Category Archives: Meeting archive

Meeting of February 25, 2014

Tom Roza on ”The Swamp Angels: Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment”

Robert Gould Shaw (Wikipedia)

The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official African American units in the United States during the Civil War. They were nicknamed the “Swamp Angels” because being a “colored” regiment, they were assigned duty in the swampy lowlands of South Carolina and Florida.

Robert Gould was a military officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. And as Colonel, he was the first commander of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Shaw was born in Boston into a wealthy family of abolitionists parents and he was approached by his father to take command of a new All-Black Regiment. After some hesitation, he accepted the position. Shaw was deeply impressed with the dedication of the men under his command and he grew to respect them as fine soldiers.

While the movie Glory did an exceptional job of telling the story of Gould and the 54th Massachusetts, Tom’s presentation told a more complete story of the first Negro regiment and the man who led them. Continue reading

Meeting of January 28, 2014

Jim Rhetta on “Attack and Die: Cultural Impacts on Combat in the Civil War”

Jim Rhetta

Jim Rhetta

Jim presented the idea that the Civil War was also a conflict between two different cultures. These different cultures had separate traditions, values, and concepts of waging war that shaped their battlefield decisions and actions. The results of these cultural influences are evident in the Confederate Army’s preference to conduct attacks and suffer a disproportionate level of casualties that strongly contributed to their ultimate defeat.

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. He continues to study both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today.

Meeting Minutes January 2014

 

Meeting of November 26, 2013

John Herberich reported on the “2013 West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference”

John Herberich

John Herberich

John cruised to Mexico with other West Coasters for this year’s Civil War Roundtable Conference and presented a report on the program and festivities.

Meeting of October 29, 2013

Major Arthur Henrick on “Lincoln in the Telegraph Office”

Arthur Henrick

Arthur Henrick

We have all seen the movie Lincoln and can recall the scenes in the telegraph office with the young soldiers. Major Arthur Henrick presented a review of the 1907 book by Homer Bates, Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, a light hearted and interesting view of Lincoln telling stories while reading telegraphs in the War Department.

Meeting Minutes October 2013

Meeting of August 24, 2013

Ted Savas on “The Battle of Payne’s Farm, November 27, 1863: Command & Competency During the Mine Run Campaign”

David Woodbury and Ted Savas

David Woodbury and Ted Savas

Ted was the featured speaker at the August picnic meeting. He was pleased to see a surprise guest, David Woodbury. These two gentlemen were among the founders of the Round Table in 1989.

Theodore P. Savas graduated from The University of Iowa College of Law in 1986 (With Distinction). He practiced law in Silicon Valley for twelve years before moving to El Dorado Hills. He co-founded Savas Woodbury Publishers (subsequently Savas Publishing) in 1990 with David Woodbury, and is the owner and managing director of Savas Beatie LLC, one of the largest independent Civil War publishers in the world. He has been teaching legal, history, and business college classes since 1992, and is the author or editor of fourteen books (published in six languages) including A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution, Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War in the Atlantic, and Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders of World War II. While in San Jose he founded the South Bay Civil War Round Table in 1989; its first meeting of four people was held in his living room.

Meeting Minutes August 2013

Anniversary 25 cake

Meeting of June 25, 2013

Walter Day on “The Red River Fiasco”

Walter Day

Walter Day

In March 1864, David Dixon Porter boldly started up the Red River with an overpowering naval force. Two frustrating months later, the Union admiral was lucky to re-emerge with any of his prized warships.

Walter Day is a microwave engineer who has worked in the Bay Area for 45 years. He has served as President of the Peninsula CWRT and is presently their Program Chairman. He has studied the Civil War since he was a teen and has researched his Great-Grandfather’s service with the Army of Northern Virginia. Having served as an officer in the U.S.Navy he has a more than passing interest in Naval actions of the Civil War.

Meeting Minutes June 2013

Meeting of May 28, 2013

Dana Lombardy on “The Long Arm of Mr. Lincoln’s Army”

man posing in library

Dana Lombardy

Dana presented diagrams and data to show how the artillery evolved in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War, and compare its effectiveness to the guns used by their primary opponent, Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Gun types, numbers and organization, plus a look back at Napoleon’s artillery at Waterloo were also covered.

Tom Roza provided the following summary of Dana’s talk.

Continue reading

Meeting of April 30, 2013

René Accornero on “William Henry Seward, Secretary of State”

Early Years

William Henry Seward (Wikipedia)

William Henry Seward was a politician who was born in 1801 in the state of New York. Seward studied law at Union College, graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was then admitted to the New York State Bar. In 1821 he met Frances Adeline Miller and they married 3 years later and raised six children.

In 1846 Seward defended an African American who was accused of stabbing four people to death. Seward was an advocate of prison reform and better treatment for the insane, and won a verdict for the defendant using the defense of insanity. Many whites felt bitter toward Seward for defending a black man who had killed whites.

Seward encountered a problem while traveling and a stranger named Thurlow Weed stopped to help out. That was the beginning of a life-long friendship and Weed helped Seward enter politics and was instrumental in this role throughout Seward’s political career. Seward first served as a member of the New York State Senate. In 1839, he won election as the 12th Governor of New York. And from 1849-1861, he served as US Senator from New York. Continue reading

Meeting of March 26, 2013

Bob Hubbs on “Was General Grant Really Surprised at Shiloh?”

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup (Wikipedia)

Bob addressed a few provocative questions about this famous battle:

  • Shiloh – the horrible experience during which Grant became a general and Lincoln is elevated to Commander-In–Chief – How so?
  • Grant and his trial by fire – What happened to him?
  • Shiloh, the never expected, the least understood, and the most painful experience of the American Civil War – Why?
  • Shiloh – the battle with more myths and less facts than any major killing of American soldiers – How can this be? Continue reading

Meeting of February 26, 2013

Alan Sissenwein on “The Battle at Fredericksburg, Part 2”

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside

Alan concluded his two-part presentation, covering the main portion of the 1862 battle and its aftermath.

Meeting Minutes February 2013

Tom Roza wrote the following summary.

Alan Sissenwein conducted the second of a two-part presentation on the Battle at Fredericksburg.  Part 1 had covered all the activities up thru December 12, 1862; Part 2 covered the main portion of the battle and its aftermath. Continue reading

Meeting of January 29, 2013

Alan Sissenwein on “The Battle at Fredericksburg, Part 1”

Kurz & Allison–Battle of Fredericksburg (Wikipedia)

Tom Roza provided the following meeting summary.

Alan Sissenwein conducted the first of a two-part presentation on the Battle at Fredericksburg.  Part 1 covered all the activities up thru December 12, 1862; Part 2 at the February 26, 2013, meeting will cover the main portion of the battle and its aftermath. Continue reading

Meeting of November 27, 2012

Death and The Civil War, Part 2

From acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns, based on Drew Faust’s groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering, this film tracks the increasingly lethal arc of the war from its opening, through the chaos of Shiloh, and the following major battles which left an American landscape littered with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many unburied, most unidentified. The staggering casualties brought death to the American experience as never before—permanently altering the character of the republic, the psyche of the American people, and posing challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began.

Meeting Minutes November 2012

Meeting of October 30, 2012

Death and The Civil War, Part 1

From acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns, based on Drew Faust’s groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering, this film tracks the increasingly lethal arc of the war from its opening, through the chaos of Shiloh, and the following major battles which left an American landscape littered with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many unburied, most unidentified. The staggering casualties brought death to the American experience as never before—permanently altering the character of the republic, the psyche of the American people, and posing challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began.

Meeting Minutes October 2012

Meeting of August 25, 2012

Hal Jespersen on the “Seven Days Battles”

map

Seven Days Battles

In the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan landed his Army of the Potomac at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and slowly advanced up the Virginia Peninsula in an attempt to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. At the indecisive Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), the Confederate commander, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, was severely wounded and soon replaced with Gen. Robert E. Lee. In late June, Lee launched a series of attacks against McClellan that have come to be known as the Seven Days Battles, including the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines’s Mill, Glendale, Malvern Hill, and a few other (comparatively) minor engagements. Some historians describe the Seven Days as a campaign, others as a lengthy battle with daily engagements. If you subscribe to the latter view, the Seven Days ranks behind Gettysburg as the second bloodiest battle of the war, with approximately 36,000 casualties. Hal gave a brief overview of the initial movements and battles in the Peninsula Campaign, and then described each of the Seven Days in detail. He discussed the strategic importance of the campaign and gave his opinions on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the two opposing commanders. Continue reading

Meeting of May 29, 2012

Jim Campbell on “A Marine Artist’s View of Famous Civil War Naval Battles”

Jim Campbell’s pen and ink drawings tracing Americas rich maritime past can be seen in galleries on the west coast as well as the east coast. Campbell’s art work has been exhibited at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia, where he did a series of drawings of the famous battles of the Civil War including the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, the first ironclads to do battle at Hampton Roads, Virginia. He has also done a series of drawings of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, the first submarine in world history to sink an enemy ship. Recently discovered, the Hunley is now on display in the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in South Carolina. Jim discussed the duel at Hampton Roads and the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, and displayed some of his artwork.

Meeting Minutes May 2012

Meeting of April 24, 2012

Ernie Manzo on “History of the Forts and Batteries Guarding the Golden Gate During the Civil War”

Ernie discussed the little known history of the series of forts and batteries that defended the Golden Gates entrance from Confederate raiding sea vessels. In order to protect the precious gold and silver coming out of the California and Nevada mountains, which financed the Union war effort, the army expended substantial resources to install fortifications. Continue reading

Meeting of March 27, 2012

Arthur W. Henrick on “Civil War Currency, Monetary Policy, and Soldiers’ Pay”

man in a Civil War paymaster uniform

Arthur Henrick

Arthur’s talk described what Union soldiers were paid in 1861 (Gold/Silver) and the first issue of the new paper currency in early 1862 and the result of the mass issue of these “United States Notes” (commonly called “Greenbacks”) and the beginning of “Fiat” money. Confederate quartermasters paid their troops irregularly and inflation made their pay a fraction of the value that Union soldiers received. Arthur has a number of sources to cite. Readings from the Union prospective, the 1863 book “Light and Dark of the Rebellion” by Rev. Charles Edward Sester will cover the chapter “The Life of an Army Paymaster for a Day.” Another book is the 1887 “Corporal Si Klegg and his Pard” by Lt. Colonel Hinman and the chapter “An Interview with a Paymaster.” Data and facts from 1869 book by Hon. E. G. Spaulding, Chairman of the Sub-Committee of Ways and Means when the Greenback Law was passed in February 25th, 1862. As with 19th Century books, the full title is “History of the Legal Tender Paper Money issued during the GREAT REBELLION. Being a Loan without Interest and a national Currency.” Gold, silver, copper coins and Postage and Fractional Currency will be present for inspection of those who attend. Continue reading

Meeting of January 31, 2012

Lee Meredith on “The Strategic Impact of Railroads in the Civil War”

man with arms akimbo

Lee Meredith

As we have studied the Civil War we have become aware of the major impact railroads had on the outcome of the war. Not even in existence 32 years before Bull Run, there were over 29,000 miles of track when the war started. The armies of McClellan, Lee, Grant, Sherman, and others could not have undertaken the massive movement of men and material without them. You can argue for Napoleon’s massive armies, however Napoleon fought on the relatively flat, cultivated open country of western Europe and Russia and not the mountainous, forested and wet lands of the eastern United States. Continue reading