The annual election of round table officers and at-large members of the Board of Trustees for 2023 – 2024 will be held at the regular meeting scheduled for June 8, 2023. The following round table members have volunteered to stay on and seek re-election for the 2023 – 2024. As you can see, we need volunteers to fill the role of Vice-President and an at-large board member. Nominations for any of our leadership positions can be made from the floor at the June meeting. Your insights, input and support are critical to sustaining an active organization and leading the Chamberlain Civil War Round Table into the future.

President: Steve Garrett

Vice-President: Vacant

Secretary: John Wagner

Treasurer: Jim Sanborn

Program Director: Bill Attick

Information Director: Phil Schlegel

Board Member: Carol Manchester

Board Member: Linda Schlegel

Board Member: William St. Louis

Board Member: Vacant


     On May 11 about 50 members and friends of the Chamberlain Round Table gathered to enjoy a fascinating presentation by historian and author Tom Desjardin. Over the years Tom has provided a number of thought-provoking presentations to the round table and “The Legend of Joshua Chamberlain: The Story of a Civil War Hero We Have Created” was certainly no exception. Tom’s presentation examined the epic rise of the legend of Joshua Chamberlain, particularly following the release of Michael Shaara’s novel Killer Angels and the 1993 film adaptation Gettysburg. Far beyond that, Tom took a professional historian’s look at how, particularly over time, reputations (in this case Chamberlain’s!) can be built and sullied; how interpretations by others, both champions and detractors with differing motives, can lead to intended and unintended consequences; the disputes that have emerged; and how facts are often lost in the process. Many thanks to Tom for sharing his extensive insight into Joshua Chamberlain, one of the Civil War’s enduring personalities.



     Like most of us who read and read . . . and read, all that we can about the Civil War, I can recall what it was that sparked that first interest.

     My parents had a lake place in central Minnesota. As soon as school was out, we loaded up and decamped there for the summer. I spent many days learning to water ski, romping through the woods, fishing. You name it . . . just being away from the bustle of suburban life was a welcome change of pace.

     We had family friends who my parents knew from college. They had a cabin just a few doors down from us. We kids hung out and the families often shared meals, games and even a few scary moments together as a tornado would remind us that even the lake life could be fraught with danger. But it was Uncle Dave who got me interested in the Civil War. One day, when I was nine, we were at their cabin. As a fair skinned kid, I often would find a cool place to read. On this day I picked up a copy of Civil War Times (July 1974) that was sitting on a table and began to read. It was designed to be looked at! With a bright yellow framing and with the image on the cover called “The Charge.” This was painted by that great artist Howard Pyle. WOW! An article about Major Wirz of Andersonville caught my eye, but I enjoyed others as well. This was the day and age where there was more writing than images. I couldn’t put it down. I asked Uncle Dave if I could take it home to finish my reading. He said sure and even gave me a few other back issues to peruse as well. The kindness he showed in allowing me to take these home to pour over sparked a flame of interest that continues to this day.

     While Uncle Dave left this realm some years ago, I often think of him when I read the latest issue of Civil War Times, or any other work about the war. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. What got your interest started?

Mike Bell


     We had another great turnout (46) to hear Gettysburg Foundation President and CEO Wayne Motts’ presentation entitled “Killed at Gettysburg: Connecting the Battlefield with the Museum.” Wayne effectively related a wide array of museum artifacts to the lives . . . and deaths . . . of several soldiers who marched to Gettysburg in July 1863. The connections Wayne portrayed were truly compelling, using diaries and artifacts to breathe life into the soldiers who lost their lives as a result of their service. In so doing, he simultaneously enhanced the meaning and significance of the artifacts on display at the museum.

     Wayne also discussed the important work of the Gettysburg Foundation, their collaboration with the National Park Service and, in response to a question from the audience, described the restoration currently in progress at Little Round Top. The program was clearly enjoyed by all.



     Jim Sanborn, our CWRT treasurer, has created a Civil War-themed crossword puzzle that is sure to challenge and motivate! Just click the link below to give it a try.

     This crossword is set up to download and print (it is not interactive) so you can work on it at your leisure. There are two pages: the first page includes the puzzle and clues, the second page shows the answers . . . so be careful not to look! We hope that you will have some fun giving it a try.



     We had a great turn out of members and friends at our March meeting for Brandon Bies’ discussion of “Broken Lives and Shattered Bones: Discovering a Field Hospital at Manassas Battlefield.” The program was, in a word, fascinating. Brandon outlined the unexpected discovery of a field hospital surgeon’s pit during a trench excavation at Manassas National Battlefield Park. He expertly described the challenges associated with the excavation and analysis of the nearly complete remains of two Union soldiers who were comingled with other amputated limbs. The discussion was wide-ranging, including the techniques and limitations associated with that type of battlefield discovery, the methods used to examine the remains, determinations made and hypotheses drawn from the examinations, the limitations of Civil War-era surgical techniques, the collaboration between the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Army, attempts to identify the remains, and a general discussion of surgical interventions associated with various battlefield wounds. Brandon’s presentation was, simultaneously, sobering, revealing, and much appreciated by all.


     Following a recent round table meeting I had the pleasure of talking with one of our long-time CWRT members, Steve Bunker. As most of us know, Steve has long been a student of the Civil War, particularly with respect to maritime activities and all things cavalry. Participating in many reenactments, he is an experienced “cavalryman” who, you may recall, recently spearheaded the effort to create and place a monument memorializing the 1st Maine Cavalry in Middleburg, Virginia. While discussing some Civil War trivia, Steve pointed out an interesting detail. Although it is widely accepted that the Battle of Palmito Ranch (Texas, May 12-13, 1865) was the final engagement of the Civil War, Steve convincingly argued that it is more likely that last engagement of the war was the cavalry skirmish at Hobdy’s Bridge near Eufaula, Alabama, on May 19, 1865. Thus, Corporal John W. Skinner of Company C, 1st Florida Cavalry (U.S.) was actually the last soldier killed in action during the war. Interesting, as always!



     Long-time round table member and board member Carol Manchester has discovered a real “find.” It is a new work of historical fiction, centered on the Booth family. (Booth, by Karen Joy Fowler. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2022.) Carol is a Civil War explorer and author who enjoys a great read and the theater, so she knows of what she speaks. Her impression is that this novel (as with any good historical fiction) is steeped in research, including diaries, newspaper accounts, playbills, letters, other documents, dates, and actual historical events. Its imagined descriptive details create a true sense of reader intimacy. She thoroughly enjoyed Fowler’s portrayals of the many complicated and peculiar aspects of the Booth family, which were only complicated by financial and mental instability and family guilt. The novel has several surprises for family members, and ultimately for the reader. She really enjoyed this book . . . immensely.


     On February 9th the round table enjoyed a superb program featuring Jared Peatman’s examination of “Dirigo’s Sons: The Twentieth Maine, Joshua Chamberlain, and Little Round Top.” Jared’s analysis clearly and concisely addressed the many and varied circumstances that surrounded what he characterized as “the pinnacle moment for the Twentieth Maine and Joshua Chamberlain.” An important aspect of the presentation were various tactical considerations, both Union and Confederate, that significantly impacted the events of July 2, 1863. Human interest factors lent a large measure of authenticity to Jared’s historical account as did his balanced, well-presented appraisal of some of the still controversial aspects of the battle. It was clear from the question-and-answer segment and post-program conversation that Jared’s extensive grasp of the subject was both enjoyable and interesting for the members and friends present. It was a truly pleasant evening.



Dan Cunningham

     In December my wife Lucy and I attended a concert performed by the Greater Freeport Community Chorus at the Brunswick United Methodist Church. The church is located on Church Road in Brunswick. During the intermission I noticed the stained-glass window pictured here. When I saw it, I thought that Levi must have died in 1864 and the church had dedicated a window in his memory. After some investigation I found that my assumption was wrong.

     My curiosity took me to the “Find a Grave” website where I learned that Levi not only survived the war, but lived to be 70 years old, dying on January 6, 1910. According to the “Find a Grave” website, he was born in Brunswick, where he lived nearly all his life. After the war he was engaged in the livery stable business at several locations in town. He sold the business in 1892 but, sadly, during the last several years of his life he became increasingly disabled.

     As to why there is a stained-glass window bearing his name, I learned that Levi was an active member the Brunswick Methodist Church and, shortly before he died, Levi donated the window to the church. So, as it turned out, the dates “1861-1864” reflect the dates of his military service, having enlisted in Company F, 1st Maine Cavalry, on October 19, 1861, and mustered out on November 25, 1864.

     Levi is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick which is the same cemetery where Joshua Chamberlain is buried.

 Note: The “Find a Grave” reference can be viewed at: