Meeting of October 26, 2021

Bob Sweetman on “How the Union Won the Battle of Gettysburg”

[While our group will be meeting in-person at Holder’s Country Inn, Bob Sweetman will be joining us from Gettysburg, PA, via a ZOOM session.]

The Union victory at Gettysburg was not just a matter of luck—it was the combination of great leadership, courageous fighting spirit, and a fortunate choice of terrain. All three factors came together to allow the Army of the Potomac to achieve a victory. This victory was not certain until the last moments of the battle.

This Zoom talk examines these factors and is a companion to the novel The Loyal, True, and Brave, which chronicles the action between the beginning of the battle of Chancellorsville and the end of the battle of Gettysburg. Set in a narrative form, the format allows the reader to experience the thoughts and motivations of four of the key players in the final Union victory. These four individuals are Generals George Meade, Winfield Hancock, and Daniel Sickles. Sergeant Henry Taylor of the First Minnesota is also one of the individuals.

The talk takes a bigger picture view of the operations, concentrating of the main action and key decisions. One cannot understand what happened at Gettysburg unless they know the events of the battle of Chancellorsville. The talk, then, begins with Chancellorsville, Lee’s greatest victory, and ends with Gettysburg, Lee’s greatest defeat.

Join Bob Sweetman in a fact-filled presentation of the events involved in this critical two months of American history.

Robert J. Sweetman (Bob) has been deeply interested in the American Civil War since his father took him to visit Gettysburg at the age of ten. As a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point and as an army officer after graduation, he has experience with both the theory and application of the military art. Bob is a member of the Civil War Talk Forum and the Historical Writers of America. He remains an avid student of civil war history. Stay in touch with him at www.robertjsweetman.com and at facebook.com/robertjsweetman.

Quiz for October 26, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Generals Killed During The Civil War?

Q#1 — This general was killed on April 2, 1865 by a Union soldier, Corporal John W. Mauck of the 138th Pennsylvania. Name him.

Q#2 — After his death his old West Point classmate John Bell Hood paid a warm tribute to his character. He was the second-highest-ranking Union officer killed in action during the war. Name him.

Q#3 — This Civil War battle started disastrously for the Confederates as the general commanding the right wing and his second in command were killed very early in the engagement. Name the battle and the generals.

Q#4 — Generals Robert S. Garnett and Felix Kirk Zollicoffer have this distinction. What is it?

Q#5 — What were the circumstances of Union General W. H. L. Wallace’s death?

Q#6 — This Confederate general was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. Name him.

Q#7 — Two of Pickett’s three brigade commanders were killed during Pickett’s charge. Name them.

Q#8 — This Confederate general uttered the phrase “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall,” leading to Stonewall Jackson’s nickname but was mortally wounded shortly thereafter. Name him.

Q#9 — He was the first Union general to die in the Civil War. Name him.

Q#10 — Killed by a sniper, among his last words were “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Name him.

Q#11 — He was the highest-ranking officer, Union or Confederate, killed during the entire war. Name him.

Q#12 — This Confederate general was killed by a Federal 3-inch shell at Pine Mountain, Georgia on June 14, 1864. Name him.

Q#13 — Union general John F. Reynolds was killed at the start of the Battle of Gettysburg. Why is his death considered controversial by historians?

Q#14 — This battle saw the deaths of six Confederate generals. Name the battle and the generals.

Q#15 — What were the circumstances of Union General William “Bull” Nelson’s death?

Meeting of August 31, 2021

Abby Eller on “King Cotton”

The Confederacy was confident that a cotton embargo would induce Britain and France to ally with the Confederacy. Why was the South so confident of this? Cotton was indeed King,… but not in the way the South thought it was. Come hear the fascinating story of cotton and its importance in the world economy since the 19th century.

Abby Eller has long been a history lover, American history especially, because history explains how we got to now. Abby is fascinated by the Civil War as the single most transformative event in American history.

Quiz for August 31, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker?

Q#1 – Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker was born on November 13, 1814. In what town and state was he born?

Q#2 – What American Revolutionary War captain was Joe Hooker the grandson of and named for?

Q#3 – Hooker graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery. Out of a class of 50, where did Hooker rank?

Q#4 – During his time in Mexico during the War, his reputation as a ladies’ man earned him what name with the local Mexican girls?

Q#5 – Why did Hooker resign his military commission in 1853?

Q#6 – After leaving the military, Hooker became a farmer and land developer, and ran unsuccessfully for election to represent his region in the state legislature. And from 1859 to 1861, he held a commission as a colonel of a militia unit. What county and state did this occur in?

Q#7 – As still part of a state militia unit, after Hooker witnessed the Union Army defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, he wrote a letter that complained of military mismanagement, promoted his own qualifications, and requested a commission in the regular Union Army. Who did Hooker send his letter to?

Q#8 – At Antietam, Hooker left the battle early in the morning with what type of wound?

Q#9 – After Fredericksburg and the humiliating Mud March, what was General Ambrose Burnside’s reaction to severe criticism leveled at him by Hooker?

Q#10 – At the Battle of Chancellorsville, what personal event contributed to Hooker’s defeat and subsequent retreat?

Q#11 – During the 1864 Atlanta Campaign under Sherman, Hooker led his XX Corps competently, but asked to be relieved of command before the capture of the Atlanta. Why?

Q#12 – What was Hooker’s role in Lincoln’s funeral procession in Springfield, IL, on May 4th, 1865?

Q#13 – After Leaving the military in 1866, Hooker’s life was marred by poor health. What severe medical event happened to him?

Q#14 – What is the story regarding how Hooker was given the name “Fighting Joe?”

Q#15 – True or False: The term “Hooker” began to be associated with prostitutes because a band of prostitutes that followed Hooker’s division was derisively referred to as “General Hooker’s Army” or “Hooker’s Brigade.”

Fort Point Civil War Tour, August 28, 2021

The South Bay Civil War Round Table has scheduled a special event to help celebrate the return to in-person Roundtable meetings. On Saturday, August 28, 2021, a tour of the Civil War era Fort Point facility in San Francisco has been arranged. Here is the schedule:

Noon: Meet at Holder’s Country Inn; park in back parking lot at restaurant

Noon–1 pm: Carpool to Fort Point in San Francisco

1–4 pm: Tour Fort Point

4–5 pm: Carpool back to Holder’s

5–7 pm: Dinner at Holder’s

2021 West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference Announced

2021 West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference

Combat Strategy and Tactics, Grant vs Lee in 1864

November 5–7, 2021

Featuring speakers including Gordon Rhea, Eric Wittenburg, Chris Mackowski, Jim Stanbery, and Brian Clague.

Hosted by San Joaquin Valley Civil War Round Table

Wyndham Garden Fresno Airport
5090 E. Clinton Way, Fresno
(559-252-3611)
$103 per night

Attendee Registration

$200 Per person including meals (Breakfast on your own; coffee & pastries provided. Non participants who wish dinner Friday or Saturday Night: $30 each meal.)

NAME:________________________________________
ADDRESS:_____________________________________
EMAIL:_________________________________________
Member of a CWRT? ______________________________

Please address check to SJVCWRT
SEND TO Ron Vaughan (Conference Co-ordinator)
730 E. Tulare Ave,
Tulare, CA 93274

Questions? ronvaughan@prodigy.net

Meeting of July 27, 2021

Alan Sissenwein on “The Worst Generals of the Civil War, Part IV”

This is a continuation of previous meeting presentations.

Most authors of the Civil War have focused on presenting the best Generals of the Civil War and their traits that led to that status. They focus heavily on Lee, Grant, Sherman, and Jackson as books on them abound. This focus overlooks the fact that there were generals at the opposite end of the leadership spectrum who were ineffective leaders.

For this presentation Alan Sissenwein will present more of the worst Federal generals. What made these generals selected for that status include bad leadership, bad battlefield results, poor decision-making, abrasive personalities, and abuse of subordinates. This will also cover the factors that allowed for bad generals to emerge and in some cases the inability to remove them from senior leadership positions.

Alan Sissenwein, a native Californian, is a professional writer who has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table since 1997. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Although he has been fascinated by history since he was a teenager, his interest in the Civil War only took root during his last semester of graduate school, which was spent in Washington D.C. He likes to say that in California the Civil War is an abstraction but on the East Coast it’s a presence. He has previously given talks to the South Bay Civil War Round Table on such subjects as George Armstrong Custer and George Brinton McClellan.

Quiz for July 27, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Southerners fighting for the North and Northerners fighting for the South?

Q#1 — Frank Crawford Armstrong was a United States Army cavalry officer prior to the Civil War. What made him unique?

Q#2 — This Union general was born in Virginia. In 1860 he was on officer with the US 2nd Cavalry. Unlike many southerner officers he opted to remain with the US Army. In response, his family turned his picture against the wall, destroyed his letters, and never spoke to him again. Name him.

Q#3 — This Confederate general was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the start of the Civil War his choice to resign his commission in the Union and join the Confederate was due to the influence of his Virginia-born wife and many years of service in the southern states before the war. Name him.

Q#4 — This Virginia native remained loyal to the Union. He reached the rank of lieutenant general. Name him.

Q#5 — Prior to the war, this Confederate general lived in New York city where he served as deputy street commissioner. As military commander of New Orleans, he was heavily criticized for failing to adequately defend the city. Name him.

Q#6 — This Confederate admiral resigned his commission on April 22, 1861, expecting his home state of Maryland to eventually secede. When that didn’t happen, he tried to recall his resignation, but U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles said he did not want traitors or half-hearted patriots in his navy and refused to reinstate him. He then joined the Confederate navy. Name him.

Q#7 — This senator was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state’s secession. He later joined the Lincoln administration. Name him.

Q#8 — This Confederate state furnished the most units of soldiers for the Union Army than any other state within the Confederacy, totaling approximately 31,092 white troops and 20,133 black troops. Name the state.

Q#9 — This western state raised 17 regiments for the Union. However, about 1,000 of its residents fought for the south. Name the state.

Q#10 — This woman, prominent during the war in her support for the Union, was born in Kentucky and had several of her half-brothers serving in the Confederate Army and were killed in action, and one brother serving the Confederacy as a surgeon. Name her.

Q#11 — Although born in Augusta, Georgia, he strongly opposed secession and supported the Union. He served as Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army during and after the American Civil War. Name him.

Q#12 — Sam Houston was governor of Texas when a Texas political convention voted to secede from the United States on February 1, 1861. What did he do next?

Q#13 — In the 1860 presidential election, this Tennessee politician ran as the candidate of the Constitutional Union Party and won 39 electoral votes. In the months following Lincoln’s election, he remained steadfast in his support for the Union but switched to supporting the Confederacy after federal forces invaded Tennessee. Name him.

Q#14 — This officer, who was born in Kentucky, surrendered Fort Sumter to start the Civil War. Name him

Q#15 — This Union admiral was born near Knoxville, Tennessee. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. Who was he?

Meeting of June 29, 2021

Mark Costin on “1864 General Sterling Price Raid”

By 1864 Missouri had been in Union control for two years. Believing that Missourians wanted liberation from Union forces, the Confederates made a desperate to divert Union forces from other war theatres; the Confederates attempted to retake Missouri. The campaign, often referred to as a raid but much larger in actuality, was led by General Stirling Price, former Missouri Governor, and consisted of 11 major and minor engagements. The campaign was ultimately a disaster for the Confederacy.

This talk will outline the strategic situation in Missouri in 1864 as well describe the personalities and battles of the campaign.

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 first presentation the SBCWRT. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, an M.Eng from McMaster University, and B.Eng from McGill University.

Quiz for June 29, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Gettysburg Address?

Q#1 – Who invited President Lincoln to speak at Gettysburg?

Q#2 – On the train trip from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg, Lincoln was accompanied by three members of his Cabinet: William Seward, John Usher, and Montgomery Blair, along with several foreign officials and a man servant. What two other individuals who worked closely with Lincoln also made the trip?

Q#3 – The first page of the speech was written by Lincoln in ink on Executive Mansion stationery. What was the second page written with and on what?

Q#4 – How many words are contained in the Gettysburg Address?

Q#5 – What are the last 18 words of the Gettysburg Address?

Q#6 – Lincoln’s last words in the address were inspired by whom?

Q#7 – On what date and day of the week was the Gettysburg Address given?

Q#8 – Who took the only known and confirmed photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg?

Q#9 – What was the title of the 13,607-word oration given by Edward Everett that preceded Lincoln’s address?

Q#10 – Regarding the crowd in attendance at the ceremony, what is generally known about their reaction to Lincoln’s address?

Q#11 – In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Edward Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” What did Lincoln write back to Everett?

Q#12 – National reaction to the Gettysburg Address was mixed. What was the reaction of the Chicago Times Newspaper?

Q#13 – How many known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s hand are in existence?

Q#14 – Three copies of the address were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after the event at Gettysburg. These were given to Edward Everett, George Bancroft, and Alexander Bliss. Who received the other two copies?

Q#15 – What happened to Lincoln on his trip back to Washington, D.C., after the event at Gettysburg?