Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table

Keeping Civil War History Alive in Our Nation's Capital

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 Join us on March 6, 2017, as Jim Johnston discusses John McCausland, the man who almost captured Washington

When former Confederate General “Tiger” John McCausland met Ulysses Grant after the war, he bragged that the last time he had been in Washington D.C. was in 1864.  A skeptical Grant asked if he was in disguise.  “Oh no,” McCausland answered, “I rode with my staff into the defenses of Georgetown.  Your entire defending garrison had deserted!  Your capital was practically undefended.  I sat there on a big gun and looked at the lights and wished that I had enough men to go ahead and capture the place and end the damned war.”  But is it true? 

In answering that question, Jim Johnston’s research led him to four McCausland grandsons, including one who had lived with the General, and to an episode in his career the family wanted kept secret, “that Chambersburg thing.”  Jim did not oblige.  The Washington Post carried Jim’s account as “The Man Who (Almost) Captured Washington,” which is the subject of Jim’s talk.  Incidentally, his research led him to additional secrets in a Washington woman’s lengthy account of her life in wartime Richmond, which Jim published in the book The Recollections of Margaret Cabell Brown Loughborough.

Jim is a lawyer, writer, and frequent lecturer in Washington D.C.  He grew up in Harry Truman's Independence, Missouri and graduated from the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan Law School.  He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, White House History, Legal Times of Washington, American Lawyer, and the Maryland Historical Society Magazine. He has written two books.  In addition to the Recollections, he wrote From Slave Ship to Harvard, a significant work in early Muslim and African American history.  He is on the State Department Speakers Bureau, the Speakers Bureau of the Montgomery County Historical Society, and the board of directors of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. 


The presentation is free of charge. While a donation to help defray costs is appreciated, it is not required. 


Join us at 5:30 pm in the John Cosgrove Members' Lounge (formerly known as the Game Room). The National Press Club menu will challenge your palette and the very capable Club staff will be able to meet any libation request. Please bring cash or checks for payment.


The CHCWRT meets in the newly renovated John Cosgrove Members' Lounge of the prestigious and historic National Press Club, which is located at 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20045, on the 13th floor.