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Confederate General Patrick Cleburne once proposed to make soldiers of slaves as a condition to their freedom. Georgian Democrat Howell Cobb responded, "If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong."
The Grand Rapids Civil War Round Table welcomes the return of Matt VanAcker with his presentation on "Lansing in the Civil War." The population of Lansing, Michigan in 1860 was three thousand citizens. By the spring of 1865, over five hundred men, had enlisted from the Capital City to fight in the Civil War. These citizen-soldiers left the farms, factories, shops and schools of their youths to fight to uphold the Union and end slavery. Many of these mere boys would be wounded, captured or killed and those who were fortunate enough to return, came home changed, permanently maimed, and often haunted men. Using primary sources, including letters and personal diaries, Lansing and the Civil War is the story of uncommon valor and a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers, their families and the city they left behind.

Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, Matthew J. VanAcker is the Director and Curator of Save The Flags, a project to research, display, and conserve 240 battle flags carried by Michigan soldiers in the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War I. He also serves as the Director of the Michigan State Capitol Tour and Education Service and as Vice President of the Michigan Civil War Association. He has spoken and written extensively about the Michigan State Capitol and the Capitol Battle Flag collection. He received his BA from MSU in Secondary History Education and resides in West Lansing with his wife, Mary Kathleen, in an 1885 farmhouse where they raised their four children.

June 19, 2024
Matt VanAcker

Lansing in
The Civil War

We Meet At:
Orchard View Church of God
2777 Leffingwell Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Located at the southwest corner of 
3 Mile Road NE and Leffingwell Avenue NE

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Program begins at 7:00 pm

Membership fees for the 2023-2024 season are $30.00.
Unfortunately, expenses are such that we could not survive without an increase in our membership fees.
Checks can be made out to GRCWRT.
Get your membership/renewal form on our website
membership page or at one of out meetings.
Dues are based on the meeting year, September - June.

We are always looking for new speakers.  If you would like to give a presentation to the GRCWRT, or can recommend someone, please contact our program director.
!! We Have a New Meeting Location !!
Orchard View Church of God
2777 Leffingwell Ave. NE   Grand Rapids, Michigan
​Located at the southwest corner of 3 Mile Road NE and Leffingwell Avenue NE
Civil War Notes
Our Next Meeting
!! GRCWRT June Fund Raiser Auction !!

The Grand Rapids Civil War Round Table will be holding a special fundraiser auction at our meeting on June 19th. We will be auctioning off a Civil War themed game set that includes chess, checkers, backgammon, dominos, cribbage, and poker dice! There is storage for all game pieces in the box and it even comes with instructions. This will be a concealed bid auction. There will be a minimum bid of $50.00. The bidding will be held before and after the presentation that evening. The prize will be awarded at the end of the evening. All proceeds benefit the Grand Rapids Civil War Round Table.  
Good Luck!!
Special Announcements:

Birdseye view of Lansing
from just after the Civil War.