Welcome to the American Civil War Round Table (UK) site

To help you navigate around the site, all articles fall under one of 4 headings: Battles & Campaigns, Preservation, Profiles and UK Heritage.

 

We can now highlight articles on our front page, where we will give priority to forthcoming meetings, events and special announcements.

 

- Webmaster

Our invitation to you

Our Round Table comprises people from all walks of life who are interested in any or all aspects of the war, but who also care enough to contribute to the growing number of initiatives to preserve this heritage for future generations.

 

If after browsing our site you would like to join us we’d be very happy to enrol you, whatever colour you prefer!

Quotation

 

"I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers ... it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation."

 

(William Tecumseh Sherman)

 

 

The website

If you find something that needs changing, like a web link that is no longer active, please tell us.

Welcome to the website of the American Civil War Round Table (UK)

American Civil War Round Table UK

We’re a growing group of mostly British-based members, who get together and share information about all aspects of one of the greatest conflicts of the 19th century. You will also find here articles taken from our thrice yearly magazine ‘Crossfire’, that is free to members. If after browsing our site you would like to join us we’d be very happy to enrol you, whatever colour you prefer!

 

Our Round Table comprises people from all walks of life who are interested in any or all aspects of the war, but who also care enough to contribute to the growing number of initiatives to preserve this heritage for future generations. We meet frequently, mostly in London, to hear a wide variety of presentations on the war. Our speakers have included such published historians as Ed Bearss, Amanda Foreman and Gary Gallagher.

 

Why all this interest in American events of the past with so much history of our own? Surprisingly, we are the first in the line of Civil War Round Tables set up in the 1950s - almost exclusively in the United States. We have maintained a natural affinity with events of the Civil War. With many of its participants hailing from these islands it is perhaps not surprising that British viewpoints have been brought to bear on this all-American affair.

 

Forthcoming events

 

ACWRT(UK) 2020 Programme

 

17 February LOCAL Meeting at Royal British Legion Shaftesbury. Members' Presentations. 1145 - 1500

 

21 March - Greg Bayne - Was This the Worst Regiment in the Union Army?

 

24-26 April Conference: Gettysburg's Forgotten Battles. PLACES STILL AVAILABLE! Contact Peter Lockwood at Old Country Tours. Main speakers are Scott Mengis and Eric J Wittenberg, with Erick Bush and another (surprise) also speaking.

 

18 July – Graham Whitham - Drawing the War: Correspondent Artists, Illustrated Newspapers & Authenticity

 

19 September - Speaker To Be Confirmed.

 

16-18 October - Field Trip. PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE! Metz & Sedan Franco Prussian War 1870

 

14 November - AGM. VOLUNTEERS TO SPEAK WELCOME!!!

 

19 December (Saturday) - Christmas Lunch at Union Jack Club.

 

Further details and dates will be published when available.


 

March 2020 Meeting Booking Form download and email to jim.carroll@acwrt.org.uk

 

Details of how to book the March 2020 meeting:

 

Wars are won by heroes not zeros. Individuals who become comrades and meld into a fighting machine that conquers all. They form battalions, regiments, brigades, divisions, corps and armies. We all have favourites and we can argue that the battle and then the war was turned on the actions of a single unit at a single moment in time. The 20th Maine at Gettysburg, the Iron Brigade anytime, Sherman’s army marching through Georgia. But there is the other side of the coin. The hard luck outfits that somehow get a bad reputation, deserved or not. The regiment that fires a volley and retreats. The brigade that always shows up late by taking the wrong road. The Corps that loses favour and gets shipped lock, stock and barrel to another department.

 

In this lecture, Greg Bayne will examine (with the help of the audience) what makes a regiment go from potential heroes to zeros. Having identified these characteristics he will then apply them to what he believes to be worst regiment in the Union army. No clues or hints are given. It is a story not for the fainthearted.

 

Of course, you may disagree with his choice. In which case you may want to come prepared with your personal selection for “worst regiment in the Union Army”. Time will be available so be prepared to defend your position.

 

Greg Bayne has been a stalwart of our round table since joining in 2001. He has served us as editor of Crossfire since 2003 and as our president between 2008 and 2014. His term was distinguished by the memorable ACW year-by-year series at our annual conference. A serial speaker at our meetings, he has also “spread the word” while carpet bagging his way thru the South in 2015 giving lectures at round tables in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. He shares with us a fascination with all things Iron Brigade. Inexplicably, he is also an apologist for John Pope – that “miscreant” who “must be suppressed” (R. E. Lee). A flaw perhaps, but not enough to brand him as a bad person. Come early, stay late and be prepared for a lively discussion.

 

 

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16 November 2019 AGM

 

AGM 16 November Minutes

 

Elections to Committee

 

Nomination for President: Michael Somerville

Current Members to be re-elected: Jim Carroll (VP), Brendan Meehan (Treasurer), Greg Bayne (Crossfire Editor), Charles Rees (Vedette/Publicity)

New Members to be elected: Neil Morley (Webmaster), Peter Barrett, Dave Bradley (roles TBA)

 

All three motions were carried unopposed.

 

Donations

 

Three donations of $500 each were approved to be given to:

Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Trust for Piedmont Battlefield

American Battlefield Trust for Perryville Battlefield

Camp Letterman General Hospital site at Gettysburg

 

Motion carried unopposed.

 

Conference

 

The title has been confirmed as “Gettysburg’s Forgotten Battles” and the dates for 24-26 April. Peter Lockwood of Old Country Tours has asked for deposits by end of November in order to confirm numbers to the venue.

 

Officers reports

 

Jim Carroll spoke on behalf of the President and Treasurer. Overall, the financial and membership position of the society is stable. Full accounts will be presented at the Conference in April 2020, as they were this year.

Greg Bayne spoke on Crossfire which continues to be well received.

Charles Rees thanked all those associated with Vedette , particularly Gillian Somerville for her assistance in proof-reading and formatting.

Michael Somerville thanked those who had assisted in identifying speaker for our programme in 2019. Dates have been fixed for 2020 and speakers identified for January, March and July meetings.

 

Field Trip 2019

 

The 2019 Field Trip to the Ardennes had been successful though numbers were down, possibly because the timing in August was inconvenient for some.

 

In the past it has been traditional to present a small gift to the tour guide. The Committee agreed in their meeting that Jim White, who gave his guiding services gratis to this year's trip, should receive free membership in 2020 as a thank you.

 

Field Trip 2020

 

It was proposed and agreed that the 2020 Field Trip should be to Sedan, on the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Prussian War battles there. An alternative trip based upon the Dunkirk campaign (80th Anniversary) was discussed, but did not have any support. A date of late September/early October was proposed.

 


 

2020 Conference

 

ACWRTUK Annual Conference 2020

 

“Gettysburg’s Forgotten Battles”

 

Wokefield Park Reading - 24 – 26 April

 

 

Plans for our annual conference have now been firmed up.

 

We have always considered Gettysburg to be the pivotal campaign of the Civil War and arguably the turning point. From the initial meeting on July 1st between Burford and Heth, through to the Round Tops and Pickett’s charge, the stories have been told.

 

This year we are looking at some of lesser told stories, the “Forgotten Battles” that rarely get mentioned. We have kept up our tradition of inviting top class US speakers over and this year we are pleased to announce that Eric Wittenburg and Scott Mingus will be joining us.

 

Eric will be talking about actions on South Cavalry Field and Farnsworth’s Charge.

Scott will be talking about “The Second Battle of Winchester and the Louisiana Tigers”

 

We will be represented by three RT members:

 

Erick Bush will look at Alabama at Gettysburg

 

Charles Rees will look at the East Field Cavalry Battle

 

Derek Young will explore the role of Barksdale on July 3rd.

 

Events include the Friday night Icebreaker session led by Charles Rees, our traditional Saturday evening dinner with musical accompaniment.

 

There will be an auction on Sunday morning of items from the Johnson Collection. If things go to plan, we will also have a specially brewed beer!

 

Paul Meekins will be in attendance on Saturday. Please pay his website a visit and pre-order some books.

 

Full conference details and costs may be obtained from Peter Lockwood at oldcount@aol.com

 

Our conference brochure will be sponsored by the National Civil War Museum of Harrisburg.

 


 

2020 Field Trip

 

Field trip 16 - 19 October Franco Prussian War 1870 Metz & Sedan.

 

Costs as soon as available.

 

Franco-Prussian War 1870 & Sedan 1940 16-19 October 2020

 

Friday 16th October 2020

Depart at 10.14 on the Euro star service from St. Pancras. Arriving at Lille we will be met by our coach. During the journey the background to the Franco-Prussian War, the technological changes since the American Civil War, the considerable military organisational differences between this conflict and the American Civil War, and the early course of the war, specifically the Frontier Battles, will all be explained.

Although only six years had elapsed since the end of the ACW, military technology and its application had been harnessed at a rapid pace so that this war is quite different from what went before. However, the influence and personality of commanders remained most significant.

Arriving in Metz our hotel for three nights is the Ibis Metz Centre Cathedrale

 

 

Field Marshall Helmuth Von Moltke

 

Saturday 17th October 2020 The Battles of Vionville, Mars la Tour and Gravelotte/St Privat

Today we follow the path of the Prussian Army as it caught up with Bazaine’s retiring French Army around Metz. We drive south from Metz along the Moselle valley before we turn north and climb up to the plateau west of Metz, in the steps of the Prussian III Corps. We set the scene as they arrive on the plateau, surprise and drive off the breakfasting French cavalry, and establish a powerful gun line. We review the leisurely French reaction to this cheeky incursion, looking at it from the perspective of how much each side knew. The Prussians’ aggressive actions convince the French that they are facing a much larger force. Eventually the French build up a preponderance of force and switch to the attack. This is thwarted by the suicidal charge of Von Bredow, which goes down in history and is instrumental in convincing Europeans to persist with the doomed tactics of massed heavy cavalry for another 40 years. We then drive west to the scene of the larger, and broadly inconclusive, cavalry action at Mars la Tour, before driving east to Gravelotte.

Here we combine a picnic lunch with our visit to this modern and well stocked ‘Museum of the Occupation’ which chronicles the war and its aftermath under Prussian Occupation for the next 47 years. We then move onto the events of the next day’s battles, which are given a solid ACW connection by the presence of Phil Sheridan, engaged in what we now call ‘Senior Military Tourism’. By now the French were in a defensive ‘Position Magnifique’, facing west, with the Prussians astride their line of retreat. We examine the precipitous Mance Ravine, where von Steinmetz, the Prussian poster boy of the 1866 War, launched a rash attack, against orders, which foundered with heavy losses. We then drive north between the Prussian lines on our left and the French defences on our right. This takes us through the sector in which the Prussians’ Hessian Allies attacked, to the attack of the Prussian Guard on St Privat, straight up a mile-long bare slope, reminiscent of Pickett’s Charge. Here the Guard suffered devastating casualties which presaged the losses of 1916 and were brought to a bloody halt. They were saved by a flank attack by the Saxon Corps. We advance into St Privat and sum up our day at the poignant monument in the ruins of the Church, before returning to Metz

 

 

Marshall of France Patrice de MacMahon

Sunday 18th October 2020 The Battle of Sedan

We make an early start to drive 90 miles to Sedan. With Bazaine besieged in Metz with the bulk of the French regular army, a relief force is created. This is formed around the reconstituted Corps of MacMahon (which fought in the Frontier Battles and then did not link up with the main army, so was not present around Metz). Marching east, close to Belgium, the French bump into the advancing Prussians. The French step sideways to evade the Prussians and are pinned against the Belgian border in Sedan. The Prussians converge on the French, who miss their chance to demolish key bridges. This costs them the time needed to slip out of the trap. They are forced to go onto the defence around the ancient fortress of Sedan. There is then a series of pinning attacks by the Prussians which thwarts every attempt to break out. In Bazeilles the Bavarians, always the weakest link in the Prussian Alliance chain, have a tough fight with the French Blue (Marine) division, leading to civilians being summarily executed – a key factor in the propaganda war. If time allows we visit the Museum of the Last Cartridge. We pause for lunch in Bazeilles. To add to the troubles of the French, MacMahon is wounded and there is confusion over who should take over. The wrong choice emerges and the last opportunity to withdraw is lost when the Prussians seal off the retreat route. We drive north up the Givonne Ravine, where MacMahon’s reconstituted I Corps fought a stubborn fight against the Saxons. This takes us to Illy, where we have a panoramic view of the northern half of the battlefield. We study the ground over which the French cavalry, aptly described by the Prussian King as ‘Les Braves Gens’, charged against steady lines of needle gun armed infantry, with tragic but predictable results. We drive over the charge ground into Floing and to Margueritte’s statue. If time allows we will drive the difficult road to the Cavalry Memorial. From there we will drive west to the Surrender site, where we learn of Napoleon’s attempts to contact his Prussian royal counterpart to negotiate a private deal between the two sovereigns. But it didn’t happen, since the wily Bismarck intercepted it. We discuss the catastrophic consequences of the Annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, which was a large factor in the run up to the Outbreak the First World War.

 

Monday 19th October 2020 Sedan 1940

We check out and board our bus for Sedan. En route we fast forward from 1870 to 1940 and Guderian’s audacious thrust through the Ardennes which arrives at the Moselle at Sedan long before the French defenders were expecting it. We consider the state of the French defence, based on massive blockhouses and the bold but costly river crossings which disrupt the French defence. We then drive to the key ridge above Chehery, where nimble German advance elements pipped the ponderous French armoured counterattack to the post and managed to hold the vital ground, to buy time for the German armour to cross the Moselle and hold open the road into the undefended French rear.

We then return to Lille and depart on the 18.35 Eurostar to London, arriving at St Pancras at 19.15

 

Preservation news

 

ACWRTUK Donations Update

 

2019 saw the ACWRTK continue with its donations for Civil War preservation and Education. We gave the following amounts:

 

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Crossfire magazine

 

An Officers Pay Slip

 

In Search of Lieutenant George Washington Ward

 

By Charles Priestley

 

 

See full article


 

UK People in the Civil War

 

click image to zoom

by Maurice Rigby

 

Editorial note: This is the first of many (I hope) small vignettes of Britons who played a role in the American Civil War. Contributions are welcome from any source so get digging!

 

Webmaster adds: image is Owen Reynold's photo of Joe Hudson's prize-winning 'Blockade Runner'.

 

Arbuthnot Blain; was a cabinet maker at 35 Paradise Street, Liverpool, and had died at his residence 10, Wheathill Farm, Roby, Huyton, on June 23 1868 aged 72. Born in Donegal about 1796, his firm had furnished the cabins for the Alabama, the fittings and furniture being selected by James Dunwoody Bulloch. The firm of A Blain & son had been established in 1796 by his father, and that his son, William Hughes Blain had now carried on the business around 1864. William was a familiar figure in shipping circles, a portion of which supplied the ships, and the admiralty, with furnishings and upholstery. William Blain passed away at Croft House, Huyton, on February 25th 1909 and was buried in Huyton churchyard.

 

 

 

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