Latest News

Most of my talks in 2021 will be virtual, and I am pleased to note that I have now scheduled several over the next few months.  Please look at the list on the front page of the site.  Thanks.


The Covid-19 problem forced many groups to cancel talks, including four I had arranged in Ohio in April 2020.  All of them have been re-scheduled for April 2021.


On Valentine’s day next week I will be speaking at my “home” Civil War Round Table on the topic of the Union Command Controversy in the Maryland campaign.  My theme is that rivalries and conflict among Union commander George McClellan’s subordinates, combined with McClellan’s misjudgments, were key reasons why the Union army did not win an overwhelming victory at Antietam. Hope to see you there.

New Speaking Date Added

On March 12, 2019, I will be speaking to the Stonewall Jackson CWRT in Bridgeport, West Virginia.  The topic is at my discretion, but I will likely focus on the war in West Virginia and why both Jacob Cox and Jackson were successful in campaigns there.


October: Book Presentation to Oberlin’s President, Talks in Alexandria, VA and Cleveland, Ohio

October will be a busy month for my CW activities.  On October 10 I will be in Oberlin, Ohio and will present a copy of my biography of Jacob Cox, Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era, to Oberlin College President Ambar.  The president’s office is in the Jacob D. Cox administration building, so it is only fitting that she have a copy of the only biography of her building’s namesake.

Later that evening I will be giving a talk to the Cleveland Civil War Round Table about the Union command controversy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862.  I first spoke to this group in 2014 about the life and career of Jacob Cox.  This time I will cover the reasons why many decisions made by George McClellan led to only a tactical victory for the Union at the Battle of Antietam, at a time when an overwhelming victory was in his grasp on several occasions.

Then on October 15 I will be in Alexandria, VA at their Civil War Round Table to speak about the life of Jacob Cox.

All are welcome to these talks, so I hope to see you there.

CWRT Congress August 18

I enjoyed participating in this event at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.  I met representatives from seven Round Tables to whom I had already spoken and from a dozen others with whom I will be in contact for future speaking opportunities.  In that regard, the Western Reserve CWRT (Berea, Ohio) offered me the opportunity to speak there again on November 14 on the topic of the West Virginia campaign.   I have added that to the list for this year.

New Talks Scheduled!

As noted on the list of upcoming talks, I recently added talks in Toms River,  NJ (Jersey Shore CWRT) and Cleveland (Cleveland CWRT).  The latter is a return engagement, a fact of which I am quite proud.  (Also note that the Alexandria talk, which was originally scheduled for June, is now on October 25).

June Speeches: Harpers Ferry, WV and Alexandria, VA!

With the recent addition of Alexandria, VA, on June 25, I will now be speaking at two very important Civil War cities this month: Harpers Ferry, WV and Alexandria.  I am very much looking forward to returning to the group at Harpers Ferry, which hosted my very first talk back in 2014.  It was in fact before my book on Jacob Cox was published, so only now will I be able to offer autographed copies of the book to the members.

In Harpers Ferry I will be speaking about the command controversy in the Maryland campaign among McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, Porter, and Jacob Cox.  It was, in my view, one of the many reasons why the Union victorywas so minimal.

In Alexandria i will speak about Jacob Cox’s life and why this most interesting character of the Civil War era is not as well known as he should be.

Hope to see you there at either or both events!!

June 10 Tour of South Mountain and Antietam

On Sunday June 10 I will be leading a tour of these two battles, starting at 10:15 AM at the South Mountain Inn.  If you are interested, send me an e-mail at

May 5, 2018

I will be giving three lectures this month, in Chambersburg, PA; Morgantown, WV; and Burlington, NC.  Hope you can make it to see me.  Gene

February 21,2018

The Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table announced my March 5 talk as follows:

NEXT MEETING: March 5, 2018

Gene Schmiel shares his interpretation of “The Crisis in the Union Command Structure during the Maryland Campaign.”

Gene Schmiel will discuss George McClellan’s decisions regarding the responsibilities of his subordinates after the Battle of South Mountain through the Battle of Antietam three days later. Those decisions harmed the unity of command and introduced jealousies and bitterness, especially between Ambrose Burnside and Fitz John Porter, which may have made the difference between victory and stalemate. Jacob Cox, who commanded the Union left flank at Antietam, wrote about this issue in his memoirs, and it has been a matter of intense debate ever since.

Gene is a student of the Civil War whose book, Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era, was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press. The book, a History Book Club selection, was labeled “best biography of the year” by the Civil War Books and Authors website. Gene holds a PhD from The Ohio State University and was an assistant professor of History at St. Francis University (PA) before becoming  a foreign service officer with the Department of State. He resides in Gainesville, Virginia with his wife Bonnie Kathryn. Together they wrote a book, Welcome Home: Who Are You; Tales of a Foreign Service Family. Gene is currently working on a “counterfactual” book about the Battle of Antietam and how an overwhelming Union victory there ironically resulted in the preservation of slavery. You can find out more about Gene at his website.

The CHCWRT meets at prestigious and historic National Press Club, which is located at 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20045, on the 13th floor. We will be meeting in the newly renovated John Cosgrove Members’ Lounge (formerly known as the Game Room) . Dinner begins at 5:30 and can be paid for by cash or check.  Please note that dinner orders will no longer be taken after 6:30. The presentation begins at 7:00 and is free of charge.

FREE parking is available at the PMI garage located on the North side of G Street between 14th and 13th Streets if you arrive at the garage after 5:00 p.m. and purchase food and/or drinks at the National Press Club. Just bring your parking ticket to the meeting for validation.

January 25, 2018:  Here an example of the Power Point talks I give:
Jacob Cox PDF


January 20, 2018:  The Essential Civil War Curriculum, a web-site created by and for experts in the field of the Civil War, published my essay on Jacob D. Cox.  Here is the link:

This web-site has over 300 essays on topics ranging from biographies of generals to Civil War medicine to slavery to the Emancipation Proclamation.  It is a superb source for anyone interested in fundamental information about the war as compiled by dozens of experts and carefully refereed by scholars.


I was pleased to see that over 1000 people signed up in the contest to get a copy of my book: Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era. The winner was one Ryan Gleason, but thank you all for participating.

For those who did not win, the book is available for purchase at or the Ohio University press web-site:

%d bloggers like this: