News

Wabash Literary Prize Winner Announced

Elizabeth R. Varon, professor of American History at the University of Virginia and author of Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War, is winner of the 2020 Wabash Literary Prize. Varon’s new book offers a sweeping narrative of the Civil War and a new interpretation of Union and Confederate war aims. She argues Northerners imagined the war as a crusade to deliver the Southern masses from slaveholder domination and to bring democracy, prosperity, and education to the region. As the war escalated, Lincoln and his allies built the case that emancipation would secure military victory and benefit the North and South alike. The theme of deliverance was essential in mobilizing a Unionist coalition of Northerners and anti-Confederate Southerners.

A specialist in the Civil War era and 19th-century South, Varon is the author of We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (1998); Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy (2003), which won the Lillian Smith Prize of the Southern Regional Council, the People’s Choice Award of the Library of Virginia, and the Richard Slatten Biography Prize of the Virginia Historical Society; and Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 (2008) and Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War (2013). Appomattox won the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction, and the 2014 Dan and Marilyn Laney Prize for Civil War History (Austin Civil War Roundtable), was finalist for the 2014 Jefferson Davis Award (Museum of the Confederacy), and was named one of Civil War Monitor’s Best Books of 2014.

July Meeting Canceled

Due to a recent reported surge in Covid-19 cases in Evansville, this past Friday the Mayor of Evansville directed mandated face masks beginning Wednesday. Although he indicated his directive will not be enforced with fines, arrests, etc., he has asked the public to voluntarily comply and follow his guidelines.

After discussing with other key members of SICWRT planning, we believe this announcement would cause many members not to attend the SICWRT meeting this week and would greatly reduce attendance for our out of town guest’s presentation. Therefore, we will cancel the meeting once again. We apologize for this inconvenience.

July Meeting Scheduled

Our meetings will once again resume on July 16th at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police with a presentation from Charles Matson of the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable. Mr. Matson will present on John T. Wilder.

A Note on Meetings During the Pandemic

The current public health crisis has changed a lot of things in our day to day lives. The changes in guidelines for interpersonal contact and the current regulations related to gatherings and non-essential travel have proven to be a challenge for groups like ours. In light of those changes and the uncertainty as to when those guidelines may be relaxed, the need to make a decision regarding the rest of the SICWRT season has been thrust upon us.

At this time, the decision has been made to cancel our regularly scheduled meetings for April and we may very well need to do the same thing for May. While it is disappointing, maintaining the health and safety of our members, families, and friends is our top priority. We will keep you up to date on the progress of those potential opportunities as best we can.

Upcoming Presentations

The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable (SICWRT) has several exciting upcoming presentations this spring. Our program on March 19, 2020, will feature Charles Matson of the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable presenting on John T. Wilder. The April 16, 2020, meeting will feature Gerry Fisher from the Meade County, Kentucky, Historical Society offering a presentation on Partisan Rangers. And the May 21, 2020, meeting will feature Scott Southerland of the SICWRT presenting on “Spies and Espionage in the Civil War.” All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police lodge at 801 Court Street in downtown Evansville, Indiana. We look forward to you joining us.

Cindy Nord, R.I.P.

Former SWICRT chair Cindy Nord passed away on Monday, 7 October 2019, at St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville. Cindy and her husband Tom were long time members of our Roundtable. Both Cindy and Tom served as chair of the SICWRT for several years. Older members may recall the tours to Shiloh and Chattanooga Battlefields that Tom and Cindy organized during their tenure as chair.

Cindy was born in Mesa, Arizona, on 17 July 1953 to the late August and Doris Burgdorf. She graduated from Harrison High School in 1971 and attended classes at USI. She worked for AT&T for several years as a design specialist before retiring and turning her talents to her lifetime passion for writing. Cindy was an award-winning author of several successful historical romance novels and was a longtime member of the Romance Writers of America. Cindy and her husband, Tom, were history lovers and for many years participated and planned civil war living history events. She was an expert on Victorian ladies’ fashions and the couple were guest lecturers and put on presentations about the civil war era at many libraries and conferences across the country.

Cindy was preceded in death by her parents; brother, William August Burgdorf of Tyler TX.

She is survived by her husband of 26 years Thomas; son, Christopher and his wife Kelly of Broomfield, CO; son, Jeremy of Newburgh, IN; grandchildren, Adrian, Alex and Addison all of Broomfield, CO; brother, Ben J. Burgdorf and his wife Kathy of Evansville, IN; sister-in-law, Nancy Burgdorf of Tyler, TX; brothers-in-law, Terry and Tim Nord and his wife Tammy of Mariah Hill, IN; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services will be held 6:00 p.m. Monday, October 14, 2019 at Alexander Newburgh Chapel officiated by Pastor Mike Claypool with burial in Troy City Cemetery, Troy, IN. Friends may visit 3:00 p.m. until service time on Monday at the funeral home.

Because of Cindy’s love of animals and history, memorial contributions may be made to either: It Takes a Village Animal Rescue in Evansville or The American Battlefield Trust.

September 2019 Program

The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable’s upcoming program on September 19th will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police (801 Court St, Evansville, IN 47708). It will feature author Eddie Price presenting on “Lincoln’s Brown River Navy.”

In “Lincoln’s Brown Water Navy,” Eddie Price embarks on a “not-so-often-told” journey down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, up the Cumberland, Tennessee, White, Arkansas, and Yazoo Rivers… and much more. Learn about the “Anaconda Plan”, Forts Henry and Donelson, Fort Columbus (the “Gibraltar of the West” with its big iron chain), Island No. 10, Plum Point, the “melee” at Memphis (a big naval battle fought before the eyes of Memphis citizens), David Farragut’s daring run past the batteries on his way to New Orleans, the long and bloody sieges at Vicksburg, Mississippi and Port Hudson, Louisiana, and the disastrous Red River campaign–where the Union fleet was saved by a giant winged dam.

Price shows photos of the new shallow draft “City Class” ironclads built at the Union Shipyards at Carondelet, Missouri and Mound City, Illinois—also mortar boats, “tinclads,” (thin iron plating, not tin) “timberclads,” and even “cottonclads” (used by Confederate warships.) Ulysses S Grant depended on the gunboat flotillas to coordinate amphibious assaults, guard troopships and supplies, bombard fortifications and attack Confederate ships. These gunboats could dish out the punishment as well as absorb it! And they played a major role in winning the western theater of the US Civil War.

Eddie Price is the award winning author of the historical novel Widder’s Landing. One Drop–A Slave! is the sequel to Widder’s Landing, and he has penned three children’s books as well. In addition, Mr. Price is a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Visit his website at EddiePriceKentuckyAuthor.com.

August 2019 Program

The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable’s upcoming program on August 15th will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police (801 Court St, Evansville, IN 47708). It will feature local historians Bill Bartelt and Joshua Claybourn presenting on their new book, Abe’s Youth: Shaping the Future President.

Since his death, Abraham Lincoln has been celebrated as savior of the Union, proponent for emancipation, president of the United States, and skilled statesman. Although Lincoln’s adult life has been well documented and analyzed, most biographers have regarded his early years as inconsequential to his career and accomplishments.

In 1920 a group of historians known as the Lincoln Inquiry were determined to give Lincoln’s formative years their due. Abe’s Youth takes a look into their writings, which focus on Lincoln’s life between seven to twenty-one years of age. By filling in the gaps on Lincoln’s childhood, the authors shed light on how his experiences growing up influenced the man he became. As the first fully annotated edition of the Lincoln Inquiry papers, Abe’s Youth offers indispensable reading for anyone hoping to learn about Lincoln’s early life.

William E. “Bill” Bartelt is a Lincoln historian and retired educator. His books include There I Grew Up, which tells the history of Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana years and helped inspire The Better Angels, a 2014 biographical drama-historical film about Lincoln’s formative years. For many years Bartelt worked as a ranger and historian at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. He is a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Indiana Historical Society, and received the Indiana Historical Society’s “Hoosier Historian” award in 2003. Previously Bartelt served as a member of the federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s Advisory and Education Committees and served as vice chair of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Joshua A. Claybourn is an attorney and author or editor of several books, including Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative. A widely published commentator on legal, political, and historical topics, Claybourn has also appeared as a guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NHK. He is a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association.

May and June Programs

The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable has two great upcoming programs in May and June. Both meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police (801 Court St, Evansville, IN 47708).

16 May 2019: Our May meeting will feature John Summerlot, Director of Veterans Support Services at Indiana University. His presentation is titled “Indiana University and the Civil War.” Cashon is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard and researched and published on a number of topics related to the experiences of veterans and military students in higher education. He focuses in particular on the relationship between the military and higher education. He currently serves in the Indiana Guard Reserve as the executive officer of the Search and Rescue Training Team and an emergency management specialist and has been an instructor at IU Bloomington since 2004, teaching in both the School of Education and the School of Public Health.

20 June 2019: Our June meeting will feature Brad Butkovich, historian/author, presenting on the topic of “The Battle of Allatoona Pass: The First Battle of Hood’s Tennessee Campaign.” Brad is a member of the Northeast Georgia Civil War Round Table and has published various articles on Civil War battles. He is a resident of Lilburn, Georgia, and is the owner and creator of the Civil War Virtual Tours Website www.civilwartours.com.

A Surgeon’s Life Aboard USS Monitor

Mark Laubacher will present Thursday, June 21st on a surgeon’s life aboard the USS Monitor. Mark Laubacher, RN, paramedic, is a Certified Specialist in Poison Information since 1992 at the Central Ohio Poison Center located at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.