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!



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If you find something that needs changing, like a web link that is no longer active, please tell us.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


Conference in April to be Re-Scheduled


As you will appreciate we are living in unprecident times. Please see the details about the proposed re-scheduling of the April Conference and other Round Table events.


Until now we have been holding off making a decision about this year’s Conference until the extent and impact of the Covid-19 outbreak became clearer. The unprecedented events of this week made it clear that it would be impossible to hold our Conference as planned. First travel restrictions meant that our overseas speakers and delegates would not be able to attend, then the demands of social distancing mean that all similar events were being cancelled. Even before the closures announced by the UK Government on Friday night we had concluded that it would be irresponsible to the public at large and our members in particular to increase the risk of infection by holding the event as planned. Now that decision has been forced upon us anyway.


We are looking into rescheduling the event to later in the year if possible. Our US speakers have indicated that they still wish to come to the UK to speak to us and can potentially be flexible with dates. Currently we are looking either at the weekend previously scheduled for the Annual General Meeting in London (13-15 November), as this will already be in people’s calendars, or the weekend of 30 October-1 November, which is easier with regards to venue. It will of course also depend upon how the outbreak progresses and the timing of any relaxation of government restrictions.


The Committee is working to make sure that any financial impact on the Round Table is kept to a minimum, and we assure members that they will be reimbursed any fees already paid. If you will definitely not attend a re-arranged conference and wish to have a refund, please contact Peter Lockwood at Old Country Tours. However, we ask you to appreciate that Peter is a small business working in an industry that has been heavily hit by the shutdowns, and like many such is under a great deal of pressure and uncertainty at this time. The preferred alternative is that OCT hold your payment to be used for a rescheduled conference – or even as a credit towards next year’s event. If you are happy and willing to do this then it would be much appreciated and one less thing for Peter and the Committee to worry about.


The position with regards to other events – the June and September meetings and the October Field Trip – is also impossible to predict at this time, but we will continue to monitor the situation and make timely decisions based upon firm facts rather than conjecture.


Eventually things will get back to normal – in the meantime stay calm and keep safe.



ACWRT(UK) 2020 Programme


21 March - MEETING CANCELLED due to COVID 19 virus situation.


24-26 April Conference: Gettysburg's Forgotten Battles. Postponed or Cancelled


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


19 September - UNDER REVIEW.


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


14 November - AGM. The Conference may be re-scheduled for this weekend. VOLUNTEERS TO SPEAK WELCOME!!!


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


Further details and dates will be published when available.


March 2020 MEETING CANCELLED due to COVID 19 virus situation.







Due to the uncertainty around te COVID 19 virus the decision has been taken to cancel the March Meeting.


Those who have paid by cheque will either have the cheques destroyed or will be redunded. The Committee apologise for any inconvenience caused.


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.




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.




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



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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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Established 1953