Author Archives: hlj

Meeting of May 25, 2021

Robert O’Connor on “Mrs. Slater — The Missing Lincoln Conspirator”

This mysterious lady who always wore a mourning veil over her face was a confidant of John Surratt, Jr. She was a courier of messages between Richmond and the Confederate Secret Service office in Montreal. She is mentioned by several witnesses in the Lincoln Conspiracy trials, but there is a lot of confusion about their testimony. No one can describe her. She is arrested and questioned, but released and disappeared. Her story is interesting.

Robert O’Connor is an historian, researcher, and the author of 18 Civil War books who lived in Charles Town, WV. Is now retired and writes full-time. Writes about subjects or characters not widely known in the field. Has been named finalist four times in national book competitions. www.boboconnorbooks.com

Quiz for May 25, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About the Connection of the American Civil War to Other Wars?

Revolutionary War

Q#1 — Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry Lee III, commanded Lee’s Legion during the revolutionary war. What was his nickname?

Multiple

Q#2 — He was a general in the War of 1812, The Mexican-American War and the Civil War. Who was he?

Q#3 — This confederate general’s grandfather was lieutenant colonel of cavalry in the American War of Independence and brigadier general in the War of 1812, and his father was an officer of dragoons in the War of 1812, and an aide to General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. Name him.

Mexican-American War

Q#4 — What key role did Robert E. Lee play in the US victory at the Battle of Cerro Gordo?

Q#5 — In the Battle of Chapultepec, brevet major James Longstreet was wounded in the thigh while charging with his regimental colors. Who did he hand the colors to?

Q#6 — Jefferson Davis commanded the Mississippi Rifles at two Mexican American war battles. Name them.

Q#7 — During the Battle of Buena Vista, General Taylor was alleged to make a statement regarding then Captain Braxton Bragg. What was the statement?

Spanish-American War

Q#8 — This Confederate cavalry commander served as major general of volunteers in the Spanish-American war. Name him.

Q#9 — As Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders charged Kettle and San Juan Hills, on their left, the 10th Cavalry, known as the Buffalo Soldiers, charged beside them. The commander of D Troop was the son of a Union general. Who was he?

Q#10 — This Civil War general, also famous as an Indian fighter, was Commanding General of the United States Army in 1895 during the Spanish–American War. Name him.

Spanish Civil War

Q#11 — US volunteers formed a battalion of the XV International Brigade to fight for the republic during the Spanish Civil War. It was named after an American Civil war figure. What was the name of the battalion?

WWI And WWII

Q#12 — This Civil War general was defeated by Nathan Bedford Forest at Brice’s Crossroads. His son was a WWI general and his grandson a WWII general. Who was he?

WWII

Q#13 — In 1943, the commander of the 84th Infantry Division was killed in action. His name has a connection to the Civil War. What was his name?

Q#14 — Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr., had surrendered to Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Fort Donelson during the Civil War. What was his connection to WWII?

Q#15 — This man was the first US general to be killed in the war in Europe. He was the great-grandson of a Civil War general. Who was he?

Vietnam

Q#16 — The Battle of the Ia Drang documented in the book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young involved a regiment created during the Civil War. What was the regiment?

Meeting of April 27, 2021

Dana Lombardy on “Defending the Arteries of Rebellion: Building a Navy, Building a Book”

Dana Lombardy is back with another interesting talk, this one about his work editing Neil Chatelain’s book on Confederate Naval Operations in the Mississippi River Valley, 1861-1865 (published by Savas Beatie in 2020). Using a slide presentation created by the author, Dana will reveal the challenges and surprising discoveries that he and Chatelain uncovered while preparing this book for publication.

Dana Lombardy was an Associate Online Editor for Armchair General and now does research, writing and design through LombardyStudios.com. Dana is known for his nearly twenty television appearances, including multiple episodes of The History Channel’s “Tales of the Gun” series. He has contributed as an editor, cartographer, graphic artist,  and designer on many books, games, and magazines, was publisher of Napoleon Journal from 1996 to 2000 and published nine issues of World War One Illustrated.

Quiz for April 27, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Money During the Civil War?

Q#1 – What was the nickname given to US Government paper money?

Q#2 – The Confederate States dollar was backed with what?

Q#3 – There were two forms of US paper money – what were they?

Q#4 – What was the nickname given to Confederate Government paper money?

Q#5 – Before the Civil War, what was the only form of money issued by the United States?

Q#6 – What was the redemption phrase that was printed on Confederate money?

Q#7 – What was the name of President Lincoln’s first Secretary of the Treasury?

Q#8 – What was the name of President Davis’s first Secretary of the Treasury?

Q#9 – What were the interest rates offered by Northern banks when the Lincoln Administration initially sought loans at the beginning of the Civil War?

Q#10 – Which two Confederate states came up with their own form of redemption for Confederate paper money?

Q#11 – For Union paper money, what were the three denominations other than $1, $2, $5, $20, and $50 issued?

Q#12 – Confederate paper money was issued in the exact same denominations as Union paper money with one exception – what was that exception?

Q#13 – Which two Union states defied the Legal Tender Act of 1862, which authorized the US Congress to issue $150 million in paper currency that was not backed with gold or silver?

Q#14 – Why did Confederate paper money printers have to lift by offset or lithographic process scenes that had been used on whatever notes they had access to?

Q#15 – For Union paper money that was not backed by any assets, at the end of the Civil War, how many paper dollars did it require to purchase $100 in gold?

Meeting of March 30, 2021

Tom Roza on “The 1868 Impeachment Trial of President Andrew Johnson”

Tom’s study of the American Civil War has primarily focused on the people who fought in the war, who they were, what their role was in the Civil War, and what was it about them that made them significant characters in that great conflict. His previous presentations on John Buford, Winfield Scott Hancock, Robert Gould Shaw, Ambrose Powell Hill, US Grant, among others focused on this approach. This presentation is a combination of delving into the personalities of people involved coupled with the political impeachment-based functions written into our US Constitution.

We are all well aware, regardless of our individual political party affiliations, that Donald John Trump was the first (and hopefully, last) President to be impeached and put on trial twice by the United States Congress. Fortunately, there have only been two previous impeachment trials in our history and we should all pray that we never again have another.

As with the first two impeachment trials that were performed for Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, Trump’s impeachments had two issues raised: first, were impeachable offenses committed by the President; and second, was the impeachment process employed unconstitutional. The 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson embraces both of those issues among others. And, in the last year and one-half, so much discussion on impeachment has occurred in our country, the presentation examines what actually is in the US Constitution on the topic of impeachment and how that affected the decision to impeach President Andrew Johnson.

Quiz for March 30, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know about the American Civil War in the Movies and TV?

Movies

Q#1 – The Red Badge of Courage filmed in 1951 starred this real-life military hero. Who was he?

Q#2 – This 1969 film saw ex-Confederate soldiers heading for a new life in Mexico. Name it and name the two leading actors.

Q#3 – Who did Errol Flynn play in They Died with Their Boots On?

Q#4 – David Janssen played a man escaping from a Confederate military prison in this 1970 film. Name it.

Q#5 – This Civil War film was Elvis Presley’s acting debut. Name it.

Q#6 – In the movies The Beguiled, which actors played Union soldier John McBurney?

Q#7 – In the beginning of Dances with Wolves, Lt. John Dunbar is wounded in what battle?

Q#8 – This Civil War film was based on Grierson’s Raid. Name it.

Q#9 – This 2002 movie depicted the New York draft riots. Name it.

Q#10 – Buster Keaton’s The General was inspired by which Civil War event?

TV

Q#11 – Gregory Peck played Lincoln in this TV mini-series. Name it.

Q#12 – Who played John Brown in the TV mini-series The North and the South: Book 1?

Q#13 – This short French film depicting a Civil War hanging appeared as which episode of The Twilight Zone?

Wonderful World of Disney

Q#14 – Fess Parker, known for his portrayal of Davie Crockett and Daniel Boone, starred as real-life James J. Andrews in what Disney film?

Q#15 – In Disney movie High Flying Spy, Stuart Whitman played what real-life character?

Meeting of February 23, 2021

Jim Rhetta & Alan Sissenwein on “The Worst Generals of the Civil War, Part III”

This meeting is a continuation of the November meeting topic.

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 some of the worst Federal generals and Jim Rhetta will cover the worst of the Confederate 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.

Jim Rhetta retired from Lockheed Corp, and also retired from the USAF Reserve as a Colonel in the Intelligence Community. In both careers he monitored, analyzed, and reported on global conflicts and crisis for the DoD Community. His careers required him to write threat assessments, weekly activity reports, and publish classified documents. He continues to study both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today. He has produced several presentations for Round Tables, including “Civil War Newspapers, the first use of Open Source intelligence”, “The Blockade and its Effectiveness”, “Tracing Slave Family History,” and “Attack and Die, Cultural Influences on Civil War Combat.”

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.

Meeting Minutes February 2021

Quiz for February 23, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You REALLY Know About Edmund Ruffin?

Q#1 – Edmund Ruffin was born on January 5, 1794. Where was his birthplace?

Q#2 – Who was Edmund Ruffin married to and how many children did they have?

Q#3 – In his twenties, long before he became an advocate for secession, what scientific activity did Ruffin become active in that gained him a degree of notoriety?

Q#4 – In addition to his work with marl, what was Ruffin’s chief agricultural legacy?

Q#5 – Because of his agricultural work, what title has been assigned to Edmund Ruffin?

Q#6 – As the political climate in the United States began to become polarized in the 1840s, Edmund Ruffin became a political activist with an organization named the Fire-Eaters—what were they?

Q#7 – In 1859, Ruffin traveled to attend the execution of John Brown at Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), following the abolitionist’s abortive slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry earlier that year. Access to the general public was restricted; how did Ruffin gain access to the hanging?

Q#8 – After John Brown’s execution, Edmund Ruffin purchased several of the pikes captured from Brown and his forces, which had been intended to arm slaves in a general uprising. What did Ruffin do with the spikes?

Q#9 – In 1860, Ruffin published his book, “Anticipations of the Future, to Serve as Lessons for the Present Time.” What was the purpose of the book?

Q#10 – Ruffin is credited with firing one of the first shots from Morris Island against the federally held Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Who actually fired the first shot?

Q#11 – There was another first at Ft Sumter that is credited to Edmund Ruffin – what was it?

Q#12 – Two part question: 1) After Ft Sumter, Edmund Ruffin joined what military unit that participated in the First Battle of Manassas Junction? 2) What military action is Ruffin credited with performing at that battle?

Q#13 – Just moments after the Union Army retreated from Manassas Junction and left the battlefield, what did Edmund Ruffin do?

Q#14 – In 1865, Union soldiers overran one of Ruffin’s three plantations in the Tide Water region of Virginia. What graffiti did they write on his main house?

Q#15 – It is a well known fact that Edmund Ruffin committed suicide on June 18, 1865, despondent over the Confederacy’s loss of the Civil War. However, the suicide attempt did not go smoothly. What happened?

Meeting of January 26, 2021

David Dixon on “The American Civil War: A Radical, International Revolution”

Radical Warrior: August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General (University of Tennessee Press 2020) is the biography of a Prussian army officer who renounced his nobility and joined in the failed European revolutions of 1848. He emigrated to America, edited a daily labor newspaper in Cincinnati, and became one of the most accomplished generals in the Union Army. This story sheds new light on the contributions of 200,000 German-Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

In an age of global social, economic, and political upheaval, transatlantic radicals helped affect America’s second great revolution. For many recent immigrants, the nature and implications of that revolution turned not on Lincoln’s conservative goal of maintaining the national Union, but on issues of social justice, including slavery, free labor, and popular self-government. The Civil War was not simply a war to end sectional divides, but to restore the soul of the nation, revive the hopes of democrats worldwide, and defend human rights.

David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. His first book, The Lost Gettysburg Address, told the unusual life story of Texas slaveholder Charles Anderson, whose speech followed Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, but was never published. It turned up 140 years later in a cardboard box in Wyoming.

David spoke at Gettysburg National Military Park’s Sacred Trust Talks, appeared on Civil War Talk Radio and has presented to more than sixty Civil War Round Tables from coast to coast. He hosts B-List History, a website that features obscure characters and their compelling stories at www.davidtdixon.com.

David’s current book, published by the University of Tennessee Press, is the biography of German revolutionary and Union General August Willich. His current project is a biography that highlights the role of emotions in Southern allegiance in the Civil War.

Meeting Minutes January 2021

Quiz for January 26, 2021

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know about Native Americans in the Civil War?

Q#1 — This Native American served as adjutant and secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox. Who was he?

Q#2 — This Native American tribe suffered its own civil war within the Civil War, with bitter factions supporting either the south or the north. Name the tribe.

Q#3 — On June 25, 1865, this Native American was the last Confederate general in the field to cease hostilities at war’s end. Who was he?

Q#4 — This battle in Arkansas saw a combined force of Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole cavalry fighting for the Confederacy. Name it.

Q#5 — This Confederate general was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native American nations and was commissioned based on his ability to recruit Native Americans to the southern army. Who was he?

Q#6 — This battle was unique in the Civil War in that the white soldiers were the minority in both fighting forces with Native Americans making up a significant portion of each of the opposing armies and the Union force contained African-American units. Name the battle.

Q#7 — Two battles were fought near the present-day town of Big Cabin, Oklahoma, then in the Cherokee Nation within Indian Territory. What was the name of these two battles?

Q#8 — What happened to the Native American Tonkawa tribe on October 23–24, 1862?

Q#9 — The three pitched battles Battle of Round Mountain, the Battle of Chusto-Talasah, and the Battle of Chustenahlah fought between pro-Union Creek Indians and against Confederate troops and other Native Americans that joined the Confederates are collectively known as what?

Q#10 — The Third Colorado Cavalry was responsible for what action on November 29, 1864?

Q#11 — In July 1862, settlers fought against Santee Sioux in Minnesota. Who led the Sioux?

Q#12 — This famous American frontiersman was a colonel during the Civil War. He was responsible for forcing the Mescalero Apache and the Navajo onto a bleak reservation called Bosque Redondo. Name him.

Q#13 — How many Native Americans from the Indian Territory are estimated to have participated in the Confederate Army?

Q#14 — In 1862 the Union attempted an “Indian Expedition” into Indian Territory. Who commanded this expedition called and what was the outcome?

Q#15 — What was the impact on the Cherokee Nation as a result of the Union victory in the Civil War?