November 2021 Program on Civil War Poetry

Our November 2022 will be presented by George Payne and Sherry Darrel on “Civil War Poetry,” which introduces seven poets writing about battles and other events during and immediately after the Civil War. Several of these poets served as either soldiers or war correspondents. Our presenters begin in 1859 with John Brown’s hanging and end in 1885 with Grant’s death. George presents information about the poets and the settings of these battles; Sherry analyzes and reads the poems.

George Andrew Payne was born in Vincennes and grew up in Lawrenceville, Illinois. Two of his great-grandfathers fought in the the Civil War, Ensley G. Andrew, 138th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and James W. McKibben, 12th Ohio Infantry.

George graduated from Lawrenceville Township High School in 1966 and earned a B. S. in petroleum engineering from University of Oklahoma in 1970. After graduation, he served in the United States Navy for three years as a supply and disbursing officer. George earned an M. S. in petroleum engineering from University of Tulsa in 1975. He worked in Denver for four years before returning to Indiana in 1979.

Since then he has been self-employed, working in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Kansas. He joined SICWRT about 20 years ago and is a founding member of the John W. Foster Camp of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Sherry Bevins Darrell was born in Drumright, Oklahoma, and grew up in Borger, Texas. In 1970 she earned a B. A. in English and philosophy from McMurry College in Abilene, Texas; in 1972, an M. A. in English and in 1975 a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt. Sherry taught at USI for 34 years in English and humanities, retiring in 2009.

The Roundtable Returns!

After a long absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable (SICWRT) returns with a slate of interesting programs. As before, meetings take place on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m., at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police (801 Court St, Evansville, Indiana 47708). All lectures are free and open to the public.

  • May 20th: Charles Matson of the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable presents on John T. Wilder. Wilder was an officer in the Union Army, noted principally for capturing the key mountain pass of Hoover’s Gap during the Tullahoma Campaign in Central Tennessee in June 1863. Wilder’s “Lightning Brigade” of mounted infantry used the new Spencer repeating rifle, a key factor in victory at Hoover’s Gap.
  • June 17th: Gerry Fisher offers a presentation on Partisan Rangers. Gerry Fisher serves as the Meade County Historian and was one of the founding members of the Meade County Historical Society.
  • July 15th: Scott Southerland of the SICWRT presents on “Spies and Espionage in the Civil War.”
  • August 19th: Derrick Lindow will present on “Adam Rankin Johnson and Partisan Rangers.” Derrick, who teaches 8th-grade U.S. history at Daviess County Middle School, has signed a contract with Savas Beatie to publish a book exploring the history of the Civil War in the Daviess County area. The narrative follows Confederate Adam Rankin Johnson and covers extensive measures taken by Union forces to quell Johnson’s success.

Remembering Martha Kohler

With great sadness we report the passing of Martha Kohler, one of our long time roundtable members. Martha and her husband Norm have been faithful members and supporters for year. She will be greatly missed. Please keep Norm in your thoughts and prayers as he deals with his loss.

Martha (Earp) Kohler, 80, passed away on 2 March 2021. Martha was born in Evansville on 23 December 1940 to the late Mildred (Fuquay) and Joseph Earp. She worked 13 years for Orr Iron Company, six years for Permanent Federal Bank, and also worked at Dr. James Ploch’s chiropractic office for 10 years. Martha was an active member of McCutchanville Community Church and was a member of the Civil War Roundtable. In 2001, she was a kidney transplant recipient.

Martha is survived by her husband of 57 years, Norman Kohler of Evansville, IN; a daughter, Diane Elizabeth Wallen, (Paul) of Bristol, CT.; and several cousins, nephew and nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Robert and Louis Earp and her sister, Mary Ann Ritchie.

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