Welcome to our new site!

Visitor! We hope you like our new site! Users of our old one will notice we have changed how we categorise features. Most articles now fall under one of 4 headings: Battles & Campaigns, Preservation, Profiles and UK Heritage.


We can now highlight articles on our front page, where we will give priority to forthcoming meetings, events and special announcements.


Moving the existing pages into our new site (and onto our new domain address: acwrt.org.uk) has been a challenge! I would like to thank our web designer - Simon at Pythononline for this.


If you find something that needs changing, like a web link that is no longer active, please tell us.


- Webmaster

Our invitation to you

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.


If after browsing our site you would like to join us we’d be very happy to enrol you, whatever colour you prefer!


"Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made what is more than either; they have made a nation"


W.E. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, October 1862

Featured article

The London Confederates

by John D. Bennett


Called a "legend" by Amanda Foreman when she met him at her recent talk to the RT in November, it is worth a fresh look.


See full article.

Welcome to the website of the American Civil War Round Table (UK)

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.


Latest news


Last Letters Home: Revealing the Pension File Correspondence of Union Irish Soldiers & their Families


The next meeting of the ACWRT (UK) will take plave om Saturday 26th September 2015 at The Civil Service Club, Great Scotland Yard, London from 13:30 to 16:30. The speaker will be Damian Shiels.


The Widow's and Dependents Pension Files held in the National Archives, Washington D.C. represent one of the greatest resources for 19th century Irish emigrant life in America. Perhaps the most poignant element often contained within them are letters home from soldiers and sailors written during the Civil War. Sometimes running to dozens of pages, these letters were included in widow's and dependents pension applications in order to prove association with, or financial support from, a serviceman. Each letter has one thing in common– in every instance the individual died as a result of the war, be it as a result of action, disease or accident. Recent research into the files has revealed hundreds of these letters, the vast bulk of which have never been previously studied or published. This lecture will examine a number of them, with a particular focus on Irish troops from New York and Pennsylvania, examining themes such as what these man thought of the war, of their homes and of their prospects of survival.




£2.50 has been added to the normal cost for this meeting to cover the travel expenses for the speaker.


Booking Form and Raffle


You can download the meeting form by clicking here and the raffle can be accessed here



See full article

Forthcoming events


Meeting Dates for 2015


2015 Meeting Dates
17th JanuaryMurray Neil - Ranald MacKenzie – “Bad Hand”
28th FebruaryGettysburg 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 AprilMichael Kauffman/Nelson Lankford - Annual Conference - '1865: The End of Dreams'
30th MayJerry Williams: Liverpool and the ACW
25th JulyJoseph Whitehorne: “ The Battle of Guard Hill ,16-17 Aug. 1864”
5th-6th September Field Trip to Waterloo
26th SeptemberDamien Shiels - Irish Pensioners
28th NovemberEric Graham - Clyde Built




After the Confederacy had surrendered and the war was over, CSS Shenandoah continued to sink Northern Union ships in the Pacific and off Alaska, unaware of the war's end. She surrendered on 6th November 1865, to HMS Donegal in the River Mersey at Liverpool while at anchor between Toxteth and Tranmere, six months after the war had officially ended. Shenandoah lowered the stainless banner - striking her colours - for the second time. The last military act of the American Civil War, and the very last official lowering of the Confederate flag.



To commemorate the 150th anniversary of this event there will be a number of events in Liverpool in November 2105.




See full article

Crossfire magazine


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.



See full article


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.




See full article

UK Heritage


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.'




See full article

Established 1953