Monthly Archives: August 2017

Meeting of November 28, 2017

Join us at 7 PM, November 28, 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 McMahon on “Civil War Statues in Southern States”

Tom will introduce the subject of Civil War Statues in Southern States, Their Removal and/or Preservation. Tom has gathered information, particularly of a psychological nature, and welcomes audience input. Information and education is our goal.

Tom is a third generation San Franciscan whose ancestral people came from the devastating Irish Potato Famine in the mid 1800s, miners who never set roots on the East Coast, settling in Butte, Montana, Virginia City, Nevada, and San Francisco. One great grandmother is said to have traveled by boat to the Isthmus of Panama, crossing by donkey, and sailing to the City by the Bay around 1856. The closest any of Tom’s relatives came to the American Civil War was Grandpa Alexander John McMahon’s mining much coveted silver in the Comstock mines of Virginia City, where Tom’s father was born in 1881. Maternal grandfather James Bresnahan was born in San Francisco in 1866, five years after the fall of Fort Sumter and a year after the aassassination of President Lincoln. Unfortunately none of these pioneer people were alive when Tom was born on November 16, 1928. There was once a day when Tom used this historical background with ease, yet now approaching 89 relies on a dimming memory, research, and carefully prepared written notes.

Tom has worn a variety of hats in a rich, happy, and varied life, married 40 years to Elaine with two sons and five grandchildren who live in San Bruno and Santa Clara. Best described as teacher, this talent has permeated 26 years of Catholic priesthood that includes being a commissioned officer chaplain in the U.S. Army, 70 years of kindergarten, grade, high school, college, and adult education of self and others. In 1977 Tom was licensed by the State of California as a mental health therapist working mainly with teens who had run away from home in a decades long study of the changing American family, nationwide as well as local. Tom has written weekly for 11 years a worldwide internet column out of Sydney, Australia, on religion and spirituality in the age of modern technology.

Meeting of September 26, 2017

Jack Nakash and Marcelo Pontin on “Civil War Reenacting”

Jack Nakash and Marcelo Pontin, Civil War Living Historians and Reenactors, discussed their portrayals, equipment, and sources for reenacting the American Civil War.

Jack Nakash

Jack Nakash is a Civil War Reenactor/Living Historian who currently portrays a Confederate soldier in the 14th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Co. B. He returned to reenacting in 2016 but has done both Union and Confederate impressions for a combined twenty years. He is a member of the American Civil War Association and the National Civil War Association. Jack is a US Marine Corps Veteran, lives in San Jose, CA, and is a retail clerk. Jack has been interested in the American Civil War starting at a very young age, and has participated in numerous Civil War Reenactments both in California and back East. He is a devotee of the Civil War “common soldier” and the life and trials of that soldier.

Marcelo Pontin has been an Union Soldier Civil War Reenactor for the last three years in the 7th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry of the National Civil War Association and “represents” a Second Sergeant in that unit. He is a nine year veteran of both the United States Army and the Air National Guard in both Illinois and California. He currently lives in San Francisco, and is an engineer with AT&T. He also studies and lectures about history as a hobby.

Meeting Minutes September 2017

Quiz for September 26, 2017

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Civil War Medicine?

Q#1 – What were the main reasons infection was one of the main causes why a soldier died from his wounds?

Q#2 – During the first year of the Civil War, frequent epidemics of which four childhood diseases was rampant in Union Army camps?

Q#3 – Both Union and Confederate soldiers involved in military operations developed which four main illnesses?

Q#4 – What liquid solutions were used during amputations to partially sedate patients?

Q#5 – Today, it is known that if a wound produces pus, it means the injury is infected. During the Civil War, what did doctors think the presence of pus in a wound meant?

Q#6 – For the Union, what was the ratio of casualties dying of disease? What was the ration for the Confederacy?

Q#7 – For the Union, what was the name of the governmental agency that handled most of the nursing care of the armies, together with necessary acquisition and transportation of medical supplies?

Q#8 – Because there were no antibiotics yet developed during the Civil War to deal with diseases, what treatments did many doctors and surgeons prescribe for their patients?

Q#9 – In August 1861, what Union general appointed surgeon Charles S. Tripler as the first Medical Director of the Army?

Q#10 – In February 1861, who appointed David C. DeLeon as Surgeon General of the Confederate Medical Department?

Q#11 – During 1861 and most of 1862, why did the Confederacy employ a policy of furloughing wounded soldiers to return home for recovery?

Q#12 – At the beginning of the war, the Union ambulance service was very ineffective for several reasons: poorly made vehicles, lack of organization, and corrupt and dishonest staff that manned the ambulances and sought to steal from the wounded passengers. What was the name of the individual who made significant improvements in the Union ambulance service?

Q#13 – For both the North and South, approximately how many women volunteered to work in hospitals?

Q#14 – In addition to assisting surgeons during procedures, giving medicines, supervising the feedings, and cleaning the bedding and clothes of patients, with what two very personal tasks did women assist wounded soldiers?

Q#15 – For more than a century and a half, it has been accepted that about 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War. What is the name of the historian who in 2011 published a paper that described the use of demographic methods and sophisticated statistical analysis that produced a number of 750,000 soldiers who died in the war?