“William Henry Seward and the Irrepressible Conflict” Presented by Walter Stahr
Nov
12
7:00 PM19:00

“William Henry Seward and the Irrepressible Conflict” Presented by Walter Stahr

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At our meeting on November 12, Walter Stahr will answer an array of question and more, while telling us the fascinating story of William Seward. Can you name Lincoln’s Secretary of State? Did you know he had been an antislavery Governor of New York, and a United States Senator? What about his unsuccessful effort to become president in 1860, or his role in internal security and military affairs during the Civil War? What did he do after the Civil War, and how was he involved in the first presidential impeachment?  Finally, why is his name associated with the purchase of Alaska?    Walter is hoping that you will read his book, and ask probing questions after his presentation.  Do not miss this meeting!

Walter Stahr, is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, and a well known historian, as well as the author of three biographies to date: of John Jay, William Henry Seward, and Edwin Stanton. Several of his books have won prizes, and Seward was a New York Times bestseller. He is now at work on a biography of Salmon P. Chase.

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Unheralded Union Soldier—L.A. Tycoon Presented by Dean Smith
Jan
14
7:00 PM19:00

Unheralded Union Soldier—L.A. Tycoon Presented by Dean Smith

  • Los Angeles FamilySearch Library @ The Los Angeles Mormon Temple (map)
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Come to our January 14th meeting to hear our President, Dean Smith, tell the fascinating story of Harrison Gray Otis. Do you know the story of a poor, uneducated boy from Ohio, who bought a one-quarter interest in the “Los Angeles Daily Times,” for $6,000, in 1882, became its editor, and wrote its editorials and local news, for a weekly salary of $15?  Then you might know about his becoming one of the most influential men, of his time, in Los Angeles, and about the financial empire he built; but, do you know why he may be best known for the bombing of the “L.A. Times” building, in 1910; or, why he has a college of art and design named after him? More importantly, have you ever read about this man’s service in the 12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War, where he enlisted as a private, and rose to colonel; or, about his service in the Spanish American War, where he successfully commanded a brigade, in 1899, at the age of 62?

Dean Smith is a third generation Los Angeles native.  He graduated from George Washington High School in 1964, and earned Bachelor of Arts (1968), and Master of Arts (1970), degrees in Political Science, from the University of California, at Riverside. 

His career in public service, with Los Angeles County, began in 1970.  Over his 34 years with the County, Dean managed a variety of administrative functions in five different departments.  After retiring, Dean held several part-time jobs, including consulting, and working on the 2010 Census.

Dean’s interest in the Civil War began on a trip to Virginia, in 1999, where he visited the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville battlefields.  Since then, he has visited battlefields at Antietam, Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania Courthouse, as well as Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Port Hudson, in Louisiana. He is a member of the Civil War Trust; the Commander of the Gen. W. S. Rosecrans Camp No. 2, of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; the President of the Los Angeles Civil War Round Table, since 2012; and, a member of the Board of Directors, of the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, as their Secretary, since 2017.

He has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables in Los Angeles, the West San Fernando Valley, Orange County, Pasadena, and the Inland Empire; his SUVCW Camp; the Sons of the American Revolution; audiences at the “Battle Drum” play, at the Sierra Madre Playhouse; the Malaga Cove Library History Group; P.E.O. Chapter E; DUVCW Tent 91; and the Solheim Sr. Community’s Men’s Club.  

His topics include: 

  • The Largest Unknown Battle of the Civil War—Pleasant Hill, LA, April 9, 1864

  • Gen. W.S Rosecrans—Forgotten Hero

  • James Garfield—Unsung Hero and Martyred President

  • The U.S. Sanitary Commission

  • Financing the Civil War

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The “Congressional Helpers” – Oversight Committees! Presented by Dr. Dave Schrader
Jun
16
7:00 PM19:00

The “Congressional Helpers” – Oversight Committees! Presented by Dr. Dave Schrader

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Come to our June 16th meeting where Dr. Dave Schrader will discuss Union and Confederacy Congressional Oversight Committees. The Congresses for both the Union and Confederacy “helped” their presidents by providing oversight of various aspects of their war efforts. Who were on these committees? What areas did they review? What did they find? Did they help or hurt the war effort? In this talk, Dave Schrader answers these questions and more, highlighting the most interesting aspects of the investigations. Some things never change!

Dr. Dave Schrader
Dr. Dave Schrader has been giving CWRT talks to Los Angeles audiences since 2013. He is particularly fascinated by “the rest of the story” – for example, the activities of support organizations such as the Signal Corps, the Quartermaster, and Commissary Corps, who often played major, but behind-the-scenes, roles in the abilities of generals and presidents to achieve their goals. Or, people like Lincoln’s Secretaries, or his Ambassadors, that played a pivotal role in supporting the President and his policies. Or, the Fire-Eaters, who drummed up support for secession in the south. Most of Dave’s talks are interactive so be prepared for audience participation!

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“Mother Bickerdyke: Outranking General Sherman” presented by Heather St.Clair
Oct
15
7:00 PM19:00

“Mother Bickerdyke: Outranking General Sherman” presented by Heather St.Clair

  • Los Angeles FamilySearch Library @ The Los Angeles Mormon Temple (map)
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At our October Heather St. Clair will tell us the fascinating story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, also known as Mother Bickerdyke, whom a hospital administrator for Union soldiers during the American Civil War and a lifelong advocate for veterans. Heather will answer questions like: Could a woman, in the Civil War, build 300 hospitals? Could she see action on 19 battlefields, from Vicksburg to Atlanta, and survive the wrath of Officers and Surgeons? What did she do to be cheered by soldiers, calling her “Mother;” or, to be called Sherman’s greatest General? Why would a woman be given the honor of leading Sherman’s XV Corps in the “Grand Review of Armies,” through Washington, D.C., after the War?

Heather St.Clair
Interested in history for as long as she can remember, Heather St.Clair was inspired to research and teach by one of her high school teachers. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies Elementary Education, and taught elementary school grades for three years. Since 2009, Heather has been a founding member of the Academy of Living History Performing Arts, participating in living history events, developing historical programs for public and private schools, and supporting the educational mission of the Armory Band, and the Volunteer Hospital. Heather has traveled to Civil War sites across the country, and plans to make more research trips in the future. Heather has been studying the life of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, Civil War Medicine, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission for 7 years. When asked about her unfailing interest in the history of the 1860’s, she said, “The more I study and learn about the American Civil War, the more I realize that there is to learn about this time and the incredible accomplishments made during this era.”

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“The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder” presented by Jane Singer
Sep
17
7:00 PM19:00

“The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder” presented by Jane Singer

  • Los Angeles FamilySearch Library @ The Los Angeles Mormon Temple (map)
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"What's in a Name?" What if you lived in the 19th Century, and your name was synonymous with brutality, in an already brutal Civil War? Meet William Andrew Winder, who was the only member of the large Confederate Winder clan to shatter family ties to remain with the Union. Learn about his early life, his army career, his time as Commandant of Fortress Alcatraz, and how his name and reputation were tainted with accusations of disloyalty and treason. Was he deserving of these accusations? Follow his troubling, painful, and, finally, inspiring saga through the Civil War, and beyond, into a self-imposed exile in San Diego. Who was his father, and why was he excoriated, and posthumously indicted for war crimes at the incomprehensibly tragic Andersonville Prison? Despite his father’s reputation, how did William A. Winder treat seditious California prisoners, in his struggle to retain lost honor and, again and again, prove himself loyal to the Union?

Meet Our Speaker

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Jane Singer is a Civil War scholar and author of fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction works include: “The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder” (2019); “Lincoln’s Secret Spy: The Civil War Case That Changed The Future of Espionage” (2015); and, “The Confederate Dirty War: Arson, Bombings, Assassination and Plots for Chemical and Germ Attacks Against the Union” (2005,) on which the History Channel based a two-hour special, called: “Civil War Terror,” in 2006. Singer was both the historical consultant for the project, as well as the primary, onscreen narrator. Her writing has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine (“The Fiend in Gray”), The Washington Times (“Felix Stidger and the Sons of Liberty”). Her research and discovery of Stidger, a little-known American hero, were also illuminated in a Chicago Sun-Times article.

Singer’s fiction works include: “Alias Dragonfly,” the first book in a young adult, Civil War spy trilogy, featuring the intrepid Pinkerton agent, teenager Maddie Bradford. (2011), and “Booth’s Sister,” a historical fantasy about the reckless, enchanted childhood of John Wilkes Booth, and his beloved sister, Asia (2008.)

Singer is also a professional actor, voice-over artist, narrator and lecturer. Born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, and is currently speaking to various groups about “The War Criminal’s Son.”

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