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 - Spring 2014
From Greg Bayne
From 'Crossfire', Spring 2014
What a great start to the year we have had! It was really interesting to hear Steve Foulston talk about Civil War Florida. It is certainly an overlooked area that needs more attention. Afterwards two more of our “newer” members came to me and offered to do lectures in the future. It is gratifying to know that our future is in safe hands.
This issue should (if the editor gets his act together) coincide with the April Conference. A new venue for us but the same trusted format. A tremendous amount of work goes into the annual conference and this year was no exception. Thanks to all the RT backroom staff and of course thanks to the members who are attending.
In this issue we are announcing our Essay Competition for UK University students.We have talked about this for a number of years and David Kilpatrick and Jeremy Mindell have put the scheme together for us. There are three cash prizes and we hope that it will attract some interest and more importantly, some new members. It will very much be a work in progress for this year but at least we have made a start.
Watch out for the May date change. UK professor and writer David Gleeson, who I met a few years ago, has agreed to talk to us about the Irish and the ACW. The date has changed to May 31st.
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 - Irish Confederates in 1864|
|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.
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
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.
See full article