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 XLII Number 2                  October 24, 2017

Patrick Falci

"Up Comes Hill "

Join us for the next meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable at the Williamsburg Public Library Theatre at 7 PM on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.

On October 24, 2017, Dennis Frye will present “Did McClellan out-think Lee during the first Confederate invasion?”
We often laugh when we think of George McClellan. We enjoy making McClellan the Union's whipping boy. McClellan, himself, brings little sympathy to his cause. Full of bravado, often arrogant, and sometimes insubordinate, McClellan is the general we like to dislike. We chuckle when he claimed, following the first invasion of the North, that it was the second time he had saved the North.
Yet when Robert E. Lee was asked after the war who was the best Union general he faced, he responded with George McClellan.
Was McClellan as incompetent and ineffective as history has branded him? Discover some answers as we ask:  "Did McClellan out-think Lee during the 1st invasion?"

Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Writer, lecturer, guide, and preservationist, Dennis is a prominent Civil War historian. Dennis has numerous appearances on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, C-SPAN, Fox News, A&E, and Voice of America as a guest historian. He helped produce Emmy award-winning television features on the Battle of Antietam, abolitionist John Brown, and Maryland during the Civil War. Dennis is one of the nation’s leading Civil War battlefield preservationists.  He is co-founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and he is co-founder and a former president of today’s Civil War Trust, from whom he received the Trust’s highest honor - the Shelby Foote Award.  Dennis also earned the prestigious Nevins-Freeman Award for his lifetime achievements in the Civil War community. Dennis is a tour guide in demand, leading tours for organizations such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic, numerous colleges and universities, and Civil War Round Tables.  Dennis also is a well-known author, with 98 articles and nine books.   Harpers Ferry Under Fire received the national book of the year award from the Association of Partners for Public Lands; and September Suspense:  Lincoln’s Union in Peril, was awarded the 2012 Laney Book Prize for distinguished scholarship and writing on the military and political history of the war.  Dennis has written for prestigious Civil War magazines such as Civil War Times Illustrated, America’s Civil War, Blue & Gray Magazine, North and South Magazine, and Hallowed Ground, and as a guest contributor to the Washington Post.  Dennis resides near the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, and he and his wife Sylvia have restored the home that was used by General Burnside as his post-Antietam headquarters.

Last Month

On September 26, 2017, Patrick Falci a/k/a General A.P. Hill presented “Up Came Hill (A.P. Hill at Sharpsburg)”
At 6:30 in the morning on September 17, 1862, a courier sent by Gen. Robert E. Lee arrived at the headquarters of Major General AP. Hill in Harper's Ferry, VA. A battle had commenced early that morning in Sharpsburg, MD and General Lee needed help. Lee knew he was outnumbered more than 2 to 1 at what would be known as the Battle of Antietam, and that A.P. Hill and his men were the only ones who could help him. In one half-hour, Hill would have his men on the march at the double-quick.
A.P. Hill, wearing his red battle shirt—which he called his hunting shirt—and his Light Division (so-called because he trained it for speed) knew that the fate of the Army of Northern Virginia was in their hands. They knew they would be going against George McClellan and the strong Army of the Potomac, and that the war could be decided by the outcome of this battle.

Hill had so much confidence in his division (5000 men on the march) that he decided to take a longer route of 17 miles to Sharpsburg instead of the more direct 12-mile route. He knew the speed and endurance of the men would make up for the 5 extra miles, and he didn't want an engagement with reported enemy troops in the area. With the point of his sword, he pushed his men forward. He would ride up and down the line through clouds of dust to inspire them during their breathless pace. After so many miles, some of the men could not keep up. They were suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and even a few heart attacks. At one point, while crossing the Potomac at Boteler's Ford, Hill lost 500 men. Yet, A.P. Hill would not stop. Getting closer and closer to Sharpsburg, he could hear the sound of the guns. But would he make it in time to save General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia?
To his dying day, Robert E. Lee never forgot September 17th, 1862 and the timely arrival of AP. Hill. On his deathbed, Lee is reported to have uttered among his last words: "Tell AP. Hill he must come up," remembering with his last breath, the heroic rescue of his Army by General Hill at Sharpsburg.

For 25 years, Patrick Falci has been the face of General Ambrose Powell Hill. Before that, he spent 15 years as a reenactor with the 14th Tennessee— Archer's Brigade, Hill's Light Division. He created the role of General Hill in the movie Gettysburg and was the historical advisor to director Ron Maxwell, as well as bestselling author, Jeff Shaara. Amongst his many achievements, he served as the 3-time president of the Civil War Round Table of New York and has been a guest speaker all over the country for his knowledge on the Civil War.

Dues for 2017-2018 are due. Dues for the year are $30 for an individual and $35 for a family. Please make checks payable to WCWRT. Registration form

2017-2018 Officers of WCWRT:
President: Bill Miller               Vice-President: Lee Underwood
Secretary: Gene Danko         Treasurer:  George Callis

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

Upcoming Meetings and Speakers

  • November 29, 2017 – Eric Buckland – “John S. Mosby – The Perfect Man in the Perfect Place”
  • December 19, 2017 - Brian Steele Wills - Gone with the glory (The Civil War in Cinema)
  • January 23, 2018 – Carson Hudson – "Custer's First Stand"
  • February 27, 2018 – Ralph Peters - "Civil War Leadership and its challenges
  • March 27, 2018 - Peggy Vogstberger – “Patrick Cleburne”
  • April 24, 2018 - Eric Wittenberg - John Buford
  • May 22, 2018 - Dr. James I. Robertson - TBD

Special Events

  • September and December 2017 - Prince William County 2017 History Bus Tours details
  • September, 2017 – May, 2018 - The Return of History Happy Hours at the American Civil War Museum. For details and other museum events click here.
  • Oct. 7, 2017 - Battle of Smithfield tour at Isle of Wight Museum details
  • October 21, 2017 - The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is proud to partner with the MacArthur Memorial for a 1942 symposium at 8 a.m. in the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. details
  • October 31, 2017 - William C. Davis will be speaking at Christopher Newport University , at 3 PM in the Gaines Theater at the Freeman Center. The title of his talk is: “The General in Love: The Civil War Romance of Gabriel and Nannie Wharton”. The event is free and open to the public.


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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.

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