01/12/2012 - President's Report - December 2012
By Greg Bayne
I had to rush over to Virginia for a week in October to see a poorly relative. In the (100th) issue of Crossfire magazine, I detail my day out with Tom Clemens and Ed Bearss. But what l failed to mention in the article is the genuine warmth, kindness and affection that I came across when I was in the States for that short time. I might moan about the lack of united spirit of the American government in all things historical but at the grass roots, it is not lacking.
People like author Steve French who drove 50 miles to meet me at Antietam for all of ten minutes to give me a copy of his latest book; and Marc and Jill Ramsey (the booksellers from Richmond) who I shared too much wine late at night talking rubbish with at a conference at Middelburg; Gary Crawford at Kernstown who opened up especially to show me around and our dear friend Joe Whitehorne who drove me around Clarke county tracking down Civil War markers (the article will be in the next issue). These people and events will long be etched in my memory for the common passion we share. Everywhere I went people were pleased to meet me and interested in what I was doing there.
You must never underestimate the high regard this Round Table is held in by our counterparts in the US. Our research over the years has been groundbreaking and many of our members are experts in the Civil War. I make a point to talk to most of the meeting attendees when I can and adding my email inbox correspondence to the mix shows knowledge, a passion and fire that gives me the confidence that this group has a bright future. I am certain that if we were ever to organise a cross-the Atlantic challenge CW debate, we would win it hands down.
There is a great deal of work still to be done in the field of the British involvement in the Civil War. From the dockyards to the bankers and merchants to the gravesites. It is not possible to support every idea; that I feel is down to the individual to canvass for that through Crossfire but the RT is conduit for ideas and if a cause is deemed worthy enough, we will rally behind it. Watch this space.
Next year is our 60th anniversary. When it was our 50th, I had only just joined the society and was moving around the outside of events, not sure what was going on, just concentrating on forging friendships and learning about the Civil War. Over the years I became drawn closer to the middle and it was with some trepidation that I took over as President a few years ago. I hadn't really thought about 2013 as being anything more than another year of great lectures and another great conference until I realised that the 75th was a long way off. So we have a few ideas coming your way shortly. So no time for shirkers, let's rally around the flag and have some fun along the way.