Monthly Archives: November 2019

Meeting of January 28, 2020

Robert Burch on “The U.S. Navy in California”

A post-war photo of the USS Lancaster, commissioned in 1859, and served in the Pacific during the Civil War

The U.S. Navy’s history in the Pacific began with the formation of the U.S. Navy Pacific Squadron in 1821. The squadron consisted of only six warships and an auxiliary vessel under Commodore John B. Montgomery in April 1861. This small force was reinforced by another three warship, two auxiliaries and a shore-based U.S. Marine detachment over the next four years. On the opposing side, the Confederates were represented by only two privateers from the Atlantic Ocean and another three privateer plots originating in the Pacific late in the war that caused widespread fear in California coastal communities. In the end, no traditional ship-to-ship naval engagement or coastal raid occurred. Additionally, the critical monthly gold ships out of San Francisco that financed the Union war effort were never interrupted. This presentation will examine the ships, bases, and operations of these two small naval force as well as the U.S.S. Sacramento, named after the state capital, and the Russian Pacific Squadron’s much publicized and extended visit to San Francisco in 1863-64. This naval action is another forgotten aspect of California’s participation in the American Civil War.

Bob Burch is a native Californian from Santa Clara County, a retired U.S. Army colonel and graduate of San Jose State University where he read U.S. military history. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Navy War College. A lifetime student of the American Civil War, he read his first Civil War book in the fifth grade. As a young boy he was mesmerized when watching John Ford’s The Horse Soldiers (1959) starring John Wayne on the television rerun channels. He has visited all of the principle and most secondary Civil War sites during his 30-year military career, including multiple week-long visits to Gettysburg, his favorite battlefield site. Like most CWRT members across the county, he desires to understand his home state’s role in the war. He collected material for this presentation for over ten years followed by several years of analysis. This series documents his research in great detail. Time allows only key points 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 January 28, 2020

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About These Obscure Facts of the Civil War?

Q#1 – While rifles and cannons were the deadliest weapons during the war, disease killed more men. Camps became breeding grounds for measles, chicken pox, and mumps. One million Union solders contracted which disease?

Q#2 – What was the age of the youngest soldier in the Civil War who came from Mississippi? What was the age of the oldest soldier in the Civil War who came from Iowa?

Q#3 – What was the original name for Memorial Day?

Q#4 – A Union prison camp had two observation towers constructed for onlookers. Citizens paid 15 cents to look at the inmates. Concession stands by the towers sold peanuts, cakes, and lemonade while the men inside starved. What was the prison camp’s name?

Q#5 – The Twenty-Sixth North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg is known for what bloody statistic?

Q#6 – During the Civil War, more Civil War soldiers died from what disease than were killed in battle?

Q#7 – What happened to President Lincoln’s personal copy of the Emancipation Proclamation that would be worth millions if it were still in existence today?

Q#8 – General George Gordon Meade was the victor at the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle ever fought in North America. Where was Meade born?

Q#9 – An estimated four million slaves lived in the South by 1860. What was their estimated worth at the time?

Q#10 – What was the name of not only the first woman surgeon in U.S. Military history, but she was also the only woman in the Civil War to be awarded the Medal of Honor?

Q#11 – What was the criminal offense that produced over 100,000 Court Martials during the Civil War?

Q#12 – Although both the North and South did not allow women in the army, how many it is estimated actually fought disguised as men?

Q#13 – What were “Quaker guns”?

Q#14 – The first U.S. Medal of Honor was awarded during the Civil War on March 25, 1863. Who was it awarded to?

Q#15 – In 1860, which two states actually had more slaves than free people living in them?

Meeting of November 26, 2019

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.

Meeting Minutes November 2019

Quiz for November 26, 2019

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Medals Awarded in Connection with the Civil War?

Q#1 – How many Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to US Colored Troop army soldiers during the Civil War?

Q#2 – Most of the Medals of Honor awarded to US Colored Troop soldiers were the result of valorous actions in just one battle – what was the name of the battle?

Q#3 – Which Union general nominated more US Colored Troop soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor than any other?

Q#4 – How many Medals of Honor were awarded to African-Americans sailors of the union navy?

Q#5 – Most of the Medals of Honor awarded to African-Americans sailors of the Union Navy were the result of valorous actions in just one battle – what was the name of the battle?

Q#6 – How many Medals of Honor were awarded to US Colored Troop army soldiers during the Battle of Fort Wagner?

Q#7 – In total, how many Medals of Honor were awarded to African-Americans for actions during the Civil War?

Q#8 – Why is Mary Edwards Walker significant in terms of the Medal of Honor?

Q#9 – The first Medals of Honor were awarded for action in what engagement?

Q#10 – The youngest Medal of Honor recipient was how old during the engagement for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor?

Q#11 – How many medals for valor were awarded by the Confederate States?

Q#12 – What is the Confederate Medal of Honor?

Q#13 – Was the Purple Heart awarded to any Civil War participants?

Q#14 – What medal was awarded to both Union and Confederate soldiers?

Q#15 – How many Medals of Honor were awarded during the Civil War?