SPEAKER SCHEDULE - 2012-2013
JANUARY 10, 2013 Steve Raymond will tell of The Birth of a Regiment, the 78th Illinois Infantry, established in late summer 1862. He will consider where its soldiers came from, why they enlisted in 1862 when they had not done so a year earlier, how the regiment was organized, who its officers were, and how they were appointed. In their own words, its soldiers describe how they adapted to camp life and learned to cook for themselves, cope with ill-fitting uniforms and poor weapons, and deal with the miseries of military drill. After just three weeks in service the regiment was summoned to what its soldiers thought would be the front, but instead turned out to be a long series of very unpleasant experiences. Steve Raymond, retired Seattle Times editor, is a long-time PSCWRT member. The story of the 78th Illinois is told in his tenth book, In the Very Thickest of the Fight: The Civil War Service of the 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, published by Globe Pequot Press.
FEBRUARY 7, 2013 (THE FIRST THURSDAY, NOT THE USUAL SECOND THURSDAY) Ethan Rafuse will discuss “Fighting Joe” Hooker, “Snapping Turtle” Meade, and the Challenge of Commanding the Army of the Potomac in 1863. Early that year Joseph Hooker took command of an army torn by discord in its higher ranks and demoralized by the loss of its beloved first commander and its bitter defeat at Fredericksburg. Although Hooker restored the army's morale, his reverse at Chancellorsville ushered in his removal by President Lincoln. Hooker’s replacement, George Gordon Meade, gave the Union a needed victory at Gettysburg, but a few months later the war in the East seemed once more in stalemate. Dr. Rafuse will consider the difficulties, defeats, and achievements of those who commanded the Union’s most publicized army during this turbulent year in the middle of the war. A Professor of Military History at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, he is the author of many articles and books, including Stonewall Jackson: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies).
MARCH 14, 2013 Kevin Weddle will discuss Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont. At the start of the Civil War, Du Pont was considered one of the finest officers in the US Navy. Yet a little more than two years into the war, he was disgraced, having been relieved of his command after his failed naval effort to take Charleston, SC. Today Du Pont is little more than a footnote. Kevin Weddle, Ph.D., Colonel (Retired), US Army, and Professor of Military Theory and Strategy at the US Army War College, will talk about this all but forgotten officer who actually made a significant contribution to US Navy success before and during the war. Professor Weddle is the author of Lincoln's Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era).
APRIL 11, 2013 Nick K. Adams will describe the Civil War service of David Brainard Griffin in the 2nd Minnesota Infantry. In September 1861, Griffin left his wife and three young children to manage their Minnesota prairie homestead without him, while he answered Lincoln’s call for volunteers by enlisting in the 2nd Minnesota, formed at Fort Snelling. For the next two years he wrote home almost every week, 104 letters in all, describing in vivid detail his marching and fighting in the Western Theater, through Mill Springs, Perryville, and the Tullahoma Campaign, until he was killed in 1863 along the Reeds Bridge Road that crosses Chickamauga Creek. His great-great-grandson, Nick Adams, will relate the personal story told in Griffin’s letters. A retired teacher in Tacoma who speaks often on the Civil War, Mr. Adams is the author of The Uncivil War: Battle in the Classroom, winner of the 2012 Pinnacle Book Award for Juvenile Fiction.
MAY 9, 2013 Mary Ann Gwinn will discuss recent Civil War books, including Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War, a superb account of Confederate spies plotting in London; English lords and ladies debating whether North or South was right; and British eccentrics taking up arms in the American bloodbath. Ms. Gwinn is the Seattle Times Book Editor.
THE 2012 - 2013 SEASON REVISITED
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 Barbara Bruff Hemmingsen will describe the infectious diseases that killed so many Civil War soldiers, illustrating her descriptions from the letters of Lt. Col. Joseph Bruff, 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. A retired Professor of Microbiology, she is editing the letters of LTC Bruff, her ancestor, for publication. A member of the San Diego Civil War Round Table, she has given talks to that Round Table and to other Civil War groups.
OCTOBER 11, 2012 Janet Oakley will talk about William F Osborn, Assistant Surgeon, 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, at Gettysburg. On July 1, 1863, after, only two months in uniform, a country doctor found himself on a battlefield that would become sacred ground. Janet Oakley, great-granddaughter of Osborn, will tell what he did there, based on his pocket journals. An author and historian living in Bellingham, she has been the curator of education at the Skagit County Historical Museum. Her articles appear on Historylink.org, and she has published an award-winning historical novel about the CCC, Tree Soldier.
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 Rick Solomon will discuss the feud between two of the best generals in the Army of Northern Virginia, Stonewall Jackson and A. P. Hill. He will describe their earlier history as classmates at West Point; their problems with others before Hill became Jackson's subordinate; the steps Robert E. Lee took to make peace between them; and, last, a deathbed peacemaking of sorts after Jackson was wounded at Chancellorsville. A longtime member and newsletter editor, Rick is a past and future president of the Round Table.
DECEMBER 13, 2012 Lt. Col. Clay Mountcastle will discuss Confederate Guerrillas, Union Reprisals, and the Destructiveness Debate, about how the Union response to guerrilla warfare affected Southern civilians and the outcome of the Civil War. Lt. Col. Mountcastle, Ph.D., has served as an Army officer and historian for 18 years, has taught at West Point, led development of the Military History curriculum at the US Army Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, and is Professor of Military Science and Chair of Army ROTC at the University of Washington. He is the author of Punitive War: Confederate Guerrillas and Union Reprisals (Modern War Studies).