Welcome to the website of the South Bay Civil War Round Table, Silicon Valley California’s own Round Table. Meetings are usually held at 7 PM on the last Tuesday of each month at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. Upcoming meetings:
Join us at 7 PM, October 29, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is
Gary Yee on “Port Hudson and Why It Matters”
With Vicksburg’s fall, Lincoln declared the Father of Waters was unvexed to these sea. Lincoln was only partially right. One hundred ten miles further south along the Mississippi River in Louisiana stood Port Hudson. So long as it remained in Confederate hands, Union mercantile traffic could never reach New Orleans and from there, to foreign ports.
Initially overlooked by both sides, its defenses were built slowly by the Confederates and the Union neglected its strategic importance until after the Confederates began occupying it. Realizing that something must be done to capture Port Hudson, a change in command for Union land forces was necessary and Nathaniel Banks replaced the relatively inactive Benjamin Butler. Along with a change in command, new regiments were raised to ensure its success.
Like Vicksburg, Port Hudson was a joint Army and Naval effort led by Farragut and Banks. While the Confederate garrison under Maj. Gen. Franklin Gardner was cut off, it defied the larger host and established the record for the longest siege in the Civil War. Its defense would have lasting implications affecting the outcome of the war and like a Shakespearean play, it had its heroes, villains and buffoons.
Gary Yee is no stranger to the South Bay Civil War Round Table. He used to regularly attend with his uncle, Bill Yee and Helen Trimpi (dec.) and has given several talks there. Additionally, he was a member of the SFCWRT, Peninsula CWRT and the Friends of Civil War Alcatraz. With the cooperation of all the Bay Area CWRTs, Gary helped to organize the 2010 Annual West Coast Civil War Conference which, conveniently enough for him, was at his workplace at the SF War Memorial.
After retiring, Gary Yee relocated to Colorado where he attended the nation’s oldest gunsmithing school at Trinidad State. Besides earning an Associate Science degree, he became an adjunct instructor there and has led school field trips to a private gun museum near Sante Fe as well as the Civil War battlefield in Glorietta, New Mexico. Naturally, this forced him to learn about the battle and campaign; something which was he was well up to. He still enrolls in classes at TSJC and has taken engraving, relief carving, silver wire inlay to add some artistic element to his flintlocks. Most of his time though is spent researching and writing. This year he had a title on sharpshooting that was published by Osprey. Currently he is working on a short book on the Port Hudson Campaign and a book on WW II sniping.
Civil War Quiz: “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” About the Civil War
Q#1 – Why did the combat death of Confederate Brigadier General Ben Hardin Helm result in him becoming the only Southerner to cause conspicuous mourning in Washington during the Civil War?
Q#2 – What was the name of the very famous Union General who, coming upon the mansion of a woman he had once courted, put the place under guard and left a message for his erstwhile sweetheart which read: “You once said that you would pity the man who would ever become my enemy. My answer was that I would ever protect and shield you. This I have done. Forgive me all else. I am but a soldier”?
Q#3 – What was the name of Mary Todd Lincoln’s closest confidant during the war and her principal comfort on the death of the president, who was also a black seamstress who had once been employed by Mrs. Jefferson Davis?
Q#4 – What was the name of the Union general who in 1861 had accompanied Abraham Lincoln on his journey from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington and in 1865 accompanied Lincoln’s body when it was returned to Springfield for burial?
Q#5 – What was Union Major General William T. Sherman’s estimated dollar amount worth of damage on Georgia resulting from his “March to the Sea”?
Q#6 – Confederate General John B. Hood lost his right leg at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. In what country was his fine cork leg manufactured?
Q#7 – When some of his men cheered news of Lincoln’s assassination, what was the name of the Confederate general who became noticeably angry and shouted the following: “Shut those men up. If they don’t shut up, have them arrested”?
Q#8 – What wife of a most senior Union political official had three relatives that served in the Confederate Army?
Q#9 – What famous Confederate general lost 29 horses shot out from under him during the war, probably a world’s record?
Q#10 – During the War Between the States, what happened to Robert E. Lee’s hair?
Q#11 – Of the 245,000 wounds treated in Union hospitals during the Civil War, what number and percentage were inflicted by bayonet?
Q#12 – In 1860, what was the reason given by Federal ordnance officials for turning down the Spencer repeating breech-loading rifle?
Q#13 – What makes 70-year old Hugh McVey, who served in Company D, 4th Kentucky Infantry in the Confederate Army, and was killed at Shiloh an oddity in the Civil War? (Hint: Think something European.)
Q#14 – As the armies from both sides surged to and fro in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, how many times did the town of Winchester, Virginia, change hands during the war?
Q#15 – Of the 425 Confederate generals, 77 were killed or died of wounds during the war. What is the name of the last surviving general of the Southern armies who lived until 1914 and whose son and namesake was killed as a general in World War II?
Join us at 7 PM, November 26, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is
Tom Roza on “If the South Had Won the Civil War”
We all know who won the Civil War; after four years of brutal slaughter where estimates now range that over 700,000 soldiers died and hundreds of thousands of others were horribly wounded, Union forces defeated Confederate forces. And after the Reconstruction efforts ended, the United States remained one nation.
On the eve of the 100 Year Centennial of the Civil War, in the November 22, 1960, issue of Look magazine, author MacKinley Kantor published a fictional account set as a history text, entitled “If the South Had Won the Civil War.” The article generated such a response that it was published in 1961 as a book.
MacKinlay Kantor was a writer who also wrote several novels about the American Civil War as it actually happened some of which are: Lee and Grant at Appomattox, Andersonville, and Gettysburg among others. The premise for “If the South Had Won the Civil War” relies on several significant events: some a bit questionable, but others very plausible
Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. His interest in the Civil War began with his elementary education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has evolved ever since. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his Roundtable organization and other historical organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is also a publish author of the book entitled, “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” that has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog and Tom is currently working on a sequel.
November 8–10, 2019, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sacramento, Sponsored by Sacramento Civil War Round Table
Our Speakers are:
- Chris Mackowski: A Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at Saint Bonaventure University, and the author of more than 10 books. He works with the National Parks Service and is the founder of the Emerging Civil War Blog.
- David A. Powell: A Vice-President of Airsped, Inc., a delivery firm. He has published many articles in magazines & historical simulations of different battles. He specializes and leads tours on the Battle of Chickamauga.
- Sarah Kay Bierle: A Managing Editor for Emerging Civil War’s Blog. She has spent the last few years researching. writing, and speaking across the country about the American Civil War.
- Paul Kahan: An expert on the political, diplomatic, and economic history of the United States in the nineteenth century. Dr. Kahan has published several books and is a former resident of Sacramento.
- Jim Stanbery: A retired Professor of Political Science and History at Los Angeles Harbor College, and speaker at the West Coast Civil War Conference for more than thirty years. He is a frequent CWRT speaker.
- Theodore P. Savas: An attorney, adjunct college instructor, award-winning author, and Partner and Managing Director of Savas Beatie LLC. He specializes in military history and the American Civil War.
- Edwin L. Kennedy Jr.: A graduate of West Point and former Professor of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College History Department & Combat Studies. He is the leader of staff rides, including the Battle of Chickamauga.
The Conference cost is $200 per person, which includes Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner, as well as all sessions. A full hotel breakfast buffet is included for guests staying at the hotel. Partial day attendance: Friday Only is $50; Saturday Only is $125; Saturday Dinner and Lecture Only is $50; Sunday Only is $25. There will be a no-host bar set-up Friday and Saturday evenings for your enjoyment before dinner.
Download the flyer and registration form.
For more information, contact Paul Ruud at 530-886-8806.
Room reservations are available by calling the Crowne Plaza Hotel directly at 877-504-0054 or online at www.crowneplaza.com. The hotel has rooms set aside for us at $139 per night, plus tax. Please mention the Conference.
South Bay CWRT 2019 Annual Picnic Meeting
Jim Rhetta on “The Civil War in the Generations of Human Warfare”
There is no doubt that the Civil War had tremendous impact on the nation’s history. However, some Civil War enthusiast and historians have stated that the Civil War is still currently studied for examples to shape and influence modern military practices and tactical operations.
This presentation will describe the Generations of Human Warfare and that the Civil War was at a unique tipping point between the Generations of Mass and Firepower. Some initial uses in the Civil War as armored ships, submarines, and observation balloons later improved and evolved into common components of later conflicts. However technological changes quickly rendered Civil War era tactics and operations ineffective and obsolete.
A look at the three Generations of Warfare currently in practice will reveal how human conflict has evolved in directions and means beyond what could be conducted and even imagined in the Civil War.
Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Union Admirals David Dixon Porter and David Farragut?
Q#1 – David Farragut was the first person to reach three ranks in the United States Navy. What were the titles of these ranks?
Q#2 – Who was David Dixon Porter’s adoptive brother?
Q#3 – When David Porter began his naval service as a midshipman at the age of 10 years, what was the name of the relative he served under?
Q#4 – After the war, David Farragut oversaw the construction of the first U.S. Navy base established on the Pacific Ocean. What was the name of this base?
Q#5 – In 1824, Farragut was placed in command of USS Ferret and served in the Mosquito Fleet. What was the purpose of this fleet?
Q#6 – As part of the Navy Department’s plans to open the Mississippi River during the Civil War, what where the names of the two Confederate forts on the Mississippi River that Porter bombarded beginning on April 18, 1862?
Q#7 – In February, 1862, as part of the Union “Anaconda Plan”, what was the name of the command that Farragut was given command of?
Q#8 – The March 15, 1863, attack on Port Hudson failed and resulted in Farragut’s flotilla incurring heavy damage to his warships because of what unilateral decision made by Farragut?
Q#9 – Porter was not held in high regard by which of President Lincoln’s Cabinet secretaries who called Porter “a gas bag … blowing his own trumpet and stealing credit which belongs to others”?
Q#10 – What was the reason that Porter was not in favor of the March 1864 Red River Expedition led by General Nathaniel P. Banks?
Q#11 – On August 5, 1864, Farragut won a great victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay and is famous for being quoted for the phrase “Damn the torpedoes….. full speed ahead”. What incident during the battle caused Farragut to make this statement?
Q#12 – By late summer 1864, what was the name of the only Confederate port open for running the blockade that Porter was ordered to close?
Q#13 – As part of the January 13, 1865, attack on Fort Fisher, Porter imposed what new methods of bombardment for his warships?
Q#14 – In 1890 Porter became the founding president of what organization?
Q#15 – What was the name of Farragut’s last active naval command and what special honor was he accorded after he retired?
Jim Rhetta and Tom Roza on “How to Write a Book”
Writing is something that people do almost every day whether it is associated with their work profession or just on a personal basis. One of the most intriguing and compelling components of writing is storytelling where the author presents their thoughts that, depending on the content, is intended to either entertain, educate, or both.
Students of history such as members of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable are exposed to numerous stories regarding events and people that are associated with the Civil War, the most significant aspect in the history of the United States of America. And, often that exposure to literally tens of thousands of events and characters can stimulate within a person the creative desire to tell a story from their perspective.
The purpose of this presentation is to share with the SBCWRT membership the personal experiences of two of its members, Jim Rhetta and Tom Roza, on how to leverage that creative desire into positive action.
Tom will share is personal experience regarding his love of writing and how that was translated into the creation of his recently published novel, “Windows to the Past” A Virginian’s experience in the Civil War.” The presentation will include a description of the actual writing effort and the advice and guidance Tom received on how to effectively write a historically-based novel. This will include the extensive work Tom preformed with an experienced fictional editor. Tom’s portion of the joint presentation will include the often-frustrating effort to get his book published.
Jim will provide guidance on the descriptive components of writing in that era to reach the reader and provide a more captivating book. Writers should be aware of and describe the wide variety of vehicles and horses on the roads in that time. The social factors of the time include the large family sizes, drinking practices, social manners, and the role of religion. Sights and sounds include the colors and styles of clothing worn, type and state of crops in the fields, the feel of travel, and conditions of the buildings and infrastructure. Descriptions of these factors can combine to take the reader back to that era and have a deeper connection to the story.
Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his Roundtable organization and other organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is a published author of the book entitled, “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” that has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog, and is currently working on a sequel.
Jim Rhetta retired from Lockheed Corp, and also retired from the USAF Reserve as a Colonel in the Intelligence Community. In both careers he monitored, analyzed and reported on foreign threat systems, global conflicts and crisis for the DoD Community. His careers required him to fuse multiple data sources to write threat assessments, weekly activity reports, and publish classified documents. He continues to study both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today.
Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Civil War Battlefield Preservation and National Cemeteries?
Q#1 – When did the U.S. Congress authorize the creation of military burial places during the Civil War?
Q#2 – What were the first three efforts at Civil War memorialization during the war itself?
Q#3 – What battlefield and cemetery that were established in 1862, but title to the land was not transferred to the War Department until 1877?
Q#4 – Who began erecting markers on battlefields beginning with the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861?
Q#5 – What is the oldest surviving monument Civil War monument and where is it located?
Q#6 – In the 1890s, the United States government established five Civil War battlefield parks under the jurisdiction of the War Department. Two were: Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania; what were the other three?
Q#7 – The modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement began in 1987 with the founding of what organization?
Q#8 – In 1991, the original Civil War Trust organization was initially created in the mold of what other organization?
Q#9 – From 1987 through late 2017, the Civil Trust and its predecessor organizations saved more than 40,000 acres at how many Civil War battlefields and sites in 21 states?
Q#10 – The American Civil War was the defining event in our nation’s history. Between 1861 and 1865 approximately how many battles and engagements were fought across the continent from Vermont to the New Mexico Territory, and beyond?
Q#11 – Starting in 1991, what event caused interest in the Civil War to soar and led to major donations to various preservation battlefield organizations?
Q#12 – Whose efforts 25 years after the Civil War resulted in the creation of these national military parks: Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Chickamauga?
13 – In the mid-1890s, what planned action led to a Supreme Court decision that established the government’s right to acquire and condemn land in the interest of historic preservation?
Q#14 – What was the “Antietam Plan” that was developed in the second half of the 19th Century related to how battlefield preservation specifications were defined?
Q#15 – What is thought to be the first monument to be erected on a Civil War battlefield?
Robert Burch on “Military Operations Out of State″
Bob’s presentation will focus on operations conducted by the California Volunteers during the Civil War in rough chronological order. Two battalions were first deployed to the Pacific Northwest to replace outbound Regular Army units joining the Army of the Potomac in late 1861. In early 1862 three regiments composed the famous California Column in its epic march across present-day Arizona and New Mexico into Western Texas during the heat of summer to assist repelling a Confederate invasion. This remains one of the classic marches in U.S. Army history in terms of organization and logical preparation. Later that same year another two regiments marched overland to Utah to defend the primary line of communications between California and the East. Finally, two regiments were concentrated in Southeast Arizona Territory to deter possible war with France as French forces occupied the Mexican state of Sonora in late 1864. Collectively these Volunteer units protected all U.S. territory west of the Rocky Mountains for nearly five years from outlaws, hostile Indians, and Confederate threats.
Bob Burch is a native Californian from Santa Clara County, a retired U.S. Army colonel and studied U.S. history with a concentration in U.S. military history at San Jose State University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and War College. He is also a lifetime student of the American Civil War. He read his first Civil War book while in the fifth grade. He had the opportunity to visit all of the principle and most secondary Civil War sites from Florida to Pennsylvania to New Mexico during his 30-year military career, including multiple week-long visits to Gettysburg, his favorite battlefield site. Like most CWRT members, he desires to understand his home state’s role in the war. He collected material for this presentation for over ten years followed by several years of analysis. This series documents his research in great detail. Time allows only a key points to be presented. Numerous period photographs and magazine drawings are included for visual effect with the intent of comprehending California’s role in the Civil War.
Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy?
Q#1 – When and where did the term “Lost Cause” first appear?
Q#2 – What was the objective of the “Lost Cause”?
Q#3 – Why were so many white Southerners devastated economically, emotionally, and psychologically by the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865?
Q#4 – How did believers in the “Lost Cause” explain the Confederate defeat?
Q#5 – How did many who advocated the virtues of the “Lost Cause” portray the slavery system?
Q#6 – What purpose did these Southern memorial associations such as the United Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Ladies Memorial Associations have in advancing the concepts of the “Lost Cause”?
Q#7 – How did proponents of the “Lost Cause” movement view the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War?
Q#8 – The 1881 publication of “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” by Jefferson Davis, a two-volume defense of the Southern cause, provided what important justification in the history of the Lost Cause?
Q#9 – How did Robert E. Lee indirectly help in advancing the beliefs central to the “Lost Cause”?
Q#10 – Confederate Memorial Literary Society (CMLS), founded by elite white women in Richmond, Virginia, in the 1890s, established the Confederate Museum. What was the main purpose of the Museum?
Q#11 – What was the primary role of The United Daughters of the Confederacy as it related to the “Lost Cause”?
Q#12 – What was one method employed by The United Daughters of the Confederacy that helped promulgate the Lost Cause’s ideology?
Q#13 – What financial and economic action did proponents of the “Lost Cause” initiate to help reduce the severe poverty prevalent in the South after the Civil War?
Q#14 – In October 1875, the second son of General Robert E. Lee made the following statement at the Annual Meeting of the Virginia Division: “I object to the phrase too often used—South as well as North—that the Confederates fought for what they thought was right. They fought for what they knew was right. They, like the Greeks, fought for home, the graves of their sires, and their native land”. What was this person’s name?
Q#15 – “Lost Cause” advocates viewed Confederate generals such as Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as representing the virtues of Southern nobility and fought bravely and fairly. How did these same people view Northern generals?