Meeting of May 31, 2022

Join us at 6:30 PM—Note new earlier start time—May 31, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is

Tom Roza on “The State of Wisconsin in the Civil War”

At the start of the Civil War in April 1861, all 34 States were involved in one way or another in that traumatic conflict: 19 states had sided with the Union, 11 states had seceded and formed the Confederacy, and 4 were initially designated as Border States, although these states in their own way played an active role in the Civil War.

Each state has its own unique story in the role it played in the Civil War. The State of Wisconsin, presenter Tom Roza’s home state, had a very active role before and during the Civil War. Tom’s presentation traces the history of Wisconsin from its origins when Native Americans first occupied the region around 10,000 BC after the last Ice Age glaciers had receded north into Canda. Tom then covers the period of the 17th and 18th Century when Europeans first visited the region and how their arrival eventually forced out the Native Americans with Wisconsin eventually becoming a State.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Tom delves into the economic and political evolution of Wisconsin and how it took on a leadership role in the abolition of slavery. Finally, Tom describes in detail the economic, financial, and military contributions that Wisconsin made that proved pivotal in the ultimate victory for the Union. Tom’s presentation also includes the significant role Wisconsin women played in support of the effort to preserve the Union.

Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. His interest in history in general and the Civil War in particular began with his elementary education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has evolved ever since. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his Roundtable organization and other historical organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is also a published author of the book entitled, “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” that has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog; Tom is currently working on a sequel entitled “Lost Cause – Justice Found.”

Quiz for May 31, 2022

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Presidential Election of 1864?

Q#1 – Which political party elected Abraham Lincoln as its nominee for President in the 1864 election?

Q#2 – Which political party split off from the Republican Party and who did it nominate as their candidate for President for the 1864 election?

Q#3 – What were the two major ideological elements that fractured the Democrat Party in 1864?

Q#4 – What was the main reason that Andrew Johnson was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket with Abraham Lincoln?

Q#5 – George B. McClellan was the Democrat Party’s nominee for President. What was the name of his Vice Presidential running mate?

Q#6 – What was the political platform regarding the Civil War that was adopted by the Democrat Party and what was George McClellan’s position regarding it?

Q#7 – True or False: The Presidential election of 1864 was the first to be held during wartime.

Q#8 – For much of 1864, Lincoln himself believed he had little chance of being re-elected because of one significant human factor. What was that?

Q#9 – Several political and military events eventually made Lincoln’s re-election inevitable. First, the Democrats had to confront the severe internal strains within their party. Second, Frémont’s withdrawal from the campaign was based on his decision that winning the Civil War was too important to divide the Republican vote. What was the significant military event that influenced Lincoln’s chances for victory?

Q#10 – Because the eleven Southern states that had declared secession from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America were not eligible to vote, only twenty-five states participated in the 1864 election. What were the names of the three new states that voted for the first time?

Q#11 – What were the only three states that George McClellan won?

Q#12 – Not every non-secession state allowed its soldiers to cast votes in the 1864 Presidential election. California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan were five of the seven states that did. What were the names of the other two states (Hint: They are located east of the Mississippi River).

Q#13 – Out of the 40,247 army votes cast, Lincoln received 30,503 (75.8%) and McClellan 9,201 (22.9%), with the rest (543 votes) scattering (1.3%). What was the name of the one state that the soldiers gave McClellan a majority of their votes?

Q#14 – Which state gave Lincoln his largest margin of victory?

Q#15 – Which state gave Lincoln his smallest margin of victory?

2022 West Coast Civil War Conference Announced

2022 West Coast Civil War Conference: “Grant vs Lee: Combat Strategy & Tactics in 1864 Virginia”

November 4-6, 2022

Hosted By The San Joaquin Valley CWRT. Speakers include Gordon Rhea, Eric Wittenburg, Chris Mackowski, Jim Stanbery, and Brian Clague.

Wyndham Garden Hotel Fresno Yosemite Airport, 5090 East Clinton Way, Fresno, CA 93727-1506, (1-559-252-3611 or 1-866-238-4218), $103.00 per night, or wydhamguestreservations.com.

To register, send in the registration form.

Meeting of June 28, 2022

Join us at 6:30 PM, June 28, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is

“Wargames: Fighting the Battle Before Firing a Shot”

This unique presentation will have three speakers—Jim Rhetta. Nick Stern, and Alan Sissenwein—cover the history, types, and usefulness of wargames to military planners. Simulating a battle in advance allows staff planners to identify factors that can have adverse or advantageous impacts on the desired outcome of military operations. Two examples will be presented of war games conduced prior to a planned military conflict that predicted the actual outcome.

Methods of conducting war games at the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical levels will be presented. Some questions this will present is if Civil War leaders could have wargamed their plans, could they have learned from them and achieved battlefield success more efficiently and with a lower cost in lives?

Jim Rhetta retired as a Col, USAFR, on the Intelligence Staff. In his career he participated in about 20 command post exercises that simulated planned combat operations in Korea, Europe, and other locations. Some of these war games simulated new and emerging weapon systems to determine their impact in Operation Plans and educate Staff planners on their impacts and limitations.

Nick Stern, like many of his fellow boomers, became interested in the Civil War during its centennial. A retired Disney artist, he now combines his pastimes of reading military history and painting toy soldiers to organize and play historical miniature wargames. The games are set in a variety of periods, including the Civil War. When not engaged in his hobby, he teaches art classes for the South San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department.

Alan J. Sissenwein became fascinated by history when he was a teenager and started playing board wargames when he was 16, later expanding this hobby to encompass miniatures wargaming and computer wargaming. He has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table since 1997 and currently serves as its vice president. He has given several talks to the round table, including a series on the worst Union generals. A professional writer, he holds a Bachelor’s in history from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Meeting of July 26, 2022

Join us at 6:30 PM, July 26, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is

Mark Costin on “Confederate Campaign to Invade New Mexico, Battles of Valderde and Glorieta Pass”

The New Mexico campaign of 1862 was the only major Confederate campaign to expand the boarders of the Confederacy. Confederate Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley invaded the northern New Mexico Territory in an attempt to gain control of the Southwest, including the gold fields of Colorado and the ports of California. The talk will cover the campaign with particular attention to the two major battles of the invasion, the Battles of Valderde and Glorieta Pass.

Mark Costin is an engineer living in Sunnyvale, CA, working on functional safety for automated and autonomous vehicles. A long-time history buff, this is Mark’s third presentation the SBCWRT about the war in the Trans-Mississippi. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, an M.Eng from McMaster University, and a B.Eng from McGill University.

Meeting of August 30, 2022

Join us at 6:30 PM, August 30, at Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. See the UPCOMING MEETINGS/MEETING INFO tab for specific times and meeting details. This month’s topic is

Tom Roza on “New York City Draft Riots”

One of the ugliest events to occur during the Civil War was the Draft Riots that took place in New York City in July 1863. The riots exposed deep rooted racial, political, and ethnic divisions that existed in New York City; these prejudices were fueled by massive numbers of immigrants fleeing Europe to escape famine, political division, and war. The riots were driven by several root causes:

  • Draft requirements that allowed wealthy white men to avoid the draft
  • Pervasive racial hatred directed at Negroes
  • Political corruption and division

Tom’s presentation delves into these root causes, what they caused, and the aftermath of the riots.

Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. His interest in history in general and the Civil War began with his elementary education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has evolved ever since. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his Roundtable organization and other historical organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is also a published author of the book entitled Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War, which has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog; Tom is currently working on a sequel entitled Lost Cause – Justice Found.

Meeting of April 26, 2022

Mark Costin on “The Overlooked Conflict, the Trans-Mississippi Operations, Part III: The Battle of Wilson’s Creek”

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek fought on August 10, 1861, is considered to be the second major battle of the Civil War. Here a much smaller Union army split their forces and staged a surprise attack on the Confederates. Although the South maintained control of the battlefield and won the battle, long term the results were more indecisive and more bloodshed was to come.

The battle features familiar names from Mark’s previous talks: Ben McCulloch, Sterling Price, and Franz Sigel, as well as a new major player, Union General Nathaniel Lyons. In addition to the battle, the activities as Missouri splits into fractions after the 1860 election will be described.

Mark Costin is an engineer living in Sunnyvale, CA, working on functional safety for automated and autonomous vehicles. A long-time history buff, this is Mark’s third presentation the SBCWRT about the war in the Trans-Mississippi. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, an M.Eng from McMaster University, and a B.Eng from McGill University.

Quiz of April 26, 2022

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Attack on Fort Sumter?

Q#1 – Fort Sumter is a sea fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Was it constructed on a real or artificial island?

Q#2 – Why was the fort originally built?

Q#3 – We all know that the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and eventually captured it. There was a second battle fought there; when was that and what was the result?

Q#4 – On December 26, 1860, only six days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson abandoned what fort and transferred his command to Fort Sumter?

Q#5 – The attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, has traditionally signaled the start of the Civil War because the first shots were fired. This is incorrect. When were the first shots fired as they relate to Fort Sumter and what were the circumstances?

Q#6 – After realizing that Major Robert Anderson’s command on Fort Sumter would run out of food by April 15, 1861, President Lincoln ordered a fleet of ships to attempt entry into Charleston Harbor and supply Fort Sumter. Who commanded this fleet?

Q#7 – What was the name of the Confederate fort that fired the first cannon shots at Fort Sumter?

Q#8 – Edmund Ruffin, noted Virginian agronomist and secessionist, claimed that he fired the first shot on Fort Sumter and his story has been widely believed. But who actually fired the first shots?

Q#9 – What was the reason that only solid iron balls could be used by the Union cannons in Fort Sumter against the Confederate batteries?

Q#10 – During the attack, the Union colors fell inside the fort. What was the name of he Union officer who risked his life to put them back up?

Q#11 – How many deaths were attributed to events at Fort Sumter?

Q#12 – Where were the Union soldiers transported after the surrender of Fort Sumter?

Q#13 – We all know that President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, But, what significant event occurred earlier that day at Fort Sumter?

Q#14 – After the Civil War ended, what was done to Fort Sumter?

Q#15 – One hundred and forty-seven years after it was sent, a rolled up telegraphic message was found and eventually given to a museum in Charleston, S.C. The telegram was dated April 14, 1861, from the Governor of South Carolina to Gazaway Bugg Lamar in New York. In part, what did the telegram state?

Meeting of March 29, 2022

Alan Sissenwein on “Joseph Hooker: Greater Asset or Liability to the Union”

Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker is primarily remembered for having lost the Battle of Chancellorsville. His overall career in the Civil War, however, was a contradictory one, and Hooker remains an enigmatic figure. In the months before Chancellorsville, his administrative reforms to the Army of the Potomac, which included his efforts to raise morale at a time when it was hemorrhaging deserters, arguably saved it from dissolving. Other reforms provided the army with its first effective intelligence service and transformed its often-infective cavalry into a powerful force. As a division and corps commander, he usually fought well, but his overweening ambition and penchant for openly criticizing his fellow generals made him a source of dissension in the higher ranks of the Union army. This talk will ponder the question of whether Hooker was ultimately a greater asset or liability to the Union cause.

Alan J. Sissenwein, who became fascinated by history when he was a teenager, has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table since 1997 and currently serves as its vice president. He has given several talks to the round table, most recently a series on the worst Union generals. A professional writer, he holds a Bachelor’s in history from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Quiz for March 29, 2022

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Little Known Civil War Trivia?

Q#1 – What percentage of the population of the United States died in the U.S. Civil War?

Q#2 – What Union spy worked as a servant in the Confederate White House?

Q#3 – Who was the first black war correspondent?

Q#4 – Who was the only U.S. President to serve the Confederacy during the Civil War?

Q#5 – African Americans made up what percent of the Union army?

Q#6 – What Confederate spy was known as the “Siren of Shenandoah”?

Q#7 – Who was the youngest general in the Civil War? For the person or persons who get this one correct, you can pick out a book from the raffle.

Q#8 – Jefferson Davis believed the death of what Confederate general was the turning point in the Civil War?

Q#9 – What type of pet did General Robert E. Lee keep with him during the Civil War?

Q#10 – What did Civil War veteran John Stith Pemberton invent?

Q#11 – Who blamed Sir Walter Scott for the American Civil War?

Q#12 – How much were Union privates paid per month during the Civil War?

Q#13 – Who was the first Union general to be killed in action?

Q#14 – What Civil War figure defined an honest politician as one who “once bought, stays bought”?

Q#15 – What was the longest single battle of the American Civil War?