Sunday, January 5, 2020

Coming February 6

Long time North Shore Civil War Roundtable member Valerie Protopapas will discuss the sinking of the Sultana. The Sultana was a Mississippi River side-wheel steamboat, which exploded on April 27, 1865, in the worst maritime disaster in United States history. Constructed of wood in 1863 by the John Litherbury Boatyard in Cincinnati, she was intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade. The steamer registered 1,719 tons and normally carried a crew of 85. For two years, she ran a regular route between St. Louis and New Orleans, and was frequently commissioned to carry troops.

Although designed with a capacity of only 376 passengers, she was carrying 2,137 when three of the boat's four boilers exploded and she burned to the waterline and sank near Memphis, Tennessee. The disaster was overshadowed in the press by events surrounding the end of the American Civil War, including the killing of President Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth just the day before, and no one was ever held accountable for the tragedy.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Coming January 2, 2020 Movie Night: "The Tall Target"


The Tall Target is a 1951 American historical thriller film directed by Anthony Mann. This historical thriller is set shortly after President Abraham Lincoln was elected and centers upon a bodyguard who learns of a plot to assassinate him. He tries to tell his superiors, but they scoff at the notion. This causes the bodyguard to quit and launch a personal investigation. He is on a Baltimore-bound train when he learns that one of the potential assassins is also a passenger. Now the bodyguard must somehow stop him and the other would-be killers.

Starring Dick Powell as John Kennedy, Adolphe Menjou as Colonel Caleb Jeffers, Paula Raymond as Ginny Beaufort, Marshall Thompson as Lance Beaufort and Ruby Dee as Rachel.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Coming December 5, 2019


North Shore Civil War Roundtable member John Scotto will present a lecture entitled Civil War Field Artillery: A Critical Reassessment. John has been a member of the NSCWR since 1997, and was an original member of the Steering Committee and Board of Directors until 2014. He’s helped lead two battlefield tours, and made three presentations to the Roundtable.  John is currently employed by the Long Island Rail Road.

John’s presentation is on the capabilities and limitations of Civil War artillery, concentrating on the field, or “light”  artillery most common on Civil War battlefields.  His objective will be to provide a better understanding of the above, in order to help the student of the Civil War and battlefield visitor put the war in its proper technological and historic context.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Coming November 7, 2019


Ed Flanagan will discuss General Grant at the Battle of Belmont. Ed Flanagan is a librarian and the branch manager of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Ulmer Park Branch. Ed graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a B.A. in History and a M.S. in Library from Clarion University. ED has been a life long student of the American Civil War since he visited Gettysburg Battlefield as a 10 year old in 1972. ED is a member of the Nassau County CWRT and the CWRT of New York. As a member of the Nassau County CWRT, Ed has given talks on “How to Build a CW Library”, “Fort Pickens: The First Shots of the CW”, “Captain Henry Walke: The Man who Ran the Gun and Lived to Draw About It”, “Newspaper Battle Maps of the CW” and “Fort Hatteras: The First Move in the Game.”

Ed’s talk will be on ex-Captain Sam Grant’s transformation to General Grant at the Battle of Belmont in November of 1861. How does a perceived ne’er-do-well town drunk in the small Illinois town of Galina in April 1861 and six months later he leads a raid that disrupts Confederate operations in Missouri and catches the attention of President Lincoln!

The Battle of Belmont was fought on November 7, 1861 in Mississippi County, Missouri. It was the first combat test in the American Civil War for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the future Union Army general in chief and eventual U.S. president, who was fighting Major General Leonidas Polk. Grant's troops in this battle were the "nucleus" of the Union Army of the Tennessee. On November 6, Grant moved by riverboat from Cairo, Illinois, to attack the Confederacy's small outpost near Belmont, Missouri across the Mississippi River from the Confederate stronghold at Columbus, Kentucky. He landed his men on the Missouri side and marched to Belmont. Grant's troops overran the surprised Confederate camp and destroyed it. However, the scattered Confederate forces quickly reorganized and were reinforced from Columbus. They counterattacked, supported by heavy artillery fire from across the river. Grant retreated to his riverboats and took his men to Paducah, Kentucky. The battle was relatively unimportant, but with little happening elsewhere at the time, it received considerable attention in the press, with southerners praising it and northerners lamenting the Union defeat.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Coming Thursday September 5, 2019


Michael K. Shaffer will share his research on the life of Thomas Wallace Colley, a Civil War veteran, providing our Roundtable audience with a look at his newest book, “In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas Wallace Colley’s Recollection of Civil War Service in the 1st Virginia Cavalry.” Shaffer is a historian, teacher and author who now resides in Georgia. He teaches at Kennesaw State University’s College of Continuing and Professional Education.

Thomas Wallace Colley witnessed Civil War action on the field as a Confederate soldier in the 1st Virginia Cavalry. He experienced the loss of comrades and the loss of his foot blown away in battle. A war amputee, Colley would remove his prosthetic foot for pictures as a badge of honor. His amputation was an experimental success as surgeons tried out a new way of amputation. “Colley’s  religious beliefs along with a very supportive family probably saved him,” said Shaffer. “Because there’s no question he was definitely suffering from what we now know as PTSD.”  Colley contributed the land, money out of pocket, timber and building materials towards a church, post-war. He later became a member of the church and superintendent of its Sunday school.

“There are many arms and legs to history,” said Shaffer. “Colley writes about the social, the political, the economic issues that were going on. And medical issues — hospital conditions and so forth. I think there’s something in the book for most anyone, regardless of where their interest might lie. If they love military history, there’s plenty in the book about that.” One of the striking moment’s in Shaffer’s book is a picture of Colley and his two boys. In the photograph Colley is standing next to two fresh faces in uniform, gearing up to go fight for a united country in World War I.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Coming Thursday July 11, 2019


Walt Whitman impersonator Daniel Blaine Ford will discuss Walt Whitman during the Civil War. (Review)“Daniel is a true artist and friend who speaks extemporaneously and with wisdom and conviction from the bottom of his heart. He knows of what he speaks and speaks it from the right places”.  “Daniel Blaine Ford performed as Walt Whitman during a special humanities-based tour of Whitman's involvement in Camden, New Jersey. Mr. Ford was thoroughly professional, easy to work with, creative, based his portrayal on superb research. He also interacted easily with people of all ages. I only ran the tour once, but would have happily contracted with Mr. Ford again, and would still, for any portrayal of that great poet”.

Daniel Ford Blaine, aka Walt Whitman II, grew up within biking distance of the Whitman homestead in West Hills. He became interested in Walt Whitman as a 9 year old and was influenced by a collateral Whitman descendant who was one of his teachers.   His primary career has been as a biology teacher, an ornithologist and as an organizer of various charitable organizations.   A New York Times article published in 2008 described him  as a 'tall old man in outmoded dress ambling with the aid of a long walking stick, wearing a black coat, a black vest hung with a thin  gold chain and a white collared shirt open wide at the neck.  Much of his face is obscured by an enormous white beard with his long grey hair played out in the wind beneath a green slouch.  It is not the ghost of Walt Whitman who died in 1892 but his stand in, Daniel Blaine Ford. For more than 35 years he has served as Walt's alter ego doing presentations of Whitman and his poetry.  Unlike Walt,  he is a proud father of five and a grandfather.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Coming Thursday June 6, 2019


Harvey Sackowitz and Howard Ehrilich discuss the Booth Conspiracy. John Wilkes Booth is the primary name gleaned from the infamous Lincoln assassination. It’s easy to ignore those who helped him. John Wilkes Booth was not alone in his plot, nor was the killing of Abraham Lincoln the only goal planned by him and his comrades. Dispatching Lincoln was only the first step in their plans for a larger plot. In fact, it hadn’t even been the initial goal. John Wilkes Booth may be the most recognizable name, but his part of the assassination was only a piece of the puzzle. Among him were others aiding from the sidelines, aiming to resurrect the Confederacy’s efforts in fighting the Civil War. The goal regarding Lincoln was, in fact, a Confederate secret plot in name, action, and execution and Booth was aided by several co-conspirators. Join us as our popular Roundtable guests relate this complicated plot and Booth’s escape and ultimate capture.  

Professor Ehrlich has served as a National Park Service Ranger at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay and is the former Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.  He has an       MA in Educational Administration from Columbia University, an MS in American History from Queens College City University of New York and a Ba in American History from Queens College City University of New York.  He is an Adjunct Instructor of Curriculum and Instruction at St. John’s University.   

Professor Harvey Sakowitz has served as the past President of the Nassau County Civil War Roundtable. Adjunct Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at St. John’s University. He has an Advanced Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Brooklyn College, an MS in History from Queens College and a BA in History from Queens College.