Everyone is welcome at our monthly meetings


See list of meeting dates and speakers below for our 2017-2018 program year.

Copies of recorded meetings are available for a small charge. Click here for a printable list of recorded meetings. More current meetings can be viewed on Youtube.

Our meetings are held at:

Holiday Inn O'Hare
5615 N. Cumberland, Chicago, IL 60631
Parking at the Holiday Inn is FREE
Map and Directions

Dinner $40.00 Members and Non- Members
Cocktails at 5:30, Dinner at 6:30

Presentation only is $10 per person.
Payable at the door, cash or check. Be there by 7:15. For those attending the presentation only, your reservation is appreciated but not required.
Dinner reservations should be received by Sunday evening prior to the meeting.
Please make your reservation in advance by emailing DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org with the names of your party or by calling (630) 460-1865
Cancellations: email us at DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org  or call (630) 460-1865

Dinner choices. The CWRT has gone to a buffet style dinner for 2017-2018. The buffet will include caeser salad, pasta, garlic bread, two meats (grilled chicken, meat balls, or Italian sausage) and dessert.

June 8, 2018
Dennis Rasbach:

Joshua Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign

Joshua Chamberlain is the focus of much controversy. The professor-turned-soldier from Maine is most famous for his defense of Little Round Top and counterattack down its slopes, though a number of historians question Chamberlainís role in actually ordering the bayonet charge and other details of the fight. Perhaps second to Little Round Top in the Chamberlain legend is his June 18, 1864, attack at Petersburg, in which Chamberlain, sword in one hand and brigade flag in the other, was shot through the pelvis. Most everyone pronounced the wound mortal, prompting U. S. Grant to issue him a battlefield promotion to brigadier general, but Chamberlain lived on another fifty years before dying from complications related to the old injury.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain had no idea that the failed attack he led at Petersburg on June 18, 1864, that nearly took his life would spark controversy more than a century later. According to his own accounts, penned decades after the event, he led his brigade against the permanent fortifications of the Dimmock Line at Rives' Salient, in an attack that originated from the future site of Union "Fort Hell." His line of battle advanced along the Jerusalem Plank Road through a murderous flank fire from what was soon to become Confederate-held Fort Mahone. According to author Dennis Rasbach's new study, none of this is true. An overwhelming body of evidence, much of it derived from Chamberlain himself, demonstrates he actually attacked a different part of the Confederate line nearly a mile away.

Dr. Dennis Rasbach became interested in his ancestorís unit during the Civil War. In the course of his research, he realized the 21st Pennsylvania (Dismounted) fought in a brigade from the same division as that of Gettysburg hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He figured, naturally enough, that if he read about Chamberlainís Brigade at Petersburg, heíd also be able to find out where his ancestorís unit fought. He quickly realized, however, that Chamberlainís own account from 30 years after the war didnít really match up with many other accounts from the division as a whole. After some seriously intense research Rasbach knew he had an interesting topic on his hands, and decided to write a book. That book, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign: His Supposed Charge from Fort Hell, his Near-Mortal Wound, and a Civil War Myth Reconsidered, was released by publisher Savas Beatie in 2016.

For our 2017-18 program year, we proudly welcome these outstanding speakers:

Sept. 8th: Ed Bonekemper on False Remembrance of the Civil War, The Myth of the Lost Cause
Oct. 13th: Dave Powell on Chickamauga
Nov. 10th: Tom Clemens on Special Order 191 and the Maryland Campaign
Dec. 8th: David Dixon on The Lost Gettsyburg Address
Jan. 12th: Bruce Allardice on The Battle of Ezra Church
Feb. 9th: Larry Hewitt on Confederate General Richard Anderson
Mar. 9th: Robert Jenkins on The Battle of Peach Tree Creek
Apr. 13th: John Marszalek, Nevins-Freeman Address
May 11th: Joseph Rose on Grant Under Fire
June 8th: Dennis Rasbach on Joshua Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign