Everyone is welcome at our monthly meetings.
Attend the dinner and presentation, or just the presentation.
Recordings of many of the meetings are available for a small charge, click here for a printable list of Recorded Meetings
We meet September through June, generally on the second Friday evening of each month.
See list of meeting dates and speakers below for our 2013-2014 program year.
Our meetings take place at the Mart Plaza Holiday Inn, 350 N. Orleans Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Validated hotel parking is $12
Click here for a map and directions
5:30 pm Cash Bar, 6:30 pm Dinner, 7:30 pm Presentation
Dinner/Presentation is $47 per person – There is always a choice of entrée. (Entrée options are listed below.) Make checks payable to "The Civil War Round Table".
Presentation only is $10 per person. Payable at the door, cash or check. Be there by 7:15.
Please make your reservation in advance by contacting us at (630)460-1865 or
Dinner reservations should be received by Wednesday evening prior to the meeting. When you make your dinner reservation, please be sure to indicate your entrée choice.
Presentation only reservations are appreciated but not required to attend.
May 9, 2014
David F. Bastian on:
For centuries the Mississippi River had functioned as “the Father of the Waters” (as Abraham Lincoln so aptly put it), allowing the Middle West to ship and receive goods with the South and with the world. The railroads constructed in the 1850s, linking east with west, helped to siphon off some of that commerce, but the Mississippi remained a vital supply link for both North and South.
On the lower Mississippi, Vicksburg was (again, as Lincoln put it) the “key.” Situated on a high bluff overlooking a bend in the river, with rail connections to the rest of the Confederacy, Vicksburg’s importance as a supply hub was only exceeded by the ability of cannon placed on those bluffs to block northern steamboats from using the river.
On May 9th, David Bastian will discuss the Union army’s efforts to bypass Vicksburg by constructing a canal around it. As Bastian writes in his book Grant’s Canal: the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg, “cutoffs or changes in the river’s position could ruin the economic value of whatever bordered it.” That’s why in 1858, the citizens of Vicksburg lobbied the Mississippi legislature for a law “outlawing efforts which, in any way, could result in a cutoff.” As Bastian wryly observes, “In 1862, Union forces decided to break the law” by digging a canal across De Soto Point, the narrow bend opposite Vicksburg, and divert the Mississippi River away from the fortified bluffs. “Had the Union succeeded,” Bastian posits, “they would have had immediate and complete control of the river” and “Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target,” eliminating the need to take the “Bluff City.”
David Bastian is a retired hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from George Tech, and his Master’s in River Engineering from Delft in the Netherlands. He’s lived in Vicksburg. He has authored Grant’s Canal: the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg.
Entrée choices are:
Baked Orange Roughy
Vegetarian or Fruit Plate
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For the remainder of our 2013-14 program year, we proudly welcome these outstanding speakers:
June 13th, 2014
The War in Appalachia
Aug. 15th, 2014
The Iron Brigade
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