Category Archives: Meeting announcement

Meeting of May 28, 2024

Join us at 6:30 PM, May 28, at Holder’s Country Inn Restaurant located at 10088 N Wolfe Road, Suite 130, Cupertino, CA 95014, across from the former Vallco Fashion Mall and via ZOOM. This month’s topic is

Mark Costin on Battle of Buena Vista – Training Ground for the Civil War”

Battle of Buena Vista by Carl Nebel

This talk describes the 1847 Battle of Buena Vista where the American forces of Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexican army of Santa Anna. The battle saw significant contributions by many future Civil War stalwarts. Particular attention will be paid to the important actions by Jefferson Davis and Braxton Bragg in securing the victory. The talk will conclude with an open discussion of the comparison between the two wars.

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.

Meeting of March 26, 2024

Tom McMahon on “Bleeding Kansas”

American Progress (John Gast painting)

Setting the stage with a short recall of the violent guerilla warfare that sets pre Civil War Kansas bleeding and on Fire,1855-9 over the issue of slavery we examine the stark contrast of the type of conflict carried out in Virginia by Lee ,a West Point model of proper military engagement as contrasted to the bushwhack raids and battles west of the Mississippi which were out of control of Jefferson Davis in his struggle with his generals. One of my main interests will be to high light the contingent of Union troops who were stationed in Alabama throughout the entire war ,cavalry that became the personal guard of General Sherman in his March to the Sea and the destruction of a 200 year economic plantation way of life for the people of the South. It looks like only a short mention of the March to the Sea can be taken up , so this might be for another time.,

Tom McMahon, San Francisco born in 1928, Roman Catholic priest for 26 years, pastor of Old 1897 historic church in New Almaden, married to Elaine (deceased 2021, two sons, five grandchildren), member of local San Jose South Bay Civil War Roundtable for 16 years, retired mental health therapist, amateur historian, founder of History Club at Almaden Senior Center, writer-researcher, and one who enjoys life and people.

Meeting of June 27, 2017

Bob Burch on “California in the Civil War: Other California Units”

This is the fifth of a twelve-part series on California and the American Civil War. This presentation will explore the history of those units that served in the Eastern Theater during the American Civil War that enlisted a good portion of their recruits from California or had that state’s name in their unit designation. Nearly ten percent of Californians who volunteered during the war did so into units from other states. They did so for a variety of reasons including the desire to represent their state during the war to preserve the Union. Consequently these “other California units” represented their state continuously from the Battle of First Bull Run until General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox four years later.

Eventually Californians served in five other states’ volunteer regiments. On the West Coast these units were the 1st Washington Territory Infantry and 1st Oregon Cavalry Regiments. On the East Coast these were the 32nd New York Infantry Regiment (aka “California Regiment”), Baker’s Brigade (aka “California Brigade”) of four regiments, and the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment’s “California Hundred” and “California Battalion”.

Along the way we will meet several forgotten Californians who served their country well. Colonel Roderick Matheson from Healdsburg who fought at First Bull Run and later died from wounds received at the Battle of Crampton’s Gap. Colonel Francis Pinto of San Francisco who commanded regiments during the Peninsula, 2nd Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Campaigns. Major Archibald McKendry who commanded the California Battalion and eventually the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment when only a captain. Captain James Sewell Reed of the California Hundred who died while leading his unit against Mosby’s partisans and Captain Hugh Armstrong who replaced him and led that company from Battle of Fort Stevens until Appomattox. And Captain Henry Crocker of San Francisco who participated in nine battle and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

Except for the “CAL 100” Cavalry, these units have disappeared from history despite the presence of the California Regiment’s monument on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg and mention in many original source documents from newspapers to the Official Records. This presentation will attempt to remember and honor their contribution to the Union cause.

Bob Burch is a native Californian, born and raised in Santa Clara County. He is also a lifetime student of the Civil War. He had the opportunity to visit many Civil War sites from Florida to Pennsylvania to New Mexico during his 30 year military career. Like many California CWRT members, he desires to understand his home state’s role in the war. He started collecting material for this presentation ten years ago and initiated a serious study 15 months ago. This series documents his research in great detail. Time allows only a few key points from each slide to be presented. Numerous period photographs and magazine drawings are included for visual effect with the intent of comprehending California’s role in the Civil War.

Meeting Minutes June 2017