Monthly Archives: September 2018

Meeting of October 30, 2018

Join us at 7 PM, October 30, 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: Defending the State 1861–1865″

Wartime photo of Camp Babbitt at Visalia, an alleged center of Confederate partisan activities

California’s involvement in the American Civil War remains one of the great hidden facets of that conflict. Many amateur historians and journalists in recent years have published articles in magazines or on the Internet discussing alleged Civil War events across California between 1862 and 1865. This presentation combines all documented events into one forum for a clear, concise and complete operational picture of what happened within the state during the last four years of the war. In hindsight, none of these events has any connection with the war. However, at that time they were so considered and reflect California’s involvement in the great struggle to preserve the Union. The story ends with the post-war return of Regular Army regiments.

The U.S. Army transitioned from combat to stability operations upon successfully securing the state for the Union in late 1861. The Army also transferred operational responsibly at the military district level to various California Volunteer regiments. These units conducted what we today call “military support to civil authority.” These ranged from operations against hostile Indian “war bands” to assistance to local law enforcement to counter common criminal gangs disguised as partisans. Concurrently the state militia supported local law enforcement agencies in some of the “California Squatter Wars” during this period. This story is presented in rough chronological order:

  • Background – Military Situation in January 1862
  • Events Shift North
  • San Jose, Healdsburg and Vallejo
  • Bald Hills Indian War (Omitted)
  • Owens Valley Indian War (Omitted)
  • Northeast California Indian Wars (Omitted)
  • Visalia
  • Santa Clara County
  • Preparation for War with France (Omitted)
  • Victory: End of California Secessionism & Return of Regular Army

This presentation omits discussion of the various Indian Wars and preparation for war with France to focus on alleged Civil War-related events. Omitted parts are part of the California wartime experience, but excluded due to time constraint. They are listed above simply to offer a complete outline of wartime military events within the state during the war.

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.

Quiz for October 30, 2018

Civil War Quiz: Do You Know Who These Civil War Generals Are?

Q#1 – Before the Civil War, this Union general was the Speaker of the House in the US House of Representatives. What’s his name?

Q#2 – This Confederate general gave Thomas J. Jackson his nickname of “Stonewall”. What’s his name?

Q#3 – This Union general commanded the Army of the Ohio at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. What’s his name?

Q#4 – At the Battle of Gettysburg, this Confederate general was captured by a Union soldier, Private Patrick Maloney of the 2nd Wisconsin, where he was taken behind enemy lines and briefly met an old colleague, Union General Abner Doubleday. This Confederate became the first general officer to be taken captive from the Army of Northern Virginia since General Lee assumed command. What’s his name?

Q#5 – This Union general fought in the Seven Days Battles at Gaines’ Mill on June 27, 1862, where he was wounded but demonstrated the bravery that was eventually recognized in 1892 with the Medal of Honor. What’s his name?

Q#6 – Before the Civil War, this Confederate general who was born in Ireland enlisted in the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army. During his three years there, he subsequently rose to the rank of corporal. What’s his name?

Q#7 – This Union general requested reassignment after quarreling with General Joe Hooker after the Battle of Chancellorsville. He then commanded the newly created Department of the Susquehanna during the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863. What’s his name?

Q#8 – Before the Civil War, this Confederate general was a member of the Whig political party and strongly opposed secession at the April 1861 Virginia convention. However, he was soon roused by the actions of the Federal government when President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. What’s his name?

Q#9 – After the Civil War, this Union general was elected as the 20th President of the United States in 1881 and became the second president to die by assassination. What’s his name?

Q#10 – This Confederate general was court-martialed by Stonewall Jackson for his actions in command of the Stonewall Brigade at the First Battle of Kernstown, and was subsequently killed during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. What’s his name?

Q#11 – This Union general led the XX Corps competently in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign under Sherman, but asked to be relieved before the capture of the city because of his dissatisfaction with the promotion of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard to command of the Army of the Tennessee, upon the death of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson. This general had seniority over Howard. What’s his name?

Q#12 – This Confederate general’s first field assignment was commanding Confederate forces in western Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and was widely blamed for Confederate setbacks. He was then sent to organize the coastal defenses along the Carolina and Georgia seaboard and appointed commander, “Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida” on November 5, 1861. What’s his name?

Q#13 – This Union general on November 25, 1862, was arrested and court-martialed for his actions at Second Bull Run. By this time, McClellan had been relieved by President Abraham Lincoln and could not provide political cover for this general who was McClellan’s protégé. This Union General’s association with the disgraced McClellan and his open criticism of Union General Pope were significant reasons for his conviction at court-martial where he was found guilty on January 10, 1863, of disobedience and misconduct, and was dismissed from the Army on January 21, 1863. What’s his name?

Q#14 – This Confederate general was the son-in-law of Union Brigadier General Philip St. George Cooke. Also, the general’s wife’s brother was John Rogers Cooke. What’s his name?

Q#15 – On October 16, 1863, this Union general was assigned command of the newly formed Division of the Mississippi, including the Armies of the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland. His first order was to put General George Thomas in charge of rescuing the Army of the Cumberland, which had retreated into Chattanooga where they were trapped. What’s his name?