Quiz for March 31, 2015

Civil War Quiz – Civil War Weaponry

Q#1 – What rifle was the most common weapon carried by Union infantry in the eastern theater in 1861-62?

Q#2 – Tests conducted by the U.S. Army were performed to determine which caliber bullet (.58 or .69) was more accurate at a distance when used with a rifled musket. What were the conclusions of those tests?

Q#3 – What was the most widely used weapon by the Confederates during the Civil War?

Q#4 – What rifle was very popular with Confederate snipers because it was capable of hitting a man sized target beyond 1,000 yards?

Q#5 – What was the largest produced and most widely used of all handguns in the Civil War by both sides?

Q#6 – What was the name of the handgun designed by Jean Alexandre LeMat that proved to be the favorite of General Jeb Stuart?

Q#7 – What were the names of the two general types of artillery weapons used during the Civil War?

Q#8 – What artillery piece was considered the weapon of choice if the opposing forces were concealed behind terrain features or fortifications?

Q#9 – What was the name of the factory located in Richmond, Virginia, that produced a large quantity of Confederate weapons?

Q#10 – What is the name of the term used to modify the barrel of a cannon which adds spiral grooves along the inside of the gun barrel for the purpose of spinning the shell or shot thereby increasing the range and accuracy of the gun?

Q#11 – Did an Artillery Shot projectile include an explosive charge?

Q#12 – What was the effective range of an artillery canister projectile?

Q#13 – What was the name given to the two-wheeled carriage that carried an ammunition chest and was connected directly behind a team of horses and towed the artillery gun?

Q#14 – What was the purpose of the piece of artillery equipment called a Caisson?

Q#15 – What was the name of the company that was the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company’s chief rival in providing weapons to the Union Army?

Meeting of February 24, 2015

Robert Burch on “The Battle of Big Bethel and the Struggle for Control of the Yorktown Peninsula”, Part 2

Battle of Big Bethel, sketch by Alfred R. Waud

Battle of Big Bethel, sketch by Alfred R. Waud

Nested between the Siege of Fort Sumter and the Battle of First Bull Run (aka First Manassas) during the spring of 1861 is the often overlooked action at Big Bethel church, Virginia, on June 10th, 1861. Many historians and Civil War enthusiasts consider this action the first true battle of the war. Unfolding political and military events quickly turned Virginia into the first active theater of campaigning for Union and Confederate armies. The Yorktown Peninsula soon became the first contested area within that theater. Conceived by local Union Army leaders as raid to stop Confederate pickets from harassing Union troops, Big Bethel instead became the testing ground for two citizen armies that were mustered, equipped, trained, and deployed over a six-week period following Fort Sumter. Union volunteer regiments attacked Confederates led by John Magruder and Daniel Harvey Hill for three hours. What happened that day and its results were the focus of national attention on both sides until Bull Run six weeks later.

To properly place the action at Big Bethel in perspective, the presentation begins by summarizing the political and military events that led a peaceful nation to war. The political factors that caused thousands of volunteers to fight with passion on June 10th are highlighted. Next the military factors that caused Virginia to become the first active theater of operations and Yorktown Peninsula to host the war’s first battle are surveyed. All participating Union and Confederate regiments and their leaders are concisely portrayed. Finally, the aftermath, analysis and significance of the battle are reviewed. The PowerPoint slides document the product of the speaker’s research in great detail. Time allows only a few key points from each slide to be presented. Numerous period photographs and magazine drawings are included for visual effect with the intent of bringing to life the drama and passion of the war’s first test of arms. Continue reading

Quiz for February 24, 2015

Civil War Quiz: 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 through 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 and 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 and 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?

Meeting of January 27, 2015

Robert Burch on “The Battle of Big Bethel and the Struggle for Control of the Yorktown Peninsula”, Part 1

Battle of Big Bethel, sketch by Alfred R. Waud

Battle of Big Bethel, sketch by Alfred R. Waud

Nested between the Siege of Fort Sumter and the Battle of First Bull Run (aka First Manassas) during the spring of 1861 is the often overlooked action at Big Bethel church, Virginia, on June 10th, 1861. Many historians and Civil War enthusiasts consider this action the first true battle of the war. Unfolding political and military events quickly turned Virginia into the first active theater of campaigning for Union and Confederate armies. The Yorktown Peninsula soon became the first contested area within that theater. Conceived by local Union Army leaders as raid to stop Confederate pickets from harassing Union troops, Big Bethel instead became the testing ground for two citizen armies that were mustered, equipped, trained, and deployed over a six-week period following Fort Sumter. Union volunteer regiments attacked Confederates led by John Magruder and Daniel Harvey Hill for three hours. What happened that day and its results were the focus of national attention on both sides until Bull Run six weeks later.

To properly place the action at Big Bethel in perspective, the presentation begins by summarizing the political and military events that led a peaceful nation to war. The political factors that caused thousands of volunteers to fight with passion on June 10th are highlighted. Next the military factors that caused Virginia to become the first active theater of operations and Yorktown Peninsula to host the war’s first battle are surveyed. All participating Union and Confederate regiments and their leaders are concisely portrayed. Finally, the aftermath, analysis and significance of the battle are reviewed. The PowerPoint slides document the product of the speaker’s research in great detail. Time allows only a few key points from each slide to be presented. Numerous period photographs and magazine drawings are included for visual effect with the intent of bringing to life the drama and passion of the war’s first test of arms. Continue reading

Quiz for January 27, 2015

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Robert E Lee?

Q#1 – What was Robert E. Lee’s birth date?

Q#2 – Who was Lee’s father?

Q#3 – What year did Lee enter West Point?

Q#4 – What was Lee’s major course of study at West Point?

Q#5 – How many demerits did Lee incur during his 4 years at West Point?

Q#6 – Lee married a woman named Mary Custis. Who was her grandmother?

Q#7 – During the summer of 1835, what job was Lee assigned?

Q#8 – How many children did Robert & Mary Lee have?

Q#9 – During the Mexican–American War, what was Lee’s job in support of General Winfield Scott’s march from Veracruz to Mexico City?

Q#10 – In 1852, what job was Lee assigned at West Point?

Q#11 – In 1855, Lee was promoted as second-in-command of the Second Cavalry regiment in Texas. What was the name of the commander he served under? (Hint: Lee’s commander would later become a General in the Confederate Army)

Q#12 – On August 8, 1863, following the battle at Gettysburg, Lee sent a letter to President Davis. What did the letter contain?

Q#13 – After the Civil War, what job did Lee undertake?

Q#14 – What were Lee’s views on granting Negroes the right to vote?

Q#15 – Lee died October 12, 1870. What medical malady occurred two weeks prior that contributed to his death?

Meeting of November 25, 2014

Tom Roza presents the video, “Ulysses S. Grant and the Virginia Campaign in 1864”

Brooks Simpson at CWI 2014

Brooks Simpson at CWI 2014

As part of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute hosted its Annual Summer Conference. One of the featured events was “U.S. Grant and the Virginia Campaign in 1864,” presented by Brooks Simpson, an American historian and History Professor at Arizona State University.

Simpson is the author of six books, the coauthor of two more, and the editor or coeditor of eight other books and is perhaps best known for his work on Ulysses S. Grant. At the Gettysburg College Civil War Institutes’s Summer Conference held in June 2014, Professor Brooks Simpson discussed Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, which was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June of 1864.

Simpson discusses numerous little known facts such as how Grant’s initial plans for taking over command in the eastern theater of the Civil War were vetoed by then Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The presentation discusses how Grant’s role as commander developed and evolved in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War during the 1864 period.

The presentation will be a video streamed from C-SPAN’s web site.

Quiz for November 25, 2014

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Ulysses S. Grant?

Q#1 – What was Ulysses S. Grant’s birth date?

Q#2 – What was Ulysses S. Grant’s birth name?

Q#3 – What town and state was US Grant born in?

Q#4 – How did Grant’s name get changed to Ulysses S. Grant?

Q#5 – What nickname did Grant go by when at West Point?

Q#6 – Grant graduated from West Point in 1843 with a class of 39 – where did Grant rank in his class?

Q#7 – Grant fought in the Mexican War. In his memoirs, what did Grant write about his thoughts on that war?

Q#8 – What was the maiden name of the woman that Grant married?

Q#9 – In 1856, Grant and his family moved to a section of his father-in-law’s farm and, to give his family a home, built a house. What name did he give to the house?

Q#10 – Early in the Civil War, how did Grant earn the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant?

Q#11 – What was the month and year when President Lincoln named Grant commander of all Union armies?

Q#12 – What was the reason Grant declined President Lincoln’s invitation to attend together a play at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865?

Q#13 – What was the name of the Democrat Party’s candidate that Grant defeated in the Presidential election on 1868?

Q#14 – After leaving the office of President in 1877, what did Grant and his family do?

Q#15 – What was the medical condition that Grant eventually died from?

Meeting of September 30, 2014

Hal Jespersen on “Civil War Cartography”

CWMaps web page

CWMaps web page

Readers say that one of the most important features of a modern book about the Civil War is a good collection of understandable, accurate maps. Hal’s presentation will reveal some of the details behind the process for creating such maps. Hal Jespersen’s cartography business has produced over 800 maps for Wikipedia and numerous books, magazines, and battlefield displays. Hal discussed  the state of mapmaking during the war, reviewed the work of some famous cartographers, and described tools and processes he uses to create maps. Some of the technical concepts included were projection, elevation rendering, evaluating the accuracy of the Official Records Atlas, and plotting the courses of 19th century rivers, roads, and railroads.

Continue reading

Quiz for September 30, 2014

Civil War Quiz – What Happened During the Month of September, 1861-1865?

Q#1 – In September 1861, President Lincoln revokes an unauthorized military proclamation of emancipation in Missouri and relieved the Union commander who issued it. What was the name of that Union commander?

Q#2 – What was the date of the Battle of Antietam?

Q#3 – What action did President Lincoln take on September 22, 1862?

Q#4 – The Battle of Chickamauga was fought on September 19/20, 1863. What were the names of the Confederate and Union commanders?

Q#5 – What significant Union victory occurred on September 2, 1864?

Q#6 – What major military action occurred during September 12-15 that was part of Lee’s first invasion of the North?

Q#7 – After many failed attempts to capture it, what Confederate fort located in South Carolina was finally captured by Union troops on September 7, 1863?

Q#8 – What was the name of the battle that was fought on September 12-20, 1861, in Missouri that was won by the Confederates and threatened to keep Missouri in the Union?

Q#9 – On September 4, 1861, a Confederate army moved into Kentucky, occupied Columbus, and began occupying high ground overlooking the Ohio River. What was the name of the Confederate commander?

Q#10 – Following Union general Pope’s disastrous defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run, what action did President Lincoln take on September 2, 1862?

Q#11 – What major legal action did President Lincoln take on September 24, 1862, that now affected all the states in the North?

Q#12 – On September 8, 1863, the Second Battle of Sabine Pass was fought when a Union flotilla of four gunboats and seven troop transports steamed into Sabine Pass and up the Sabine River. What was the reason for this military engagement?

Q#13 – What was the name of the battle fought on September 21-22, 1864, when Union general Philip Sheridan defeated the Confederate army led by General Jubal Early, which opened up the Shenandoah Valley to a Union “scorched earth” invasion that became known as the “Burning” or “Red October”?

Q#14 – During March 19-21, 1865, what battle was fought in North Carolina?

Q#15 – What was the name of the battle fought on September 14, 1862, initiated by Union General George McClellan after he found Lee’s General Order 191?

Meeting of August 23, 2014

Jim Rhetta on “Slavery & Slave Ancestry”

Jim Rhetta and John Herberich

Jim Rhetta and John Herberich at the 2014 Picnic

Jim’s two-part presentation started with Slavery, a Socioeconomic System. It discussed the economic conditions that created slavery, the comparative value of slaves, and the emerging financial forces on slavery. The South was unaware that the increasing amount of currency in circulation, growing immigrant-fueled labor pool, and changing social values were threatening the economic viability of slavery. These emerging socioeconomic forces would have eventually made slavery unprofitable had the Civil War not been fought.

The second part was on Tangled and Incomplete, Tracing Slave Family Histories. It presented the difficulties of researching African-American family histories due to the forced illiteracy in slavery, limited census data, and paucity of travel, legal, and property records. It includes the family history of Jim’s Great-Grandfather’s slave-holders as well as both sides of his family. The value of oral traditions and histories were revealed in this 40-year search of his family history.

Meeting Minutes August 2014