History, Topics & Resources

Civil War Round Table of Toronto
John Rosolak & Jim Lutz

Pipe Major
Teddy Pope

Honorary Member
Claire Hoy

Past Meetings and Presentations
Copies of some presentations are available in electronic form. Please email the Round Table (civilwartoronto@gmail.com) to request a copy if available.

1) Organizing Meeting. Discussion of plans to constitute a CWRT, and a presentation on the Civil War’s enduring legacy by John Rosolak on March 16, 2005.

2) Gettysburg: The Never Ending Battle. Presentation by Jim Lutz on April 13, 2005. Jim also gave this presentation to the Civil War Round Table of Greater Kingston in October 2006.

3) Canadians in the Civil War. Well-known journalist Claire Hoy discussed his recent book “Canadians in the Civil War” on May 18, 2005.

4) Nathan Bedford Forrest: The God of War. Presentation by Teddy Pope on September 14, 2005.

5) The Dahlgren Raid. Presentation by Kieran McAuliffe on October 26, 2005.

6) The Best Generals of the Civil War. Group discussion on December 14, 2005. The members nominated and voted on their selection of the best generals. Major General George Thomas (“The Rock of Chickamauga”) was voted best general. James Longstreet was voted second best, and William Sherman was voted third best.

7) Canada’s Black Surgeon in the Civil War. Presentation by Cathy Slaney on February 15, 2006 about her great-grandfather, Dr. Anderson R. Abbott, an African-Canadian graduate of the University of Toronto medical school who served as a Surgeon in the Union Army. Cathy’s book “Family Secrets: Crossing The Colour Line” is published by Natural Heritage Books, Toronto. Article on Dr. Abbott in the “Dictionary of Canadian Biography”.

8 ) Spotsylvania: Grant vs. Lee on the Road to Richmond. Presentation by Doug Hope on March 15, 2006.

9) Re-enacting the Civil War. Presentation by Re-enactor Captain Mark Somerville, 49th New York Volunteer Infantry on May 11, 2006. Website of the 49th NY Volunteer Infantry.

10) “The Rock of Chickamauga”: The Life and Times of General George Thomas. Presentation by Kingston CWRT member Alan Kidd on October 11, 2006. The first of our exchange presentations with the Kingston CWRT, and a fitting tribute to General Thomas, who was voted “Best General of the Civil War” by the members of our CWRT.

11) Shock Troops of the Confederacy: The Sharpshooter Battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia. Presentation by Miles Krisman on December 6, 2006.

12) N.B. Forrest at Fort Pillow: Hero or War Criminal? Presentation by Teddy Pope on January 10, 2007.

13) The Battle of Franklin: Southern Apocalypse. Presentation by John Kellett on February 7, 2007. For information about the Confederate Cemetery, see Robert Hicks’ novel “The Widow of the South”.

14) USS Tecumseh: Ironclad Legacy. Presentation by Wilson West on March 7, 2007. Wilson’s presentation was based on his personal experience with efforts to preserve the Tecumseh, as well as his background in maritime history and shipwreck preservation. For information, see the Wikipedia article about the “USS Tecumseh”.

15) Chancellorsville: High Tide of Southern Generalship. Presentation by Doug Hope on April 18, 2007.

16) Fooling Some of the People Some of the Time: The Politically Correct Critics of Lincoln. Presentation by John Rosolak on May 23, 2007.

17) Hallowing the Ground: How the US Preserved its Civil War Battlefields. Presentation by Jim Lutz on September 19, 2007.

18) Jedediah Hotchkiss: Jackson’s Map Maker. Presentation by Kieran McAuliffe on November 7, 2007.

19) Forgotten Generals in Blue. Presentation by Tom Cundill on December 5, 2007.

20) How Could the South Have Won the Civil War? An open discussion of our members’ ideas on how the South could have emerged victorious, held on January 30, 2008.

21) Forgotten Generals in Blue, Part II. Presentation by Tom Cundill on February 27, 2008.

22) A Civil War Campfire. A series of short presentations and book reviews by Miles Krisman, Jim Lutz, Kieran McAuliffe, Eric McGeer, Teddy Pope, John Rosolak and Bob Sears on May 28, 2008.

23) Music of the Civil War. Presentation by Jim Lutz on September 17, 2008.

24) JEB Stuart and the Defeat at Gettysburg. Presentation by Doug Hope on October 15, 2008.

25) Shiloh: The End of Innocence. Presentation by Kingston CWRT member Paul Van Nest on December 3, 2008.

26) The Civil War and the Development of Cavalry. Presentation by Tom Cundill on March 18, 2009.

27) The Irish Brigade. Presentation by Kieran McAuliffe on April 15, 2009.

28) A Civil War Campfire. A series of short presentations by Teddy Pope, Miles Krisman, John Rosolak and Bob Sears on June 3, 2009. Bob Haraldson presented his recommended Civil War tours.

29) The Roads to Victory: Civil War Railroads. Presentation by Jim Lutz on September 16, 2009.

30) A Civil War Campfire. Presentations by Doug Hope on the Rifled Musket, Teddy Pope on General Shelby, and Neil Packham on “What If The Bullet Hadn’t Missed?”

31) A Visit to Springfield and the Lincoln Museum. Presentation by John Rosolak on December 2, 2009.

32) Sun Tzu’s Principles and the Civil War. Briefing by Tom Cundell and round table discussion on February 17, 2009.

33) Do Good Grades Make Good Generals? West Point Generals in the Civil War. A presentation by Jim Lutz and round table discussion on March 31, 2010.

34) A Civil War Campfire. A series of short presentations by Bob Sears, Miles Krisman on General McLellan’s contribution to the Union Army, Kieran McAuliffe and John Rosolak on May 19, 2010.

35) John & Ilonka’s Excellent Adventure. A Visit to Springfield (Part II) and presidential museums by John Rosolak.

36) The Essential Civil War Curriculum. A presentation on December 8, 2010 by Laurie Woodruff about the new website (http://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/) he developed in cooperation with the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. Members also debated whether “The Civil War was the First Modern War”, with establishing arguments by Doug Hope (pro) and Jim Lutz (con), plus a nomination of the Crimean War as the first modern war by Bob Sears.

37) The Lieber Code: The Laws of War in the Civil War and The Sukhomlinov Effect: The Real Reason the South Lost the Civil War. Two presentations on March 16, 2011 by Jim Lutz. The Sukhomlinov article by Roger Beaumont and Bernard James appeared in the Winter 1971 issue of Horizon magazine.

38) A Tour of Shiloh. A video presentation by Bob Sears, followed by Canadians in the Civil War: Veterans in the Hamilton Cemetery by guest speaker Robin McKee. Robin gives tours in Hamilton and his website is hamiltonhistory.ca

39) A Civil War Campfire. Members spoke about their favourite Civil War books, with featured reviews by Patrick Shipton and Doug Hope on October 5, 2012. Laurie Woodruff provided an update on the Essential Civil War Curriculum.

40) The 5th Alabama Regiment. A presentation by Miles Krisman on November 23, 2012.

41) Forrest the Man. A presentation by Teddy Pope on February 1, 2012, as well as the “Civil War’s Top Ten” by Teddy Pope.

42) Soldiers’ Motivation, a presentation by Neil Packham, and John Rosolak on “Confederates in the Attic”

43) Triumph at Kapyong: Canada’s Pivotal Battle in Korea, Dan Bjarnason presented well-received study of the Canadian Army in the Korean War

44) The Moral History of the Civil War by John Rosolak

45) The Economic Origins of the Civil War by Professor Marc Egnal.  Marc Egnal is a history professor at York University, and is the author of several books on the Civil War including Clash of Extremes: The Economic Origins of the Civil War

46) A Charleston trip report, by Jim Lutz, and a trip report by Bill McNamara on Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg and Gettysburg

47)  William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War, by Professor Eric Walther of the University of Houston, an authority on the Antebellum South and the coming of the Civil War.

48)  The 1862 Maryland Campaign, by Bill McNamara

49) Two perspectives on the Second World War: Eric McGeer, noted military historian and author of several books on the Canadian campaign in Italy provided a presentation on “Churchill at the Gothic Line, August 1944” and George MacDonnell, a Canadian veteran of Hong Kong 1941 and Japanese prison camps, told of his WWII experiences – see the Globe and Mail story.

50) Indians in the Civil War, by Professor Cheryl A. Wells>. A presentation on the Civil War as a turning point for Indian history.

51) “Conflicting Loyalties: A Civil War Sea Saga”, by Col. Hibberd V. B. Kline, the author of a new series of Civil War novels about the war at sea. Learn more at http://www.adventures-in-time.com.

52) “Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation by John Boyko.  John’s book received excellent reviews in The Globe and Mail  and the Toronto Star.

53) An Artist’s View of Civil War Battles – A Quiz” by Eric Slavens. Also a presentation on “British Involvement in the Civil War”, by Bill Holt.

54) African Canadians in Union Blue: Volunteering for the Cause in America’s Civil War, by Professor Richard Reid of the University of Guelph. Professor Reid has made quite a study of the several thousand black Canadians who enlisted along with American blacks.

55) Uncle Billy’s Boys Go Smashing Things to the Sea”, by Ron Reid. As you can guess from Ron’s title, his subject is the great and unrivalled genius of the Civil War – Cump Sherman!

56)  “Gettysburg Revisited”, by Jim Lutz.  Jim grew up near Gettysburg and has been visiting it for many years. In this presentation, he spoke about some of the less known aspects of the battle.

57)  Civil War Medicine, by Dr. Judith Miller.  Dr. Miller discussed techniques, advancements and personalities of Civil War medicine.

58)  “How the Civil War Became the Indian Warswith Boyd Cothran, Assistant Professor at York University. 

59)  “African Americans/Canadians in the Civil War Period, by Dalyce Newby.

60)  “Civil War Dentistry”, by Dr. Stephen Simpson. Stephen will talk about how his profession handled dental miseries during the war.

61)  “The Sunset of the Confederacy”, by Judith Miller. Dr. Miller marked the 150th anniversary of the war’s end with a presentation focusing on the Appomattox campaign, the fall of Petersburg and Richmond, and the final surrender.

62) “Four Years in a Japanese POW Camp, a special occasion with George MacDonell, a Canadian veteran of Hong Kong 1941. The redoubtable George, ‘The Man Who Never Surrendered”, was interviewed by John Rosolak, and told many fascinating tales.

63) “Jones County, Mississippi”, a fascinating and little known tale of secession by  the county that didn’t want to be part of the Confederacy, presented by Stephen Simpson.

64) “Lt. General James Longstreet: His Actions at Gettysburg” a discussion of Longstreet’s controversial role at Gettysburg by Mike McDonnell. Mike is a long-time visitor to Gettysburg and a member of the “Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg”.

65) A “Campfire” meeting of short presentations and reports, including “The New Orleans Confederate Museum”, by Nana Brown;  “Timothy Smith’s new book about Shiloh”, by Doug Hope; and “The Legacy of the Confederate Flag”, by John Rosolak.

66) Judith Miller (our Civil War doctor) presented “The Butcher and the Marble Man”, the reputations of Generals Grant and Lee.

67) Joe Rose, spoke on his new book about Grant entitled “Grant Under Fire” – see http://www.grantunderfire.com/

68) Jim Lutz presented “Hallowed Ground: How the Civil War Battlefields were Preserved”.

69)  We recognized Black History Month with Mike McDonnell’s presentation on “Abolitionism vs. the Fugitive Slave Act”.

70) Professor Michael Armstrong (Brock University) presented “Refighting Pickett’s Charge: Mathematical Modeling of the Civil War Battlefield”, a fascinating counter-factual study of the Charge.

71) Stephen Simpson (Civil War dentist) presented on Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War.

72) Mark Laubacher from Ohio spoke on “Weapons of Mass Destruction” during the Civil War.

73) Neil Packham presented on the seldom recognized issue of Desertion in the Civil War Armies.

74) Mike McDonnell presented “Fighting for the Cause: Canadians in the American Civil War”.

75) Jim Lutz presented,“Music of the Civil War”.

76) Andrew McGregor presented, “Recruiting Civil War Officers to Serve in the Sudan”.

77)  Bruce Kenchington presented, “The Battle of Antietam”.

78) A campfire of short presentations featuring Nana Brown on Confederate bonds, Bruce Kenchington on his Vicksburg visit, Ron Reid on a subject to be announced, and Doug Hope on Stephen Sears’ “Lincoln’s Lieutenants”.

79) Andrew McGregor presented “A Trail of Burning Ships: Assessing the Value of Commerce Raiding to the Confederate Cause”.

80) Mike McDonnell presented on, “New Mexico in the Civil War”.

81) Member Andrew McGregor presented “The Terrible Tale of Bloody Bill Anderson: Rebellion and Revenge on the Missouri Frontier”.

82) Historian Michael Shaffer (Kennesaw State University, Georgia) presented on “A Soldier in the 1st Virginia Cavalry”.

83) Member Doug Hope presented on Pickett’s Charge.

84) Member Mike McDonnell presented on Stoneman’s 1863 Raid.

85) Local historian Sandra McNamara presented on “Life and Times of the United Empire Loyalists” – looking back in Canadian and US history before the Civil War.

86) Stephen Simpson presented on Judah Benjamin, the Confederacy’s Secretary of State.

87) Andrew McGregor gave us a tour of “Tinclads, Cottonclads and Timberclads: Naval Innovation in the Civil War”.


James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom is acknowledged as the best one-volume history of the war, and covers political and social issues as well as military events. There are two classic multi-volume histories. Bruce Catton’s trilogy The Centennial History of the Civil War (The Coming Fury, Terrible Swift Sword, Never Call Retreat) remains a powerful portrayal of the war’s drama. Catton grew up in Michigan and knew Civil War veterans, which is reflected in his Northern orientation. The other great series is Shelby Foote’s trilogy The Civil War – A Narrative. Foote hailed from Mississippi and is decidedly Southern in his views. Both are great literature as well as great history. In addition to these writers, any book by Gary Gallagheris brilliant.

There are many excellent websites on different aspects of the Civil War. The following are some of general interest.

The American Civil War Homepage is perhaps the most complete collection of information and links. It was maintained by a history professor at the University of Tennessee.

The U.S. Civil War Center at Louisiana State University maintains an excellent “Civil War Index” of information and resources on their website. The Center also publishes The Civil War Book Review, which is an excellent way to keep up-to-date on the never-ending flow of writings about the war.

Current news about Civil War issues and activities is covered by Civil War Interactive, a daily news site. CWI also has a lengthy collection of links, book reviews, etc.

Two key sites for basic information about military operations are the U.S. Government’s Official Records of the war, and the Battle Summaries maintained by the National Park Service.

Among the war’s greatest legacies are the battlefields preserved by the National Park Service. The NPS website is the best place to access their programs and resources.

If you plan to visit any battlefields or want to see what they look like, The Civil War Album is a magnificent collection of photographic tours around some of the major battlefields. This site is a fine example of the many amateur projects that contribute so much to our appreciation of the war.

Civil War buffs are well-served by the many volumes in the Men-at-Arms and other series published by Osprey Publishing.

There are also a great group of Civil War buffs belonging to the Kingston Civil War Round Table.

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