Monthly Archives: September 2019

Meeting of October 29, 2019

Join us at 7 PM, October 29, 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

Gary Yee on “Port Hudson and Why It Matters”

With Vicksburg’s fall, Lincoln declared the Father of Waters was unvexed to these sea. Lincoln was only partially right. One hundred ten miles further south along the Mississippi River in Louisiana stood Port Hudson. So long as it remained in Confederate hands, Union mercantile traffic could never reach New Orleans and from there, to foreign ports.

Initially overlooked by both sides, its defenses were built slowly by the Confederates and the Union neglected its strategic importance until after the Confederates began occupying it. Realizing that something must be done to capture Port Hudson, a change in command for Union land forces was necessary and Nathaniel Banks replaced the relatively inactive Benjamin Butler. Along with a change in command, new regiments were raised to ensure its success.

Like Vicksburg, Port Hudson was a joint Army and Naval effort led by Farragut and Banks. While the Confederate garrison under Maj. Gen. Franklin Gardner was cut off, it defied the larger host and established the record for the longest siege in the Civil War. Its defense would have lasting implications affecting the outcome of the war and like a Shakespearean play, it had its heroes, villains and buffoons.

Gary Yee is no stranger to the South Bay Civil War Round Table. He used to regularly attend with his uncle, Bill Yee and Helen Trimpi (dec.) and has given several talks there. Additionally, he was a member of the SFCWRT, Peninsula CWRT and the Friends of Civil War Alcatraz. With the cooperation of all the Bay Area CWRTs, Gary helped to organize the 2010 Annual West Coast Civil War Conference which, conveniently enough for him, was at his workplace at the SF War Memorial.

After retiring, Gary Yee relocated to Colorado where he attended the nation’s oldest gunsmithing school at Trinidad State. Besides earning an Associate Science degree, he became an adjunct instructor there and has led school field trips to a private gun museum near Sante Fe as well as the Civil War battlefield in Glorietta, New Mexico. Naturally, this forced him to learn about the battle and campaign; something which was he was well up to. He still enrolls in classes at TSJC and has taken engraving, relief carving, silver wire inlay to add some artistic element to his flintlocks. Most of his time though is spent researching and writing. This year he had a title on sharpshooting that was published by Osprey. Currently he is working on a short book on the Port Hudson Campaign and a book on WW II sniping.

Quiz for October 29, 2019

Civil War Quiz: “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” About the Civil War

Q#1 – Why did the combat death of Confederate Brigadier General Ben Hardin Helm result in him becoming the only Southerner to cause conspicuous mourning in Washington during the Civil War?

Q#2 – What was the name of the very famous Union General who, coming upon the mansion of a woman he had once courted, put the place under guard and left a message for his erstwhile sweetheart which read: “You once said that you would pity the man who would ever become my enemy. My answer was that I would ever protect and shield you. This I have done. Forgive me all else. I am but a soldier”?

Q#3 – What was the name of Mary Todd Lincoln’s closest confidant during the war and her principal comfort on the death of the president, who was also a black seamstress who had once been employed by Mrs. Jefferson Davis?

Q#4 – What was the name of the Union general who in 1861 had accompanied Abraham Lincoln on his journey from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington and in 1865 accompanied Lincoln’s body when it was returned to Springfield for burial?

Q#5 – What was Union Major General William T. Sherman’s estimated dollar amount worth of damage on Georgia resulting from his “March to the Sea”?

Q#6 – Confederate General John B. Hood lost his right leg at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. In what country was his fine cork leg manufactured?

Q#7 – When some of his men cheered news of Lincoln’s assassination, what was the name of the Confederate general who became noticeably angry and shouted the following: “Shut those men up. If they don’t shut up, have them arrested”?

Q#8 – What wife of a most senior Union political official had three relatives that served in the Confederate Army?

Q#9 – What famous Confederate general lost 29 horses shot out from under him during the war, probably a world’s record?

Q#10 – During the War Between the States, what happened to Robert E. Lee’s hair?

Q#11 – Of the 245,000 wounds treated in Union hospitals during the Civil War, what number and percentage were inflicted by bayonet?

Q#12 – In 1860, what was the reason given by Federal ordnance officials for turning down the Spencer repeating breech-loading rifle?

Q#13 – What makes 70-year old Hugh McVey, who served in Company D, 4th Kentucky Infantry in the Confederate Army, and was killed at Shiloh an oddity in the Civil War? (Hint: Think something European.)

Q#14 – As the armies from both sides surged to and fro in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, how many times did the town of Winchester, Virginia, change hands during the war?

Q#15 – Of the 425 Confederate generals, 77 were killed or died of wounds during the war. What is the name of the last surviving general of the Southern armies who lived until 1914 and whose son and namesake was killed as a general in World War II?

Meeting of November 26, 2019

Join us at 7 PM, November 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 “If the South Had Won the Civil War”

We all know who won the Civil War; after four years of brutal slaughter where estimates now range that over 700,000 soldiers died and hundreds of thousands of others were horribly wounded, Union forces defeated Confederate forces. And after the Reconstruction efforts ended, the United States remained one nation.

On the eve of the 100 Year Centennial of the Civil War, in the November 22, 1960, issue of Look magazine, author MacKinley Kantor published a fictional account set as a history text, entitled “If the South Had Won the Civil War.” The article generated such a response that it was published in 1961 as a book.

MacKinlay Kantor was a writer who also wrote several novels about the American Civil War as it actually happened some of which are: Lee and Grant at Appomattox, Andersonville, and Gettysburg among others. The premise for “If the South Had Won the Civil War” relies on several significant events: some a bit questionable, but others very plausible

Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. His interest in 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 publish author of the book entitled, “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” that has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog and Tom is currently working on a sequel.