Monthly Archives: March 2018

Meeting of July 31, 2018

Join us at 7 PM, July 31, 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 “Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill: Third Corps Commander, Army of Northern Virginia”

A native Virginian, Ambrose Powell Hill (aka A.P. Hill) was a West Point graduate who served in the United States Army in both the Mexican–American War and Seminole Wars. A strong believer in state’s rights, Powell resigned his US Army commission in March 1861 and offered his services to the fledgling Confederate Army.

After the start of the Civil War, Hill gained early fame as the commander of the “Light Division” in the Seven Days Battles and became one of Stonewall Jackson’s ablest subordinates, distinguishing himself in the 1862 battles of Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

In 2014, Tom Roza (current South Bay Civil War Round Table Secretary) presented a general overview on the life and experiences of A.P. Hill. However, during the past four years, Tom has conducted additional extensive research on Hill focusing on his critical role as Third Corps Commander beginning with the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 and concluding with his death in April 1865 at Petersburg.

The untimely death of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 caused General Robert E. Lee to significantly reorganize his Army of Northern Virginia into three Corps. Lee promoted A.P. Hill from his role as a division commander to commander of the newly formed Third Corps. Hill had established an exemplary record as a division commander. But, there is significant evidence that Hill’s leadership skills did not always translate into the more complex role of Corps Commander. Hill often struggled with the logistical, tactical, and most importantly, strategic differences between leading a single 4,000 to 5,000-man infantry division versus an infantry Corps consisting of three divisions of 15,000-18,000 soldiers.

These differences exposed weaknesses in Hill’s leadership that from time to time resulted in an adverse impact on the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s chances for success. The presentation effectively details both Hill’s accomplishments and shortcomings during the critically important period of June 1863 to April 1865.

Tom Roza’s primary interest in the Civil War is not centered on the battles, armaments, or politics of that momentous period in our country’s history. Instead, he has focused on a study of the people who were involved in the Civil War—who they were; what was their background; what were their values and principles; and how did they influence the outcome of the Civil War. Civil War personalities that Tom has made presentations on include: John Buford, Jeb Stuart, Winfield Scott Hancock, Robert Gould Shaw, and Nathan Bedford Forrest among others.

Tom is also a published author; his book Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War was published in May 2107 and was accepted by the Library of Congress into its catalog in November 2017. The book is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and eBook formats.

Meeting of April 24, 2018

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.

Meeting Minutes April 2018

Quiz for April 24, 2018

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Federal Government during the Civil War?

Q#1 – Who was President Lincoln’s first Vice President?

Q#2 – Who were President Lincoln’s two Attorneys General?

Q#3 – Why was Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s first Secretary of War, forced to resign early in 1862?

Q#4 – Salmon P. Chase, who was Lincoln’s first Secretary of Treasury, was named and approved to what position in December, 1864?

Q#5 – For Lincoln’s first presidential inauguration on March 4, 1861, who administered the oath of office?

Q#6 – Several major federal agencies were established during Lincoln’s presidency. Three of them were: the Department of Agriculture, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and the Freedmen’s Bureau. What were the names of the other two?

Q#7 – Shortly after taking office in 1861, President Lincoln took the drastic action of suspending the right of habeas corpus in Maryland. What justification did Lincoln use for this action?

Q#8 – The Enrollment Act was legislation passed by the United States Congress and enacted on March 3, 1863. By what other name was this legislation known?

Q#9 – What authority was provided to the Federal Government by the Confiscation Act of 1862?

Q#10 – The Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, applied in the eleven states that were still in rebellion in 1863. What four states, where nearly 500,000 slaves existed, were not covered?

Q#11 – Lincoln vetoed only four bills passed by Congress during his Presidency; the only important one was the Wade-Davis Bill of 1864, which was proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two Radical Republican Senators. Why did Lincoln veto this bill?

Q#12 – What was the “Ten Percent Plan”, known formally as the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction Act, that was a proclamation issued on December 8, 1863, by President Lincoln?

Q#13 – In 1861, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861, creating the first federal income tax. What was the initial tax percentage value and what was the minimum income amount?

Q#14 – In June 1864, Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress. What was the purpose of this legislation?

Q#15 – In October 1862, France, which had established a puppet state under the rule of Maximilian I of Mexico, proposed an armistice and joint mediation of the American Civil War by France, Britain, and Russia. What was the US Government’s response?