Wittenberg to give museum talk on three U.S. Presidents

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
This photograph of William McKinley was taken by Matthew Brady, circa 1865.  McKinley went on to become one of America’s most beloved presidents. McKinley and two other presidents will be the subject of Eric Wittenberg’s talk at the Feb. 13 Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc. speaker’s meeting.

Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.’s (AAMI) February speaker’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in the restored German bank barn at 365 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle. The barn is heated.

Eric Wittenberg will be speaking about three U.S. Presidents, all born in Ohio, and all three served with distinction during the Civil War. They are: Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States; James A. Garfield, 20th President; and William McKinley, 25th President of the U.S. Garfield and McKinley were both struck down by assassins’ bullets.

Hayes was born in 1822, in Delaware, Ohio. Hayes, an attorney, served in Ohio’s House of Representatives, and as governor of the state. In 1877, he won his race for President of the United States by one electoral vote, two days before his inauguration.  Hayes, a Republican, chose to only serve for one term — 1877 - 1881.

Garfield was born in a log cabin in Orange, Ohio, in 1831. After working his way through college, Garfield, at the age of 26, became the president of Hiram College. During the Civil War, he rose to the rank of major general.  Garfield’s presidency began on March 4, 1881. While on his way to his 25th college reunion, Garfield was struck by an assassin’s bullet.  He lingered for a period of ten weeks, before dying on Sept. 19, 1881.

William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio in 1843.  He was only 18 when he enlisted in the Civil War, during which time McKinley rose to the rank of major.  After the war, he became an attorney and worked in Canton, Ohio.  McKinley was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he worked on what would become the McKinley Tariff Law of 1890.  McKinley was inaugurated on March 4, 1897.  One year later, the United States declared war on April 21, 1898, after the sinking of the U.S. Battleship Maine, on Feb. 15, 1898, in Havana harbor.  The Spanish-American War ended on Dec. 10, 1898.  Garrett Hobart was McKinley’s first Vice President.  He died in office of heart disease.  New York’s Governor Theodore Roosevelt was McKinley’s second Vice President.  On Sept. 6, 1901, the President was shot by Leon Czolgosz. McKinley died eight days later on Sept. 14, 1901.  He was the last president of the United States who had served in the Civil War.

This is the third time Wittenberg has spoken for Allison-Antrim Museum.  He most recently spoke about his book, which is a biography of Ulric Dahlgren, titled Like a Meteor Burning Brightly: The Short But Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren. Wittenberg, an attorney in Ohio, is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. He has authored over a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, as well as two dozen articles in popular magazines such as North & South, Blue & Gray, America's Civil War, and Gettysburg Magazine. His first book, Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions, won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.   Wittenberg is also the co-author of One Continuous Fight, which is a study of the retreat from Gettysburg, the forward of which, was written by historian Ted Alexander.

Wittenberg is a speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of cavalry battlefields and related sites.   He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located there.  Wittenberg lives in Columbus with his wife, Susan, and their beloved dogs. Wittenberg is the CEO of Ironclad Publishing Inc.

The program is open to the public. There is no fee to attend, but donations will be accepted toward Allison-Antrim Museum's annual speaker series. Please park on South Ridge Avenue and use the ADA accessible brick walk that leads directly to the barn door at the welcome banner. Should inclement weather interfere with Wittenberg’s presentation, notice of cancellation will be given by Monday, Feb. 10. Notices will be posted on the museum’s website at www.greencastlemuseum.org, on Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm and on the museum’s phone greeting at 717-597-9010.