The Michigan Regimental Round Table

The Farmington Library is working on re-opening safely, in phases. Unfortunately, we have to cancel our September 28, 2020 meeting. We will continue to publish newsletters—here is our Sept. 2020 issue—and wait for an opportunity to meet as soon as possible. The Farmington Library is only open to 6:00 pm on Monday nights with a maximum of 25 people for a meeting.

We thank our scheduled debaters, Ron Carley (Abraham Lincoln) and David Walker (Jefferson Davis). We hope to have them join us in 2021.

We have decided to postpone (not cancel) our Brandy Station / Culpepper Field Trip until 2021 because of the Covid-19 Virus. We also plan to keep Clark "Bud" Hall as our great Tour Guide.

In the meantime, we invite you to enjoy the virtual presentations from the Civil War Roundtable Congress (CWRT), "Historian Thursdays", on Thursday evenings September 10–October 15. Anyone using a smart phone, tablet, or a laptop or desktop PC equipped with a webcam and microphone/speaker can participate via ZOOM.

If you are new to ZOOM, check out these resources on how to participate.

CWRT September Historian
Zoom Lectures

Bret Schweinfurth:
"United States Invalid Corps"
(Veteran Reserve Corps)
Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm EDT

Invalid Corps

Bret Schweinfurth will tell the story of the Invalid Corps which was organized under authority of General Order No. 105 from the War Department dated April 28, 1863.

This Corps, later known as the Veteran Reserve Corps, was created to make suitable use in a military or semi-military capacity of soldiers who had been rendered unfit for active field service due to their wounds or disease contracted in line of duty, but who were still fit for garrison or other light duty. These soldiers were, in the opinion of their commanding officers, meritorious and deserving.

Those serving in the Invalid Corps were divided into two classes:

  • Class 1, partially disabled soldiers whose periods of service had not yet expired, and who were transferred directly to the Corps, there to complete their terms of enlistment

  • Class 2, soldiers who had been discharged due to wounds, disease, or other disabilities, but who were able to perform light duty and desired to do so.

CWRT October Historian
Zoom Lectures

Kenneth R. Rutherford:
"America's Buried History—Landmines
in the Civil War"
Thursday, October 1 at 7pm EDT

Despite all that has been published on the American Civil War, one aspect that has never received the in-depth attention it deserves is the widespread use of landmines across the Confederacy.

These "infernal devices" dealt death and injury in nearly every Confederate state and influenced the course of the war. Kenneth R. Rutherford rectifies this oversight with "America's Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War", the first book devoted to a comprehensive analysis and history of the fascinating and important topic.

The controversial weapon was the brainchild of Confederate General Gabriel J. Rains (who had experimented with explosive booby traps in Florida two decades earlier during the Seminole Wars), and other Confederates soldiers developed a sundry of landmine varieties, including command-controlled and victim-activated. The devices saw extensive use in Virginia, at Port Hudson in Louisiana, in Georgia, the Trans-Mississippi Theater, during the closing weeks of the war in the Carolinas, and in harbors and rivers in multiple states. Debates over the ethics of using mine warfare did not end in 1865 and are still being waged to this day.

David T. Dixon:
"Radical Warrior—August Willich's Journey from German Revolutionary
to Union General"
Thursday, October 8 at 7pm EDT

An estimated 200,000 men of German birth enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, far more than any other contemporary foreign-born population. One of these, Prussian Army officer Johann August Ernst von Willich, led a remarkable life of integrity, commitment to a cause, and interaction with leading lights of the nineteenth century.

After resigning from the Prussian Army due to his republican beliefs, Willich led armed insurrections during the revolutions of 1848–49, with Friedrich Engels as his aide-de-camp. Ever committed to the goal of universal human rights, he once dueled a disciple of Karl Marx—whom he thought too conservative.

Willich emigrated to the United States in 1853, eventually making his way to Cincinnati, where he served as editor of the daily labor newspaper the Cincinnati Republican.

With exhaustive research in both English and German language sources, author David T. Dixon will present the life of this ingenious military leader—a man who could also be stubborn, impulsive, and even foolhardy—risking his life unnecessarily in the face of overwhelming odds.

As soon as shots were fired at Fort Sumter, fifty-year-old Willich helped raise a regiment to fight for the Union. Though he had been a lieutenant in Europe, he enlisted as a private. He later commanded an all-German regiment, rose to the rank of brigadier general, and was later brevetted to major general.

Dixon's vivid narrative places the Civil War in a global context. For Willich and other so-called "Forty-Eighters" who emigrated after the European revolutions, the nature and implications of the conflict turned not on Lincoln's conservative goal of maintaining the national Union, but on issues of social justice, including slavery, free labor, and popular self-government. It was a war not simply to heal sectional divides, but to restore the soul of the nation and, in Willich's own words, "defend the rights of man".

David Dixon's new book, "Radical Warrior—August Willich's Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General", will be published September 20th, 2020.

Len Riedel (Exec. Director, Blue & Gray Education Society): Interview
Wednesday, October 14 at 7pm EDT

The Blue and Gray Education Society is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of the American Civil War and related events by the objective study and understanding of its battlefields and other historic sites. It provides engaging platforms through the conduct of field study tours and seminars, collaborative evaluation and publication of scholarly research and writings, sponsorship of interpretative projects, and open discussion of issues relating to the case for preserving its sites and artifacts. Its members and larger community actively promote the value and significance of the role of the American Civil War in the greater perspective of U.S. and world history.

Gary Adelman:
A Civil War Photo Extravaganza
Thursday, October 15 at 7pm EDT

Garry Adelman has been delivering Civil War photography presentations for more than two decades. He says, ". . .I'm already excited to deliver this coming Zoom-based Civil War Photo Extravaganza!"

Join us for a lively discussion on this fascinating topic. As you likely know, the Civil War was the first war to be extensively photographed, making it the first time in history that the public was exposed to real-life images of the gruesome toll of battle. Today, the use of these photographs to better understand, restore and preserve battlefields has become its own field of study.

During this event, he will use then-and-now techniques and examine photographic details buried deep inside the images to tell the story of the Civil War in a format you aren't likely to experience anywhere else. He will also work to bust myths about period photos and will labor to convince viewers that photographers of the past were way ahead of us in many ways.

Image: Who We Are and Our Motto

What We Do

We meet monthly to hear from our members on the latest books, issues of preservation, and other items of Civil War interest. At each meeting, a keynote speaker provides a presentation on a Civil War topic. A monthly newsletter is send by email and also snail-mailed to members.

In addition, each October we take our Annual Field Trip, in which MRRT members travel to a Civil War battlefield for a weekend tour.

Where and When We Meet

We meet on the last Monday of the month (except in October, when we go on our Annual Field Trips, and December) at the Farmington Community Library, Farmington Branch, 23500 Liberty St. Farmington, MI 48335. (248) 553•0300 Meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

Get Driving Directions to the Farmington Branch from MapQuest.

Display Location Using Google Maps

Join Us—Become A Member

The monthly program is open to all, but only members receive the monthly newsletter and can participate in the MRRT annual field trip. Annual membership dues are $5 for students and $20 for all others. The dues are used to cover expenses for speakers, facilities, preservation and administrative costs. Checks should be made out to Don Kadar and can be mailed to his home at 61895 Fairland Drive, South Lyon, MI 48178; or simply brought to a meeting and given to Don or Jeanie Graham. Cash is also welcomed.

For information on how to join the MRRT, come visit us at our monthly meeting, or email Jim Burroughs.