, February 16, 2020, Dr. Thomas G. Clemens presented “Special Orders 191”. A map of the Antietam campaign and special orders 191 are on our website at http://www.wcwrt.org/so191.jpg and www.wcwrt.org/Antietam-Campaign-3-to-17-1862-June.jpg.
Arguably one of the most famous incidents of the Civil War is the loss, and discovery, of Special Orders 191 and its impact on the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Many authors have speculated about the effects of this event on Lee’s first invasion of the North. Did it seal the fate of Lee’s invasion? Was McClellan slow in reacting to its discovery? Was it part of conspiracy by a spy in the southern army? Or was it a scheme to confuse and delay the Union forces under McClellan? Who lost it? Who found it? Where and when was it found? What was the impact on the siege of Harpers Ferry? Likewise, the battle of South Mountain? Even Antietam/Sharpsburg? What did it tell McClellan and what didn’t it tell him?
All these questions, and more, will be addressed in Tom’s talk. Much has been written about the impact of SO 191 on the Maryland Campaign, and he will provide a brief summary of past writers and their take on the importance of SO 191. His views may seem unconventional to some of you, as he challenges some of the well-ingrained traditions about SO 191.  It is Tom’s intent to offer his views but leave ample time to engage in questions and discussion with the members of CWRT
Dr. Thomas G. Clemens received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in history from Salisbury University, and his Doctorate in History Education from George Mason University, where he studied under noted Civil War historian Dr. Joseph L. Harsh.  Tom came to Hagerstown Community College in 1978 and spent most of his 34-year career at HCC teaching American History, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 2012.
Tom is a founding member and current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc., a non-profit historic preservation organization. In the past 5 years SHAF and the Civil War Trust have cooperated to purchase four properties, comprising 60 acres, inside the battlefield boundary. We have demolished six non-historic structures on these properties, and more non-historic structures will be removed soon.
Tom is also an NPS-certified Antietam Battlefield Guide, and a 30+ year volunteer there.

Dues for September 2020 - May 2021 are waive until in-person meetings resume.

2019-2020 Officers of WCWRT:
President: Bill Miller               Vice-President: Lee Underwood
Secretary: Gene Danko         Treasurer: 

The Executive Committee consists of the elected officers, the immediate past president and other members appointed by the incoming president. Those members include Debbie Bedosti, Tom Lamb, and Terri Teopke.

Upcoming Meetings and Speakers

  • April 27, 2021 - Chris Kolakowski - “Perspectives of the 1862 Virginia Campaigns”
  • May 25, 2021 - Matt Atkinson - TBA

Special Events

Visit the Williamsburg Battlefield Association
(http://www.williamsburgbattlefieldassociation.org/) (https://www.facebook.com/WilliamsburgBattlefieldAssociation)
WEBSITE: Be sure to frequently visit the site for newsletter info, announcements, future and past speakers, and an up to date calendar of events in the Civil War world.  It’s available anytime you need the info. http://www.wcwrt.org.

The purpose of this organization shall be to promote discussion and study of the Civil War and to further stimulate interest in all aspects and phases of the Civil War period.

To access the newsletter archives, 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021