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If you find something that needs changing, like a web link that is no longer active, please tell us.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

 

Latest news

 

19/9/2020 - Drawing the War: Correspondent artists, illustrated newspapers and authenticity. An online talk by Graham Whitham.

 

 

Graham Whitham presented a very interesting and detailed talk. This is now available on YouTube for those of you unable to join us and is highly recommended to view. He presents a wealth of information that words alone couldn’t match and that most people will not have seen before.

 

The story of the artists, the drawings they made and the industry that published them is fascinating, but are these images reliable historical documents or journalistic hyperbole?

 

Here is the link to the YouTube. Copy and paste this link into your preferred browser.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgypkzDyGxs&fbclid=IwAR0xG9wQQF-e98J6aGW-KbrAiB-wQt0Vm89PB5s7Dcon0HJkwvveBr9H1cM

 

 


 

14/9/2020 - Your Favourite Civil War Quotation

 

You will no doubt be aware that ACWRT is in the process of updating out website. Currently we have some Civil War Quotations at various places on the site and we would like to refresh these. If you have a favorite quotation why not send it to the webmaster and hope that it is selected for inclusion on the new website?

 

Please send it to: webmaster@acwrt.org.uk

 

Forthcoming events

 

ACWRT(UK) 2020/21 Programme

 

14 November - AGM by ZOOM Meeting. VOLUNTEERS TO SPEAK NEEDED and WELCOMED!!!

 

2021 - ALL EVENTS SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION

 

Conference - Wokefield Park

Dates and subject TBC but pencil in 7-9 May 2021

 

Field Trip - Sedan and Metz Franco-Prussian war 1870

Dates to be announced

Postponed from 2020

 

 


 

18/7/2020 - Was this the Worst Regiment in the Union Army?

 

The American Civil War Round Table (UK) July 2020 meeting presents a lecture by former Round Table President and current editor of Crossfire Greg Bayne in which he tells the extraordinary story of how an entire regiment was court-martialled in the winter of 1862-63. With some participation in advance from the attendees, Greg explored what made a potentially good regiment bad. It’s a fascinating piece of original research, and you can watch a recording of the lecture here.

 

 

https://youtu.be/EzcX2jA-y0U

Preservation news

 

01/06/2020 SHENANDOAH VALLEY BATTLEFIELDS FOUNDATION - DONATION REQUEST APPROVED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In last month’s Vedette we mentioned an appeal being organised by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to support some of the smaller historic sites who don’t get Federal or State funding to help them through the shutdown. A $500 donation has been approved by the Committee, but under our Constitution we need to formally put this to our members to have their say. In the circumstances we cannot do this at a meeting and waiting till the shutdown ends would rather defeat the object of the donation. So we are seeking deemed consent through Vedette. If anyone has objections to this use of funds please contact Mike Somerville to make your views known. If we have not heard any objections by 15 June 2020 we will make the donation.

 

Information can be found on the Foundations’s website

 

https://www.shenandoahatwar.org/

 

Book reviews

 

24/9/2020 - Dixie Betrayed: How The South Really Lost The Civil War

 

Book review by ACWRT (UK) member Keith Steiner: September 2020

 

David J. Eicher: Little, Brown And Company: 2006: 341 pages: Illustrated

 

“Revolutions are much easier started than controlled, and the men who begin them, even for the best purposes and objects, seldom end them….The selfish, the ambitious, and the bad will generally take the lead.”

 

Alexander Stephens

 

The title of the above publication may prove a provocation or stumbling block too far for some potential readers. Those who reason that the passage of over 150 years has been time enough to settle any doubts, or those whose engagement with the history of the civil war is wholly the matter of unfurled banners and booming cannon, might, however, halt in their retreat and turn the pages of this illuminating book, for, within, there is fire and fury enough for even the most jaded martial palette.

 

This is the story of the struggle to establish, from 1861, the political and civic structures of the Confederate States of America. The figure of Jefferson Davis is central to this narrative and he is the focal point around which this publication is built.

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full article


 

28/8/2020 - Midnight Rising: John Brown And The Raid That Sparked The Civil War

 

 

Book Review by ACWRT (UK) member Keith Steiner

 

Author: Tony Horwitz

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, LLC: 2011: 365 pages: Illustrated.

 

“I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty, land: will never be purged away; but with Blood” December 2nd 1859

 

The above hand-written testament of John Brown, delivered on the morning of his execution, features in the final section of Tony Horwitz’s exceptional narrative of the events of the John Brown raid on the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

 

 

What transpired in the aftermath of the John Brown testament is the matter of our collective fascination and, as such, there may be a temptation to resist a presumed long tramp through the passage of events with which we might believe ourselves thoroughly familiar. However, at the conclusion of Tony Horwitz’s scintillating and closely researched narrative I felt fulfilled at having taken such a journey.

 

Most will have an appreciation of the generality of the circumstance, but Horwitz goes much, much further into the chronology of the events and their significance. The role of Colonel Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant J.E.B Stuart in the unfolding chaotic chapter of events at Harpers Ferry is particularly intriguing, as was the presence of the actor John Wilkes Booth and of Major Thomas J. Jackson at the execution of John Brown. These individuals are, in themselves, the living epitaph of the enduring struggle to come.

 

The stories of the civil war are still being written and Tony Horwitz makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the circumstances of the war. He collects the many loose threads of events and skilfully weaves a compelling account. His is not just the narrative of the tragedy of one man’s fanatic passion but a deeply researched overview of the context of such an historic passage. His skill as an author brings to bloody life an important historic episode which typically passes as preamble or footnote. Although some might be checked by the claim articulated in the book subtitle I would encourage readers to step into a past vividly and assuredly brought to life by the skill and diligence of this fine author.

 


 

28/8/2020 - Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns 1864-65

 

 

Book Review by ACWRT (UK) member Keith Steiner

 

Author: William A. Frassanito

Publisher; Charles Scribner’s Sons New York: 1983: 442 pages: Illustrated.

 

There can be few in the American Civil War community unfamiliar with the work of William A. Frassanito. His work will likely grace many enthusiasts’ collections. The title of Frassanito’s 1983 publication Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns 1864-65, as well as its pagination of over 400 pages is a clear signal that it is a work of serious intent.

 

 

Readers of Frassanito’s previous volumes on Antietam and Gettysburg will need no introduction to the narrative style and typical content of this publication. Frassanito is a photographic historian, a battlefield historian and a historian of the American Civil War. His method is steeped in meticulous research, depth of experience and enormous reverence for his subject.

 

In this book, photographs by James Gardner, Andrew J. Russell, Timothy O'Sullivan, T.C. Roche and the studio of Mathew Brady illustrate the featured period between May 1864 and April 1865. These historic photographs should be manna enough for the genuine enthusiast, but, characteristically, Frassanito pairs the historic images with his own photographs taken at the sites, from a near identical placement. His narrative is crisp and authoritative, and is a perfect and sober accompaniment to the photographs.

 

One of the satisfying aspects of this book is its allowance of space to include a close consideration of events that general studies exclude. One fine example is the consideration given to the Confederate attack during the concluding phase of the Battle of Spotsylvania at the Harris Farm and which features the extraordinary photography by Timothy O'Sullivan of Confederate casualties at the Susan Alsop Farm. Although these are images which tend to be selected in many modern references to the period by virtue of their starkness and clarity, it is rare for any reference to context and circumstance. Satisfyingly, Frassanito supplies this missing context, as also in such many other instances as the detailed photography of Confederate dead at Fort Mahone and Fort Sedgwick – both these sequences recorded at the conclusion of the Petersburg campaign.

 

William A. Frassantio has a mighty eye and his work is an invaluable source for students and enthusiasts of the period. I would further venture that the American Civil War community owes him a sincere debt of gratitude. The civil war photography of this volume is of an extraordinary intimacy and I cannot imagine anyone seeking insight into this period being anything but thoroughly rewarded by this wonderful book.

 


 

28/7/2020 - The Great Partnership by Christian B Keller

 

Those who attended our Conference of 2017 will remember the presentations of Christian Keller on strategy and command. He mentioned his forthcoming book and here it is!

 

 

The story of the unique friendship between Lee and Jackson, two leaders who chiselled a strategic path forward against the odds and almost triumphed. Why were Generals Lee and Jackson so successful in their military partnership during the Civil War? What was it about their styles, friendship, even their faith, that cemented them together into a fighting machine that consistently won despite often overwhelming odds against them?

 

The Great Partnership has the power to change how we think about Confederate strategic decision-making and the value of personal relationships among senior leaders responsible for organizational survival

Those relationships in the Confederate high command were particularly critical for victory, especially the one that existed between the two great Army of Northern Virginia generals.

It has been almost three decades since any author attempted a joint study of the two leaders. At the very least, the book will inspire a lively debate among the thousands of students of Civil War history; at best, it will significantly revise how we evaluate Confederate strategy during the height of the war and our understanding of why, in the end, the South lost.

 

 

“Students of strategy and tactics, as well as of the Civil War, will find this a useful look at a storied partnership.”—Kirkus Reviews.

 

“Christian B. Keller’s perceptive analysis of Jackson’s contribution to the partnership, the impact of operations in the Eastern Theater, and the degree to which personal and professional ties intersected should spark a good deal of discussion among those interested in the Confederacy’s premier army and its most famous commanders.”—Gary W. Gallagher, author of Lee and His Army in Confederate History

 

“Christian Keller explores anew this well-studied relationship in a fresh, insightful, and persuasive work. This book will kindle debate, generate controversy, and reframe old arguments. Simply put, it is good history.”—Jeffry D. Wert, author of A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863

 

“Christian Keller cuts through the Lost Cause haze and a century of debate to give us our clearest view yet of arguably the most important and effective partnership of the American Civil War. This is an important, thoughtful book, well done.”—John Hennessy, author of Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas

Christian B. Keller is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Chair of National Security and Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

 

Published by Pegasus (ISBN 978-1-64313-134-4)


 

1/3/2019 - Bull Run to Boer War: How the American Civil War Changed the British Army by Michael Somerville

 

The American Civil War is often said to have predicted the way in which later wars such as the Boer War and the First World War would be fought. As a result the British Army has been criticised for not heeding its lessons, a view that can be traced back to the 1930s.

 

This book challenges that long-held view, and demonstrates that the responses to the lessons of the war in the British Army were more complex, better informed, and of higher quality, than normally depicted.

 

Key to this new interpretation is that it takes a nineteenth century perspective rather than pre-supposing what the British should have seen based upon hindsight from the South African veldt or the Western Front trenches. It demonstrates that strategists and policy-makers reacted to the changes in the nature of warfare suggested by American experience, looks at how officers in the cavalry, infantry, artillery and engineers applied their observations in America to the technical and tactical issues of the day, and even examines the war's influence on the development of aeronautics.

 

In studying how the Civil War changed the Late Victorian British Army, the book provides insight into its learning process, and concludes that although sometimes flawed, its study of the American Civil War meant that it was better prepared for the wars of the twentieth century than previously acknowledged.

Crossfire magazine

 

18/8/2020 Latest Three Issues of Crossfire

 

 

Number 123 Summer 2020 - Articles Include

 

The Battle of Prairie Grove by Matthew Mulheran

Turner Ashby by Ian Mitchell

Who is this man? Is it Polignac? by Charles Priestley

Views on Fort Pillow – John Scales and Edwin Kennedy

Dead Confederates by Graham Whitham – views on familiar photographic images

The worst regiment in the Union Army by Greg Bayne

1st Vermont at Big Bethel by Erick Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 122 Contents - Spring 2020

 

The Battle of Springfield, Missouri, Jan 8 1863 - William Piston

Under a Sulphorous Sky - Manxmen and the Battle of Gettysburg - John Murray

A Postmaster in the Cavalry - Pvt George R Adderton 63rd NC - Charles Priestley

Two Scouts of the border Part 2 - Steve French

Barnacles - Alabama Crewman George Gitsinger - Maurice Rigby

Lonesome Pine - Fort Pillow - Tony Daly

We've all gone Quackers - Fake remedies - Greg Bayne

Letter from CW Alabama - Alabama at Gettysburg - Erick Bush

Buddy can you spare a dime? The CSA Tobacco tax - Greg Bayne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 121 Contents - Winter 2019

 

Railroads in the Gettysburg Campaign - Scott Mingus Sr

Two letters from Polignac - Charles Priestley

Depicting Combat: Veracity in drawings by Frank Vizetelly and Alfred Waud - Graham Whitham

Letter from CW Alabama - CSS Nashville, Selma & the Mobile Bay Squadron - Erick Bush

Two Scouts of the border Part 1 - Steve French

Barnacles - Alabama Crewman Richard Hambly - Maurice Rigby

From the White House to Gettysburg and to Arlington - Robert Tyler Jones - John Murray

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