Saturday, November 3, 2018

Coming December 6, 2018

Roundtable member Bill Finlayson will present a program entitled Touched  by Lightning: Civil War Medal of Honor winner John J. Toffey.  

John J. Toffey
Serving first as a Private in Company C, 21st New Jersey Volunteer Infantry (a nine-month service regiment) from August 28, 1862 to June 19, 1863, he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in Company F, 33rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on August 23, 1863, and was mustered into the unit on August 29, 1863. He participated in the November 23, 1863 Battle of Missionary Ridge, at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and it was there that he performed the act of bravery that garnered him the Medal of Honor. His wounds forced his discharge from the 33rd New Jersey on June 2, 1864, and he was appointed into the Veteran Reserve Corps. He served in the VRC as a lieutenant until June 1866. While still in service, he was an eyewitness to Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater, participated in the search for the conspirators, testified at their trial, and witnessed their subsequent execution. He received his medal on September 10, 1897.                                                                                                                     

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Coming November 1st, 2018

Christopher Kolakowski will present his book The Boy Colonel: Arthur MacArthur and his Legacy.

Christopher L. Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. He received his BA in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his MA in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany. Chris has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kentucky State Parks, and the U.S. Army. He has written and spoken on various aspects of military history and leadership from 1775 to the present. He has published two books with the History Press: The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass and The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat. Chris is a contributor to the Emerging Civil War Blog, and his study of the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign titled Last Stand on Bataan was released by McFarland in late February 2016. In September 2016 the U.S. Army published his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War. Chris lives in Norfolk, Virginia. Chris came to Norfolk having served as Director of the General George Patton Museum and Center of Leadership in Fort Knox, KY from 2009 to 2013. He became the MacArthur Memorial Director on September 16, 2013.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Coming October 4, 2018

Islip Town Historian George Muckenbeck will present a power point entitled “I Could Live as Long as They on Mule and Molasses”. A captured Union officers amazing story of the pivotal Battle of Port Hudson told from inside Rebel lines.

Mr. Muckenbeck is a native Long Islander who resides in West Sayville, NY. He earned a BS in Engineering from the United States Coast Guard Academy and an MA in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Public University. A Certified Lay Servant in the United Methodist Church, he is a fourth generation member of New York’s volunteer fire service as an active member of the West Sayville Fire Department, Company H, The Fourteenth “Brooklyn” Regiment New York State Militia Society of New York Civil War History Group, The American Legion, The Industrial Archaeology Society, United States Naval Institute, Society of Civil War Surgeons, Museum of Civil War Medicine, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, National Model Railroad Association, and Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. In addition, he has produced numerous programs, articles and studies on the Bible, local history, fire service training and history as well as railroad history and military history.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Coming September 6, 2018

Coming Thursday September 6, 2018.  Author Bruce Venter will discuss his book, Kill Jeff Davis: The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864.  The ostensible goal of the controversial Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond (February 28–March 3, 1864) was to free some 13,000 Union prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital. But orders found on the dead body of the raid’s subordinate commander, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, point instead to a plot to capture or kill Confederate president Jefferson Davis and set Richmond ablaze. What really happened, and how and why, are debated to this day. Kill Jeff Davis offers a fresh look at the failed raid and mines newly discovered documents and little-known sources to provide definitive answers. He tells, at last, the full story of this hotly contested moment in Civil War history.

Bruce Venter’s major interest is Civil War cavalry with an emphasis on the career of Union general Judson Kilpatrick. He frequently lectures on the cavalry and has led bus tours on the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid, the focus of his book, Kill Jeff Davis. In 2012 he participated in a re-enactment of Dahlgren’s raid thru Goochland County where he rode with over 80 troopers for three days, serving as their historian. He is a past president of the Richmond Civil War Round Table and currently serves as 1st vice president of the Goochland County Historical Society.  He has published articles in Blue and Gray, Civil War, Patriots of the American Revolution, Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, Washington Times and numerous professional journals. He is also the author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America. Venter spent 36 years in public education before his retirement, mostly as an assistant superintendent in school systems in New York, Virginia and Maryland. He holds a B.A. in history from Manhattan College and a master’s in public administration and doctorate in educational administration from the University at Albany.  Bruce Venter is president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company which he founded in 2010. He lives in Goochland County, Virginia, with his wife Lynne and their beagle “Sally Seddon.” 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Coming July 12, 2018

Barnet Schecter will discuss his book The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots in a talk he calls Emancipation and Its Enemies: The Legacy of the Civil War Draft Riots. Schecter explains the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the riots, and after 1863, with New York City as its national headquarters. The Democrats--led by Boss Tweed, John Hoffman, and A. Oakey Hall in New York City and New York State, and by presidential candidate Samuel Tilden and New York World editor Manton Marble at the national level--took the offensive to reunite with the southern wing of the party and defeat Reconstruction, the Republican program of emancipation and civil rights for African Americans. It has been said that the North won the Civil War and the South won the peace--but the important role of New York in that outcome is little known. 

Barnet Schecter, an independent historian, is the author of George Washington’s America: A Biography Through His MapsThe Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America; and The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of New York City and various books on the Revolution and Civil War. In addition to lecturing, and leading tours and military staff rides, he consults on books, exhibitions, films.

Please Make Note

Barnet Schecter’s presentation will be July 12, the second Thursday of July because of the July 4th Holiday.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Coming June 7, 2018

Professor Wilbur Miller will discuss the  Civil War and Reconstruction. Professor Miller became interested in the history of policing when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, during the Free Speech Movement.  His instructor there started him on a dissertation, completed at Columbia University that became his first book, Cops and Bobbies (1977). It compared New York and London police in the nineteenth century. His next project moved to the South and the federal government: Revenuers and Moonshiners (1991) which sought to demonstrate that there was a more active national state after Reconstruction than is usually described. Since then he has  edited a five-volume encyclopedia, The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America  (2012) and is currently working on an overview of the history of private policing in the United States. He teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the history of crime and criminal justice, and the history of New York City. 

Professor Miller has taught history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for 36 years. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Coming May 3, 2018

Scott Mingus will discuss his book Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of Cemetery Ridge July 2, 1863. Scott Mingus is a scientist and consultant in the paper industry, and holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamps and bar code labels. The Ohio native graduated from the paper science and engineering program at Miami University. He was part of the research team that developed the first commercially successful self-adhesive U.S. postage stamps. He has written nineteen Civil War and Underground Railroad books. His biography of Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith won multiple awards, including the Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize for Confederate History. He has also written several articles for Gettysburg Magazine, as well as for various historical journals. 

Scott and his wife Debi live in York, Pa., and he maintains a blog on the Civil War History of York County ( He received the 2013 Heritage Profile Award from the York County Heritage Trust for his contributions to local Civil War history. He also has written six scenario books for Civil War miniature wargaming. His great-great-grandfather was a 15-year-old drummer boy in the 51st Ohio Infantry under General Sherman, and other family members fought at Antietam and Gettysburg.