Monthly Archives: February 2018

Meeting of February 27, 2018

Join us at 7 PM, February 27, 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

Nick K. Adams on “The 2nd Minnesota in the Western Theater”

Nick K. Adams, great-great-grandson of Cpl. David Brainard Griffin, will describe the organization of, and first two years of action of the 2nd Minnesota Regiment of Volunteers in the Western Theater. His compelling presentation will be personalized by selected readings from the 100 letters Griffin wrote back to his young family on the Minnesota prairie prior to his death at the Battle of Chickamauga.

Those letters have been published as My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters from a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer. A companion novel that tells the home front story of the family’s difficult struggle to survive while Griffin was gone has recently been published as Away at War: A Civil War Novel of the Family Left Behind. Autographed copies of both books will be available for purchase at the meeting.

Nick K. Adams grew up in Los Angeles County and now resides in Tacoma, WA, having retired from a career in elementary education. He has followed a life-long passion of interest in the American Civil War after learning of his own g-g-grandfather’s participation and sacrifice in that pivotal period. He continues to speak at schools, libraries, service clubs, and Civil War Round Tables, and is an avid Civil War re-enactor in his portrayal of Minnesota’s 1861 Governor Alexander Ramsey who sent his grandfather into the conflict to preserve the Union.

Quiz for February 27, 2018

Civil War Quiz: Little Known Facts About the Civil War

Q#1 – Approximately what percent of the soldiers who fought for the Union Army were immigrants?

Q#2 – When black soldiers began signing up with the Union Army in early 1863, why did they refuse their salaries for 18 months?

Q#3 – True or False: Was there more than one attempt to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln?

Q#4 – Both before and during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln advocated a policy called colonization – what was this policy all about?

Q#5 – In 1863, what justification did the United States Government use to confiscate Robert E. Lee’s Virginia estate and turn it into a cemetery?

Q#6 – During the Civil War, there were two prominent individuals named Jefferson Davis. One was the president of the Confederate States of America. Who was the other?

Q#7 – Stonewall Jackson was a well known hypochondriac. Often, Jackson thought himself “out of balance.” What physical action did Jackson perform, even under fire, to counteract this perceived medical malady?

Q#8 – Stonewall Jackson also suffered from poor eyesight. What action did he perform to attempt to improve his vision?

Q#9 – After President Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, what unusual item was found in his leather wallet??

Q#10 – Daniel Emmett, a loyal Unionist who in the 1850s was the composer of the song “Dixie,” became disgusted by the song’s popularity in the South after the Civil War began. How did President Abraham Lincoln characterize the song “Dixie”?

Q#11 – What was the original name of the holiday that is now known as Memorial Day?

Q#12 – What were the names of the seven future U.S. presidents who served in the Civil War?

Q#13 – At the Battle of Gettysburg, which Confederate unit suffered the worst regimental losses in a single battle: 708 of 800 killed, wounded, or missing?

Q#14 – Horses and other draft animals had about a 7-month life expectancy during the Civil War. Approximately how many horses died during the war?

Q#15 – What happened to President Lincoln’s personal copy of the Emancipation Proclamation?

Meeting of March 27, 2018

Join us at 7 PM, March 27, 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

Robert Burch on “California in the Civil War: Securing the State in 1861″

California’s involvement in the American Civil War remains one of the great hidden facets of that conflict. One subject never explored by Civil War historians are the military operations within the state. Despite public expression of hope and confidence, doubt existed among senior Unionist politicians and U.S. Army officer’s regarding the prospects of preserving California in the Union in April 1861. Yet eight months later California was secured Union state after bold use of very limited Federal military resources and emergence of pro-Unionist Governor Leland Stanford.

The internal state Secessionist and external Confederate threat to California was real. Three lines of effort were developed to achieve their goal. Secessionists politically advocated a ballot referendum proposing to secede California from the Union and establish the “Republic of the Pacific” with intend of ultimately joining the Confederacy. At the same time, they militarily pursued raising a Secessionist Army to seize state by force. Externally the Confederate Army in Texas proposed capturing Southwest U.S. with assistance from California, Nevada and Arizona volunteers (the New Mexico Campaign, discussed in a later presentation).

This presentation describes this threat and the Union response. It is the product of original research that drew on multiple original and secondary sources, principally the Official Records and various secondary local history articles. This story is described in rough chronological order:

  • Non-Military Actions Laying Foundation for Bloodless Military Victory
  • U.S. Army Secured San Francisco
  • U.S. Army Secured Los Angeles & San Diego
  • U.S. Army Secured San Bernardino
  • California Volunteers Relieved Regular Army Units
  • California Volunteers Secured Southern California
  • Measurement of Success – Capture of Daniel Showalter

What is the so what? It’s relevance. First, how state politicians and U.S. Army leaders secured California for the Union in 1861 offers insight into a successful counter-insurgency operation. Secondly, unlike similar situations in the Border States during the Civil War, and the nation as a whole, this success was without bloodshed or lingering, deep division among the civil population. Finally, the state “economic boom” resulting from the Federal government’s appreciation to California for its loyalty after the war is still attracting immigrants to California over 150 years later.

Bob Burch is a native Californian, born and raised in Santa Clara County. He is also a lifetime student of the Civil War. He had the opportunity to visit many Civil War sites from Florida to Pennsylvania to New Mexico during his 30 year military career. Like many California CWRT members, he desires to understand his home state’s role in the war. He started collecting material for this presentation ten years ago and initiated a serious study 15 months ago. This series documents his research in great detail. Time allows only a few key points from each slide 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.

Meeting of April 24, 2018

Join us at 7 PM, April 24, 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 presents the DVD “History Channel/Civil War Journal: West Point Classmates – Civil War Enemies”

The Presentation: “Civil War Journal” is The History Channel’s series that chronicles the happenings of the American Civil War through the memoirs of those who took place in it.

The episode entitled “West Point Classmates – Civil War Enemies” focuses on the story of a special fraternity of men who attended the US Military Academy at West Point in the years leading up to the start of the Civil War. The program features such Civil War notables as: Robert E Lee, Ulysses Grant, Stonewall Jackson, William Sherman, Jefferson Davis, and George Pickett among others some of whom while cadets at West Point, became close friends and comrades, but often ended up facing each other on the battlefield.

This 43-minute program effectively communicates how West Point training influenced the eventual outcome of the war and how the camaraderie and relationships that were fostered at West Point in the end were instrumental in how the war ended.

The Presenter: Tom Roza has been a student of history in general for the past 60+ years and became an avid historian of the American Civil War beginning in 1961 during the 100 year Centennial of that great conflict. Tom’s professional career spanned 48 years in the field of Information Technology until he retired from in 2013.

During over five decades of studying the Civil War, Tom’s main interest has primarily focused on the human interest aspects of the people involved and affected by that event. Tom’s recently published novel, “Windows to the Past – A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” effectively examines and portrays the impact on everyday people living in the South of the political, social, and economic factors that first led to secession, then Civil War.

Tom has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable organization since 2008 and is currently an officer and Secretary for that organization. Tom has made numerous presentations to both his Roundtable organization and other organizations on topics such as: Confederate Cavalry Generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jeb Stuart, Union Cavalry General John Buford, and Union Infantry Generals Winfield Scott and Robert Gould Shaw.