Meeting of September 29, 2009

Tom McMahon on “Life, Death and Religion in the Civil War.”

Tom McMahon set the scene for his talk by establishing his position as ordained Catholic priest, former US Army chaplain, and California licensed Mental Health Therapist. Tom choose the title of his talk based on the work in which he has been involved for over 50 years. Continue reading

Meeting of August 16, 2009

Gary Yee on “A Plan Gone Wrong: The Siege of Battery Wagner (July 21, 1863 to September 7, 1863)”

Gary Yee

Gary Yee

Charleston harbor was defended in the Civil War by Fort Sumter in the middle of the channel and, in the north, on Sullivan’s Island by Fort Moultrie and, to the south of Fort Sumter, on Morris Island by Battery Gregg. To defend Battery Gregg from attack from the south, Battery Wagner was established on Morris Island by the Confederates. The Federal commander of the attempt to capture Charleston was Brig. Gen. Quincy Gilmore and his plan was to land troops on Morris Island and capture both Batteries Wagner and Gregg and then reduce and capture Fort Sumter which would allow the navy to steam into Charleston harbor. Continue reading

Meeting of July 28, 2009

Bob Hubbs on “How Lincoln Won the War Without the Help of his Generals”

Bob’s presentation focused on Lincoln’s relationship with his generals in high command during the Civil War. Among the “highlights” or major points of Bob’s presentation were:

  • A review of Lincoln for what he really was relative to the manner in which he selected, communicated with, and demonstrated confidence in his generals. Continue reading

Meeting of June 30, 2009

Norman Patrick Doyle on “Two Civil War Generals in Mexico”

two 19th-century generals

Generals Twiggs and Harney

Patrick’s presentation included an overview of the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848, beginning with the actions of President James K. Polk that were, to a great extent, factors that precipitated the conflict. Patrick then sequenced the significant battles of the war, beginning with the first major battle, May 8, 1846, at Palo Alto, adjacent to modern day Brownsville, Texas, and concluding with the culminating battles of the war at Churubusco (on September 19, 1847) and Chapultepec (September 14, 1847). Gen. Winfield Scott’s troops continued to occupy Mexico City until the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on May 22, 1848 which officially ended the war. Continue reading

Meeting of May 26, 2009

Larry Tagg on “The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln”

Larry Tagg's book cover

Larry Tagg’s book cover

Larry’s presentation focused on the central and most meaningful aspects of his recently released book, entitled The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: The Story of America’s Most Reviled President. It revealed a number of interesting and informative insights relative to the immense unpopularity of Lincoln as he assumed the Presidency following the election of 1860. Among the highlights of Larry’s presentation were the following:

  • Lincoln was inaugurated at a time when the Presidency was tarnished by a string of poor presidents who preceded him (Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan) and at a time when all authority was little regarded. Continue reading

Meeting of April 28, 2009

Jack Mather on “Sherman—Fall 1864 to the End of the War: Myth and Reality”

Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman (Wikipedia)

Jack’s presentation evolved around the two following communications:

Oct. 9, 1864, Sherman to Grant: “Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, horses and people will cripple their military resources … I can make the march and make Georgia howl.” Continue reading

Meeting of March 31, 2009

Brad Schall on “The Political Climate in California 1850-1870”

Brad’s presentation centered around the crucial elements of the 1856 and 1870 elections. He examined both the role and impact of California’s first two Senators: William Gwin and John C. Frémont. He addressed “Why the South needed California to be a Slave State” and to what extent did slavery already exist in California. Within this context Brad related the stories of Mary Ellen Pleasant and the David Broderick vs. David Terry duel.

Newsletter March 2009

Meeting of February 24, 2009

Larry Comstock on “The Other End of the Line — The Union Right Flank at Gettysburg”

Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863 (Hal Jespersen)

Most attention about the battle of Gettysburg is given in the popular press and in the movie Gettysburg to the attacks on July 2, 1863, on the Union left flank and on the center of the Union line on July 3rd (Pickett’s Charge). Who has not heard about Little Round Top, Devils Den, the Peach Orchard, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and the 20th Maine? Larry’s excellent presentation described the events that took place on the Union right flank that were equally important. The geography of Gettysburg and the military importance of the surrounding hills were emphasized. Continue reading

Meeting of January 27, 2009

Charles Sweeney on “Aspects of Slavery During the Civil War”

Charles Sweeney’s presentation focused primarily on slavery and its ramifications during the Civil War, but his presentation also examined slavery in a more comprehensive context. Among the key points of his presentation were: