Remarkable Civil War Women You Never Knew

I’ll be presenting a talk Remarkable Civil War Women You Never Knew at several public venues in March and May.  The first one is on March 22.  Here is the blurb and the list of venues.   I hope you can make it to one if you are interested.
                                                                              Blurb for Remarkable Civil War Women You Never Knew
We’ve heard of Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, but what about Elizabeth Thorn or Mary Elizabeth Bowser? There are many women whose efforts never made it into the history books we studied in school. These more obscure women each did something noteworthy during the Civil War. Millie Henley of Historical Connections will celebrate Women’s History Month by telling fascinating stories of some of these forgotten women in Remarkable Civil War Women You Never Knew.  At last these ladies will get their due!

Thursday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m. at Hamilton Lane Library, 300 N. 3rd Street, Hamilton, OH.  


Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. at North Dearborn Branch Library, 25969 Dole Road, West Harrison, IN.


Tuesday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Felicity United Methodist Church, 421 W. Walnut Street, Felicity, OH


*Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Symmes Safety Center, 8871 Weekly Lane, Symmes Township 45249


Millie Henley

Historical Connections
Understanding the Present Through Knowing the Past

The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy is now available for preorder!

A short history of the politics of Reconstruction

In The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy, historian Paul Kahan focuses on the unique political, economic, and cultural forces unleashed by the Civil War and how Grant addressed these issues during his tumultuous two terms as chief executive. A timely reassessment, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant sheds new light on the business of politics in the decade after the Civil War and portrays an energetic and even progressive executive whose legacy has been overshadowed by both his wartime service and his administration’s many scandals.
Praise for The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant

“Paul Kahan paints a revealing portrait of a man often confounded by the Presidency, but one who shaped it in profound ways. He shrewdly takes us from Reconstruction to America’s Centennial, when Ulysses S. Grant strove to enhance rights for African Americans, strengthen the Union, and maintain the peace—all against the tumultuous backdrop of post-Civil War upheaval, westward expansion, Washington scandals, economic strife, and foreign-affair entanglements. The conventional wisdom is that Grant was a brilliant general and, at best, a mediocre president. Paul Kahan’s book should change your thinking—his Grant is flawed, yes, but someone who, at his core, believed in and fought for the principles of equality and justice.”

—Stephen Puleo, author of American Treasures, The Caning, and Dark Tide

Activities/Membership Recruitment Meeting

Ten passionate folks attended a meeting today to explore ideas about how to make the Round Table grow.  A variety of topics were discussed, from using ads on Facebook to adding more events to streamlining the meeting format.  From the discussion some immediate steps are being taken:

Create a welcome committee who will ensure that members, especially new ones, are welcomed to the group at our meetings.  

Develop a summer session, perhaps a round table get together to discuss and debate a previously set topic, so that we are engaging members to become more involved and learn more about the war.  Hold this event on a weekend day at a place other than the Drake that is conducive to talk while folks can enjoy food and drinks.

Contact regional groups and sites and cross promote events.

Allow the folks who are not having dinner to participate in the quiz, but only allow those having dinner the chance to win raffle tickets if their table wins.

There were a variety of other topics discussed that will be developed into more long range goals.

Thanks to all who stopped by!

Civil War Life: Sex, Lies and Tintypes

My name is John Potts, the Program Director of the Baton Rouge Civil War Round Table, and I want to invite you to our yearly fundraiser, the 2nd Annual Baton Rouge Civil War Symposium. This year’s symposium titled “Civil War Life: Sex, Lies and Tintypes.” will be held April 27/28, 2018.

The speakers are dynamic and their topics are intriguing. With the book and relic vendors, live music, artifacts and interactive displays you will be immersed in the civil war life.

The attached flyer will cover basic symposium information. For the full story go to our website (we will add more detail to the website as April 27/28 gets closer)

Please help us spread the word about the symposium.

See you there,

John Potts

Events Abound!

When you have the opportunity please take a look at our Events page.  In addition to our own exceptional meetings and tours, we have been combing the internet for regional events that you may be interested in attending, such as U.S. Grant Days and book discussions at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, to name but a few.

If you know of a regional event that is Civil War, antebellum period, or Underground Railroad related, please let us know so that we can add them to our calendar.  We want to be your one stop resource to find events in our area!

Book Release: Suicide by Army Life

In 1861 two brothers emigrated to America to escape poverty in rural Norway and pursue “the American Dream”. Twenty-one years later one was a pillar of society in Becker County, Minnesota. The other rested under a tombstone inscribed with an alias on the windblown prairie of Dakota Territory, disowned by his family on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. What had happened? A 24-year search for clues revealed a story shrouded in secrecy for more than a hundred years. It stretched from semi-feudal Norway across the American Civil War to Indian Wars in George A. Custer’s famous 7th Cavalry. While the story was heavily influenced by money and religion, it even had ties to the deep Finn Forests of Eastern Norway where black magic had been practiced for centuries. It was a tale of bravery and achievement, but also about battlefield carnage, Indian atrocities, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction to alcohol and opium – and suicide. Surprisingly – one of the triggers for this cascading descent into destruction may have been an inconspicuous staple of 19th Century army life – food: Pork and the wheat biscuit “hardtack”. Together with harsh environmental conditions, horrific battlefield experiences and a life at the edge of civilization, it was a recipe for disaster.
The book reviews interesting connections between PTSD, Rheumatoid Arthritis and a potential pathway to suicide which might have been influenced by staple army food and use of alcohol.

William Penn on Civil War Talk Radio

Join Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation board members William Penn and Darryl Smith as they talk about Cynthiana on Civil War Talk Radio. Bill will be discussing his book Kentucky Rebel Town, while Darryl will talk about the Foundation.

7:00 p.m. – April 11th, 2018

You can listen using your computer or smart phone, or if you cannot listen that evening, you can visit their website and listen at your convenience.

MSU celebrates new home of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Williams Collection of Lincolniana

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State, statewide and national leaders heralded the opening today [Nov. 30] of MSU’s $10 million addition to Mitchell Memorial Library, home of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and the prestigious Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana.

Leaders in education, history, libraries and government — including the Librarian of Congress and the Archivist of the United States — praised the 21,000-sq.-ft. addition. The facility contains a state-of-the-art museum chronicling Grant’s life and his significance in American history and a gallery dedicated to the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, a recent donation that was considered the largest privately owned Abraham Lincoln collection in America. With hundreds of thousands of historical documents and items housed on-site, the new addition makes Mississippi State a leading destination for research on the Civil War and two presidents who shaped the course of American history.

“The Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana and our remarkable Ulysses S. Grant Collection have made Mississippi State and the Grant Presidential Library a truly national center for the study of the American Civil War,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said.

MSU is one of six universities in the nation housing a presidential library. The Grant Library is managed by the Ulysses S. Grant Association and MSU under the direction of John F. Marszalek, Grant Association managing editor and executive director, and Frances N. Coleman, MSU dean of libraries.

“In 1862, President Lincoln admonished the American people with, ‘it is not that we can imagine better, but can we all do better?” said Ulysses S. Grant Association President Frank J. Williams. “I am pleased to say that with these galleries, the collections that support them, the wonderful staff that serve them and the people that use them, we have, in a significant way, done better.”

Skip Wyatt of FoilWyatt Architects in Jackson planned the overall facility expansion, and Washington, D.C.-based HealyKohler Design created the interior museum and gallery spaces. The Grant museum contains artifacts and interactive media that allow visitors to engage with the context of the times and discover intimate details of Grant’s personal life and beliefs. Brooklyn-based StudioEIS created four life-size statues to highlight different phases of Grant’s life.

Thursday’s ceremony featured remarks from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Archivist of the U.S. David Ferriero and other U.S. and Mississippi officials.

“I’m here to give a pledge,” Hayden said. “You will have the full resources and services of the Library of Congress to supplement and be a partner with you as you try to expand these resources here. We wanted to say that publicly here today.”

The Grant Presidential Collection consists of some 15,000 linear feet of correspondence, research notes, artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks and memorabilia. There also are 4,000 published monographs on various aspects of Grant’s life and times. The collection housed at Mississippi State is the largest single collection of Grant papers and additional items in the world.

The gallery for the Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana displays, on a rotating basis, more than 100 of the 17,000 priceless artifacts and 12,000 books included in the Williams Collection, which the former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice and his wife, Virginia, have amassed over several decades. The gallery exhibit includes commentary from Williams on the relevance and importance of featured items.

“Lots of people could take credit for what we are celebrating today, but it was a real team effort,” Ferriero said. “As [MSU quarterback] Nick Fitzgerald tweeted on Sunday night, ‘a program is bigger than one person. We pride ourselves on our ability to always give relentless effort.’ The results of that relentless effort are evident as I walk around this campus today.”

The new addition to Mitchell Memorial Library also contains MSU’s Congressional and Political Research Center, which houses nine congressional collections, including cornerstone anthologies on MSU alumni and former U.S. congressmen Sen. John C. Stennis and Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery. Other collections include those of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former U.S. Reps. David Bowen and Alan Nunnelee, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, former Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, State Rep. Steve Holland and State Sen. Jack Gordon.

Others speaking at the dedication ceremony were:
–“Thousands upon thousands will come to see these exhibits,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said. “They will marvel that it is here in Mississippi and they will come to know us better. This is a great day for Mississippi’s future.”
–“There is no other library like the one we are celebrating today,” U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper said shortly before announcing he would like MSU Libraries to be the home of his congressional papers. “This structure is now a one-of-a-kind collection, including the Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, as well as Mississippi State University’s Congressional and Political Research Center, which houses nine congressional collections, including those of many well-known MSU alumni … If it’s OK with Dean Frances Coleman, I would like to be the 10th.”
–“Today, we’re reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting the papers and artifacts of our shared history, so that we may study it, learn from it and move forward together, stronger and with greater understanding,” said C.D. Smith, president of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.
–“This is going to provide opportunities for all of our students in the state of Mississippi and beyond,” MSU Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman said.
–“We have been fortunate to have people working with us to make sure this project is done right,” said John F. Marszalek, Grant Association managing editor and executive director. “The result is before you now for everyone in the nation to see. Our greatest days are ahead of us.”

For more information, see the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library website at and the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection website at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Opening Ceremony of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana at MSU Mitchell Memorial Library. (photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)