Calendar of Events
All events take place at the Fort Taber Military Museum unless otherwise noted.
Note NEW date: January 29, 2019, 7pm
David M. Prentiss
The Civil War and the American Idea of Democracy
David is a long time member of the New Bedford Civil War Round Table and is on our speaker schedule every year. His presentations usually focus on Abraham Lincoln. He is an excellent presenter and we look forward to his insightful comments each year.
David is President of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2008. He is an Adjunct Professor, Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. His bio includes courses in Urban Politics, Civil Liberties, Political Theory, and Constitutional Law. He holds his J.D Law degree from New England Law, Boston, a B.A. in Philosophy from Assumption College, and his Master’s Degree from Boston College.
February 26, 2019, 7pm
Tom Nester, Ph.D.
U.S. Army’s involvement in suppressing racial violence and terror during reconstruction.
Tom is an Associate Professor in the History Department, Bridgewater State University.
March 26, 2019, 7pm
James Henry Gooding: The 54th’s Unsung Hero
Mark is a park ranger.
April 23, 2019, 7pm
How the Union Navy prevented World War 1
Chuck Viet returns. This time Chuck will cover how the Union Navy prevented World War 1. What’s that you say? The Union Navy’s successful blockade of the Southern States and rapid build up of war ships gave pause to the Colonial powers of Europe in their contemplation of recognizing the South as a country.
May 28, 2019, 7pm
Gettysburg's Coster Avenue
Mark’s latest book on the fighting that took place near the end of the first day, July 1, on Coster Avenue.
November 13, 2018, 7pm
Meghan Kate Nelson
Path of the Dead Man: How the West was Won – and Lost – during the American Civil War
Meghan Kate returns to GNBCWRT.
She will feature her newest book, Path of the Dead Man: How the West was Won – and Lost – during the American Civil War. Megan was recently honored as a recipient of a 2017 NEH Public Scholar Award. This is her 3rd or 4th appearance here.
October 23, 2018, 7pm
Kate (Ramirez) Taylor
“Beware the People Whistling—the Final Days of Mary Surratt”
Because we anticipate a large turnout in October, our meeting will be moved to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, downtown New Bedford. We thank the NPS for their support.
The New Bedford Civil War Round Table announces the New Bedford appearance of Mrs. Kate Taylor, Living Historian, in the role of Mary Surratt, co-conspirator of the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Was she guilty? Did she deserve to be hanged?
In 1865 Mary Surratt was running a boarding house in Washington D.C. She was put on trial, as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and was the first woman to be executed by the United States government. Kate, as Mary Surratt, fills her final days in Washington D.C., recalling memories of her family, the choices she made throughout the bloody American Civil War, and the man who brought her and her fellow prisoners to ruin, John Wilkes Booth.
Mrs. Taylor is a 2017 graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she earned her degree in History. She is a living historian with interest in 19th Century crimes and assassinations. She is a docent at the Dr. Samuel Mudd House Museum, in Maryland. She also offers guide services to tour groups following the escape trail of John Wilkes Booth, and she will be our guide for the 2019 “5 Days in May” trip as we tour Washington D.C. She was our tour guide for the 2017 “5 Days in May” trip sponsored by The Greater Boston Civil War Round Table. Kate impressed us with her vast Civil War knowledge and captivating presentation.
Download our special edition newsletter about Kate: Special Edition: Kate Taylor (PDF)
This will be Kate’s first New England appearance. You will not want to miss this performance — historical, educational, and thought-provoking. Guilty???
September 25, 2018, 7pm
Col. Kevin J. Weddle
The Strategic Build-up to the Battle of Antietam
The return of Kevin J. Weddle, Ph. D. U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., Professor of Military Theory and Strategy
Col. Weddle will also be doing an introduction to his new book on the Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga on Monday, September 24th, at the Fort Taber Fort Rodman Military Museum to the Historical Society. Plan on attending that presentation also.
June 26, 2018, 6pm
Annual Picnic and Business Meeting to elect officers, at the Low Tide Yacht Club
What should you bring?
- Please bring a dessert to share with everyone.
- This will be a catered event, however, we will be asking for a $10.00 pp donation to cover the cost of the caterer.
- Guests and family are welcome.
- We will hold a book raffle.
- The 50-50 raffle will be drawn.
- Note the 6:00pm start time.
Please remember that we are meeting next door to our usual meeting room: Low Tide Yacht Club
May 22, 2018, 7pm
Joe Dipoli, Pres. Olde Colony Civil War Round Table
History of Fort Warren Prison in Boston Harbor
This is New England’s most historic Civil War site. Highlights include:
- The Ghost of the Lady in Black
- Confederate Prison Life
- The Execution of Deserters
May 26, 2018, 9am
Annual Civil War Round Table Memorial Day Service
Rural Cemetery, 149 Dartmouth St, New Bedford (directions)
Please mark your calendars.
April 24, 2018, 7pm
Carleton Young, Book author from Pittsburgh, PA
Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War
Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in Economics and English from Westminster College, in western Pennsylvania, and Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his PhD in the History of Education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American History at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He also taught classes as an adjunct professor at Community College of Alleghany County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of letters written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there. Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching two Vermont soldiers. In Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters.
Visit the Voices from the Attic Facebook page: Facebook
March 27, 2018, 7pm
Sharon B. Smith
Author of Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel
Follow her on Twitter @sharonbsmith41
Feb 26, 2018, 7pm
Mark Mello, NPS Ranger, Graduate Student, Round Table Member
Mark will handle the speaker duties for February. He will either be the speaker or he will introduce Jan da Silva, Cultural Resource Manager, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, as the evening speaker.
As we have had Mark do several talks to the Round Table, you can be assured it will be a worthwhile evening of Civil War education. If Jan da Silva is our speaker she will be discussing contraband camps in the Carolinas, and the nearby coastal islands. If Mark is the speaker he will be discussing either the Stone Fleet or the impact of the Confederate raiders on the New Bedford Whaling industry. Mark has also been doing research on James H. Gooding of the 54th MA.
Jan 23, 2018, 7pm
Chuck returns with the story of the U.S.S. Alligator.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 6pm
Annual Holiday Dinner and Book Raffle
ME AND ED’S RESTAURANT
30 Brock Ave. New Bedford, MA, 02744 508-993-9922
$27.00 PER PERSON
This will be a fun, social holiday event. Guests are welcome.
November 14, 2017, 7pm
Confederate Waterloo—The Battle of Five Forks, April 1, 1865, and the Controversy that Brought Down a General.
Michael McCarthy is a graduate of LeMoyne College, with a BA in History. He received his MA in American History in 1971. Circumstances led him to a career in government and he received MPA degrees in public finance from the University at Albany and in public management from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his long career with New York State he never lost his love of Civil War history, however, as he approached retirement from the position of Asst Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation, he went back to school and received his PhD. in American History from the University of Albany in 2010. His interest in the Battle of Five Forks was kindled during a Capital District Civil War Round Table trip to the battlefield, and his book, Confederate Waterloo: The Battle of Five Forks, April 1, 1865 and the Controversy That Brought Down a General, is a re-edited version of his dissertation.
October 24, 2017, 7pm
Jim is a teacher and expert on Frederick Law Olmsted. His presentation will be “Olmsted’s War”.
September 26, 2017, 7pm
Frank L. Grzyb
What a great way to kick off the 2017-2018 speaker season. Frank Grzyb has authored seven books, written many articles in magazines, newspapers, and journals. He has delivered a number of lectures at Civil War Round Tables and historical societies. His work has been featured in Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, Civil War Monitor, and North and South. He is also a member of the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table. Frank is a decorated Army combat veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. He was drafted into the army in 1969 and sent to Vietnam in 1970. He was assigned to the 1st Logistical Command, and was located near the coastal city of Qui Nhon. Before departing Vietnam, Frank was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation, and various campaign medals. Frank was educated at Nichols College, Fairleigh Dickinson University Graduate School.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 6pm
Annual Meeting and Picnic
To Elect 2017-18 Officers
Fort Taber/Fort Rodman: Low Tide Yacht Club
Next door to our usual meeting location.
What should you bring?
- A dessert to share.
- A jacket. Dinner is inside but enjoy the outside deck.
- Used books you’d like to donate to the raffle. The book raffle is a highlight of the evening.
- Your spouse, partner, and/or guests!
Please note the 6PM start time.
We are asking for a donation of $10 per person to cover catering costs. Please check in when you arrive.
May 23, 2017, 7pm
Teaching the History and Memory of the Confederate Flag
When Kevin Levin was with us last, his topic was based on his book, Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder. He also has written Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth. Kevin is the creator and editor of the blog, “Civil War Memory”. He is an historian and former high school history teacher based in Boston. Over the last fifteen years he has taught history on the high school and college levels, most recently as a Visiting Instructor of History at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA. Previously he taught at Gann Academy in Waltham and the St. Anne’s—Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he offered courses in American and European History, American Studies, the Civil War Era, Lincoln, Race and Gender, Women’s History, and the Holocaust.
He is currently working as a consultant with the National Humanities Center’s Transpacific Teacher Scholars program. The project involves developing the curriculum around the upcoming anniversaries of the Vietnam War. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Council for History Education. He writes regularly for The Daily Beast. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, and the Atlantic.
Our country is engaged in a discussion about the display of Confederate iconography from flags to monuments and even the names of streets and buildings. Communities across the country are debating whether reminders of the Civil War and the Confederacy specifically should continue to be displayed in public places. Kevin’s talk on May 23rd is therefore very timely. Kevin has been engaged in helping history teachers improve their classroom practices and engage in positive debate as to why the history of the Civil War era matters and why, 150 years later, it is still being fought over.
In preparation for Kevin’s May 23rd appearance, I strongly urge you to visit his blog, “Civil War Memory”. He has been speaking throughout the Northeast, and on TV. Come to the meeting prepared to be educated and challenged.
April 25, 2017, 7pm
John Foskett returns with Part 2 of his presentation on Civil War Artillery. Not to worry, he will bring a review handout of Part 1.
March 28, 2017, 7pm
The Lessons of Lincoln: What Abraham Lincoln Can Teach Us Today
Our March speaker is well known to our membership. David Prentiss is a long time member, one of the first, and has given several presentations to our organization. David is an Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at UMass Dartmouth in Political Science. He is also the current President of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. David is an excellent student of the American Civil War and in particular, is an Abraham Lincoln scholar.
$500 Book Award Scholarship
Deadline: March 31, 2017
The Greater New Bedford Civil War Round Table is offering a $500 book award to graduating seniors in 2017 of area high schools.
The application form and accompanying materials must be received by Friday March 31, 2017 to be considered. Any material received after that date will not be considered.
February 28, 2017, 7pm
Chuck Veit is an author of a growing number of original research books, including A Dog Before a Soldier, Sea Miner, The Yankee Expedition to Sebastopol, Raising Missouri, two books focusing on the salvage exploits of Lynn native, John E. Gowen, and to be released in 2018, his fifth book, Alligator: The Navy’s First Submarine. He is a frequent speaker on 19th century naval topics at area historical societies and Civil War Round Tables, as well as at the Naval War College in Newport, and has had numerous articles in Naval History and other magazines.
Chuck is also President of the Navy & Marine Living History Association, an organization dedicated to sharing America’s naval history. He has remained happily married for 35 years to his best friend and editor, Lori.
Chuck’s presentation will be based on his book Sea Miner.
Sea Miner is the painstakingly reconstructed story of the U.S. Navy’s first sponsored torpedo development program. Begun in 1862, the project was beyond “top secret”, for the weapon it sought to create would overnight make the U.S. Navy supreme upon the oceans. The inventor, Major Edward B. Hunt of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, succeeded, but his mania for secrecy left no details of his activities—all plans, records, and diagrams were destroyed at the conclusion of each stage of development.
In the absence of hard facts, historians have long considered Sea Miner to be a failure; nothing could be further from the truth. The devise he created was considered so dangerous that, decades later, writers hesitated to describe it in depth for fear that a foreign government might build the weapon.
This is a story from the Civil War that doesn’t seem to belong to that period at all; it is wholly unexpected. The advances made by Hunt would not be seen again for eighty years, and not replicated by the U.S. Navy until the mid 1950’s. Aspects of the devise continue to elude us, and have only been approximated using incredible technology—yet Hunt managed in 1862 to create “a weapon of impressive simplicity” that continues to keep some of its secrets.
January 24, 7pm
Fred C. Wexler
Fred C. Wexler is a 16 year member of the Cape Cod Civil War Round Table—President from 2007 thru 2009. His many lectures include the following: Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Ball’s Bluff, General McClellan and the Peninsula Campaign, The Civil War Draft, General Grierson’s 1864 Cavalry Raid on Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and many others. He is the principle lecturer and organizer of the Plymouth Mass Pine Hills Civil War Study Group. He has been a Guest Lecturer at Chatham, Plymouth, and Barnstable schools, lecturing on Slavery and the Civil War Amendments to the United States Constitution: 2004-6. Fred was also instrumental to the Kneeling Soldier preservation project in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Fred Wexler has his Bachelors degree from City College of New York, 1967, his M.B.A from Boston University in May of 1971, and his J.D. from New England School of Law in May of 1989.
His presentation for this month at our Round Table will be The Tammany Regiment: A History of the Forty-Second New York Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1864.
As the Union mobilized to meet the military challenges of the Civil War, the people of New York volunteered in large numbers to meet the quotas set by President Lincoln. Tammany Hall used all of its political power to recruit men, mostly Irish immigrants, to form the regiment that would bear its name throughout most of the fiercest fighting of the war—from the bluffs outside Leesburg, the West Woods of Antietam, and the streets of Fredericksburg to Pickett’s Charge of Gettysburg and the chaos that was Petersburg. Of the more than one thousand men who started with the regiment in 1861, less than one hundred would remain in 1864.
The Tammany Regiment is more than a story of a powerful political machine. It is a story about how the Fenian Movement to free Ireland from England affected the men in the trenches. It is a story of how families survived the challenges of war.
December 13, 2016, 6pm
Annual Holiday Dinner
ME AND ED’S RESTAURANT
30 Brock Ave. New Bedford, MA, 02744 508-993-9922
$26.00 PER PERSON
This will be a fun, social holiday event. Guests are welcome.
Make your reservation today! Download the reservation form here.
November 15, 2016, 7pm
Megan Kate Nelson
Megan returns to the New Bedford Civil War Round Table speaker platform. She is a writer, historian, and cultural critic. She earned her BA in History and Literature from Harvard University. And she received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, and has taught at Texas Tech University, California State University at Fullerton, Harvard University, and Brown University. Based in Lincoln, Massachusetts, she writes for the New York Times “Disunion” blog, JSTOR Daily, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Civil War Times.
She is the author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (University of Georgia Press 2012) and Trembling Earth: A cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (University of Georgia Press 2005). She also maintains the blog Historista . Her third book is Path of the Dead Man: How the West was Won—and Lost—during the American Civil War.
Her presentation November 15 will again feature the Civil War in the Southwest.
October 25, 2016, 7pm
James B. Conroy | Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime is James Conroy’s newest book. It will be released Oct 15.
“This book is devoted to capturing the look, feel, and smell of the executive mansion from Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861 to his assassination in 1865. James Conroy brings to life the people who knew it, from the servants to cabinet secretaries. We see the constant stream of visitors, from the ordinary citizens to visiting dignitaries and diplomats. James Conroy enables the reader to see the how the Lincolns lived and how the administration conducted day-to-day business during the four of the most tumultuous years in American history. Relying on fresh research and a character-driven narrative and drawing on untapped primary resources, he takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour that provides new insight into how Lincoln lived, led the government, conducted war, and ultimately unified the country to build a better government of, by, and for the people.”
~from the review on the Amazon website.
“ … James B. Conroy has brought Lincoln’s White House to life, letting readers step through the gates, past the guards, and into the presence of the Great Emancipator. Sit in Lincoln’s office and observe a cabinet meeting, or watch the president and first lady shake hands with guests at a reception. Eavesdrop on conversations with office seekers, or enjoy a serenade. By recreating moments—great and small—of joy, grief, exhaustion, commotion, and solitude, Lincoln’s White House gives us a new appreciation for the burdens of Lincoln and his family.”
~Jonathan W. White, author of Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War.
September 27, 2016, 7pm
Matthew Cost | author of the recently published historical novel, Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War: At Every Hazard