Monthly Archives: August 2018

Meeting of August 18, 2018

Join us at noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, August 18, for our annual picnic meeting. (RSVP Tom Roza (tomroza@earthlink.net) for meeting location) See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details of our regular meetings. This month’s topic is

Ted Savas on “The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865.

LeRoy Wiley Gresham was born to an affluent slave-holding family in Macon, Georgia. A horrific leg injury left him an invalid, and the educated, inquisitive, perceptive, and exceptionally witty 12-year-old began keeping a diary in 1860–just as secession and the Civil War began tearing the country and his world apart. He continued to write even as his health deteriorated until both the war and his life ended in 1865. His unique manuscript of the demise of the Old South—lauded by the Library of Congress as one of its premier holdings—is published here for the first time in The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865.

LeRoy read books, devoured newspapers and magazines, listened to gossip, and discussed and debated important social and military issues with his parents and others. He wrote daily for five years, putting pen to paper with a vim and tongue-in-cheek vigor that impresses even now, more than 150 years later. His practical, philosophical, and occasionally Twain-like hilarious observations cover politics and the secession movement, the long and increasingly destructive Civil War, family pets, a wide variety of hobbies and interests, and what life was like at the center of a socially prominent wealthy family in the important Confederate manufacturing center of Macon. The young scribe often voiced concern about the family’s pair of plantations outside town, and recorded his interactions and relationships with “servants” Howard, Allen, Eveline, and others as he pondered the fate of human bondage and his family’s declining fortunes.

Unbeknownst to LeRoy, he was chronicling his own slow and painful descent toward death in tandem with the demise of the Southern Confederacy. He recorded—often in horrific detail—an increasingly painful and debilitating disease that robbed him of his childhood. The teenager’s declining health is a consistent thread coursing through his fascinating journals. “I feel more discouraged [and] less hopeful about getting well than I ever did before,” he wrote on March 17, 1863. “I am weaker and more helpless than I ever was.” Morphine and a score of other “remedies” did little to ease his suffering. Abscesses developed; nagging coughs and pain consumed him. Alternating between bouts of euphoria and despondency, he often wrote, “Saw off my leg.”

The War Outside My Window, edited and annotated by Janet Croon with helpful footnotes and a detailed family biographical chart, captures the spirit and the character of a young privileged white teenager witnessing the demise of his world even as his own body slowly failed him. Just as Anne Frank has come down to us as the adolescent voice of World War II, LeRoy Gresham will now be remembered as the young voice of the Civil War South.

Theodore P. Savas is an award-winning author, attorney, publishing consultant, and the managing director of one of America’s leading independent publishing companies (Savas Beatie LLC: www.savasbeatie.com). Ted founded the South Bay Civil War Round Table in 1989; its first meeting of four people was held in his living room in San Jose.

Quiz for August 18, 2018

Civil War Quiz: What Happened in the Month of August During the Civil War?

Q#1 – What significant event did the citizens of the State of Tennessee vote for on August 1, 1861?

Q#2 – On August 3, 1861, a Union naval officer performed what act for the first time from a ship stationed off Hampton Roads, VA?

Q#3 – What was the name of the first significant battle of the Civil War fought in the western theater, on August 10, 1861?

Q#4 – What was the name of the Union General who led the successful amphibious landing that captured Cape Hatteras, NC?

Q#5 – To fund the Civil War, what significant action did the U. S. Congress perform on August 2, 1862?

Q#6 – On August 14, 1862, what order did Union General-in-Chief Henry Halleck give to Union General George McClellan?

Q#7 – On August 17, 1862, Confederate General Robert E Lee took what action with JEB Stuart?

Q#8 – Union General Benjamin Butler on August 22, 1862, took what action regarding the recruitment of soldiers into the Army?

Q#9 – In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, on August 8, 1863, what action did Robert E. Lee perform regarding his role in the Army of Northern Virginia?

Q#10 – What action began in Minnesota on August 18, 1863, that diverted Union military resources away from the Civil War?

Q#11 – On August 21, 1863, what event was performed by William Quantrill’s Raiders?

Q#12 – What was the military engagement that occurred on August 5, 1864, where Union Admiral David Farragut is quoted as giving the following orders: “Damn the torpedoes, go ahead”?

Q#13 – On August 21, 1864, 2,000 Confederates led by Nathan Bedford Forrest occupied what city in Tennessee for a few hours during the day, nearly capturing Major Generals Stephen Hurlbut and C. C. Washburn? (The answer was included in Tom Roza’s April, 2017 Presentation on Forrest.)

Q#14 – What critical battle was fought on August 31, 1864, that led to the Confederates abandoning Atlanta, GA, a few days later?

Q#15 – What legislative action did the State of Mississippi perform on August 14, 1865?

2018 West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference

The Trans-Mississippi Theater: The Not So Glamorous Step-Sister of Civil War Historians

Hosted by the San Joaquin Valley CWRT and the Inland Empire CWRT

November 9–11, 2018: Wyndom Garden Hotel, Fresno, California

REGISTRATION FEE $200. For registration form & info see website: SJVCWRT2.com

SPEAKERS: Brian Clague, Tom Cutrer, Richard Hatcher III, General Parker Hills, Jim Stanbery

TOPICS: Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Red River, Sibley’s Campaign, & others