The Michigan Regimental Round Table

Although the Farmington Library is reopening, they restrict meetings to 30 minutes and a maximum of 25 attendees for now. We are optimistic regarding 2021—at least some meetings and the fall trip to the Culpepper area (see below). Jeanie Graham said that the library has reimbursed us for all of our missed 2020 meetings. The February, 2021 Newsletter is available here.

It is time to begin paying our $25 membership dues for 2021. Send your check to our Treasurer, Jeanie Graham. Please make your check out to Jeanie Graham as the Bank does not like checks made out to the Roundtable. Her mailing address is: Jeanie Graham, 29835 Northbrook, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-2326.

We have decided to postpone (not cancel) our Brandy Station / Culpepper Field Trip until the Fall of 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 listed on the left-hand menu below (using the Zoom app—also see below) from the Civil War Roundtable Congress (CWRT), which include:

  • "Fridays with Grant" (Friday evenings 7 pm EST)
  • "Guest Speakers" (Usually Wednesday evenings 7 pm EST)

Check the Monthly Zoom Speaker menus on this page periodically, because they frequently add Speaker Events with only a brief notice,and/or scramble topics and move dates around.

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 Fridays with Grant

"Cold Harbor"
Friday, March 12 at 7pm EDT

Image: Battle of Cold Harbor

General Grant recalls the Battle of Cold Harbor including the intelligence he received, the strategy employed and the battle outcome.

"West Point Class of 1843"
Friday, March 19 at 7pm EDT

Image: Grant: West Point, 1843

General Grant recalls his classmates from the United States Military Academy, their participation in the War and their lives afterwards.

"Inaugural Address"
Friday, March 26 at 7pm EDT

Image: Grant: Inauguration

Ulysses S. Grant recalls his first inaugural address and his hopes for his first year in office as the 18th President of the United States of

CWRT March Zoom Speakers

"Ever the Gray Ghost:
Col. John Singleton Mosby
& the Lincoln Conspiracies"
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Historian David Goetz explores Confederate Col. John S. Mosby's role in the Lincoln Conspiracies and the efforts to capture him and those who wanted Lincoln captured. He explores the broad and deep Confederate underground system of spies and other clandestine operators.

He examines Mosby's role and that of his Rangers within the larger context of the operation, Mosby's communications system with Richmond and the importance of cover stories.

Goetz then traces how Mosby Ranger Lewis Powell was drawn into clandestine work by the Confederate Secret Service and ultimately introduced to John Wilkes Booth. This fascinating story is not to be missed.

"Hurricane from the Heavens"
Daniel Davis
Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Iamge: Battle of Cold Harbor

From the Wilderness to Totopotomoy Creek, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee fought and maneuvered each other to the outskirts of Richmond.

On May 31, 1864, a cavalry clash erupted near a crossroads east of the Confederate capitol, Cold Harbor. The fighting drew the attention of both commanders and soon each were rushing reinforcements to take control of the junction which resulted in some of the most famous combat of the American Civil War.

Join the American Battlefield Trust’s Education Manager, Dan Davis for an exploration Cold Harbor and learn about a unique opportunity to preserve hallowed ground at the battlefield.

"Faces of Civil War Nurses"
Ronald S. Coddington
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 7pm EDT

During the American Civil War, women on both sides of the conflict, radiating patriotic fervor equal to their male counterparts, contributed to the war effort in countless ways: forming charitable societies, becoming nurses, or even marching off to war as vivandières, unofficial attachés to the regiments.

Ronald S. Coddington talks about the experiences of women of all ages and walks of life who provided care during the war as nurses, aid workers, and vivandières. Their personal narratives are as unique as fingerprints: each provides a distinct entry point into the larger social history of the brutal and bloody conflict. Using identified tintypes and cartes de visite of women on both sides of the war, many of them never before published, Coddington uncovers the personal histories of each intrepid individual. Following their postwar stories, he also explains how the bonds they formed continued long after the cessation of hostilities.

"1863: Year in Review"
Jerry Payn, Historian
as Enos Foreman
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Living historian Gerald Payn portrays Mr. Enos Foreman, Editor and Proprietor of the Wooster (Ohio) Republican and will review the significant events of 1863.

So, just what does a newsman think the big news stories were? And, how big were those that appeared below the fold? You know some like the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and the surrender of Vicksburg.

But can you easily recall the first Medal of Honor recipients, why Congress suspended habeas corpus or who sponsored the Conscription Act?

The Emancipation Proclamation was just the beginning of this momentous year. It's a year full of big stories, heartbreaking reports and joyous occasions. Join us as this small-town editor takes you on a trip down memory lane and explains the news worth knowing.

"The Battle of Chancellorsville:
Lee's Greatest Victory or
Lee's Greatest Defeat?"
Kristopher D. White
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 7pm EDT

The May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville is viewed by most buffs and historians as one of the most brilliant victories of the entire Civil War. Lee's men, outnumbered more than 2-to-1, not only defeated Mr. F. J. Hooker's Army of the Potomac, but they also wrested the initiative in the Eastern Theater from the Federals' hands for the next two months.

A cursory glance at this campaign shows a nearly flawless victory. But a closer examination of the campaign shows the cracks in Lee's command structure and the extreme losses in the enlisted and officer corps that were indicative of Lee's command style and unsustainable in the long run. Join Kristopher White of the American Battlefield Trust as he examines Lee's greatest victory.

CWRT April Zoom Speakers

"Disaster on the Missisippi:
The Sultana Explosion—April 27, 1865"
Gene Salecker
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 7pm EDT

At 2:00 a.m. on April 27, 1865, the sidewheel steamboat Sultana exploded her boilers seven miles upriver from Memphis, TN.

Crowded on board were almost 2,000 recently released Union prisoners of war, fresh from the notorious Confederate prison pen at Andersonville, GA and from Cahaba, AL.

By the end of the day almost 1,200 people were dead. This presentation will explain how so many heroes of the Union were crowded onto a boat legally registered to carry only 376 passengers. Who was responsible? Was anyone held accountable? Come hear the little known, but fascinating story behind the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history.

"The Murder of General Bull Nelson"
Robert Girardi
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Noted historian and author, Robert Girardi examines the murder of General William "Bull" Nelson by General Jefferson C. Davis in Louisville's Galt House from a police investigator's perspective.

Operating from his vantage point as a retired Chicago PD homicide detective, Girardi will lead you through the dark alleys of interviews with witnesses, analysis, the investigator's report and the steps toward prosecution.

Was it justified? Should Davis swing? You be the judge and jury. You won’t want to miss this high crime tale as told by one of Chicago&@039;s finest.

"The Nameless & Faceless Women of the Civil War "
Lisa G. Samia
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Through a series of narratives and poems, poet/historian Lisa Samia will tell the stories of a number of the nameless and faceless women of the Civil War. They need not to have been on the front line to have contributed or to have suffered. This selected group of women and their forebearance truly represent the American experience before, during and after the War of the Rebellion.

"Southern Jews, Slvery's Expansion South & The Ccoming Civil War"
Robert E. May
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 7pm EDT

After the admission of California to the Union as a free state in 1850, southern slaveholders worried about being forever prevented from further expanding their slave labor system, given northern antislavery opposition to slavery in the West.

Looking for new targets of opportunity in Latin America, they set their sights on Spain's colony of Cuba, which had an already flourishing slave economy revolving around sugar and coffee plantations. Southerners hoped either that the U.S. would purchase the island through diplomatic channels, or that federal officials would let southern adventurers liberate Cuba by "filibuster" (private military) expeditions and annex it to the Union in the way Texas had gained statehood a decade earlier. 

This talk highlights the role of southern Jewish politicians, including future Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin, in plots to get Cuba in the 1850s. It not only broadens our understanding of the road to Civil War, but also illuminates issues of anti-Semitism and Jewish assimilation from a unique perspective.

CWRT May Zoom Speakers

"Forgotten Iowans of the Civil War"
David Connon
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Confederates from Iowa were as unusual as slaves in Dubuque. David Connon documented 76 Iowa residents who served the Confederacy. Iowa Confederates were shadow images or doppelgängers of their Union counterparts.

Connon will address the million-dollar question: Why would someone leave a nice young state like Iowa and serve the other side? Some of the answers surprised him. He will also discuss Iowa ConfederatesƏ nativity, POW experiences, desertion rate, deaths, and where they lived after the war.

"Take That Woman Out,
and Do Not Let Her In Again!"
Lee Ann Rose As Mary Todd Lincoln
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 7pm EDT

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln struck the nation a serious and tragic blow. However, the tragedy struck no one harder and with more force than the Lady who sat by his side, Mary Todd Lincoln.

The mind-numbing swiftness of the act, his rapid conveyance to the Peterson House, the disbelief and mounting grief she felt and those in his cabinet that disregarded her suffering as he struggled to live—the pain she felt and her shining by those in her husband's inner circle are dramatically and masterfully portrayed in this presentation.

"Elmer Ellsworth and the U. S. Zouave Cadets"
Douglas Dammann
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7pm EDT

In the summer of 1860, Elmer Ellsworth and a civilian militia company of 50 men from Chicago set out on a twenty-city tour to prove the value of their Zouave training.

The tour was a success beyond their wildest dreams. When war started and their training was needed on the battlefield, rather than the parade ground, the men who had accompanied Ellsworth found themselves in positions of leadership within the Union army.

Mr. Dammann's talk explores Elmer Ellsworth's widespread influence on the northern army despite his death early in the conflict

"Iron Brigade Wounded Evacuated from the Antietem Battlefield"
Gordon Dammann
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 7pm EDT

Gordon Dammann will recount the heroics of the Iron Brigade at Antietam (Sharpsburg) and how they were evacuated to medical care and treatment. Dr. Dammann is the founder of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and an emeritus battlefield guide at Antietam.

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 Trip, and December, when we traditionally do not meet) at the Farmington Community Library, Farmington Branch, 23500 Liberty St. Farmington, MI 48335. (248) 553•0300 Meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

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 Jeanie Graham and can be mailed to her home at 29835 Northbrook, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-2326. The bank does NOT like checks made out to the Roundtable. Our checks may also be brought to our monthly meeting and given to Jeanie. Cash is always welcome.

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