Monthly Archives: February 2019

Meeting of March 26, 2019

Join us at 7 PM, March 26, 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 “American Revolution vs. the Civil War: Similarities and Differences”

The two most momentous events in the history of the United States of America occurred less than a century apart; the Revolutionary War occurred in 1775-1783 and the Civil War in 1861-1865. The objective of the Revolutionary War was to create United States of America; the objective of the Civil War was to preserve it. Being a student of history for over 60 years and having conducted extensive research into the root causes for each of these two conflicts, there are numerous social, economic, and political similarities – as well as some differences.

From a high level, people living in the Thirteen Colonies, because of the vast geographical distance from England and Europe in general, and the mixing of different ethnic cultures, with each passing day, were drifting further apart from their European ancestors. In the United States, the North had become more urban, industrialized, and its citizens were more migrant that produced a philosophy that America was a “Union of States”. Conversely, the South was more rural, agrarian, and its population was more sedentary; generation after generation grew up and lived in the same towns and counties; that produced a philosophy that America was a “Collection of Independent States”.

From a social perspective for the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, while most of the people living in the thirteen colonies were of English ancestry, cohabitating with other European ethnic groups as well as being in close proximity to Native American Indians produced a vastly different set of values from those living in England and other European countries. The American colonists saw themselves as more independent and were creating a more homogenous society. For the period leading up to the Civil War, American citizens living in the North had retained that homogenous society perspective that resulted in a more inclusive citizenry. American citizens living in the South sociologically had evolved into a more exclusive society that supported slavery and viewed non-Caucasians and those from non-Protestant religions as foreigners.

From an economic perspective, the British Parliament used its power to impose numerous trade tariffs, barriers and regulations that retarded the economic growth of the colonies. Similarly, the United States Congress imposed numerous trade tariffs, barriers, and regulations that retarded the economic growth of the Southern States.

From a political perspective, the thirteen colonies had no representation in Parliament and were denied the same individual rights that were granted to citizens living in England. With the abolitionist movement in the North attempting to prevent slavery from being allowed in the new states being formed in the western territories, Southerners feared they would lose political power in Congress that would both perpetuate the imposition of unfair economic laws but also eventually result in the abolition of slavery throughout the United States.

The presentation “American Revolution vs. the Civil War: Similarities and Differences” takes in-depth look at these two momentous events.

Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. His interest in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War began with his elementary education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has evolved ever since. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his roundtable organization and other historical organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is also a published author of the book entitled Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War, which has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its catalog. Tom is currently working on a sequel.

Quiz for March 26, 2019

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Foreign Involvement in the Civil War?

Q#1 – Why were the vast majority of European nations extremely cautious when dealing with the United States of America during the Civil War, usually attempting to remain neutral during its duration?

Q#2 – What global decree did the United States Government issue at the beginning of the Civil War?

Q#3 – What was the main reason behind Great Britain’s considering to become involved in the American Civil War?

Q#4 – On May 13, 1861, what proclamation was issued by Great Britain’s Queen Victoria regarding the American Civil War?

Q#5 – Where was a vast majority of the Confederate Navy built?

Q#6 – During the early period of the Civil War, there was increasing sentiment for Great Britain to join the American Civil War in favor of the Confederate States of America. What event prevented this?

Q#7 – What action did the Confederate government threatened England and France with if they did not assist them in the war?

Q#8 – What was the official position of France regarding any possible involvement in the Civil War?

Q#9 – Why did many French industrialists and politicians wish for a quick Confederate victory?

Q#10 – Under the orders of Emperor Napoleon III, French troops landed in Mexico in December 1861 for trade and plans of a transoceanic canal. What was the position of the Federal government regarding the French action? What was the position of the Confederate government regarding the French action?

Q#11 – What deal did the Confederate delegate in Paris, John Slidell, offer to Napoleon III in exchange for French recognition of the Confederate States and naval help sent to break the blockade?

Q#12 – The Confederate delegate John Slidell succeeded in negotiating a loan of $15,000,000 that was used to buy ironclad warships as well as military supplies that came in by blockade runners. Who loaned the Confederacy the money?

Q#13 – What was the name of the ironclad that in keeping with its official neutrality, the French government blocked the sale of to the Confederacy in February 1864?

Q#14 – Czarist Russia initially showed support for the North. What military action did they perform in support of the Northern war effort?

Q#15 – What action did the Federal government attempt to pursue that involved the Netherlands?

Meeting of April 30, 2019

Join us at 7 PM, April 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

Nick Adams on “A Civil War Story of the Family Left Behind”

What was the Civil War like for the families of those who chose to fight?

Nick Adams will be telling one such story in a thematic outline of his new book: Away at War: A Civil War Story of the Family Left Behind. This will be a follow-up to his presentation last year which focused on the 100 letters his great-great-grandfather wrote back from the Western Theater battlefields (My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters from a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer).

He will share with us the terrible impact, the pain and anxiety, and the untold suffering war can cause the families of soldiers. With the winter of 1861 approaching, Minerva Griffin and her three young children are alone on the Minnesota prairie, for the husband and father of the family has left them for the fight to preserve the Union. She is now responsible for preserving both farm and family for his hoped-for eventual return. It is a true tale, developed from his letters home, of the difficult struggle to survive experienced by those left behind.

Nick Adams

Nick Adams’s passion for the American Civil War began at the age of nine, when his mother first told him about her great-grandfather, David Brainard Griffin, who had fought with the 2nd Minnesota Regiment of Volunteers, and had been killed at the Battle of Chickamauga. What she didn’t tell him about at that time was the 100 preserved letters he had written back to his young family on the Minnesota prairie … because she didn’t know about them, for they had been passed down in another branch of the family. When they were finally shared with her some forty years ago, she was permitted to make a single copy, which she graciously gave to Nick because she knew of his life-long interest. The originals are presumed no longer to survive, but his copies have been deposited with the Minnesota Historical Society.

Following post-graduate studies in Church History (Abilene Christian) and Sociology of Religion (University of Iowa), Nick spent 30 years in Pastoral Ministry and Social Justice, then returned to teaching, this time at the Elementary School level, and completed 20 years in the classroom. It was during those classroom years that the letters were given to him. By reading his personal account of involvement in the conflict, they became the perfect instrument for creating student interest in the period.

Since retirement, Nick has authored three books about the letters. Last spring he presented to our roundtable his story, as related in the letters (My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters from a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer). This year he will tell his family’s story: Away at War: A Civil War Story of the Family Left Behind.

Meeting of February 26, 2019

Mike MacDonald on “Civil War Swords”

Mike McDonald is a sword collector with over 200 in his collection. He will cover the different sword patterns, designs, and manufactures of the Civil War era. The foreign influence on US sword designs was strong and due to a continuous shortage, foreign manufacturers supplied many of the swords used on both sides in the conflict. Although they accounted for a very small percentage of casualties, they were a highly visible item in the war due to regulations that officers carry them as a symbol of rank and authority.