Welcome to the website of the 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, you may wonder, 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 exlusively 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 unsurprising that British viewpoints settled over this all-American affair. And both North and South - the Blue and the Grey - looked hopefully to Britain and its empire for signs of support: and warily for signs of hostility. The war sparked heated debate in a Britain that had set its moral face against slavery while supporting a new industrial age that included a cotton industry dependent upon Southern slaves.
Next Meeting - Saturday 25th July 2015
Strictly Members Only and All Prepaid in Advanced
The battle of Guard Hill on 16th August 1864 may not be at the forefront of most members’ minds. It took place on the high ground just north of Front Royal. Members who have travelled through the town will be able to visualise the view of the hill and be able to imagine the issue of attacking and defending it and the road behind. Significantly it marked Sheridan's first southward probe against Jubal Early.
Wesley Merritt's 1st Cavalry Division (Custer and Devin ) brilliantly reacted against efforts by Fitzhugh Lee's Division (Wickham's Virginia Cavalry and Wofford's Georgia Infantry ) to cross the Shenandoah River and block Sheridan's escape route back to Halltown from positions confronting Early along Cedar Creek near Strasburg. The battle was a swirling, high speed cavalry scrap accompanied by equally well managed horse artillery support.
The presenter will be Joe Whitehorne. Most people will know Joe as RT Hon. ACWRTUK VP. Suffice it to say he is a retired US Army officer (25 years) who served as a staff historian in Europe and the US. Upon retiring, he taught university (history) for 21 years, and is now a consultant in history to the Dep't of Anthropology and Sociology at James Madison Univ, providing support to its archaeology program.
Time permitting, Joe will also brief the group on the close of 8 years of archaeology at Cedar Creek.
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DAY
The Committee believe that this meeting will be very popular with members and we are worried about the maximum occupancy of the CSC. They have told us that we can have a total of 60 members present. As a result of this we have decided upon a number of special rules that will apply for this meeting. We think we have covered all the angles but if we haven’t I am sure that we will be able to sort things out.
This is a pre-booked, prepaid members only meeting. We will not accept walk-ins on the day. If you turn up without pre-booking then the Sergeant at arms will turn you away.
Numbers are limited to 60. Please post your booking to Sandra Bishop in the normal manner to arrive on or before Monday 20th. If you are the 61st+ applicant, Sandra will contact you when your form is received and let you know that you are on the waiting list.
We will be updating our list regularly. If you have any concerns please contact Greg Bayne via email but allow some time between post and receipt and don’t’ worry too much if you have sent the application off early enough. The final cut-off date will be Thursday 23rd July. No news will be good news.
If your application is 61st+ we will not cash your cheque. However if you have bought raffle tickets then we will honour them as a free entry for the July meeting draw.
If you have booked and cannot come, please let Greg know asap so that we can contact anyone on the waiting list.
We have added £5 to the meeting cost to cover Joe’s travel costs. The minimum cost of the meeting is therefore £15. You can add a donation for preservation funds or the raffle but this will not affect your application. If you are the 61st applicant and have purchased raffle tickets then we will honour those tickets free of charge. In the case of any compliant or queries over and above the details outlined above, then Charles Rees is the person to contact.
We appreciate that this may all be unnecessary but the CSC have told us that for H&S reasons we need to abide by the rules. This will of course add to the burden of your Committee for this meeting but we do it for your satisfaction. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We aim to please not disappoint.
You can download the application form here and the raffle form can be found here
The meeting will take place at the Civil Service Club 13 - 15 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ. It will commence at 13:30 and should finish around 16:30. You can find the CSC on Google Maps.
The Waterloo Campaign
Two hundred and eleven years ago, on 2nd December 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of the French. During the ceremony in Notre Dame, The Grande Army remained camped around Boulogne, in training for what was to be one of the most astonishing series of campaigns the world has ever known. The threat of Napoleon to the remainder of the European nations meant that he was forced to abdicate. However, his exile in Elba lasted until 1815 when he returned to France which resulted in the campaign of the "Hundred Days".
For further information on this interesting field trip, please contact Peter Lockwood on 01747 828719 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Under blue sky and sunshine the 2015 conference was a great success. With a number of fascinating talks, good humour and numerous discussions among those attending the conference a great time was had by all. The ACWRT would like to thank all delegates and the main contributors, namely:
and in particular our two American guests, Nelson Lankford and Michael W. Kauffman.
You can see a short 5 minute slideshow of the conference by clicking here
Meeting Dates for 2015
2015 Meeting Dates
|17th January||Murray Neil - Ranald MacKenzie – “Bad Hand”|
|28th February||Gettysburg Day 1: A double header from two of the ACWRTUK experts:|
Derek Young “A day of lost opportunities” and
Greg Bayne “ The annihilation of the 24th Michigan”
|17th-19th April||Michael Kauffman/Nelson Lankford - Annual Conference - '1865: The End of Dreams'|
|30th May||Jerry Williams: Liverpool and the ACW|
|25th July||Joseph Whitehorne: “ The Battle of Guard Hill ,16-17 Aug. 1864”|
|5th-6th September ||Field Trip to Waterloo|
|26th September||Damien Shiels - Irish Pensioners|
|28th November||Eric Graham - Clyde Built|
CSS Georgia - Something doesn't add up.
By Greg Bayne
The CSS Georgia was reluctantly purchased by James Bulloch in March 1863. Originally the Japan, she was designed and built in Scotland to complement the East Indies Tea Trade, but she had an iron-bottom design which Bulloch new would hamper her for any high speed chases and length of service at sea. It would also as we shall see lead to lengthy repairs. In need of raiders, Bulloch wasted little time and on April 1st she departed Greenock to rendezvous with her tender, the Alar, off the coast of France near Ushant. Her captain was to be Commander William Lewis Maury and his orders were simple, to seek out, stop and destroy Union shipping. To aid him, the Georgia was armed with 2 x 100 pounders, 2 x 24 pounders and a single 32 pounder.
See full article
Alonzo H. Cushing - Medal of Honor
By Greg Bayne
It was announced by the White House in September 2014 that Alonzo Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor.
Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1861. Neither Cushing nor any of his classmates who included George Armstrong Custer and Adelbert Ames had any portent of the horrors that the Civil War would unfold nor that they would pay the ultimate price. All that they knew was that they would have to play their part. By the time of his death, he had already spent two years fighting for the Union in nearly every major engagement starting with Bull Run. On July 3, 1863, the third and final day of the battle, Lieutenant Cushing commanded an artillery battery with 125 men in the centre of the Union “fishhook”. Fate decided that Lee would attack here in what would become widely recognised in later years as the Confederacy’s High Tide.
See full article
The Prioleau Papers
Ed Note – We received this note from Richard Ford www.richardfordmanuscripts.co.uk which details the discovery and sale of the Prioleau papers. I asked Jerry Williams to comment.
From Richard Ford
I recently paid my first ever visit to Liverpool. While there I checked out on the internet what had happened to the papers of C.K. Prioleau, banker to the Confederate States. I sold these to the Merseyside archives in 1981 (or possibly 1982 just before I left the Company) on behalf of the bookseller I was working for.
One of the first websites to reveal itself was this one, with Jerry Williams’ article “Charles K. Prioleau – Lost for the Cause” on the ACWRTUK website. Jerry devoted a paragraph to the Prioleau archive, encouraging me to add a few details about its discovery.
See full article
The European Diary of William L Yancey, March-June, 1861
Edited by Charles Priestley
This article originally appeared in Crossfire, the magazine of the ACWRT(UK) - Summer 2014
Among the William Lowndes Yancey Papers in the Alabama Department of Archives and History is a brief diary of Yancey’s visit to Europe as the first Confederate States Commissioner to Great Britain. Some ten years ago, I was able to obtain from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa a photocopy of this diary, together with a typed transcription clearly made some years before. I quickly saw that the typescript had a large number of inaccuracies, some probably because the writer was not familiar with the various British or French references, others because he or she had simply failed to read the manuscript correctly. For example, in describing his visit to Paris from London, Yancey states that he travelled “via Boulogne”; in the typescript, this appears as “in a Bourogue”.
The photocopy of the manuscript is very faint in places, as indeed is that of the typescript, but by comparing manuscript and typescript I was eventually able to produce what I felt was a reasonably accurate version of the diary, although I was unable to identify a number of the Americans mentioned.
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Lord Lyons and Civil War Diplomacy 1859-1865
click image to zoom
Speaker: Scott T Cairns
Scott,, a U.S academic at the London School of Economics, is currently researching the career of Lord Lyons.
It was evident that the influence of a skilled diplomat, whose hands were not directly on the levers of power, significantly affected the attitude of the British Government.
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The Confederate Bazaar at Liverpool
click image to zoom
by John Bennett
(This Article originally appeared in 'Crossfire - The Magazine of the American Civil War Round Table (UK)' Issue No. 61 - December 1999)
Liverpool during the American Civil War was probably the most pro-Confederate city in Britain. The birthplace of the commerce raider CSS Florida, a major port for blockade running, and the scene of frantic speculation in cotton brought out of the beleaguered Confederacy, the fortunes of its large and wealthy merchant class were closely bound up with those of the Southern States. 'Does anyone... who knows Liverpool doubt that the overwhelming balance of sympathy is on the side of the South?' asked the Liverpool Albion in May 1862 (1), while prominent Liverpool businessman James Spence, one of the Confederacy's most active sympathisers, described it as 'the headquarters of Southern sentiment.'
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