Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable, 5/17/2023

28 05 2023

Last week I spoke to 40 members and guests of the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable at the Quaker Valley Elementary School in Osborn, PA. Sorry, I forgot to take my usual selfie with the group. It happens sometimes. This group was the first to which I ever presented, 16 years ago!

The program is a new one that I put together at the request of President Dave Fisher, Atrocities at First Bull Run. If you’re a regular reader, you’re aware of plenty of posts tagged with “Atrocities.” At first, I thought I would just assemble a few accounts by category of “atrocity,” but decided instead to focus on the testimonies of witnesses before the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War’s hearings on “Rebel Barbarities.” You can find those testimonies here, toward the bottom of the page. Chasing down the details of the witnesses and individuals mentioned in their testimonies was productive and helped flesh things out, so I had plenty of material of the 50 minute show. This was the “shake-down cruise” for this program, and I think it will get better the more often I present it (so, if you think this would be of interest your group, you know where to find me). Also, I think this topic merits a “part two.” Maybe an essay or article as well.

Thanks to Dave, founder Gary Augustine, techie Scott Krebs, and the membership for having me, and for the apres parler Eat ‘n Park ice cream.

Central Ohio Civil War Round Table, 4/12/2023

27 04 2023

A couple weeks ago I presented a talk to about 15 folks at the Central Ohio Civil War Round Table in Gahanna, OH (near Columbus). Interesting venue…two (s) screens for my video. It was a little rough because they wanted me to stay in frame for the YouTube, and I like to move around. But all in all I think a good show, even if I had a small foul-up referring to the 38th New York as the Harper’s Ferry Cowards (they were not) and to its Colonel John Hobart Ward as dying at Gettysburg (he did not). Sorry about that…it sounded wrong as soon as I said it. Getting old has been a blast. Being old, on the other hand…

Thanks to Round Table program guru Mike Peters for having me, and for a great trip to the Motts Military Museum, which should be on everyone’s list when they visit Columbus.

Mike Peters, his grandson Aedyn, and me. Oh, and a real, live, genuine Higgins boat.
A button taken from the coat of Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York Infantry
The place is chock full of cool stuff. This is my favorite – the lens and lens cap Matthew Brady used to take the iconic photo of Robert E. Lee in Richmond after Appomattox. The lens shows the marks from where Lee’s eyes burned a hole in it. That’s humor right there, folks. Thanks, I’m here all week.
Also the door from the cell block in which John Hunt Morgan was held in the Ohio State Penitentiary
And an audience with the great man Warren Motts himself in his sanctum sanctorum, which was filled to overflowing with really, really cool stuff. Warren’s son Wayne did not fall far from the tree.

Southern Swing

27 03 2023

From March 13th to March 21, I made presentations on two topics in three cities in three states. To many who do these kinds of talks, that’s not much. But for me, it is. The last was the fourth so far this year, and I have four more scheduled through July. Busy year for me (but happy to do more).

The first stop was the Ft. Sumter Civil War Round Table in Charleston, South Carolina. About 30 folks sat through my presentation “In the Footsteps of the 69th NYSM at First Bull Run.” I’ll have more on Bull Run related sights from my stay in Charleston (thanks to my brother Jerry for putting me up and putting up with me) later.

Standard selfie
Pre-meeting dinner with one brother, three authors, one RT president (Jim Morgan, top right) and one NPS historian emeritus (Rick Hatcher, lower left)
Two cool gifts from long-time friend Tom Churchill – flags of the 18th Mass, Tom’s research target, and the Citadel (Big Red), Tom’s alma mater.

Next up was the Rufus Barringer Civil War Round Table in Southern Pines, North Carolina, on March 16. There were about 35 in attendance for the same talk (it’s a popular one around St. Patrick’s Day). Thanks to in-laws Bill and Betsy Stewart for hosting my wife and me.

Befuddled selfie
President Matt Farina presented me with some very cool commemorative postage items
Friend and author Charlie Knight made the trip from Raleigh. I’ll be making this presentation to his round table in July. Yes, those are shamrocks on my bow tie.
Long-time friend and RBCWRT Program Chair Tonia “Teej” Smith

After returning home I made the short trip down to Morgantown, West Virginia to present “McDowell’s Plan for First Bull Run” to the Mason-Dixon Civil War Rountable. About 15 stayed awake for the whole thing!

Third times the charm
The venue…
…one of the oldest I’ve presented in.
RT president Matt Lively and his better half Lisa. Surprised to learn they used to have Pirates season tickets two rows behind me!
A letter opener!

2023 Speaking Schedule So Far

25 02 2023

I just booked my eighth talk for 2023 (one having already been given in January). I have three more in March – all within 9 days – and one each in April, May, June, and July. Nothing else after that. Three topics (all First Bull Run related) in six states. If you’re interested in attending any, see my schedule here. If you’d like me to visit your group, my contact info is in the right-hand column (down below, if you’re using your phone) or you can leave a comment on this post or on the Book Me Danno! page. Here’s a taste of what to expect:

Recap: Powhatan Civil War Roundtable, 1/19/2023

23 01 2023

This past Thursday I was hosted by 42 good folks at the Powhatan Civil War Roundtable for the shortest version yet of my presentation on McDowell’s Plan for First Bull Run. This will come as a relief to the people who have had to sit through up to 1:45 of earlier iterations.

All in all, a lot of fun. Top notch accommodations (The Mill at Fine Creek), a pre-meeting cannon salute (not for me, but for a founding member), a nice dinner, a cool coffee mug, and, again, all done in an hour, including Q&A.

If you’re a speaker and get an offer to speak to this great bunch, jump on it.

Five more shows to go this year, but not this program. If you’re group interested, as always, let me know.

2023 Shaping Up – Speaking Schedule Thus Far

18 11 2022

My speaking schedule for 2023 promises to be my busiest yet – though I have set the bar pretty low. That’s understandable, I guess, since I don’t actively solicit engagements and I have no books to sell. You can keep up to date, as well as find recaps to prior engagements, here. I don’t have any battlefield tours scheduled right now, but we’ve got something in mind, so check back daily. As of right now, here are my dates and locations – six dates, five states, three topics:

1/19/2023 – Powhatan Civil War Roundtable, Powhatan, VA

3/13/2023 – Fort Sumter Civil War Roundtable, Charleston, SC

3/16/2023 – Rufus Barringer Civil War Roundtable, Pinehurst, NC

4/12/2023 – Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable, Columbus, OH

5/17/2023 – Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable, Sewickley, PA

710/2023 – Raleigh Civil War Roundtable, Raleigh, NC

If your group is open to a Civil War presentation that doesn’t have anything to do with Gettysburg, you can contact me in the comments section here or on the Book Me, Danno! page, the Bull Runnings Facebook page, the Bull Runnings Twitter account, or via email provided in the right hand column. That’s as solicitous as I get.

Frederick County Civil War Round Table

25 04 2022
I forgot to take my traditional selfie. Thanks to my son for taking up the slack.

This past Thursday, April 21, I delivered my presentation on McDowell’s Plan to about 25 folks of the Frederick County Civil War Round Table, at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine smack dab in Frederick, Md. They were a good group, stayed awake, and asked some really good questions afterwards. It was nice to see old friends Jim Rosebrock, Brian Downey, and Tracey McIntyre, too. Thanks to Matt Borders for inviting me down. If you get the chance to speak there, or attend a meeting on the third Thursday each month, be sure to take advantage.

Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Carnegie, PA

15 03 2022

This past Saturday, March 12, I gave a presentation on the 69th New York State Militia at First Bull Run to the good folks at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie, PA. We had a bit of a blizzard the night before, and it was touch and go whether or not the library was even going to be open. But program honcho Jon-Erik Gilot made the decision to go forward and I was all for it – I find speaking into a camera with no one around difficult. I need to see faces. Due to the accumulation of snow and the fact that it was the morning of one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation in nearby Pittsburgh, turnout was relatively light. Between live and Zoom/Facebook Live I think we had about thirty people watching.

For a first-time presentation it went pretty well, although I once again ran way, way too long. There were a good number of questions, and all-in-all I was pleased. I have some work to do before I give this presentation again, this time for Civil War Talk (Zoom or Facebook Live only), on March 16. Needless to say, there will be changes. So, don’t beat me up too much.

Here is Saturday’s program on YouTube.

Upcoming Talks

23 02 2022

In March I’ll be giving two presentations, drawing heavily on the Bull Runnings In the Footsteps of the 69th New York State Militia tour from 2019. Both presentations can be attended remotely.

On March 12, I’ll be speaking live at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, PA.

And on March 16, I’ll be speaking on Zoom with Civil War Talk.

Hope to see some of you soon!

Funny Stuff, and an Update

14 09 2021

I made some updates to my speaking schedule. Between October 2021 and April 2022 I’ll be presenting in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Two McDowell’s Plan shows, and one on the 69th NYSM at Bull Run. The Plan programs will be brand new versions, stripped down, which should be more impactful. The 69th talk will be the Saturday preceding St. Patrick’s day, which here in Pittsburgh – where I’ll be speaking – is a pretty big day. That should be interesting. You can see the schedule here.

I’m working my way through South Carolina newspapers for the two months following the battle, and am finding good stuff, even if I’m going blind in the process. Very interesting the tone of the state’s newspapers versus Virginia’s and North Carolina’s. Think the freshmen football players who never get in the game, who taunt their opponents from the sidelines under the expectation of not having to face them on the field. (I’m talking about geography, here.) Check out this column, in the Charleston Mercury, criticizing Virginia for its soft treatment of Union prisoners captured at Bull Run. I may transcribe it later.