Monthly Archives: December 2020

Meeting of January 26, 2021

Join us at 7 PM, January 26, for an online ZOOM meeting. Login information will be emailed to all members. This month’s topic is

David Dixon on “The American Civil War: A Radical, International Revolution”

Radical Warrior: August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General (University of Tennessee Press 2020) is the biography of a Prussian army officer who renounced his nobility and joined in the failed European revolutions of 1848. He emigrated to America, edited a daily labor newspaper in Cincinnati, and became one of the most accomplished generals in the Union Army. This story sheds new light on the contributions of 200,000 German-Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

In an age of global social, economic, and political upheaval, transatlantic radicals helped affect America’s second great revolution. For many recent immigrants, the nature and implications of that revolution turned not on Lincoln’s conservative goal of maintaining the national Union, but on issues of social justice, including slavery, free labor, and popular self-government. The Civil War was not simply a war to end sectional divides, but to restore the soul of the nation, revive the hopes of democrats worldwide, and defend human rights.

David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. His first book, The Lost Gettysburg Address, told the unusual life story of Texas slaveholder Charles Anderson, whose speech followed Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, but was never published. It turned up 140 years later in a cardboard box in Wyoming.

David spoke at Gettysburg National Military Park’s Sacred Trust Talks, appeared on Civil War Talk Radio and has presented to more than sixty Civil War Round Tables from coast to coast. He hosts B-List History, a website that features obscure characters and their compelling stories at www.davidtdixon.com.

David’s current book, published by the University of Tennessee Press, is the biography of German revolutionary and Union General August Willich. His current project is a biography that highlights the role of emotions in Southern allegiance in the Civil War.

Quiz for January 26, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know about Native Americans in the Civil War?

Q#1 — This Native American served as adjutant and secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox. Who was he?

Q#2 — This Native American tribe suffered its own civil war within the Civil War, with bitter factions supporting either the south or the north. Name the tribe.

Q#3 — On June 25, 1865, this Native American was the last Confederate general in the field to cease hostilities at war’s end. Who was he?

Q#4 — This battle in Arkansas saw a combined force of Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole cavalry fighting for the Confederacy. Name it.

Q#5 — This Confederate general was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native American nations and was commissioned based on his ability to recruit Native Americans to the southern army. Who was he?

Q#6 — This battle was unique in the Civil War in that the white soldiers were the minority in both fighting forces with Native Americans making up a significant portion of each of the opposing armies and the Union force contained African-American units. Name the battle.

Q#7 — Two battles were fought near the present-day town of Big Cabin, Oklahoma, then in the Cherokee Nation within Indian Territory. What was the name of these two battles?

Q#8 — What happened to the Native American Tonkawa tribe on October 23–24, 1862?

Q#9 — The three pitched battles Battle of Round Mountain, the Battle of Chusto-Talasah, and the Battle of Chustenahlah fought between pro-Union Creek Indians and against Confederate troops and other Native Americans that joined the Confederates are collectively known as what?

Q#10 — The Third Colorado Cavalry was responsible for what action on November 29, 1864?

Q#11 — In July 1862, settlers fought against Santee Sioux in Minnesota. Who led the Sioux?

Q#12 — This famous American frontiersman was a colonel during the Civil War. He was responsible for forcing the Mescalero Apache and the Navajo onto a bleak reservation called Bosque Redondo. Name him.

Q#13 — How many Native Americans from the Indian Territory are estimated to have participated in the Confederate Army?

Q#14 — In 1862 the Union attempted an “Indian Expedition” into Indian Territory. Who commanded this expedition called and what was the outcome?

Q#15 — What was the impact on the Cherokee Nation as a result of the Union victory in the Civil War?

Meeting of February 23, 2021

Join us at 7 PM, February 23, 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 III”

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.