Meeting of October 28, 2008

Fred Bohmfalk on “Baseball During the Civil War”

Civil War “buffs” and baseball enthusiasts alike were in for a real treat as Fred Bohmfalk’s presentation of “Baseball during the Civil War” enlightened us relative to the origin and somewhat obscure beginning of the game to its reputation as our “national pastime” of the modern era. Continue reading

Meeting of September 30, 2008

Tom Roza on “John Buford at Gettysburg”

portrait of Civil War cavalry officer

Brig. Gen. John Buford (Wikipedia)

Although covering other aspects of of John Buford’s life and Civil War exploits, this presentation focused primarily on his role and strategic contributions to the Union cause at the Battle of Gettysburg. Here is a brief synopsis of Buford’s role on that fateful first day of the battle:

“On the morning of July 1st, 1863, Buford’s men faced west as the sun rose to their backs. Shortly after daylight, one of his troopers posted on the road to Cashtown fired at the advance of Maj. Gen. Henry Heth’s entire Confederate division, sending up the alarm in Buford’s camp. The dismounted cavalrymen, acting like infantry skirmishers, put up a stubborn, slow defense over the two miles to Buford’s main battle line atop McPherson’s Ridge. The Union tactics here called for measured, deliberate resistance that traded ground for time. By the time Heth’s men reached Herr’s Ridge opposite Buford’s main line, two hours of precious daylight had passed and supporting Federal infantry had approached to enter the brawl. Buford, and then infantry commander Maj. Gen. John Reynolds, had their eyes on the ultimate prize—the higher, better ground to the east and south of the town.” This action, combined with the strategic decision of commanding the high ground would have a major impact on the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg. Continue reading

Meeting of August 10, 2008

Jack Leathers on “George Thomas: The Rock of Chickamauga”

portrait of Civil War general

Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas (Wikipedia)

Although Jack’s presentation was comprehensive in covering much of George Thomas’s personal history and military career, Jack began by focusing on what was to be his most notable battle—the September 19-20, 1863, Battle of Chickamauga, the one that would earn him the acclaimed nickname of “The Rock of Chickamauga.”

Following his recounting of this momentous battle, Jack reviewed the career of George Thomas—how Thomas graduated near the top of his class at West Point in 1840 and received his first assignment to fight the Seminole Indians in Florida.

Jack next touched on Thomas’s service during the Mexican War as he served under Gen. Zachary Taylor and proved himself in the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista. Continue reading