News & Events

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.”

July 2022 Program

Our scheduled speaker on July 21, 2022, is 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 planned program is: Loyal Cavaliers-Tennessee’s Unionist Cavalry (based on his book). He is the author of two books: Images of Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen (published in December 2008) and Images of Tennessee Confederates (April 2011). Myers will bring copies to the meeting so that interested members may purchase their own signed copy.

Spring 2022 Programs

Our program on April 21, 2022, will feature a video from the Gary Gallagher series. The first is The Background to Emancipation and the second is Emancipation Completed.

Our next program on May 19, 2022, will be provided by SICWRT member Greg Briggs and is titled “The Cumberland River: Avenue for Middle Tennessee and the Civil War.” The river system of mid-America carried people and commerce across the nation. Flatboats and later steamboats greatly expanded America. The coming of the railroads added to this expansion as well as big increases in commerce. The Cumberland River in Tennessee was not only an avenue of commerce but also one of invasion. In 1862, the Federals would advance up this river taking forts and cities, including Nashville. Later, the river would be a vital part of the Union supply line for the fighting not only in Tennessee but also Alabama and Georgia. This program teaches the history of water commerce as well as the expansion of railroads and how both played into the Civil War in Tennessee for both sides.

Our meeting scheduled for June 16, 2022, will provided by SICWRT member Carol Hancock and will cover the book Lincoln’s Team of Rivals.

Upcoming 2022 Programs

The SICWRT’s slate of 2022 programs kicks off on Thursday, January 20th, with a presentation from Michael Eisenhut on “The Iron Brigade at Gettysburg.” Eisenhut graduated from Purdue University in 1991 and lives in Monrovia, Indiana. Despite a lifelong career as a pilot and working for a major airline, he has studied the American Civil War his entire life. For the past several years, Eisenhut has focused his study primarily on the Battle of Gettysburg and also on the Civil War’s famous Iron Brigade, particularly the Nineteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry regiment. He visits the Gettysburg battlefield many times per year, including having spent over 75 days there in 2021 alone. Eisenhut is a member of the Indianapolis and Hamilton County Civil War Round Tables and is the author of the newly released historical fiction novel titled Brothers of War: The Iron Brigade at Gettysburg.

Our February 2022 meeting will feature Krista Castillo on “Soldiers for Freedom: How Military and Pension Records Reveal Forgotten Stories.” Castillo is a native of northeastern Ohio, but moved to Fort Negley Park, a Nashville metro park, as the education manager in 2008. In 2010, she was promoted to site manager. Castillo holds degrees from Mount Union College (B.A., History) and Austin Peay State University (M.A., Military History). While completing her education, she held internships at the William McKinley National Memorial and Museum in Canton, Ohio, and at the Don F. Pratt Museum at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Castillo has served as president of the Nashville Civil War Roundtable since 2009. In addition to published work in Civil War News, Tennessee Conservationist Magazine, and The World of the Civil War: A Daily Life Encyclopedia, she has researched and presented on Fort Negley and other Civil War topics across the country. Between August 1862 and March 1863, more than 2,700 impressed African American men enrolled as laborers with the Engineers Department on St. Cloud Hill. In just four months, they built Fort Negley, the largest inland masonry fortification constructed during the Civil War. While impressment promoted a view of people as property and exploited laborers, it also deprived the Confederacy of its main labor force while granting African Americans a sense of freedom and personal investment in undermining the rebellion and the slave system. This program traces the experiences of Jerry Jackson, an impressed laborer and veteran of the Co. F, 12th USCT, and his family throughout the war and their struggle to receive federal benefits.

Our March 2022 program will feature David Coker on Ambrose Bierce, an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and American Civil War veteran.

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.

September 2021 Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, September 16th at at 7:00 p.m., at the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police (801 Court St, Evansville, Indiana 47708). It will feature Dr. Tom Sabetta discussing Dick Mitchell, Morgan cavalryman and guerrilla. Mitchell rode with the famous General John Hunt Morgan from mid 1862 to the end of 1863 and then became a guerrilla fighter until the end of the war. This past March, Tom contracted with Scuppernong Press in North Carolina to publish his biography on Dick Mitchell. Tom’s round-table presentation will tie in with the earlier SICWRT presentations by Gerry Fischer and Derrick Lindow while giving background on how the War for Southern Independence in Kentucky became a guerrilla fight in the end.

Tom is a retired lecturer in the College of Communication at the University of Kentucky where he taught in the system for 26 years. He has a BA in History, an MA in Organizational Communication from Western Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. from Wayne State University. He is a reenactor for Cobb’s Battery and is also the author of two books and several articles, his first at age 17 in the Kentucky Heritage. Additionally he was the past Vice President of the Owensboro – Daviess County Historical Society and currently serves on the Meade County Historical and Archeological Preservation Society Board of Directors.

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.