Civil War Roundtables (or CWRT) are a loosely organized group of independent organizations that share a common interest in the study, promotion, and recognition of the American Civil War. The oldest such group in the United States is The Civil War Roundtable of Chicago based in Chicago, Illinois, and the second oldest is the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable.
There are hundreds of such organizations throughout the U.S., with some in other countries as well. There is no national organization to coordinate the activities and publicity of the individual roundtables, although most follow a similar format of a monthly meeting (some include a dinner on site or at a nearby restaurant), announcements of local Civil War events and activities, a guest speaker (usually an author, park ranger, battlefield preservationist, historian, reenactor, or other expert). The meeting may also feature raffles, book signings, door prizes, auctions, fund raisers, and other similar activities. Some CWRT groups sponsor battlefield preservation events, battle walks, excursions, tours, and other "sanctioned" events.
Many roundtables charge an annual membership fee to help defray expenses for speakers, and others raise money primarily from charging for individual dinner meetings / presentations. Several smaller CWRT groups do not charge any set fees, but instead "pass the hat" and give all or a part of the collected money to the guest speaker.
Since 2004,Matthew Borowick has been writing a column in the Civil War News about round tables. The column features "best practices" about round tables throughout the world. In 2010, he published The Civil War Round Table Handbook, a compilation of those columns.