Meeting Information

American Civil War education, preservation and restoration

Monthly Meetings

The round table meets on the third Tuesday of the month from September through May, except April, at the Knights of Columbus, 1114 American Boulevard West, Bloomington, MN 55420, for members and their guests. Social hour starts at 5:45 pm followed by dinner and a speaker at 6:30 pm. If you are not yet a member please see Join the Table for more information or contact Carol VanOrnum, Treasurer, at

For a more complete description of the program, and a speaker bio, click on the presentation title.

2019-2020 Guest Speaker Schedule

September 17, 2019: “When Georgia Howled: Sherman’s Destruction of Atlanta” – Stephen Davis

September 17, 2019

“When Georgia Howled: Sherman’s Destruction of Atlanta”

– Stephen Davis

September 17, 2019

Steve Davis of Atlanta spoke to the Twin Cities CWRT back in November 2004 on Sherman and the destruction of Atlanta.  Since then two big things have happened: PowerPoint slides, and his book on the subject, published in 2012: What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta. 

Steve will be surveying the Federal artillery bombardment of the city, July 20-August 25, 1864; the damage to Atlanta buildings inflicted during the Union occupation, September 2-November 16; and Northern engineers’ demolition of railroad facilities (plus soldiers’ unauthorized arson) in the days before Sherman led his army toward the sea.

Stephen Davis of Atlanta has been a Civil War buff since the 4th grade. At Emory University, he studied under the renowned Civil War historian Bell Wiley. After a Master’s degree in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he taught high school for a few years, then earned his Ph.D. at Emory, where he concentrated on the theme of the Civil War in Southern literature. He’s also taught at Oglethorpe University.

 Now retired, Steve serves as Book Review Editor for Civil War News, the monthly national newspaper for buffs, for which he contributes a regular column, “Critic’s Corner.”

October 15, 2019: “How Northern Financial Decisions Won the Civil War” – Matthew Borowick

October 15, 2019

“How Northern Financial Decisions Won the Civil War”

– Matthew Borowick


October 15, 2019

Wars are, it is believed, won and lost by the actions of generals and armies. However, those armies will not fight unless they are properly trained, equipped and fed. Doing that takes the efficient management of resources. The effective management of resources takes good planning and the intelligent allocation of those resources. Although perhaps not as glamorous a topic as battles and armies, the issue of how the North and the South managed their resources provides a fascinating look into why one side succeeded – and the other side failed. One side effectively managed its resources while the other, beholden to an outdated way of thinking, could not adapt, with grave consequences.

 Matthew Borowick’s presentation on Civil War Economics is an overview of how the North and the South managed their finances in order to prosecute the war on the battlefield. The presentation provides a thorough overview of an often overlooked topic and will leave even the most informed Civil War students with insight into a part of the War they have likely not known.  Matthew’s purpose in this presentation is to provide an overview of a relatively unknown aspect of the War but one that had incredible consequences for each side.

Matthew Borowick has had a lifelong interest in the American Civil War, dating back to his days as a first-grader when he took his copy of “The Golden Book of the Civil War” to school daily. In 1992 he joined the Robert E. Lee Civil War Round Table of Central New Jersey, serving as its newsletter editor, advisory board member and webmaster. Later, he helped establish the Civil War Library and Research Center and was its first Executive Director.  Today, Matt is a regular columnist for the well-regarded Civil War News, serving as the author of “Round Table Review”, which describes best practices of Civil War round tables from throughout the country. In 2010, he authored and published The Civil War Round Table Handbook – The Indispensable Guide to Running Yours Right, which is available on Kindle at He serves as a volunteer at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Matt earned a B.A. in Economics and an MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University and is employed by Seton Hall as its Interim Vice President for Advancement. He and his wife Kathy, who has been to more Civil War battlefields than she cares to admit, live in Monmouth Junction, NJ with their four children.

November 19, 2019: “Murfreesboro: Nathan Bedford Forrest, The Third Minnesota, and “Fake” History” – Joe Fitzharris

November 19, 2019

“Murfreesboro:  Nathan Bedford Forrest,

The Third Minnesota, and “Fake” History”

– Joe Fitzharris

November 19, 2019

The Third Minnesota was surrendered to Forrest at Murfreesboro on Sunday, 13 July 1862. This event gave rise to at least three “fake” histories of the event. Based on extensive research, the true history is quite different. This is a book talk with readings from Joe’s The Hardest Lot of Men…;” the Third Minnesota Infantry in the Civil War (Oklahoma, 2019).

 A Past President and Director of the TCCWRT, Joe is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of St. Thomas, and edited Patton’s Fighting Bridge Builders: Company B of the 1303rd Engineer General Service Regiment (Texas A&M) which was a finalist for the 2007 Army Historical Foundation’s Writing Award for unit histories, memoirs, etc.

December 17, 2019: Fredericksburg: “It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.” -John D. Cox

December 17, 2019

Fredericksburg: “It is well that war is so terrible,

or we would grow fond of it.” – John D. Cox

December 17, 2019

With the slaughter of the Battle of Fredericksburg before him on Telegraph Hill, Confederate General Robert E. Lee touched his “old warhorse” General Longstreet on the arm and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.”  Over 12,500 Union soldiers lay as casualties on the field along with 6,000 Confederates.  The plan of Union Major General Ambrose Burnside had failed, like others before him and President Abraham Lincoln was disgraced again.  Lee had won a great victory.  Yet, the Battle of Fredericksburg, fought on December 13, 1862, resolved nothing and the war would go on.  Author/Historian John D. Cox will give his account of this famous fight, perhaps the most lopsided of the war, which witnessed the first contested river crossing in American military history and the first serious urban warfare of the American Civil War.

John D. Cox is a writer, an artist and public speaker. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. He lives in Minneapolis, MN, with his wife Barbara.


January 21, 2020: “Artists in Residence – Gettysburg” – Dave Geister and Pat Bauer

January 21, 2020

“Artists in Residence – Gettysburg”

– Dave Geister and Pat Bauer

January 21, 2020

Dave Geister and Pat Bauer will provide an entertaining evening of art, music, poetry and tales of their adventures as artists-in-residence at Gettysburg in the summer of 2019.

Minneapolis artist David Geister is a storyteller with a paintbrush, who has created artwork for historic sites, publications and private collectors. He is the illustrator of more than 20 picture books, including Storm’s Coming, written by Margi Preus; Grandpa Alan’s Sugar Shack, written by Alan and Kamie Page; and B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet, written by his wife, Pat Bauer.  He was honored by the MN Council for the Social Studies with the “Friend of the Social Studies” award in 2019. Dave is a frequent visitor to schools, where he shares his passion for making art, creating stop-motion animation films and playing with toy soldiers!

Pat Bauer was a teacher for 38 years and will never stop being an educator! She is the author of B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet, illustrated by her husband, David Geister. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the MN Council for the Social Studies in 2017.  Pat served on the MN Task Force for the Commemoration of the Civil War, and the MN WWI Commemoration Task Force.  Along with Dave, she visits schools, libraries, and other venues, to share her love and knowledge of history, literature, music and art.

February 18, 2020: “The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy” – Dr. Paul Kahan

February 18, 2020

“The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant:  Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy” – Dr. Paul Kahan

February 18, 2020

In The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy, historian Paul Kahan explores the unique political, economic, and cultural forces unleashed by the Civil War and how Grant addressed these issues during his tumultuous two terms as chief executive. A timely reassessment, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant sheds new light on the business of politics in the decade after the Civil War and portrays an energetic and even progressive executive whose legacy has been overshadowed by both his wartime service and his administration’s many scandals. 

Dr. Paul Kahan is an expert on the political, diplomatic, and economic history of the United States in the nineteenth century. He earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University. Prior to that, Dr. Kahan earned an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English from Alfred University. 

Dr. Kahan has published several books, including “Eastern State Penitentiary: A History,” “Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War,” “The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy,” and “The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance.”

March 17, 2020: “The Infamous Dakota War Trials of 1862: Revenge, Military Law, and the Judgment of History” – John Haymond

March 17, 2020

“The Infamous Dakota War Trials of 1862:  Revenge, Military Law, and the Judgment of History” – John Haymond

March 17, 2020

The military commission trials that took place in the immediate aftermath of the US-Dakota War of 1862 remain an intensely controversial element of Minnesota’s most devastating conflict. The grim details of those proceedings –the frequently cursory nature of the 392 trials and the secrecy under which they were conducted; the total lack of defense counsel for the Dakota defendants; the 303 death sentences; the 38 men hanged on a single gallows in Mankato – have led many modern observers to conclude that the trials, executions, and subsequent expulsion of Dakota people from Minnesota were appalling injustices. The prevailing view also holds that Colonel Henry H. Sibley never had the necessary authority to convene the military court in the first place. Historian John A. Haymond examines the US-Dakota War and the military commission trials from the essential perspective of 19th century military law and reaches several surprising conclusions that directly challenge many long-held interpretations of this history.

John A. Haymond is a conflict historian who studies the history of military law and social justice issues. He has a BA in history from the University of Minnesota Duluth, an MSc in history from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and is working on a PhD based on his research on the Dakota War trials. He is the author of three books: The Infamous Dakota War Trials of 1862: Revenge, Military Law, and the Judgment of History (McFarland & Co, 2016); The American Soldier, 1866-1916: The Enlisted Man and the Transformation of the United States Army (McFarland & Co, 2018); and Soldiers: A Global History of the Fighting Man 1800-1945 (Stackpole Books, 2018). His fourth book, a study of the 1917 Houston Mutiny and courts-martial, a case that resulted in the largest mass execution of American soldiers in U.S. history, is currently underway. His work has been published in scholarly journals both in the United States and Great Britain, and he writes a regular feature about the history of the laws of war for Military History Quarterly. He served twenty-one years in the U.S. Army and currently resides in Washington, where his wife is an Army medical officer at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

May 19, 2020: “Trust in God and Fear Nothing: Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead” – Wayne Motts

May 19, 2020

“Trust in God and Fear Nothing: 

Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead”
– Wayne Motts

May 19, 2020


Join author, historian, and guide, Wayne Motts as he explores the life of Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead of Pickett’s Charge fame. The son of a regular army general, Armistead had a long and distinguished career as soldier in the United States Army. A veteran of three wars, he joined the Confederacy in 1861 as colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry Regiment and later as a brigade commander under Robert E. Lee. Motts will trace the life and death of this remarkable soldier.  

Wayne E. Motts is the chief executive officer of The National Civil War Museum located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has been a licensed battlefield guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park for over thirty years. He is the author of the only published biography of Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead of the Confederate Army who was mortally wounded on July 3 at Gettysburg, and is the co-author (with James Hessler) of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg: A Guide to the Most Famous Attack in American History.