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Quiz for November 1, 2023

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Union Support in the South During the Civil War?

Q#1 – Not all people living in the Confederacy supported secession. Those opposed were know by five names – can you name at least two?

Q#2 – During the post-Civil War period called “Reconstruction”, what was the different derogatory name given to Southerners who supported the Union?

Q#3 – Which three Confederate states has the largest number of people supporting the Union?

Q#4 – In which Confederate state was the “Free State of Jones” located?

Q#5 – Prior to the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, people living in the South that supported the Union were counting on what action by President Lincoln to avoid an armed conflict?

Q#6 – Virginia is known for providing many of the best Confederate officers such as Robert E Lee, Thomas, “Stonewall” Jackson, AP Hill, JEB Stuart, among others. However, many southern soldiers in the US Army remained loyal when their states seceded. As is the case of Virginia, what percentage Virginian officers in the United States military stayed with the Union?

Q#7 – Approximately how many Southerners served in the Union Army during the Civil War?

Q#8 – Every Southern state except one formally raised military organizations of white troops; which state did not?

Q#9 – Which state provided the most southerners to the Union Army?

Q#10 – In what role were Southerners who joined the Union Army extensively used in areas of the Confederacy that became occupied by the Union?

Q#11 – Other than being opposed to slavery, what was another major reason many Southerners were opposed to secession and sided with the Union?

Q#12 – Among Southerners of German ancestry, what actors played an important role in many of them refusing to serve in the Confederate armed forces ?

Q#13 – He became known as the founding father of West Virginia who described secession as “self-murder” and “an insult to all reasonable living humanity, and a crime against God.” What was this person’s name?

Q#14 – As the Civil War dragged on, one critical factor drove many Southern white women to move to the forefront of another kind of Unionism?

Q#15 – What were the four Southern states that initially voted against secession?

Meeting of September 26, 2023

Opposing Views: If the newly formed Confederate government had chosen to immediately export as much cotton as possible, instead of withholding it from European markets, could the Confederacy have prevailed?

Could the Confederacy Have Prevailed? YES (Abby Eller)

If Only: The Confederacy could’ve leveraged their “white gold” to prevail. If only the leadership had made some simple yet crucially important decisions that would have made all the difference.

Could the Confederacy Have Prevailed? NO (Jim Rhetta)

If the Confederacy could have exported as much cotton as possible they would not have won, too many other non-cotton factors precluded it. Principal cotton factors against it include: 1. There was a glut of cotton in England which was not used up until fall of 1862. 2. The harvest of 1861 ran from July to October, and the blockade would have been strengthened by that time. 3. The harvest of 3 million bales could not be transported via inadequate rail lines in a combat environment, faced insufficient warehouse storage, and insufficient shipping to move to England.

Abby Eller is President of the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable. She has no ancestors who fought in the Civil War as far as she knows. Growing up in Memphis, Tenn, Abby was intrigued by how the Civil War has meant so much to Southerners, a hundred years later. Civil War history includes much more than military history. Abby is fascinated by how the war transformed the course of American history. Throughout America, the war set in motion changes that are with us today.

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 and present Daily Intelligence Briefings, threat assessments, and weekly activity reports. He published classified books on foreign air defense threats and Order-of -Battles. He continues to monitor both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today.

Quiz for September 26, 2023

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address?

Q#1 – When did President Lincoln give his Second Inaugural Address?

Q#2 – How many words are contained in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address?

Q#3 – Lincoln makes numerous religious references in his Second Inaugural Address. How many times does Lincoln mention the word “God”?

Q#4 – Lincoln used his second inaugural address to touch on the question of “Divine Providence: Why?

Q#5 – In the speech, what does Lincoln make reference to regarding the causes for the ongoing Civil War?

Q#6 – What is the main point of Lincoln’s second inaugural address?

Q#7 – What was unique about Lincoln’s second inaugural address?

Q#8 – With his speech, what was Lincoln’s main message to people living in the North?

Q#9 – Regarding the people living in the South, what was Lincoln attempting to accomplish with his speech?

Q#10 – What was unique about Lincoln’s second inaugural address?

Q#11 – In the speech, in what context did Lincoln use the phrase “scourge of war”?

Q#12 – In the crowd present in front of the East Portico of the United States Capitol where the speech was given, what two special groups were in attendance?

Q#13 – The closing paragraph contains two additional glosses from scripture “let us strive on to… bind up the nation’s wounds.” It is a reworking of what Psalm from the Old Testament of Bible?

Q#14 – What was Lincoln’s appeal to his audience in the second inaugural address?

Q#15 – What was the general reaction to Lincoln’s second inaugural address in his home state of Illinois?

Meeting of August 29, 2023

Mark Costin on the “Battles of Fort Fisher”

By late 1864 virtually every Southern port on the Atlantic seaboard besides Wilmington, DE, had been closed by the Federal blockade. As long as Wilmington remained open, blockade runners could continue to supply the Confederate forces in the eastern theater. South of Wilmington the Confederate army constructed some of the world’s most sophisticated fortifications for the time. A key fortress was Fort Fisher. This talk discusses the two two joint army-navy combined operations to take Fort Fisher and close the port of Wilmington. The first unsuccessful one in Dec. 1864 and the second successful attack in January 1865.

Mark Costin is an engineer living in Sunnyvale, CA, recently retired from working on functional safety for automated and autonomous vehicles. A long time history buff, Mark now has more time to devote to his hoppy. 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 August 29, 2023

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About The Mason Dixon Line?

Q#1 – Which four states’ borders were defined by the Mason Dixon Line?

Q#2 – Why was the Mason Dixon Survey needed?

Q#3 – What was the timeline of the survey?

Q#4 – Why were the Native Americans opposed to surveyors?

Q#5 – Jeremiah Dixon was the surveyor. What was Charles Mason’s profession and how did he contribute to the survey?

Q#6 – What is the length of a surveyor’s chain?

Q#7 – What other surveying equipment was used by Mason Dixon?

Q#8 – What natural barrier formed part of the Mason Dixon Line?

Q#9 – In addition to the Mason Dixon Line what else defined the borders between the free and slave states?

Q#10 – What states south of the Mason Dixon Line stayed with or joined the Union prior to 1865?

Q#11 – How was the Mason Dixon Line marked?

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?

Meeting of June 27, 2023

Opposing Views: Could the South have ever received recognition from England?

Alan Sissenwein: YES

By 1862, the British economy was suffering badly as a result of the American Civil War. The Union blockade had cut off the flow of Southern cotton to Britain’s mills, forcing hundreds of them to close and putting over 400,000 textile workers out of their jobs or compelling them to accept only part-time employment. Pressure mounted on Lord Palmerston’s government to mediate an end to the war as a first step to reopening the mills. After the Union defeat at Second Manassas, Palmerston was seriously considering making an offer of mediation but planning to recognize the Confederacy if the Union rejected it. Lincoln would have almost certainly spurned such an offer, since mediation would have ended in Confederate independence. When Lee invaded Maryland in September, Palmerston was paying close attention to events, edging toward making his offer if Northern forces continued to suffer defeats.

Lee’s invasion thus opened a narrow window in which the Confederacy might have achieved recognition from Britain. As history played out, Union forces cornered Lee near Antietam creek and, after fighting a battle, forced him to withdraw to Virginia. Lee’s reverse cooled Palmerston’s ardor for diplomatically intervening in the Civil War, and it also allowed Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which severely undercut future chances for Confederate recognition abroad. Yet there was nothing inevitable about this result and, in fact, the outcome of the Antietam campaign had turned on a fluke. This talk will present a speculative scenario, based on fact, on how the Maryland campaign might have gained British recognition for the Confederacy.

Jim Retta: NO

A deep analysis of English accounts clearly indicates that England would never have recognized the confederacy. Lincoln’s government threatened war with England if they recognized the CSA. That would mean loss of 25% of England’s food, US privateers raiding UK commerce, and the expense of projecting forces to North America. The loss of confederate cotton did not disrupt the UK economy as much as expected and the slavery issue kept English society from formally accepting the CSA. Finally, Queen Victoria is known to have favored the USA and would never have let her government recognize a CSA that existed and fought to maintain slavery

Alan Sissenwein has been a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table since 1997 and currently serves as its vice president. A professional writer, he holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Berkeley and a master’s in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is currently writing the second draft of a book on the Battle of Fredericksburg.

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 career required him to write and present Daily Intelligence Briefings, threat assessments, and weekly activity reports. He published classified books on foreign air defense threats and Order-of -Battles. He continues to monitor both current events and historical subjects for their impact on us today.

Quiz for June 27, 2023

Civil War Quiz: What Do You Know About The 54th Massachusetts Regiment?

Q#1 – What Federal government action authorized the general recruitment of African Americans for service in the Union Army?

Q#2 – Who was the Federal government official that instructed the Governor of Massachusetts, John A. Andrew, to begin raising regiments including “persons of African descent” on January 26, 1863?

Q#3 – We all know that Robert Gould Shaw was selected to be the regiment’s colonel. What was the name of the person who was selected to be the regiment’s lieutenant colonel?

Q#4 – Like What was Robert Gould Shaw’s rank in the Union Army before he was appointed to lead the 54th Massachusetts Regiment?

Q#5 – Who were the two prominent black abolitionists that actively recruited African Americans to join the 54th?

Q#6 – Where did the 54th Massachusetts Regiment perform their training?

Q#7 –When news reached the South that the Union was going to recruit African Americans into the Union Amy, what action did Confederate President Jefferson Davis initiate?

Q#8 – The enlisted men of the 54th were recruited on the promise of pay and allowances equal to their white counterparts. This was supposed to amount to subsistence and $13 a month. What happened when the 54th arrived in South Carolina?

Q#9 – When the 54th arrived in Beaufort, South Carolina what military unit were they joined with and who was in charge of that unit?

Q#10 – On July 16, 1863, where did the 54th first real military engagement take place?

Q#11 – What geographic and terrain conditions made the assault on Fort Wagnor so difficult and caused a significant number of 54th casualties before they even reached the fort?

Q#12 – The 54th’s Regimental Commander, Robert Gould Shaw was killed in the attack on Fort Wagner. Who took over command of the regiment?

Q#13 – After Fort Wagner, what was the 54th’s next military action and where did that take place?

Q#14 – At the November 1864 Battle of Honey Hill that the 54th was participated in, what was the outcome of that battle?

Q#15 – In mid-April 1865, the 54th fought in what proved to be one of the last engagements of the war; what was that engagement and were did it occur?