Monthly Archives: February 2022

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?