Author Archives: hlj

Meeting of February 25, 2014

Tom Roza on ”The Swamp Angels: Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment”

Robert Gould Shaw (Wikipedia)

The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official African American units in the United States during the Civil War. They were nicknamed the “Swamp Angels” because being a “colored” regiment, they were assigned duty in the swampy lowlands of South Carolina and Florida.

Robert Gould was a military officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. And as Colonel, he was the first commander of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Shaw was born in Boston into a wealthy family of abolitionists parents and he was approached by his father to take command of a new All-Black Regiment. After some hesitation, he accepted the position. Shaw was deeply impressed with the dedication of the men under his command and he grew to respect them as fine soldiers.

While the movie Glory did an exceptional job of telling the story of Gould and the 54th Massachusetts, Tom’s presentation told a more complete story of the first Negro regiment and the man who led them. Continue reading

Quiz for February 25, 2014

Jefferson Davis

Q#1 – What is the birthday of Jefferson Davis?

Q#2 – What national political offices did Jefferson Davis hold before the start of the Civil War?

Q#3 – What was the name of the 800-acre plantation on the Mississippi River owned by Jefferson Davis?

Q#4 – When was Jefferson Davis elected President of the Confederate States?

Q#5 – On February 11, 1861, what did both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln do?

Q#6 – On what date was Jefferson Davis inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America?

Q#7 – Who was the only Jewish member of the group that functioned as a cabinet for Confederate president Jefferson Davis?

Q#8 – The first stamp of the Confederacy was green in color, made in London, and displayed a picture of Jefferson Davis. How much was the stamp worth?

Q#9 – Which famous Episcopal Bishop, who was a friend of Jefferson Davis, traded his religious robes to become a commander in the Confederate Army?

Q#10 – What personal tragedy struck President Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina on April 30, 1864?

Q#11 – President Jefferson Davis was rumored to be dressed as a woman during his capture by Union armies on May 10, 1865. How was this untrue legend probably started?

Q#12 – How many days did Confederate President Jefferson Davis spend at Fort Monroe prison?

Q#13 – What was the amount of bail paid to release Jefferson Davis from Federal prison in 1867?

Q#14 – Jefferson Davis was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1875, but was denied his seat. What prevented Davis from becoming a US Senator again?

Q#15 – On what date did Jefferson Davis die?

Meeting of January 28, 2014

Jim Rhetta on “Attack and Die: Cultural Impacts on Combat in the Civil War”

Jim Rhetta

Jim Rhetta

Jim presented the idea that the Civil War was also a conflict between two different cultures. These different cultures had separate traditions, values, and concepts of waging war that shaped their battlefield decisions and actions. The results of these cultural influences are evident in the Confederate Army’s preference to conduct attacks and suffer a disproportionate level of casualties that strongly contributed to their ultimate defeat.

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. He continues to study both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today.

Meeting Minutes January 2014


Quiz for January 28, 2014

This month’s quiz by Tom Roza is not based on a previous meeting presentation, but on a general topic of interest to the membership.

The Emancipation Proclamation

Q#1 – Where did President Lincoln write his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#2 – Was the Emancipation Proclamation legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President or an Executive Order issued by the President?

Q#3 – Which States were affected by the Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#4 – Of the 4 million slaves in the United States at the time the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, how may slaves were affected by it?

Q#5 – On what date did the Emancipation Proclamation take effect?

Q#6 – Prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, what was the name of the Federal law that directed that escaped slaves were either returned to their masters or held in camps as contraband for later return?

Q#7 – Prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, what was President Lincoln’s mission regarding the Civil war?

Q#8 – Was the Emancipation Proclamation ever challenged in court?

Q#9 – From a constitutional perspective, prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, how were slaves viewed?

Q#10 – Why were New Orleans, Tennessee and the 48 counties that eventually became West Virginia exempted from the Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#11 – Did the Emancipation Proclamation make slavery illegal?

Q#12 – What advice did Secretary of War Edwin Stanton give to President Lincoln regarding when to issue Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#13 – What did President Lincoln tell his Cabinet members on what influenced his decision as to when to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#14 – What was the reaction of foreign countries to the Emancipation Proclamation?

Q#15 – To ensure the abolition of slavery in all of the United States, what legislative action did President Lincoln push passage for?

Meeting of November 26, 2013

John Herberich reported on the “2013 West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference”

John Herberich

John Herberich

John cruised to Mexico with other West Coasters for this year’s Civil War Roundtable Conference and presented a report on the program and festivities.

Meeting of October 29, 2013

Major Arthur Henrick on “Lincoln in the Telegraph Office”

Arthur Henrick

Arthur Henrick

We have all seen the movie Lincoln and can recall the scenes in the telegraph office with the young soldiers. Major Arthur Henrick presented a review of the 1907 book by Homer Bates, Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, a light hearted and interesting view of Lincoln telling stories while reading telegraphs in the War Department.

Meeting Minutes October 2013

Quiz for November 26, 2013

Based on “Lincoln in the Telegraph Office” by Major Arthur Henrick

Q#1 – What historical document did President Lincoln write in the Telegraph Office?

Q#2 – What was the purchasing power of a $10 bill in 1862?

Q#3 – In what state was Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton born?

Q#4 – What did Union telegraph operators do to mislead the Confederates who had tapped into and were intercepting Union telegraph messages?

Q#5 – What was the name of Lincoln’s trusted personal secretary?

Q#6 – What was the legal age limit to join the Union Army without parental consent?

Q#7 – What was President Lincoln’s favorite color for the majority of the clothes he wore?

Q#8 – What term did President Lincoln use to refer to the Civil War?

Q#9 – How much money was Mrs. Lincoln given to fix up the White House?

Q#10 – By what term did Mrs. Lincoln most often refer to her husband when speaking with him?

Q#11 – What technique did President frequently use to kill a bill that he disagreed with?

Q#12 – What beverage did Lincoln find in the Telegraph Office after news came in reporting victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg?

Q#13 – What insect in the Telegraph Office frequently caught Lincoln’s attention when he visited there?

Q#14 – What phrase did Lincoln use to indicate that he had completed reading all the telegraph messages that had been received that day?

Q#15 – What is the only recorded time when Lincoln used a swear word?

Quiz for October 29, 2013

Based on the “History of the 4th US Cavalry at the Battle of Chickamauga” by John Herberich

Q#1 – What major city is within 12 miles of the Chickamauga battlefield?

Q#2 – What was the name of the Confederate Army that fought at the Battle of Chickamauga?

Q#3 – Who commanded the 4th US Cavalry at the Battle of Chickamauga?

Q#4 – What nickname was given to the 4th US Cavalry because of their battle tactics?

Q#5 – Who commanded the Union Army of the Cumberland?

Q#6 – What significant defensive fortification did the Confederates troops construct at the Battle of Shelbyville?

Q#7 – What unit joined the 4th US Cavalry in a charge against Confederate lines at the Battle of Shelbyville?

Q#8 – What Union general’s Medal of Honor picture was shown during John Herberich’s presentation?

Q#9 – What unusual behavior did a majority of the citizens of the town of Shelbyville demonstrate during the battle?

Q#10 – What was Union General Thomas Crittenden’s reaction to Colonel Robert Minty’s report on Confederate troop positions near Reed’s Bridge?

Q#11 – Who was the commander of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Chickamauga?

Q#12 – How many Confederate troops under the command of Bushrod Johnson did the 4th US Calvary hold off for 10 hours at Reed’s Bridge?

Q#13 – Was the 4th US Calvary able to destroy Reed’s Bridge during their retreat maneuver?

Q#14 – What Confederate cavalry general captured Reed’s Bridge?

Q#15 – How many casualties did the 4th US Calvary suffer at the Battle of Reed’s Bridge?

Quiz for September 24, 2013

Based on “The Battle of Payne’s Farm, Nov 27, 1863: Command & Competency During the Mine Run Campaign” by Ted Savas

Q#1 – In September 1863, what change significantly weakened Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia?

Q#2 – What two roads did Union General Meade plan to use to get behind Lee’s Army?

Q#3 – What event of Mother Nature caused Meade to lose the element of surprise in getting his campaign started?

Q#4 – On Nov 27, what delayed the III Corps from joining up with the II Corps at the Robertson Tavern as planned?

Q#5 – What road did Confederate Gen. Edward “Alleghany” Johnson march his troops on to confront the Union II Corps?

Q#6 – What maneuver tactic did the 37th Virginia Regiment employ to deceive the Union forces attacking the Confederate left flank?

Q#7 – What were the names of the generals that commanded the two brigades of Confederate General Johnson’s right flank?

Q#8 – What was the significant piece of terrain that bordered on the right side of the Madison Payne Farm?

Q#9 – What was the name of the horse that was ridden by Confederate General Stafford?

Q#10 – When Confederate General Jones led his brigade to attack across the open field of Payne’s Farm, what did they encounter at the base of the hill?

Q#11 – What action did a Confederate sergeant in the 50th Virginia Regiment take when he became so upset that his troops would not attack?

Q#12 – Despite the advancement in the development of bullets used in rifles during the Civil War, what type of bullet were some Confederate soldiers still using at the Battle of Payne’s Farm?

Q#13 – What type of artillery shot did Confederate General Carpenter’s artillery battery use to thwart a Union attack on Confederate lines at the intersection of Ford Road and Jacob’s ford Road?

Q#14 – Two part question: Approximately how many casualties did the Union incur at the battle? How many for the Confederates?

Q#15 – What is the significance of the Confederate victory at Payne’s Farm?