Monthly Archives: November 2020

Meeting of December 29, 2020

Join us at 7 PM, December 29, for an online ZOOM meeting. Login information will be emailed to all members. (Note that we have historically not conducted December meetings, but we will this year because of the online format.) This month’s topic is

Jim Rhetta & Alan Sissenwein on “The Worst Generals of the Civil War, Part II”

This meeting is a continuation of the November meeting topic.

Most authors of the Civil War have focused on presenting the best Generals of the Civil War and their traits that led to that status. They focus heavily on Lee, Grant, Sherman, and Jackson as books on them abound. This focus overlooks the fact that there were generals at the opposite end of the leadership spectrum who were ineffective leaders.

For this presentation Alan Sissenwein will present some of the worst Federal generals and Jim Rhetta will cover the worst of the Confederate generals. What made these generals selected for that status include bad leadership, bad battlefield results, poor decision-making, abrasive personalities, and abuse of subordinates. This will also cover the factors that allowed for bad Generals to emerge and in some cases the inability to remove them from senior leadership positions.

Jim Rhetta retired from Lockheed Corp, and also retired from the USAF Reserve as a Colonel in the Intelligence Community. In both careers he monitored, analyzed, and reported on global conflicts and crisis for the DoD Community. His careers required him to write threat assessments, weekly activity reports, and publish classified documents. He continues to study both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today. He has produced several presentations for Round Tables, including “Civil War Newspapers, the first use of Open Source intelligence”, “The Blockade and its Effectiveness”, “Tracing Slave Family History,” and “Attack and Die, Cultural Influences on Civil War Combat.”

Alan Sissenwein, a native Californian, is a professional writer who has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table since 1997. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Although he has been fascinated by history since he was a teenager, his interest in the Civil War only took root during his last semester of graduate school, which was spent in Washington D.C. He likes to say that in California the Civil War is an abstraction but on the East Coast it’s a presence. He has previously given talks to the South Bay Civil War Round Table on such subjects as George Armstrong Custer and George Brinton McClellan.

Quiz for December 29, 2020

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Civil War Cavalry?

Q#1 – The flamboyant Confederate cavalry commander of the Army of Northern Virginia went by the name Jeb Stuart – what did the letters J.E.B. stand for?

Q#2 – What was the name of the Union cavalry commander who led a raid thru Mississippi during April-May 1863? (Note: The John Wayne movie “Horse Soldiers” was based on this event)

Q#3 – What was the name given to the cavalry brigade that George Armstrong Custer commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg?

Q#4 – What was the nickname given to Confederate cavalry battalion commander John Singleton Mosby?

Q#5 – During the Civil War, what was the main mission of cavalry for both the Union & the Confederates?

Q#6 – What was the nickname Union cavalry troopers gave to Union commander Hugh Judson Kilpatrick?

Q#7 – It is well known that JEB Stuart was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern – who was the Union cavalry commander at that battle?

Q#8 – What is the name of the battle that was the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the American Civil War, as well as the largest ever to take place on American soil?

Q#9 – What was the name of the Union cavalry commander who repulsed a flanking attack by Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest that was instrumental in saving the Union Army at the Battle of Franklin in November 1864?

Q#10 – He was nicknamed the “Black Knight of the Confederacy”, commanded Stonewall Jackson’s cavalry forces in the Valley Campaign and was killed in battle in 1862 – what was his name?

Q#11 – How was Confederate general and cavalry officer John Hunt Morgan killed?

Q#12 – What was the name of Union cavalry general Philip Sheridan’s horse?

Q#13 – After Jeb Stuart was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, who was named commander of the Confederate cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia?

Q#14 – John Buford commanded two cavalry brigades on July 1, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg – what were the names of the two brigade commanders?

Q#15 – He was considered the tactical master of modern 19th-century mounted forces, wrote a cavalry tactics manual just prior to the Civil War that became the training and fighting textbook for troopers from both sides, and was called “The Father of the United States Cavalry” – what was his name?