Category Archives: Meeting archive

Meeting of May 27, 2014

Tom Roza on “Ambrose Powell Hill, A Confederate Warrior: West Point to Chancellorsville”

A.P. Hill (Wikipedia)

During the four year history of the Civil War, there have been a number of military leaders on both sides who exhibited a wide variety of both strategic and tactical skills as well as personal courage under fire. For the Union, there were Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, William Sherman, and Philip Sheridan among others. For the South, you have Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, Stonewall Jackson, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

But, there is one other person who is on a par with these individuals: Ambrose Powell Hill of Virginia. Hill’s entire adult life was spent in the military and during that period, his body was wracked with a variety of medical illnesses and maladies. Despite his very poor health, which deteriorated over time, Hill rose to become the best division commander in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and finally the Corps Commander of Lee’s Third Corp. Hill’s exceptional battlefield tactics were nowhere better demonstrated then at the Battle of Antietam when he marched his troops 17 miles and saved Lee’s army from almost certain destruction.

Despite Hill’s exceptional qualities as a battlefield commander, he often had run-ins with his superiors that resulted in Hill being arrested on several occasions and relieved of command, only to be reinstated when the Army really needed him. Hill was involved in virtually every major military event that the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was involved in from First Bull Run in July 1861 to the collapse of the Southern defense of Petersburg in April 1865.

The story of A.P. Hill takes numerous interesting twists and turns both in his personal and military lives. And, Hill’s interaction with his troops and his superiors reveals numerous little known insights into what made the Army of Northern Virginia the effective fighting force it became. Therefore, in order to do justice to telling the story of AP Hill, there will be two presentations:

  • May: West Point to Chancellorsville
  • June: Gettysburg to Petersburg

Tom Roza has been a student of the American Civil War since 1960 and has toured several battlefields that AP Hill participated at (Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse). This provided Tom with the ability to see first-hand the terrain where Hill led his troops in combat and these experiences have helped shape the content of the presentations.

Tom’s previous presentations for the SBCWRT have been on John Buford, Winfield Scott Hancock, and Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Meeting Minutes May 2014

Meeting of April 29, 2014

Dave Wildman on “Iowa’s Martyr Regiment, The Story of the Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry”

Dave Wildman

Dave Wildman

(From Drew @ Civil War Books and Authors)

Iowa’s Martyr Regiment: The Story of the Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry, “is another fine unit history. But it is not a typical one. While many Hawkeye formations forged enviable battle records in the western and Trans-Mississippi theaters, the 38th always seemed to miss the action. Nevertheless, the roster of dead was incredibly high for such a comparatively meager combat history. While only two men were killed in action or mortally wounded, sickness sent over 300 of its soldiers to an early grave.”

In its battle with disease, the Thirty-eighth suffered a no less honored destiny than many regiments whose flags were covered with the names of battles. Combined with those discharged for disability and its combat casualties the Regiment suffered a fifty percent casualty rate without participating in any one of the great battles of the war. These dead are scattered along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa to New Orleans, and along the Gulf coast from Brownsville, Texas to Barrancas, Florida. Unlike other regiments, perhaps the Thirty-eighth Iowa’s battle flag should have been covered in black crepe, indicative of its fight with an unseen monster. Continue reading

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

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


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

Meeting of August 24, 2013

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

David Woodbury and Ted Savas

David Woodbury and Ted Savas

Ted was the featured speaker at the August picnic meeting. He was pleased to see a surprise guest, David Woodbury. These two gentlemen were among the founders of the Round Table in 1989.

Theodore P. Savas graduated from The University of Iowa College of Law in 1986 (With Distinction). He practiced law in Silicon Valley for twelve years before moving to El Dorado Hills. He co-founded Savas Woodbury Publishers (subsequently Savas Publishing) in 1990 with David Woodbury, and is the owner and managing director of Savas Beatie LLC, one of the largest independent Civil War publishers in the world. He has been teaching legal, history, and business college classes since 1992, and is the author or editor of fourteen books (published in six languages) including A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution, Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War in the Atlantic, and Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders of World War II. While in San Jose he founded the South Bay Civil War Round Table in 1989; its first meeting of four people was held in his living room.

Meeting Minutes August 2013

Anniversary 25 cake