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.
President's Report - December 2013
This time of year is always a humbling experience for me. I have to reflect on the yer gone by and charge ourselves for the year ahead. It was gratifying that the membership showed their appreciation at the AGM to myself and the current Committee by unanimously re-electing us to serve for 2014. We hope to match the expectations placed upon us.
Our goals are simply to discuss, debate and expand our knowledge of the American Civil War. On that front I think that if you allow for the problems at the start of the year, we have done a pretty good job. Add the comfortable ambiance of the Civil Service Club and we are still on track. We are looking for a better audio visual experience and we will have a problem with any more than 70 at a meeting but these are all being worked on by the Committee.
The only glitch was a loss on the Annual Conference. Costs were higher than we budgeted and we did nit get the level of sponsorship anticipated. We accept responsibility for this and have set up a clearer accountability and reporting structure to keep us informed of any problems. I do not wish the months away, but April 2014 at the De Vere in Ascot should continue our high standards.
Finally we are looking for new ideas on membership. We will be making an effort to introduce ourselves to universities and colleges in a bigger way. Watch this space.
May I wish you all the best for the rest of the year and hope you will enjoy what we have to offer in 2014. It should be good.
ACWRT(UK) Conference 2014 - '1864 - Bullets and Ballots'
Dates: 4 - 6 April 2014 - Location: De Vere Conference Centre, Ascot.
The theme will be 1864 and the exact order has not been finalised. On the Friday there will be a debate in which the attendees decide the most important Civil War event of 1864. Seven volunteers will talk on their subject for 5 minutes e.g. the Fall of Atlanta, Grant as supreme commander, the advent of the black soldier, Lincoln's re-election, Grant turning Lee after the Wilderness etc. Then contributions from the floor and a vote. This will kick off the weekend. We have two American speakers (see below) who will each make two presentations. There will also be short presentations on Grant and on the CSS Alabama.
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Meeting Dates for 2014
2014 Meeting Dates
|January 18th||Steven Foulston - The Civil War in Florida|
|March 1st ||Charles Rees- Gettysburg Day 3: A Reconsideration|
|April 4 - 6th||Annual Conference 2014 – 1864-Bullets & Ballots|
|May 31st||David Gleeson - TBA|
|June 20 - 23rd||Field Trip - Cherbourg and St Lo|
|September 20th||Gail Stephens - Jubal Early's Raid|
Preservation News - December 2013
Civil War London Plaque
click image to zoom
Earlier this year, a Nubian Jak Heritage Plaque
was unveiled to Frederick Douglass. It was placed on the site of George Thompson's house, an English MP and abolitionist who invited Douglass to stay at his house while they both lectured against American slavery in London. You can find it at 5 Whitehead's Grove, South Kensington.
Thanks to Hannah Murray for bringing this to our attention. We can add this to our list of ACW sites.
ACWRT(UK) Preservation Projects
It is an ACWRTUK procedure to ask members to submit ideas for preservation projects both in the UK and in the US. Normally this is straightforward and the project will get listed in Crossfire to keep the membership informed and to discuss if required. Sometimes for smaller sums we may have to act quicker than publication dates allow but we remain accountable nevertheless. Here are the projects we are currently fundraising for:
1) $500 to Longstreet Society to purchase Piedmont Property (see Spring 2013 Crossfire)
2) $500 to replace signage at the Perryville Battlefield in conjunction with Len Reidel at the Blue and Grey Education Society.
3) $250 made to support Rosecrans Statue www.rosecransheadquarters.org
4) Ongoing support for a Memorial plaque to British participants during the ACW www.acwbma.com
The BGES have contacted us asking for support for the Perryville battlefield. They are looking to replace and restore 14 signs and trail maps on the battlefield at a cost of $500. We have contacted them stating our intention to support them. In return, Kurt Holman, the Park manager, has promised us an exclusive article.
James D Bulloch: Secret Agent and Mastermind of the Confederate Navy
By Walter E Wilson & Gary L McKay
Review By Len Ellison
The authors have spent many hours meticulously researching this book and have completed a wonderful job. The book is a must have for anyone interested in the American Civil War. It not only describes Bulloch's connection with the Confederate Navy but his important connection with the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt, (who called him Uncle Jimmy).
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Battles and campaigns
A Sussex Bank Manager's Civil War
click image to zoom
In 1993, Round Table member Julian Nassau-Kennedy forwarded a transcript of a letter (1) penned by Henry George Hore, an Englishman. Hore's respectable (but to us much less interesting) career as manager of the Capital & Counties Bank in Chichester, Sussex, lay in the future, for the letter dated May 1863 was written on the move, while fighting alongside Union General John Sedgwick's VI Corps at the battle of Chancellorsville.
Since its repulse from Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1862, the Northern Army of the Potomac had been gathering strength for another push on the Southern capitol of Richmond. Now outnumbering General Lee's Southern army by 2:1, new Union Commander, Joseph Hooker, planned to move half his army around Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson's forces, while the Union VI Corps under General John Sedgwick was to pin the Southerners against Fredericksburg. Hooker was sure this would give Lee and Jackson the stark choice of uncovering Fredericksburg or being outflanked.
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A Transatlantic Venture: Frederick Douglass in Britain 1845-47
By Hannah Murray
By 1861, former slave Frederick Douglass was internationally recognised as an abolitionist and powerful orator against American slavery. The Civil War thrust him further into the spotlight, and many of his speeches were published in Britain, including his famous "Negro Call to Arms" speech and "An Appeal to Great Britain." In this 1862 Appeal, Douglass implored Britain to denounce the Confederacy, and stand by her decision to destroy slavery the world over. He wrote, "have no fellowship I pray you, with these merciless menstealers but rather with whips of scorpions scourge them beyond the beneficent range of national brotherhood." This was not the first time Douglass had echoed these words.
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