Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Civil War Round Tables

With the recent discussions on Eric's and JD's blogs about Civil War Round Tables, I decided to once again prove to myself just how much I don't know the Civil War, related organizations, and the internet. I've heard about them in passing, but have never talked to a member about one, attended a meeting or event, etc.

A few minutes on the internet confirmed my assumption that CWRTs are organizations "to bring together those who wish to expand and share their knowledge of the Civil War," to quote the website of the Bull Run CWRT.

There are also a lot more of them than I expected. One or two per state east of the Missouri River seemed a reasonable assumption. Maybe a few in the more populous states towards the west coast, with the odd one elsewhere thrown in.

I couldn't have been more wrong. The good folks at The Olde Colony Civil War Round Table of Dedham, Massachusetts are kind enough to maintain a listing of all CWRTs and their websites. Unsurprisingly, Pennsylvania and Virginia lead the way with the most CWRTs. North Carolina has 12, and Ohio 10. Surprisingly, several of the former Confederate states have very few. Louisiana has 3, South Carolina 2 and Mississippi only 1. There may be more that simply aren't listed, or those that are may be exceptionally big, I'm simply working from the list. Colorado as expected only has one, and even Hawaii has one. Hawaii? Now there's a stereotype killer.

How do these organizations go about their stated purpose? Naturally it depends on the particular organization, but generally through lectures, research, guest speakers, and field trips. Lots of great field trips, if you happen to live in my area. Wish I'd learned about these a couple of years ago. Trevillian Station this weekend, for the Bull Run CWRT, with Gettysburg next month. The Hershey CWRT has a Gray Ghost Tour coming up here in a few weeks.

And so it goes. Sounds very interesting, now I just have to find the one in my area since they don't have a website....right after I finish this post about the 5th Cavalry's road to war. Hmm, I said that last week also.


Eric Wittenberg said...


I'm on another CWRT trip tomorrow. Tomorrow night, I'm speaking to the New Orleans CWRT and on Thursday night, I've got the Austin, TX CWRT. I've probably talked to 50 different CWRT's over the years. Some are huge. Some aren't. Most are great groups filled with terrific people. Some aren't. It's really sort of luck of the draw.

I've been a member of the Central Ohio CWRT since its inception in 1989. I've made some lifelong friends that way, and it's always nice to be able to share fellowship with people of common interests. I recommend it if you can find one to join.


Don said...

I definitely plan to, though probably not until I get to Colorado. I wished my curiosity bump had tweaked a little sooner, though, I've definitely missed some great opportunities here.
You're doing a lot of travelling here lately. Are you headed down to Virginia anytime soon (dim recollections of an Overland Campaign thing in June), or to Gettysburg in July?