Monthly Archives: June 2023

Meeting of July 25, 2023

Ron Vaughan on “Fields of Blood, the Battle of Prairie Grove”

The main sources for this talk are the books by William Shea: Fields of Blood, the Battle of Prairie Grove and War in the West, a special issue of “Blue & Gray” magazine, plus a booklet printed by the Prairie Grove Battlefield Park, which Ron bought on a visit to the park. A helpful Park Ranger was able to confirm that Ron’s great grandfather, William R. Vaughan, was present with his regiment, the 13th Missouri Militia Cavalry!

Ron Vaughan has an MA in History and a Secondary Teaching Credential. His MA thesis was entitled “A Comparison of the Military Effectiveness of the US Army and Mexico, in 1846.”

He has written two published books: Viva Juarez, A Source Book for the French Intervention in Mexico, and Handbook for the Spanish Civil War, plus many magazine articles in military history related publications, most recently “Joe Shelby’s Odyssey in Mexico” in the “North & South” December 2022 issue. Ron has also been a re-enactor for periods of Roman times, American Civil War, WW I, and WW II. He is the Head Docent at the Tulare City Historical Museum and Secretary and Editor for the San Joaquin Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Quiz for July 25, 2023

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Ironclads Monitor and Merrimac?

Q#1 – While the concept of ships protected by armor existed before the advent of the ironclad Monitor, the need for iron plating on ships arose only after the invention of what new form of armament?

Q#2 – After the Civil War began, what event caused the Union Navy’s attitude towards ironclads to quickly change?

Q#3 – In August 1861 how much money did Congress appropriate to build one or more armored steamships?

Q#4 – The Monitor was designed by Swedish-born engineer and inventor John Ericsson. Where was the Monitor constructed and how many days did it take to build it?

Q#5 –The top of the armored deck of the Monitor was only about 18 inches above the waterline. It was protected by two layers of 1⁄2-inch wrought iron armor. What material was used and what were their dimensions to protect the sides of the Monitor?

Q#6 – What was the size of the Monitor’s crew?

Q#7 – On the morning of the Battle of Hampton Roads, what Union ship was the Monitor protecting that prevented the Merrimack (now named the CSS Virginia) from destroying it?

Q#8 – After the Battle of Hampton Roads, what was the next military engagement the Monitor participated in?

Q#9 – What was the name of the ship that was towing the Monitor to join in a planned attack on Wilmington, North Carolina, when the Monitor sunk in heavy seas off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in December 1862?
The Merrimack (aka Virginia)
Q#10 – When the Merrimack was first built in 1854, where did the name “Merrimack” come from?

Q#11 – As still part of the Union Navy in September 1857, what role was the Merrimack assigned?

Q#12 – In April 1861, with the attack on Ft Sumter, the Secretary of the US Navy issued orders to have the Merrimack moved to Philadelphia. What action by the Confederates prevented the Merrimack from leaving Norfolk?

Q#13 – When the US Navy realized they could not sail the Merrimack out of Norfolk, what action did they take?

Q#14 – The Confederacy, in desperate need of ships, raised Merrimack and rebuilt her as an ironclad ram. What were the Confederate plans to use the now renamed CSS Virginia?

Q#15 – What led to the Confederate decision to scuttle the CSS Virginia?