News & Events

February 2024 Meeting

Join us at the February meeting of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable (SICWRT) for an engaging evening of history and discovery. Our gathering takes place on the third Thursday of the month, February 15th, at 7:00 p.m., hosted at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police, located at 801 Court St, Evansville, Indiana 47708. This event is free and open to all who share an interest in the Civil War and its enduring impact.

This month, we are honored to feature Charles Rebesco, a passionate Civil War historian and licensed battlefield guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, presenting “Last Men Standing—the 20th Indiana Infantry.” The 20th Indiana Infantry, often overlooked in the annals of the Army of the Potomac, played a crucial role in many key Eastern Theater campaigns, with the notable exception of Antietam. Despite the participation of 2,000 Indiana soldiers at Gettysburg, the men of the 20th Indiana remain among the least recognized. Their story is overshadowed, lost amidst the chaos of the 3rd Corps’ tribulations and the famed sites of battle like the Wheatfield and Devil’s Den. Yet, their valiant stand on July 2nd challenges our understanding of the 3rd Corps and marks them as truly “the last men standing.”

Charles Rebesco, a retired pulmonologist with over 40 years of residence in Northwest Indiana, brings a general interest in Civil War history to life with his insights and stories. Since 2018, he has served as a guide at Gettysburg, enriching visitors’ understanding of the battlefield and its heroes.

Don’t miss this opportunity to delve into the forgotten tales of the 20th Indiana Infantry, exploring their unique contribution and valor at Gettysburg. Engage with fellow history enthusiasts and uncover the layers of our past that continue to shape our understanding of the Civil War.

January 2024 Meeting: Folk Duo Ro & Sco

The Southern Indiana Civil War Round Table (SICWRT) is thrilled to announce a special program featuring the celebrated folk music duo, Ronda Haley and Scott Conner, known collectively as Ro & Sco. This event is scheduled for the third Thursday, January 18, at 7:00 p.m., at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police, 801 Court St, Evansville, Indiana.

Renowned for their dynamic performances, Ro & Sco bring a blend of traditional, Americana, and Civil War-era music, alongside their interpretations of holiday, modern, and classical pieces. Ronda, who began her musical journey in 2006, and Scott, who has been playing since 2000, have found a unique synergy in their duet, which began in 2016. Their collaboration has become a standout feature in the dulcimer community.

The evening promises a captivating mix of familiar and lesser-known Civil War songs, each enriched with a deep historical context. Attendees will be transported through time, experiencing the emotions and stories that these songs carry – a testament to the power of music in capturing the essence of an era.

This event is part of the SICWRT’s ongoing commitment to preserving and presenting the intricate tapestry of the U.S. Civil War history. The SICWRT is a beacon for those interested in exploring the multifaceted narratives of one of the most defining periods in American history.

The program is free and open to the public, inviting enthusiasts and newcomers alike to delve into an evening of musical storytelling that transcends the ages.

An Evening with Historian Jerry T. Wooten – Exploring a Pivotal Civil War Battle

The Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable cordially invites you to an engaging evening with historian Jerry T. Wooten. Our guest speaker event will be held on November 16th, starting at 7:00 p.m., at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police, located at 801 Court St, Evansville, Indiana 47708. This event is free and open to the public.

About Jerry T. Wooten:
Jerry, originally from Clarksville, Tennessee, is an acclaimed historian with a deep passion for American history. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in American History from Austin Peay State University and a Master’s in Historic Preservation from Murray State University. Completing his Ph.D. in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University, his dissertation, “Johnsonville: The Evolution, Defense, and Demise of the Union’s Tennessee River Supply Depot, 1790-1890,” has garnered considerable attention.

Jerry’s career in historical parks began in 1996 at Pamplin Historical Park, Virginia. He has held various roles, including Park Ranger and Park Manager, in Tennessee State Parks. His leadership at Johnsonville State Historic Park brought the park several awards, including the coveted State Park of the Year in 2015. Currently, Jerry serves as the Manager of Paris Landing State Park.

Featured Presentation:
Jerry will explore the Raid and Battle on the Union Supply Base at Johnsonville, Tennessee, delving into its historical significance. His presentation is based on extensive research from his 2019 book, Johnsonville: Union Supply Operations on the Tennessee River and the Battle of Johnsonville, November 4-5, 1864.

Book Availability:
Copies of Jerry’s insightful book will be available for sale at the meeting, offering a deeper dive into this fascinating Civil War event.

Beyond History:
In his leisure, Jerry is an avid oil painter, writer, golfer, camper, and enjoys spending quality time with his partner Judith in East Nashville.

We warmly invite all members and guests to join us for this insightful evening with Jerry T. Wooten. His expertise and engaging narrative promise to make this a captivating and educational experience for everyone.

September 2023 Meeting Announced

Our September 2023 meeting will feature Evan Rothera offering a presentation titled, “‘Our sister republic of Mexico must be relieved from foreign domination’: The U.S. Civil War, the French Intervention, and the Monroe Doctrine.”

In April 1861, the U.S. Civil War began when rebels fired on Fort Sumter. Several months later, Mexican President Benito Juárez suspended debt payments because the War of the Reform (1857-1861) had drained the country’s treasury. Juárez’s decision led Great Britain, Spain, and France, Mexico’s European creditors, to send armies to Mexico to seize customs houses. Emperor Napoleon III of France then decided to occupy Mexico City and overthrow Juárez’s government in order to recreate a French New World empire. Scholars often view the U.S. Civil War and the French Intervention in Mexico as separate events. However, this talk illustrates that the two conflicts were interwoven and part of a larger war pitting republicanism against the forces of reaction. Furthermore, by discussing the cooperation that developed between the U.S. and Mexico during this period, this talk demonstrates that the U.S.-Mexico relationship involved more than conflict and xenophobia. People in both countries imagined themselves as sister republics engaged in a common struggle and acted on these beliefs by raising money and arms and crossing borders to fight for freedom.

Evan C. Rothera

Evan C. Rothera is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of History at The Pennsylvania State University in 2017. He published Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860 – 1880 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2022) and co-edited, with Brian Matthew Jordan, The War Went On: Reconsidering the Lives of Civil War Veterans (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020). He has published articles in Nebraska History, The Journal of Mississippi History, and the Journal of Supreme Court History, several book chapters, and many book reviews and encyclopedia entries. He has received fellowships and grants from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Louisiana Historical Association, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, the Texas State Historical Association, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Institute for Political History.

July 2023 Meeting

Our July meeting will feature Myers Brown, executive director of Belmont Mansion. He previously served as an archivist with the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) and the curator of extension services at the Tennessee State Museum. Mr. Brown has held numerous positions, including serving as Chairman of The Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and on the advisory board of the Tennessee Great War Commission and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. He authored the books Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen (2008) and Tennessee’s Confederates (2011) and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians in 2008.

His presentation is titled “Joe Wheeler, Chief of Cavalry, Army of Tennessee.” It will focus on the life, exploits, and military operations of General Joseph Wheeler. Despite his youth, Wheeler commanded the entire Cavalry Corps of the Confederacy’s second largest army and at times his division commanders included such famous generals as John Hunt Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forrest. While his Civil War actions are impressive, his post-Civil War career is also noteworthy. By the time of his death in 1906, he had served nearly eighteen years in the US Congress, commanded cavalry (including Roosevelt’s Rough Riders) in the Spanish-American War, operated a 30,000 acre cotton farm in North Alabama and served as a lawyer for the railroads. He is one of only two former Confederate generals to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

General Grant is Coming!

The SICWRT will host General U.S. Grant at our next meeting, Thursday, May 18th, at 7:00 p.m., at FOP #73, 804 Court Street, Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Curt Fields researches and reads extensively about General Grant in order to deliver an accurate persona of the General. His presentations are in first person, quoting from General Grant’s memoirs; articles and letters the General wrote, statements he made in interviews or wrote himself, and first-person accounts of people who knew the General or were with him and witnessed him during events. He is the same height and body style as General Grant and, therefore presents a convincing, true-to-life image of the man as he really looked. His program will cover Grant’s pursuit of Lee to Appomattox.

March 2023 Meeting

This month’s meeting of the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable will take place on Thursday, March 16th, at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be at Evansville FOP Lodge #73, located at 801 Court Street in downtown Evansville. Our program will be presented by SICWRT member Tom Van Wormer. His program will be about the Dred Scott case, a matter decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857. This decision had a profound affect in galvanizing the opinions of those leaning towards anti-slavery, and was a major factor in bringing about the start of the Civil War in 1861.

Tom was born and raised in the Detroit metro area. He practiced law in Toledo, Ohio, for five years. He came to Evansville in 1990 as a new FBI Special Agent and retired in 2010. He plays the French Horn in the Old Dam Community Band and the E Flat Alto Horn in the Red Bank Reunion Band.

January 2023 Program

Joshua Claybourn

Our meeting on January 19, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. will feature Joshua Claybourn on “Abe’s Youth.” Abraham Lincoln spent a quarter of his life—from 1816 to 1830, ages 7 to 21—learning and growing in southwestern Indiana. Despite the importance of these formative years, Lincoln rarely discussed this period, and with his sudden, untimely death in 1865, mysterious gaps appear in recorded history. In a new book titled Abraham Lincoln’s Wilderness Years, Claybourn collects and annotates the most significant scholarship from J. Edward Murr, one of the few writers to cover this lost period of Lincoln’s life. A Hoosier minister who grew up with the 16th president’s cousins, Murr interviewed locals who knew Lincoln and his environment. Of all Lincoln’s biographers, few knew his boyhood associates and Indiana environment as well as Murr, whose complete Lincoln research and scholarship have never been published—until now.

Joshua Claybourn is an attorney and author or editor of several books, including Abe’s Youth and Our American Story. He serves on the board of directors of both the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute and is host of the Lincoln Log podcast. Claybourn frequently serves as a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. He lives in Evansville, Indiana.

October 2022 Program

Our program on October 20, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. features David Mowery on “Cincinnati in the Civil War: Then and Now.” During the American Civil War, Cincinnati played a crucial role in preserving the United States. Not only was the city the North’s most populous in the West, but also it was the nation’s third most productive manufacturing center. The Queen City of the West served as a key provider of the Union’s soldiers, weapons, supplies, medical aid, and political influencers. In this presentation, Cincinnati historian David L. Mowery will reveal some of the Queen City’s key structures, such as military installations, hospitals, churches, businesses, and private homes, in the way they appeared at the time of the Civil War. Simultaneously, he will show how those same buildings look today. Come join David as he gives the highlights of Cincinnati’s impact on the outcome of the Civil War through a visual comparison of the past with the present.

David L. Mowery is a native resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. American military history piqued his interest at an early age. Since childhood, he has researched and visited over seven hundred battlefields across fifty states and nine countries. In 2001, David joined the all-volunteer Ohio Civil War Trail Commission as its Hamilton County representative, but over the years his role expanded to include the final design and historical validation of the entire length of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio. He is the coauthor of Morgan’s Raid Across Ohio: The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail (Ohio Historical Society, 2014) and the author of Morgan’s Great Raid: The Remarkable Expedition from Kentucky to Ohio (History Press, 2013) and Cincinnati in the Civil War: The Union’s Queen City (History Press, 2021). Since 1995, David has been a member of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table, for which he has written various papers on Civil War subjects and has led many Civil War tours of the Cincinnati region. He has also served with the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, the grass-roots organization working to preserve Ohio’s largest Civil War battlefield.

August 2022 News

Twenty-two members attended our July meeting, with several good programs on our future schedule. Our treasurer, Ron Sproatt, reports we have a balance of $1,618.11. Members voted to donate $225.00 to the FOP Lodge. We appreciate the use of their facility for our meetings. We want to remind members that you can pay your dues at the next meeting or mail them to our treasurer Ron Sproatt.

CDV of Theodore S. Bowers
Our speaker in July was Myers Brown, Director of Archival Collection Services and Chief Historian at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Prior to joining the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Myers served as a curator with the Tennessee State Museum, the Alabama Historical Commission, and as Curator of Military History at the Atlanta History Center. He also served as the chairman of the Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. His program was: Loyal Cavaliers-Tennessee’s Unionist Cavalry (based on his book). The author of two books: Images of Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen (published in December 2008) and Images of Tennessee Confederates (April 2011). In his program Myers described 14 Regiments of Union Cavalry in Tennessee. Some of the people he mentions that are important in Tennessee Civil War history are: John Bell, William Bowen Campbell, William Driver, Alvan Cullem Gillem, Samuel P. Carter, and Frank Cheatham.

On September 15th, Kevin Williams will offer a presentation on Grant’s staff. From the beginning of Grant’s Civil War service he was always shadowed by his aide, Theodore S. Bowers. Bowers was with him at Cairo prior to Ft. Donelson and was with him at the McLean House for Lee’s Surrender. Bowers’s story is one of fidelity, service, and, in the end, personal sacrifice to Grant. Prior to the war, Bowers was the editor of the Mt. Carmel Register, the Democratic-leaning paper of Wabash County, Illinois. Our presenter on this topic, Kevin Williams, is life-long student of the Civil War and resident of Evansville. Kevin has taught Civil War and World War II history at the junior college level – including experiential trips to battlefields of the Civil War. He is the father of four and Grandpa to eleven grandchildren – five in Illinois, three in Indiana, and three in Alaska.

On October 20th, David Mowery will offer a program titled “Cincinnati in the Civil War – Then & Now.”