Meeting of January 26, 2016

David Dixon on “The Lost Gettysburg Address: The Civil War Odyssey of Charles Anderson”

David Dixon Dixon - Lost Gettysburg AddressDavid explained why Anderson, a slave owner, sacrificed nearly everything to help save the Union and how he ended up sharing the spotlight with Lincoln at Gettysburg in November 1863. He gave one of the two principal speeches that bookended Lincoln’s masterpiece, then the speech itself was lost for 150 years and uncovered at a remote ranch in Wyoming.

Anderson’s colorful history includes a series of dramatic escapes from a Civil War prison in Texas, a close brush with death, commanding a Union regiment at the Battle of Stones River, defeating notorious Copperhead Clement Vallandigham in the Ohio gubernatorial race, then becoming Ohio’s governor himself.

David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and magazines. Most focus on black history and on Union sympathizers in the Civil War South. His short biography of U.S. and Confederate congressman Augustus R. Wright appeared in The Georgia Historical Quarterly in 2010. He remains intrigued by the problem of defining “loyalty” in the context of civil war. He hosts “B-List History,” a website celebrating lesser-known historical characters and their amazing stories.

Meeting Minutes January 2016

Quiz for January 26, 2016

Civil War Quiz: Spies, Scouts, and Raiders

Q#1 – Before he performed his most famous role as artillery commander for Pickett’s Charge, what Confederate officer’s first role was that of spying on Union troops movements?

Q#2 – In the spring of 1862, US Grant appointed a man to create Grant’s espionage apparatus. What was this man’s name?

Q#3 – What is the name of the Southern woman whose spying activities earned her the name “The Siren of the Shenandoah”?

Q#4 – In 1863, a Union officer was appointed head of the Army of the Potomac’s Bureau of Information. What was his name?

Q#5 – What was the name of the Confederate Officer who set up the Confederate Secret Service Bureau?

Q#6 – Name the woman who was a Union sympathizer who lived in Richmond and among her spying activities also took food to the Union prisoners kept in Libby Prison?

Q#7 – What was the name of the Confederate spy who lived in Washington DC and stole George McClellan’s Peninsula order of battle and plans in April 1862?

Q#8 – A man who spied for the Union was actually the Superintendent of the key southern RF&P Railroad that supplied General Lee’s troops in 1862-63. What was his name?

Q#9 – What is the name of the Confederate spy who planted a bomb containing 12 pounds of power and exploded it on August 9, 1864 with the subsequent blast almost killing US Grant at the Union’s City Point Supply Depot?

Q#10 – What Confederate commander spoke these words: “In general my purpose was to threaten and harass the enemy on the border and in this way compel him to withdraw troops from his front to guard the line of the Potomac and Washington. This would greatly diminish his offensive power”

Q#11 – What was the name of the Union raider who in 1862 stole the Confederate locomotive named “The General”?

Q#12 – On April 21, 1862, the Confederate Congress passed legislation that was intended as a stimulus for recruitment of irregulars for service into the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. What was the name of this law?

Q#13 – Confederate William Quantrill named a Kansas Senator “…the chief of all the Jayhawkers and the worst man that was ever born into this world.” What was this Senator’s name?

Q#14 – In 1864, the Louisville Kentucky Courier Newspaper wrote that a band of Confederate guerrillas in Kentucky was led by a woman named Sue Mundy. This person was in fact a man. What was his name?

Q#15 – On August 25, 1863, General Thomas Ewing Jr., who was William Tecumseh Sherman’s brother-in-law, issued his General Order No. 11, which isn considered one of the most repressive measures ever inflicted upon an American civilian population. What was that order?

Jack Leathers Memorial, December 19, 2016

Lisa Leathers D’Angelo has provided information about the obituary and memorial service for her father, long time roundtable member Jack Leathers:

John C. (Jack) Leathers

March 3, 1933 – November 13, 2015

Longtime Resident of Saratoga, San Jose, and Los Gatos

Jack Leathers 1970sJohn C. (Jack) Leathers passed away on November 13, 2015, in Davis, CA. Preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Giske Leathers, survived by daughter Lisa D’Angelo (Philip) of Davis, son John Leathers (Susan) of San Carlos, and Grandchildren Dominic, Benjamin, Christopher, Davin, and Jamie. He will be remembered as a great dad, a loving grandfather, a prolific reader of history books and writer of letters, a dedicated member of the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable, his weekly and exceptional grilling of steaks and “daddy” burgers, and for his LONG, daily walks throughout his life. He was one of the truly “good guys”.

Jack Leathers was born on March 3, 1933 (3-3-33!) to Alexander Frank Leathers and Margaret Cochran Leathers in Marion, Indiana. An only child, he grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and Winona, Minnesota, playing golf and football (wearing # 33!) before attending college at the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, and graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1955, where he would earn a degree in Business, row on the crew team, and serve as president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and sports editor of the yearbook. A two-year stint in the Air Force was followed by the start of his career as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in Oakland, CA. He began working in Commercial Finance in the early 60’s, working for various banks and lending institutions in San Francisco and Chicago throughout the 70’s and 80’s before closing his career as a San Jose based small business consultant.

In 1962 his passion for all things Scandinavian led him to meet and marry Giske Erichsen, the daughter of a Norwegian banker who had recently moved to San Francisco from Oslo, Norway. His daughter, Lisa (Elisabeth), was born in 1963 as they settled in San Jose. Son John Erich was born in 1967, and three years later they settled in Saratoga. A five (5) year stay in Barrington, Illinois was followed by a return to the Bay Area and Saratoga, where they would settle in the Blue Hills neighborhood for the better part of sixteen (16) years before living in Santa Clara, Los Gatos, the Villages in San Jose, and finally Davis, CA to be near daughter Lisa and family.

An only child, he valued time by himself, enjoying long (5-10 miles), solitary walks to think and hours reading and writing in his home office. But as a father, he was always accessible, always supportive of our endeavors yet honest in his commentary, generous with his time despite his long commutes from Barrington to Chicago or Saratoga to San Francisco, and always able to tell you that he loved you. Always.

A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, December 19, 2015, at 2:00 pm at Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Place in Saratoga with a celebration of life right after (most likely 3 pm) at Los Gatos Lodge, 50 Los Gatos/Saratoga Rd in Los Gatos (near highway 17). There will be hors d’oeuvres and wine and lots of sharing about my dad. My brother and I would be honored to have you all join us.

 

Meeting of November 24, 2015

Robert Burch on “California in the Civil War, Part 2: Californian U.S. Volunteer Units”

4th California Volunteer Infantry

4th California Volunteer Infantry

California contributed twelve regiments and five battalions of U.S. Volunteer infantry and cavalry to the Union War effort of 1861-65. These 15,575 soldiers served across the entire Western United States from Washington to Arizona Territories, and as far east as Wyoming Territory and Texas. They checked Secessionist activities in southern California, repelled a Confederate invasion of New Mexico, and conducted numerous campaigns against hostile Indians including the famous Battle of Apache Pass.

This presentation provides an introductory analysis of the California Volunteers followed by detailed histories of each regiment and battalion. Each unit history includes a historical summary, commander’s biography, and map with detailed wartime duty locations. Drawing from extensive original and secondary historical sources and photographs, this presentation provides the most exhaustive history of these regiments available.

This is the second of an eight-part series on California and the American Civil War. This series explores California’s role and contribution to the Union with an emphasis on the military aspect of the conflict. Part one outlined California’s political and military situation in April of 1861. The third part will summarize Californian soldiers in units credited to other states, including the famous “California Hundred” and California Battalion. Continue reading

Quiz for November 24, 2015

Civil War Quiz: Facts Regarding the Army of the Potomac

Q#1 – What was the initial name of the Army of the Potomac when it was formed in 1861?

Q#2 – Who was the very first commander of the Army of the Potomac before it was assigned that name?

Q#3 – It is a popular, but mistaken, belief that John Pope commanded the Army of the Potomac after McClellan’s unsuccessful Peninsula Campaign. What Union Army did Pope command at that time?

Q#4 – The Army of the Potomac underwent many structural changes during its existence. In November 1862, how did Ambrose Burnside structure the Army?

Q#5 – True or False: The Confederates also had an army named the Army of the Potomac.

Q#6 – Who was responsible for establishing the corps structure in the Army of the Potomac?

Q#7 – Once corps were established, what was the criteria for appointing corps commanders?

Q#8 – Why were the I and III Corps disbanded in 1863?

Q#9 – Who took over command of the Army of the Potomac after George Gordon Meade?

Q#10 – After taking command, what structural action did General Joseph Hooker implement regarding the cavalry?

Q#11 – In late 1863, two corps was sent west. Name them.

Q#12 – After Major General George G. Meade became Commander of the Army of the Potomac, who took brief temporary command during Meade’s absences on four occasions?

Q#13 – The “Fighting 69th” New York Infantry was part of which brigade?

Q#14 – Due to attrition and transfers, the army was reorganized in March 1864 with only four corps. Name these corps.

Q#15 – After the end of the war, what was the disposition of the Army of the Potomac?

Meeting of October 27, 2015

Tom Roza on “The Battle of Antietam, Part 2: 12 Hours; 23,000 Casualties; 100 Yards”

Burnside's Bridge at the Battle of Antietam (Wikipedia)

Burnside’s Bridge at the Battle of Antietam (Wikipedia)

Tom concluded his study of the Maryland Campaign.

Tom’s study of the American Civil War has primarily focused on the people who fought in the war, who they were, what their role was in the Civil War, and what was it about them that made them significant characters in that great conflict. His previous presentations on John Buford, Winfield Scott Hancock, Robert Gould Shaw, Ambrose Powell Hill, US Grant, and most recently Jeb Stuart, covered their lives including their family history, education, military background, roles in the Civil War, and in the case of Hancock, life after the War. Tom has always been more interested in the study of people and relationships; why people do what they do, what were their relationships, and how these relationships helped make these individuals who they were.

While the Battle of Gettysburg has traditionally been labeled as the Highpoint of the Confederacy and the turning point of the Civil War, there is another conflict that in Tom’s years of studying the Civil War was as important, if not more so than Gettysburg; that conflict is the Battle of Antietam.

The Battle of Antietam, or as the Southerners refer to it, The Battle of Sharpsburg, has always been referred to as the Bloodiest Day in American history. That is because in approximately 12 hours of horrific combat, approximately 23,000 casualties were inflicted. But, Antietam was much more than just the bloodiest day in our military history. It was as the Civil War Historian James M. McPherson labeled it, “The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War.”

Tom’s research on Antietam has uncovered many critical events and factors proceeding September 17, 1862, that influenced dramatically what occurred on the outskirts of that little Maryland town by a lazy flowing creek.

Meeting Minutes October 2015

Quiz for October 27, 2015

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About William Tecumseh Sherman That’s Not Associated With the Civil War?

Q#1 – What was William Tecumseh Sherman’s birth date?

Q#2 – What town and state was Sherman born in?

Q#3 – What explanation did Sherman provide for how he was given his middle name of Tecumseh?

Q#4 – What famous American Founding Father was Sherman distantly related to?

Q#5 – Sherman’s father, Charles Robert Sherman, died unexpectedly in 1829. At the time, what legal position did Sherman’s father hold?

Q#6 – When Sherman entered West Point in 1836, what future famous Union Civil War general was his roommate?

Q#7 – After graduating from West Point in 1840, in what conflict did Sherman experience his first military action?

Q#8 – Did Sherman see any combat action in the Mexican–American War of 1846-48?

Q#9 – In 1850, Sherman married Eleanor Boyle (“Ellen”) Ewing. How many children did they have?

Q#10 – In 1853, Sherman resigned his captaincy in the United States Army. What position did he assume in the private sector?

Q#11 – In 1859, what important administrative position in the academic sector was Sherman appointed to?

Q#12 – In June 1865, Sherman received his first post Civil War command. What was that command?

Q#13 – In 1875, Sherman published a two-volume book of his memoirs. What was the title of the memoirs?

Q#14 – In retirement, Sherman was much in demand as a colorful speaker at dinners and banquets. What famous playwright was Sherman fond of quoting?

Q#15 – In 1891, what famous Confederate General served as a pallbearer at Sherman’s funeral and died one month later of pneumonia?

Meeting of September 29, 2015

Tom Roza on “The Battle of Antietam, Part 1: Invasion and the Battle of South Mountain”

Battle of South Mountain (Wikipedia)

Battle of South Mountain (Wikipedia)

Tom’s study of the American Civil War has primarily focused on the people who fought in the war, who they were, what their role was in the Civil War, and what was it about them that made them significant characters in that great conflict. His previous presentations on John Buford, Winfield Scott Hancock, Robert Gould Shaw, Ambrose Powell Hill, US Grant, and most recently Jeb Stuart, covered their lives including their family history, education, military background, roles in the Civil War, and in the case of Hancock, life after the War. Tom has always been more interested in the study of people and relationships; why people do what they do, what were their relationships, and how these relationships helped make these individuals who they were.

While the Battle of Gettysburg has traditionally been labeled as the Highpoint of the Confederacy and the turning point of the Civil War, there is another conflict that in Tom’s years of studying the Civil War was as important, if not more so than Gettysburg; that conflict is the Battle of Antietam.

The Battle of Antietam, or as the Southerners refer to it, The Battle of Sharpsburg has always been referred to as the Bloodiest Day in American history. That is because in approximately 12 hours of horrific combat, approximately 23,000 casualties were inflicted. But, Antietam was much more than just the bloodiest day in our military history. It was as the Civil War Historian James M. McPherson labeled it, “The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War.”

Tom’s research on Antietam has uncovered many critical events and factors proceeding September 17, 1862, that influenced dramatically what occurred on the outskirts of that little Maryland town by a lazy flowing creek. This is the first of a two-part presentation, to be concluded next month.

Meeting Minutes September 2015

Quiz for September 29, 2015

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

Q#1 – In September 1861, President Lincoln revoked 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 on September 12 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 18-20, 1861, in Missouri that was won by the Confederates and threatened keeping Missouri in the Union?

Q#9 – On September 4, 1861, a large Confederate Army moved into Kentucky, occupied Columbus, and began occupying high ground overlooking the Mississippi 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?