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 LIII Number 9              May 23, 2023

May 23, 2023 at 6:30 PM

Dennis E. Frye
“Stonewall Jackson’s Greatest Victory: Harper’s Ferry”

Please join us on May 23rd for the meeting of the Williamsburg Civil War Roundtable, commencing at 6:30 PM in the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre . The library is located at 515 Scotland Street in Williamsburg.

The program will also be presented online via a Zoom link for our members and friends near and far. The details for the Zoom link will be provided by a follow-up announcement several days prior to meeting date.

On May 23, 2023, Dennis Frye will present "Stonewall Jackson's Greatest Victory: Harper's Ferry".

General Lee had a problem - Harpers Ferry. He could not continue his proposed invasion into the United States with this strategic position in the hands of U.S. forces. Something must be done. Lee devised a complex plan, perhaps his most complex of the war. He summoned his most aggressive lieutenant, Stonewall Jackson, to lead the sensitive mission. But soon much went wrong. Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, coupled with the enemy's discovery of Lee's orders, Jackson in his final independent command of the war brought Lee victory - Stonewall's most brilliant battlefield victory.
Dennis E. Frye recently retired after 20 years as the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. For his more than 3 decades of service with the National Park Service, Dennis earned the “Distinguished Service Award” - the highest honor of the Department of Interior. Dennis also received the American Battlefield Trust’s highest honor, the “Shelby Foote Award,” and was recognized with the “Nevins-Freeman Award” for his years of scholarship and his national leadership role in battlefield preservation. Dennis is a prominent Civil War historian as a writer, lecturer, preservationist and battlefield guide. Dennis has numerous appearances on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, C-SPAN, 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 respected as a national Civil War battlefield preservationist. 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 American Battlefield Trust. Dennis is a tour guide in demand, leading tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and Civil War Round Tables and staff rides for US Army and Marine Corps leadership. Dennis also is a well-known author, with 107 articles and 11 books.

Last Month
On April 25,2023, Dr. Lorien Foote presented "Union Soldiers on the Loose in the Confederacy".

During the last winter of the Civil War, nearly 3,000 Union prisoners escaped from Confederate prisons in the Carolinas and fled toward Union army lines.  Black and white southerners fed, hid, and guided the fugitives across hundreds of miles of dangerous terrain.  Lorien Foote will share what the journey of escaped prisoners reveals about Union soldier’s experiences in the final months of the war and the transformation of the home front to a battle front inside the Confederacy.

Dr. Lorien Foote is the Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History at Texas A&M University. She is the author of four books, editor of three volumes, and writer of numerous articles and essays on the cultural, intellectual, and military history of the American Civil War. Her most recent book is Rites of Retaliation: Civilization, Soldiers, and Campaigns in the American Civil War (2021), which won the Organization of American Historians Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award. She is the co-editor, with Earl J. Hess, of The Oxford Handbook of the American Civil War. She is the creator and principal investigator of a digital humanities project, which is mapping the escape and movement of 3000 Federal prisoners of war.  The project includes contributions from undergraduate researchers at four universities.  It can be explored online at: https://sites.google.com/tamu.edu/fugitive-federals/the-project.  Foote received her B.A. from the University of Kansas and her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.  She is a ballroom dancer and a dog lover.  Buzz, her eight-year-old Shih Tzu, is the mascot of the TAMU Study Abroad program and visits the office on campus regularly.

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

  • June- August - no meetings
  • September 26, 2023:   Hampton Newsome:  “Gettysburg’s Second Front:  Union Opportunity and Failure at Richmond"
  • October 24, 2023:   Dr. Jonathan White:  (A presentation related to Dr. White’s latest book publication)
  • November 28, 2023:   Frank O’Reilly:   “Fredericksburg:  Barksdale’s Brigade Delaying the Union River Crossing"
  • December 19, 2023:   Drew Gruber:   “John Bell Hood and the Battle at Eltham’s Landing”
  • January 23, 2024:   Bruce Littell:   “The Submarine H. L. Hunley:  Concept, Development, Deployment, Recovery, & Conservation”
  • February 27, 2024:   Scott Mingus:   “Confederate Calamity:  JEB Stuart’s Cavalry Ride through York County, PA”
  • March 26, 2024:   Jonathan Jones:   “Opium Slavery:  Drug Dependency Among Civil War Veterans”
  • April 23, 2024:  Rob Orrison:  “Twice Baptized: Misconceptions & Unique Stories from the Manassas Battlefields
  • May 28, 2024:  Patrick Schroeder:  “Forgotten Friday: The April 7, 1865 Actions in Cumberland County, VA”

Special Events

  • June 9-14, 2023 -  The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College would like to offer the members of our Civil War Round table a 15% discount to attend the 2023 CWI summer conference, . You can explore further details about the conference on their website.

Other Notes:  

Support our Book Raffle:  This is an important secondary source of revenue to support our programming. It’s a wonderful way to supplement your Civil War library with great books at bargain basement prices.

Help our effort increase our membership:  The best method of recruitment is by word of mouth. Help our effort to grow your Roundtable by inviting your friends and neighbors to accompany you to our meeting.

June 3 - 4, 2023 -  reenactment "Fort Pocahontas Action at Wilson's Wharf"  details
Russell Glenn, a local resident of Williamsburg, has just published an historical novel which offers a unique twist to the Civil War. Russ contacted our Roundtable to solicit an interest in his work. While we offer no endorsement, we do offer a neighborly opportunity to promote his work. Russ has accepted our invitation to attend our May event to meet and offer his work to our members and guests. Please stop by his table in the Lobby to greet him.
As the brief description below makes clear, “Gods’ War" is very much historically based. The details of battles are particularly enhanced by the inclusion of 33 maps. Please note the information at the websites in the signature block below.

One man, one decision, and the course of a nation is forever changed. The man is Robert E. Lee. The decision: accept President Abraham Lincoln’s April 18, 1861 offer to lead a Union army. Lee assumes command of the Army of the Potomac. He fights its battles on the ground and dates where and when they were actually fought…but herein they are contested in ways found in no history book.

In “Gods’ War", Lincoln gets the General that eluded him in the opening years of the American Civil War: a highly competent leader, though not an invincible one. The Virginian soon finds himself plagued by too many subordinates’ political ambitions even as he seeks to put others better qualified in command positions. Vainglorious and inept Nathaniel Banks; cocksure former Senator and presidential candidate John C. Fremont; grizzled yet lion-hearted Samuel Heintzelman; Thomas Francis Meagher, a convicted seditionist who escapes Tasmania and crosses an ocean to lead the legendary Irish Brigade; and hardened veteran of fighting in the American West, John Buford: these are among Lee’s Generals; bad, good, and great. Jefferson Davis’s choice to lead his Army of Northern Virginia finds his challenges are much the same.

Yet this is not a tale of Generals alone. Kind if eccentric Walt Whitman nurses the wounded as he did over a century and a half ago. Stonewall Jackson’s talented New Yorker-turned-Confederate mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss wields his exceptional skills on the South’s behalf. Whitman and Hotchkiss are among the many who bear witness to the remarkable courage and suffering experienced by the men at the sharp edge of combat, men whose families at home come to know the anguish of hunger, disease, and fathers, husbands, and brothers lost. It is a war that could have been but for the decision of a single man.
Dr. Russell W. Glenn
Principal, InnovativeDefenseResearch, LLC
(757) 707-5710 (cell)
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/russellwglenn
Russ’s most recent nonfiction book, Come Hell or High Fever: Readying the World’s Megacities for Disaster, is available for free download at http://doi.org/10.22459/CHHF.2023 or purchasable from Amazon.
And now available: Gods' War, an American Civil War novel. See russglenn@innovativedefenseresearch.com for a description. Can be ordered from the following and other distributors worldwide: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-War-Russell-W-Glenn-ebook/dp/B0C2WS24LW/ref=sr_1_6crid=20O9GGOOVP790&keywords=glenn%2C+gods%27+war&qid=1682542805&sprefix=glenn%2C+gods%27+war%2Caps%2C103&sr=8-6


Visit the Williamsburg Battlefield Association
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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.

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.

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