Edward H. Bonekemper

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Edward H. Bonekemper
EducationAmerican History, Law
Alma materMuhlenberg College, Old Dominion University, Yale Law School
SubjectsSlavery, Civil War, and Union and Confederate generals
SpouseSusan Weidemoyer [1]

Edward Henry Bonekemper III (1942-2017)[2] was a military historian, teacher, and writer. Bonekemper wrote frequently about slavery, the American Civil War, and Union and Confederate generals. He was a frequent speaker at Civil War Roundtables as well as a frequent speaker at the Smithsonian Institution.


In 1964,[3] Bonekemper graduated cum laude from Muhlenberg College with a bachelor's degree in American history. While attending Muhlenberg, he was given two awards based on his educational performance (best thesis; best American history CPA). Bonekemper later earned his master's degree in American history at Old Dominion University. He completed his Juris Doctor at Yale Law School.[4][5]

He was a native of Pennsylvania, and resided on Willow Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the time of his death. He was involved in the community.[5][6]


In January 2003, Bonekemper retired as a federal government attorney after 34 years of service. Within these 34 years, he worked 16 years as a lead hazardous materials transportation attorney for the United States Department of Transportation, and four years as the lead coal strip mining regulatory attorney at the United States Department of Interior.[4] During this time, he was also writing for Navy and Coast Guard publications. He was a speaker and teacher for the Coast Guard and Interior and Transportation Departments.[5]

Bonekemper was also a retired Coast Guard Reserve Commander.[4][5]

For eight years (2003–10),[7] he taught military history part-time and was a visiting lecturer at his alma mater, Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. Bonekemper also was an instructor in American Constitutional History and Maritime Law at the United States Coast Guard Academy.[4][8] He was an adjunct professor of Constitutional History at the American Military University.[4]

Bonekemper wrote articles for many publications including The Washington Times, The Journal of Afro-American History, and The Journal of Negro History.[6]

From 1998 onward, Bonekemper published non-fiction books about the Civil War.[5] His interest in Civil War history grew after multiple conversations with his father-in-law about this particular topic. His first book took him seven years to complete.[8]

Between 2010 and 2016, he was book review editor at Civil War News.[5]

Bonekemper gave over ten lectures at the Smithsonian Institution about the Civil War.[5] He also spoke at hundreds of Civil War round-table meetings, the Delta Queen, the Lincoln Forum of the District Columbia, the Chautauqua Institution, and numerous other events. Bonekemper made appearances on C-SPAN to discuss Grant and Lee's Civil war generalship.[7]


Born in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Edward H. Bonekemper III was a son of Edward H. Bonekemper II and Marie Bonekemper (née Adams), and had been married for 53 years to Susan Bonekemper (née Weidemoyer).[9]


Throughout his career, Bonekemper earned numerous awards. These include:[4]

  • U.S. Government Distinguished Career Service Award (2003)
  • Secretary of Transportation's Silver Medal (1989)
  • Coast Guard Commendation and Achievement Medals (1974, 1979) [6]
  • Federal Bar Association's Younger Federal Lawyer Award (1973)
  • Federal Bar Association's Transportation Attorney of the Year Award (1993)
  • Muhlenberg College Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award (2009) [3]



  • How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War (1998) ISBN 978-1887901154.
  • McClellan and Failure: A Study of Civil War Fear, Incompetence and Worse (2007) ISBN 978-0786428946.
  • Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor, Not a Butcher: The Military Genius of the Man Who Won the Civil War (2010) ISBN 978-1596986411.
  • Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian (2012) ISBN 978-1621570103.
  • Lincoln and Grant: The Westerners Who Won the Civil War (2012) ISBN 978-1439286135.
  • The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won (2015) ISBN 1621574547.
  • The 10 Biggest Civil War Blunders (2017) ISBN 978-1621576648.


  1. ^ "Marie H. Bonekemper". The Morning Call. 10 May 2005. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Edward H. Bonekemper III". Lancaster Online. 17 Dec 2017. Retrieved 10 Jan 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Reunion 2009: It's a Wrap!". The Talents Entrusted to our Care. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Edward Bonekemper". Conservative Book Club. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Edward H. Bonekmeper is a CWN Book Review Editor". Civil War News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Six Turning Points of the Civil War" (PDF). Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania. Retrieved 23 April 2015.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Lincoln and Grant to be discussed at upcoming Civil War Round Table Meeting". Port City Daily. 25 December 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  8. ^ a b Blosser, Shannon (27 August 2004). "General Grant defended in Raleigh". Carolina Journal Online. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Edward H. Bonekemper III" Lancaster Online.

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