who will speak on

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

at Ft. McNair Officers' Club, Washington, DC

(see directions here) or (download them in pdf here)

6 pm: Social Hour (cash bar)
7 pm: Dinner ($36 for dinner and lecture)
8 pm: Lecture ($5 for lecture only)

Reservations required by 5:00 pm, Thursday, September 8th 


If you have any problems making reservations online or would like to know about alternatives to making reservations or payments online, please email <> 

About the Topic:
The Gettysburg Campaign has recently received increased attention from historians. The study of the battle on July 1-3, 1863 in and around the small crossroads town in Pennsylvania is not complete, however, without also looking into the movement of the Army of Northern Virginia to and from Gettysburg, and the pursuit by the Army of the Potomac after the battle. Many historians agree the Gettysburg Campaign concluded with the July 14, 1863 Battle of Falling Waters, which occurred on the banks of the Maryland side of the Potomac River. The battle is also called the Battle of Williamsport or the Battle of Hagerstown.

Lee's bloodied army began to retreat from Gettysburg in torrential rain beginning the night of July 4. It moved southwest across South Mountain on the Fairfield Road toward Hagerstown and Williamsport. The Union army cautiously followed. On July 7, Confederate cavalry successfully prevented Union cavalry from occupying Williamsport and destroying the Confederate trains there. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia reached the Potomac River on July 11 to find its pontoon bridge destroyed. Unable to cross the rain-swollen river, Lee entrenched to protect the river crossings at Williamsport and waited for Meade’s army to attack. Meade arrived on July 12 and immediately probed the Confederate line. Heavy skirmishing took place on July 13 as Meade prepared for a full-on attack. Luckily for Lee and his men, the river fell enough to allow them to construct a new bridge and Lee began crossing after dark on the 13th. On the morning of  July14, Union cavalry launched a blistering attack on Lee’s rearguard, which was on the Maryland bank waiting to cross. More than 500 Confederates were taken prisoner and Confederate Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew was mortally wounded in the fight.

Although not the climactic battle of the war desired by President Lincoln, the Gettysburg Campaign remains a story of miscalculation, bravery, larger-than-life personalities, tragedy and a cover-up. The story does not end with the battle, either. The events include an intriguing tale about veterans of the Battle of Falling Waters decades after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s rearguard clashed with Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s cavalry. Our speaker, George Franks, will discuss this critical battle.

About Our Speaker:
George F. Franks, III is the author of Battle of Falling Waters 1863: Custer, Pettigrew and the End of the Gettysburg Campaign, which makes extensive use of first-hand accounts, detailed maps, period drawings and photographs to breathe life into the crucial yet little remembered end of the Gettysburg Campaign. The book includes as well a detailed description of the battlefield today and efforts to preserve portions of the land for future generations.

Passionate about the study of the American Civil War since visiting the Gettysburg battlefield with his parents in July 1963, Mr. Franks studied history at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh. A former telecommunications executive with extensive international experience, he is currently the President of Franks Consulting Group and the owner of, a historical hat business. Mr. Franks also is the founder and President of the Battle of Falling Waters 1863 Foundation, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. 

Mr. Franks is the former President of the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table, a member of Hagerstown Civil War Round Table, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the Civil War Trust. He is also a Governor and a former Vice President of the Company of Military Historians.

Mr. Franks has researched the July 14, 1863 battle of Falling Waters, Maryland for a decade and owns and lives in the 1830 Daniel Donnelly House on the battlefield. Franks can be reached via email at or his web site at
For information about the Round Table and to apply for membership, see the Tab above marked "About Us/ Membership Information" or click HERE 

The Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia was founded in 1951 with authors Bruce Catton and Virgil Carrington "Pat" Jones among its founding members. Its purpose is to stimulate and expand interest in the military, political and sociological history of the United States and particularly the Civil War. It is also committed to preserving historical sites and landmarks through initiatives such as, among others, its annual Edwin C. Bearss Award. Among its achievements, the Round Table spawned the National Civil War Centennial Commission. 

The Round Table meets on the second Tuesday of the month from September to June at the Fort Lesley J. McNair Officers' Club in Washington, D.C. (formerly the Washington Arsenal and the execution site for the Lincoln conspirators). We have dinner followed by a presentation by a noted author or scholar on a topic related to the U.S. Civil War.  Recent speakers include: Ed Bearss, Frank Cooling, Fergus Bordewich, Buzz Carnahan, Bud Robertson, Edna Greene Medford, Greg Mertz, Chandra Manning, Frank O'Reilly, Gary Adelman and Gail Stephens, to name only a few.

We welcome members and non-members alike -- whether you are a Civil War history buff or have only recently begun studying this conflict -- to join us for dinner and the speaker presentation. Reservations are required for dinner and a fee is charged. Or you are welcome to skip dinner and only attend the speaker presentation. For more information about our meetings and for directions, click on the "MEETINGS AND SPEAKERS" tab above. 

The Round Table also sponsors visits to battlefield sites, an annual tour, and other events.  Recent tours have featured Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, the Lost Avenue, Appomattox, Chickamauga, the Valley Campaign, Antietam, Petersburg, Culp's Hill and Daniel Lady Farm, and many more.

Please click on one of the tabs in the menu bar above to learn about our group and for more information about our dinners, speakers, newsletters, events, tours, history, and membership. Or contact us at with any questions.

Schedule of Meeting Speakers 2016-2017

DATE              SPEAKER              TENTATIVE TOPIC
Sept. 13, 2016    George Franks III     Falling Waters Battle
Oct. 11, 2016      Ed Bearss                 George Armstrong Custer
Nov. 9, 2016       David Goetz              Mosby/Grant Post War
Dec. 13, 2016     Dwight Hughes        The CSS Shenandoah
Jan. 10, 2017     Scott Patchan           Early/Sheridan & the Valley
Feb. 15, 2017     Noah Trudeau           Lincoln at City Point
Mar. 14, 2017     Tom Perry                 J.E.B. Stuart
Apr. 11, 2017      Bill Backus               Bristoe Station Campaign
May 9, 2017        Perry Jamieson        Winfield Scott Hancock
June 13, 2017    Stan Schneider         Alexander Webb

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