Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation

SPEAKERS 2016-17

MAY 11, 2017 Major General John Hemphill will discuss Granville Haller. An Army "fair haired boy" in the Mexican War. Haller continued after the Mexican campaigns as a stellar officer in Washington Territory.  In the Civil War, Haller was the Headquarters Commandant for Major General George McClellan and stayed on after McClellan was fired.  Highly loyal to McClellan, Haller offered a toast to the General at a party.  When this was reported, Haller was cashiered from the Army for sedition. Haller and his wife returned to Puget Sound.  Ten years after the Civil War, he was exonerated by Congress, and returned to the Army as a colonel commanding a regiment. After Haller retired from the Army, he was known with his wife as Seattle's first couple of First Hill.

General Hemphill graduated from West Point in 1951 and was commissioned as an Infantry officer.  His first assignment was in the 11th Airborne Division followed by the 7th Infantry Division in the Korean War. In the Vietnam War, General Hemphill commanded an Infantry battalion and brigade.  He was the last parachute brigade commander in the 101st Airborne Division. His combat decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Star Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Bronze Stars for Valor; 2 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Heart Medals, 20 Air Medals, and two foreign decorations Silver Star equivalents. In addition he has both the Defense and Army Distinguished Service Medals, Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legion of Merits, Meritorious Service Medal and two Army Commendation Medals.

2016-17 SPEAKERS REVISITED

APRIL 13, 2017 Michael C.C. Adams will discuss his latest book Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War, a study of the human costs of the war.  The book is shaped as much as possible from the experiences of those who lived in the period.  A Regents Professor of History at Northern Kentucky University, he is also the author of Our Masters the Rebels: A Speculation of Union Military Failure in the East, 1861-1865 (reissued as Fighting for Defeat), Echoes of War: A Thousand Years of Military History in Popular Culture, The Best War Ever: America and World War II, and The Great Adventure: Male Desire and the Coming of World War I.
MARCH 9, 2017 Dr. John F. (Jeff) McLaughlin, MD will discuss Crossing Antietam: The Civil War Letters of Captain Henry Augustus Sand: Company A, 103rd New York Volunteers, a work he edited with Peter H. Sand  as a labor of love and a fascination with families. Henry Sand’s older sister, Emily Sand Rossire transcribed his 70+ letters home. She traveled to Antietam a year after his death from wounds six weeks after the battle and painted a set of water colors of the battlefield and Otto’s Farm where he was cared for and died. Henry Sand’s articulate, sometimes funny, and always insightful letters chronicle life in the Union Army.

Henry first enlisted for 90 days in the 7th Regiment, New York National Guard, which arrived in Washington, DC, just in time to help dissuade the Confederates from attacking the Capitol after First Bull Run. He then helped raise the 103rd New York from among his German-American compatriots, and the regiment was assigned to Burnside’s Corps in North Carolina and later in Maryland.  Since the 103rd was a “silk stocking” regiment from New York, Henry’s letters mesh closely with regimental press coverage in the New York Times, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and other sources.  

A Professor Emeritus of pediatrics at the
University of Washington School of Medicine, Doctor McLaughlin is a pediatrician specializing in congenital anomalies and developmental disabilities, who cared for children at Seattle Children’s Hospital throughout his career. His interest in the Civil War began when he read classics by Bruce Catton and Carl Sandburg as a high school student. His wife, Suzanne Rossire, a great-granddaughter of Emily Sand Rossire, has treasured the letters of Henry Sand,.
FEBRUARY 9, 2017 Ethan S. Rafuse will discuss William T. Sherman, Helmuth von Moltke, and the Transnational Challenges of Command in the 19th Century. In the 1890s, Helmuth von Moltke, the great architect of the military campaigns that unified Germany, declared, “The days are gone by when, for dynastical ends, small armies of professional soldiers went to war to conquer a city, or a province, and then sought winter quarters or made peace.  The wars of the present day call whole nations to arms . . . As long as nations exist distinct from the other there will be quarrels that can only be settled by force of arms; but, in the interests of humanity, it is to be hoped that wars will become the less frequent.” The victor of Königgratz operated in an interesting time in the evolution of warfare, when political, social, and cultural dynamics were reshaping the western world. These placed a premium on the technical and managerial expertise that only professional officers could provide to armies; but they also, as Moltke noted, made limiting war to professionally managed clashes of organized armies exceedingly difficult.

These dynamics were evident in both Moltke’s efforts in the Wars of German Unification of 1864-71, and in Sherman’s efforts during the American Civil War, as well as in both men’s efforts to shape their armies in peacetime. Yet, one of the curiosities of western military history is how little effort has been devoted to comparative study of the Wars of German Unification and the American Civil War. This presentation draws on the author’s experience teaching officers at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, to offer a study of the victor of Königgratz and the conqueror of Georgia and the Carolinas that will illuminate the challenges they and other commanders faced during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Ethan S. Rafuse received a Ph.D. in history and political science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and worked as a park ranger at Manassas National Battlefield and the Harry S Truman National Historic Site. Since 2004, he has been a member of the faculty at the
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is a professor of military history. His published works include McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Stonewall Jackson: A Biography, Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865, George Gordon Meade and the War in the East, Corps Commanders in Blue: Union Major Generals in the Civil War and countless other works, articles, essays, and reviews.
JANUARY 12, 2017  James Shipman will discuss Going Home: A Novel of the Civil War,  his novel based on the true story of his great-great grandfather Joseph Forsyth, an Irish indentured servant in Canada who escaped to the United States, met Abraham Lincoln, and served with the 186th New York Infantry at Petersburg, where he was wounded.  An attorney in Snohomish County, Mr. Shipman is a lifelong student of history and the author of many short stories, poems, and the novel Constantinopolis.
DECEMBER 15, 2016 Michael Schein will discuss his book, John Surratt: The Lincoln Assassin Who Got Away a Finalist for the Foreword Review Indiefab History Book of the Year.  Surratt, a Confederate Secret Service agent, was Booth’s closest associate for the four months before the assassination.  His mother, Mary Surratt, was hanged, but John managed to escape justice in a thrilling run through Canada, England, and Italy.  A former professor of American Legal History, Michael Schein has taught at Seattle University School of Law, is known as a lively and engaging speaker, and is the author of two historical novels, Bones Beneath Our Feet and Just Deceits: A Historical Courtroom Mystery.
NOVEMBER 10, 2016 Carver Gayton will discuss his book, When Owing a Shilling Costs a Dollar: The Saga of Lewis G. Clarke, Born a ‘White’ Slave. Son of a white Scotsman and a black slave woman, Clarke escaped from slavery in Kentucky. Praised by Frederick Douglass, Clarke became a famous antislavery spokesman and a conductor of the Underground Railroad in Chautauqua, New York during the 1850s. Harriett Beecher Stowe based parts of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on interviews with Clarke. The great-grandson of Clarke, Mr. Gayton has been a halfback and Assistant Football Coach at the University of Washington, Professor of Public Administration at Florida State University, Director of the Northwest African American Museum, Seattle School Board member, Washington State Employment Security Department Director, Boeing Executive, history teacher, and FBI agent. His grandfather was a founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Seattle.
OCTOBER 13, 2016 Thomas D. Mays will discuss his book, Cumberland Blood: Champ Ferguson’s Civil War. A pro-Southern guerrilla and vicious killer in the Appalachian Highlands of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, Ferguson murdered Union prisoners captured at the Battle of Saltville, Virginia. A Professor of History at Humboldt State University and retired from the U. S. Army, Thomas Mays is also the author of The Saltville Massacre and the Editor of “Let Us Meet in Heaven”: The Civil War Letters of James Michael Barr, 5th South Carolina Cavalry.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 T.J. Stiles will discuss his latest book, Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in History. Mr. Stiles will emphasize Custer’s Civil War career. Mr. Stiles is also the author of Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, and of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the 2009 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. A member of the Society of American Historians and a former Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in Berkeley, California.