Author to speak in Marietta July 19

Magnusen

The next regular meeting of the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 230 Second St., in Marietta. The featured presenter will be author Steven R. Magnusen to speak about his just-published book entitled, “To My Best Girl: Courage, Honor, Love in the Civil War: The Inspiring Life Stories of Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates Dawes.”

Magnusen observes, “I became a Civil War enthusiast at the age of 9 during a family trip to Gettysburg. I developed a special interest in the Iron Brigade and read about the exemplary service and harrowing military experiences of Rufus Dawes, 6th Wisconsin volunteers. I discovered a new book, “The Dawes House: The Place Where You Are Always Welcome,” that opened my eyes to a much more involved and amazing life story. Many letters and journals preserved through the years could offer more information about a man I admired, and I was prompted to investigate.

I subsequently discovered a remarkable love story, young Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates fall deeply in love during the brutal Civil War. This fascinating story begged to be told. There is the obvious historical respect but more powerful is their display of character, courage, and love amidst chaos and tragedy. They bear incredible burdens with exemplary courage, duty and honor, all held together by undying devotion to each other. There is a timeless and inspiring story that provides life lesson for us all.”

Magnusen is a native of Elkhart, Ind., and earned a degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. He was commissioned a U.S. Army officer through Purdue University’s ROTC program and achieved the rank of Major in a 15-year career with active infantry and armored reserve units. Magnusen’s professional career includes 35 years of service as a registered professional municipal engineer and public works director for the cities of Winetka and Liberyville, Ill., and as a consultant. He is active in church and community and resides with his family in Indianapolis, Ind.

Brigadier General Rufus Dawes was born in Malta, endured a tumultuous early family life, organized and rose to command the 6th Wisconsin volunteers of the Iron Brigade in the Civil War, and served as U.S. Congressman and Marietta College trustee following the war. Mary Gates Dawes from Marietta was not even 19 years old when war broke open the nation. She found love unexpectedly and was swept into the vortex of a war which she fully served from the “home front.” Her life changed forever.

The meeting is open to the public and there is no cost to attend. Small donations will be accepted to defray a portion of the cost of the event.

The Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley meets on the third Thursday of January, March, May, July, September and November. There is no membership fee or dues assessment. Education programs and an historic markers project are funded by proceeds from annual field trips to sites related to all of American history. This year’s trip will feature Monticello, Gaines’s Mills and Cold Harbor Battlefields, Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg and Staunton, Virginia on October 18-21.

Contact Leight Murray at 740 706 2575 or lmurray5154@gmail.com for more information.

If you go

Event: Next Regular Meeting of the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

When: 7 p.m., Thursday, July 19.

Location: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 230 Second St., Marietta.

Presentation: Author Steven R. Magnusen will speak on his new book, entitled “To My Best Girl: Courage, Honor, Love in the Civil War: The Inspiring Life Stories of Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates Dawes.”

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