Monthly Archives: February 2024

Quiz for March 26, 2024

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Civil War General Benjamin Butler?

Q#1 – Where was Benjamin Butler born and on what date?

Q#2 – What military event did Butler’s father, John Butler serve in?

Q#3 – Who was Butler named after?

Q#4 – Butler was awarded a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent one term. How was described by his schoolmates?

Q#5 – In 1844, Butler was elected to what organization?

Q#6 – What reputation did Butler earn as a criminal defense lawyer?

Q#7 – Although Butler represented workers in legal actions, he also sometimes represented mill owners. This adoption of both sides of an issue manifested itself when he became more politically active. What landmark labor working condition for laborers did Butler advocate for?

Q#8 – Butler, as a Democrat, supported the Compromise of 1850 and regularly spoke out against the abolition of slavery. At the 1860 Democratic National Convention at Charleston, South Carolina, who did Butler support as the Democratic Party’s candidate for President of the United States?

Q#9 – In 1857 what position did then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis appointed Butler to at West Point?

Q#10 – Although he sympathized with the South, what statement did Butler make as he sought to serve in the Union Army??

Q#11 – After Abraham Lincoln was elected president in November 1860, Butler traveled to Washington, D.C. When a secessionist South Carolina delegation arrived in Washington, what did Butler do?

Q#12 – At the start of the Civil War, Butler managed to be named Brigadier General of the 8th Massachusetts Regiment. What was the first action Butler participated in April 1861?

Q#13 – In May 1862, Butler commanded the force that conducted the capture of New Orleans after its occupation by the Navy following the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip. In the administration of that city, what did Butler initially implement?

Q#14 – In November 1863, Butler was given command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina based in Norfolk, Virginia. In January 1864, what activity did Butler play a pivotal role in regarding the creation of ??

Q#15 – What do many Civil War historians’ cite as a major contributing factor for Andrew Johnson being acquitted at his impeachment trial?

Meeting of February 27, 2024

David Hsueh on “Gone with the Wind: The Controversial Legacy and Forgotten Memory of Joseph E. Johnston”

Few Confederate officers divide Civil War academia more than General Joseph E. Johnston. A select few consider him a strategic genius and the Confederacy’s most underappreciated general. Most, including many Civil War students in the South, nickname him “Retreatin’ Joe Johnston” or “The Great Retreater”, and blame him for some of the Confederacy’s biggest military failures.

Of course, the legacies and “greatness” of many, if not all, generals of the Confederacy are debated. However, unlike fellow Virginians Generals Lee, Jackson, and Stuart, Johnston had no monument in Richmond’s historic “Monument Avenue” — displaying that his story seems to be almost forgotten from Southern public memory and left out from “Lost Cause” discourse.

Other than Lee, perhaps there has not been a more important figure to Confederate military operations than General Johnston. On paper, his resume seems impeccable, with stints commanding the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee, while also being engaged in the First Manassas, Peninsula, Vicksburg, and Atlanta Campaigns. Even still, despite being the Confederacy’s fourth highest ranking officer by seniority and the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Army to resign his commission, Johnston’s name remains almost unknown to the general public compared to Lee, Jackson, and Stuart.

The presentation “Gone with the Wind: The Controversial Legacy and Forgotten Memory of Joseph E. Johnston”, details General Johnston’s life and vast military involvements, addresses his controversies and problematic relationships, and seeks to explain why he has seemed to fade from memory. By presenting different viewpoints and perspectives, it is hoped that listeners will be able to better understand Johnston’s personality, behavior, and actions, while being able to form their own opinions of him.

David Hsueh is a second year political science major at West Valley College who is awaiting transfer into a UC for Fall 2024. As an avid history learner since kindergarten, his first introduction to the American Civil War came when he read about President Lincoln. However, his true passion for the Civil War began after his first viewing of the movie Gettysburg, and his subsequent visits to the Gettysburg and Antietam Battlefields at age 11. His favorite book on the Civil War is Adam Goodheart’s 1861: The Civil War Awakening.

His current research lies with the First Manassas/Bull Run Campaign. Reading Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography by Craig Symonds, and his studies of the campaign, have led him to develop a strong curiosity for General Johnston because of his controversial standing amongst Civil War buffs and historians alike.