Monday, October 13, 2008


If you are a member of the roundtable you have seen that we are doing another symposium. In fact until events prove otherwise this will be an annual event. Last April we had a very good symposium on our first attempt. I've been sending out invitations for a few months now, and having some horrible luck. Last time we got our 5 presenters from 8 invitations, and the 3 rejections were pretty much expected (those were the guys that seem to be booked 2 years in advance). This year the early rejections were again from the previous time's rejections so I wasn't too worried, but then we had a hard time filling the list after that. I was starting to worry, in fact I had come to the opinion that if things were still going as poorly as they were by January 1st that we might have to cancel it completely.

Until this past weekend we had 2 yeses and 8 nos. Friday I sent out a batch of invitations again, giving them until November 1st to respond. I created a secondary list of who to invite on November 2nd and December 2nd if we still didn't have a full slate. If by January 1st we had only added 1 more presenter I was thinking we should pull the plug on this event or try something else entirely.

But Saturday afternoon I checked my email and we had our panel. I'm doing some final touches on the list, just reconfirming with some guys about schedules but it appears that we have our list. When the list in final I will reveal the panel for all, as well as have a reading list. Then we can begin the process of making flyers, registration materials and begin the task of marketing our event.

Our theme for the next symposium will be Lee Invades the North. We will have a presenter for Antietam and Gettysburg. Also one to provide an overview and put the campaigns into some context. We will have one to give a history of an army unit that saw extensive action in both battles. And we'll finish off with one on the history of the parks from the end of the battle to today. The only thing we're changing from last time is that we will have a panel discussion at the end of the day. In retrospect we thought that would have been a nice touch. We weren't 100% sure how to handle it the first time so we didn't do it then, and since it was our first attempt we wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

I know its a long way off but our next symposium will be October 3, 2009. Mark it on your calendars now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

October 9: US Grant After the War, Part 2 by Richard DeTar

This past February Richard DeTar gave a presentation on Grant's life after the war. The presentation went a tad long and had not reached its end. So this month Richard will complete his original presentation.

After the war Grant used his popularity to become President. It was not something he didn’t initially seek but once in office he seemed to enjoy it, as he served two terms and nearly ran for a third. His presidency was marked with scandal but that was mostly because the men who served under him were not trustworthy, there is no indication that Grant was a “dirty” President. He simply made bad choices in the men he delegated power too. He also became bankrupt again as he trusted the wrong men to take care of his personal fortune.

Grant wrote the memoirs so that his family would not be poor. He wrote them with the aid of Samuel Clemens and neither man probably realized the full financial windfall Grant’s family would receive from them, approximately $450,000 in 1885. Some even consider Grant’s memoirs to be a literary masterpiece.

If time allots Richard has also suggested using the extra time to discuss Civil War novelties. Basically anything you've found odd or wanted some clarification on. We can use this time to probe the minds of our esteemed membership.

Richard recommends the following books:
Adams, James Truslow. The March of Democracy. Chapters 3-5.
Wilson, Edmund. Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War. Chapter 4
Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.