Author Archives: hlj

Meeting of June 25, 2013

Walter Day on “The Red River Fiasco”

Walter Day

Walter Day

In March 1864, David Dixon Porter boldly started up the Red River with an overpowering naval force. Two frustrating months later, the Union admiral was lucky to re-emerge with any of his prized warships.

Walter Day is a microwave engineer who has worked in the Bay Area for 45 years. He has served as President of the Peninsula CWRT and is presently their Program Chairman. He has studied the Civil War since he was a teen and has researched his Great-Grandfather’s service with the Army of Northern Virginia. Having served as an officer in the U.S.Navy he has a more than passing interest in Naval actions of the Civil War.

Meeting Minutes June 2013

Meeting of May 28, 2013

Dana Lombardy on “The Long Arm of Mr. Lincoln’s Army”

man posing in library

Dana Lombardy

Dana presented diagrams and data to show how the artillery evolved in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War, and compare its effectiveness to the guns used by their primary opponent, Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Gun types, numbers and organization, plus a look back at Napoleon’s artillery at Waterloo were also covered.

Tom Roza provided the following summary of Dana’s talk.

Continue reading

Quiz for June 25, 2013

Based on “The Long Arm of Mr. Lincoln’s Army” by Dana Lombardy

Q#1 – What famous European general did all West Point students study?

Q#2 – At Gettysburg, what was the ratio of cannons to troops?

Q#3 – During the Civil War, what was the average number of troops required to operate a cannon?

Q#4 – What was the name of the British artillery engineer who invented case shot?

Q#5 – What was the shape of the shell used in a civil war rifled artillery cannon?

Q#6 – What was marked on each paper fuse plug used in Civil War artillery?

Q#7 – What phrase was used to describe the volume of artillery smoke that covered a battlefield?

Q#8 – At the battle of Gettysburg, what weapon caused the most casualties?

Q#9 – At the beginning of the Civil war, where did the Confederates get the majority of their cannons?

Q#10 – What was the tactical advantage to having more batteries with fewer cannon in each?

Q#11 – What was the number of cannon Union General Henry Hunt positioned along Cemetery Ridge in advance of Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg?

Q#12 – During the Confederate artillery barrage that proceeded Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, what event E. Porter Alexander observe that made him advise General Longstreet to commence Pickett’s Charge?

Q#13 – On July 1, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, how many more cannons did the Confederates have when compared to the Union?

Q#14 – What was the term used when one side has more artillery than the other side?

Q#15 – Why was there no artillery reserve in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia?

Meeting of April 30, 2013

René Accornero on “William Henry Seward, Secretary of State”

Early Years

William Henry Seward (Wikipedia)

William Henry Seward was a politician who was born in 1801 in the state of New York. Seward studied law at Union College, graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was then admitted to the New York State Bar. In 1821 he met Frances Adeline Miller and they married 3 years later and raised six children.

In 1846 Seward defended an African American who was accused of stabbing four people to death. Seward was an advocate of prison reform and better treatment for the insane, and won a verdict for the defendant using the defense of insanity. Many whites felt bitter toward Seward for defending a black man who had killed whites.

Seward encountered a problem while traveling and a stranger named Thurlow Weed stopped to help out. That was the beginning of a life-long friendship and Weed helped Seward enter politics and was instrumental in this role throughout Seward’s political career. Seward first served as a member of the New York State Senate. In 1839, he won election as the 12th Governor of New York. And from 1849-1861, he served as US Senator from New York. Continue reading

Meeting of March 26, 2013

Bob Hubbs on “Was General Grant Really Surprised at Shiloh?”

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup (Wikipedia)

Bob addressed a few provocative questions about this famous battle:

  • Shiloh – the horrible experience during which Grant became a general and Lincoln is elevated to Commander-In–Chief – How so?
  • Grant and his trial by fire – What happened to him?
  • Shiloh, the never expected, the least understood, and the most painful experience of the American Civil War – Why?
  • Shiloh – the battle with more myths and less facts than any major killing of American soldiers – How can this be? Continue reading

Meeting of February 26, 2013

Alan Sissenwein on “The Battle at Fredericksburg, Part 2”

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside

Alan concluded his two-part presentation, covering the main portion of the 1862 battle and its aftermath.

Meeting Minutes February 2013

Tom Roza wrote the following summary.

Alan Sissenwein conducted the second of a two-part presentation on the Battle at Fredericksburg.  Part 1 had covered all the activities up thru December 12, 1862; Part 2 covered the main portion of the battle and its aftermath. Continue reading