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From Calais to Cairo - Confederate Navy Veterans in Egypt

Nearly 50 veterans of the American Civil War (half of them - including five generals - former Confederates) served in the Egyptian Army of Khedive Ismail from 1869 to 1878. Their motives for joining the Khedive’s service were as varied as the men themselves, with love of adventure, lack of opportunity at home and financial pressures predominating. Many of them brought their families with them. Once in Egypt, they performed a wide range of tasks, from training troops to building coastal fortifications, commanding naval vessels, preparing maps and exploring and opening up new territories, and several of their number took part in the disastrous 1876 campaign against Emperor John of Abyssinia. After a brief explanation of the reasons for the presence of these Civil War veterans in Egypt and a general overview of their life there, the talk will focus on the very different experiences of three representative Americans, all former officers in the Confederate Navy who had spent some months of the Civil War in enforced idleness in France – William P. A. Campbell, Charles Iverson Graves and James Morris Morgan.

Charles Priestley is a longstanding member of the American Civil War Round Table (UK). His early interest in the American Civil War became an obsession as a result of a fortnight’s visit, at the age of 16, to cousins in Chattanooga then living on Missionary Ridge. After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, he spent a year as Visiting Lecturer in Classics at what was then the University of Chattanooga. He then worked on the London Stock Exchange and in retail and antiquarian bookselling in Madrid and London before joining an international training organisation in 1985. Since 2006, he has been a freelance communication skills trainer, based in London. While he is happiest tramping the battlefields (on his last trip back to Chattanooga, in 2009, he drove over 3600 miles in two weeks), the demands of work and family mean that he is no longer able to cross the Atlantic as frequently as he would like. As a result, he has become increasingly interested, over the last ten or twelve years, in uncovering traces of the Civil War nearer home – mainly in Britain and France, but also in Ireland, Turkey and now Egypt. He is a regular contributor to Crossfire and has also published articles in North and South and Confederate Veteran.

Note - The ACWRTUK AGM will commence at 13:15 Duration 25 minutes (or less!)

Time: 13:45 start - ends 16:30

Admission: £8 with reservations made by 13 November 2012 - contact The Treasurer for further details. Admittance cannot be guaranteed without an advance reservation.

The Venue

The Civil Service Club is situated in Great Scotland Yard, near Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross railway station, Charing Cross Underground Station (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Embankment Underground Station (Circle and District, Northern and Bakerloo lines).

How to get to The Civil Service Club: click here for website.


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