Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Defense of Washington City - Civil Warriors Round Table Debriefing

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the Civil Warriors Round Table in the West San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. The featured speaker was Greg Taylor, whose great, great grandfather served in a Pennsylvania heavy artillery unit at Ft. Lincoln - part of the Washington defenses.

Greg gave us a nice narrative on the scant defenses of Washington before the war, the anxiety felt by northern citizens concerning the potential capture of the capital, the process by which Union engineers constructed elaborate defenses after the embarrassing Union defeat at 1st Bull Run, and Confederate General Jubal Early's famous 1864 raid on the city.

What's more, he provided first hand accounts from his ancestor, William Beynon Phillips, an artillerist who was pulled from the defenses and ordered to join Burnside's IX Corps - Phillips was later captured at the Battle of the Crater in July 1864.

It goes to show that a presentation can be thoughtful and informative without being overly analytical.If you are ever in the LA area around the first Wednesday of the month, I strongly suggest you stop in for a visit. You are sure to hear a good speaker and the discussion afterward is always pretty heated.



  1. Dear Keith,
    Thank you for your kind words regarding my presentation before the West Valley Civil War Roundtable. I am blessed to have the letters of my great-great grandfather. These letters kindled my interest in the Civil War and I enjoy sharing them with others. I am neither a historian nor a scholar so I prefer to be factual and straight-forward in my presentations and leave the analysis to you “pros”. I guess based on your comments that approach works out OK.
    BTW, my site is not currently operative but in the meantime the letters are being posted on This is a great site with profiles of over 370 soldiers and a database of over 1200 letters and diary entries. Reference "William Beynon Phillips".

  2. You are quite welcome, Greg - I really enjoyed your presentation. And thanks for the link too. I posted it in the Cosmic America blogroll and passed it on to my Twitter followers as well. Good work and I will see you next month!

  3. Good news. My website is back up. To read about a soldier's experiences before the defenses of Washington-North of the Potomac start with the letter dated December 1, 1862.

  4. I just added your site to my blogroll - thanks! I am sure my readers will enjoy the letters.