Meeting of August 20, 2024

Join us at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City on Tuesday, August 20. Harry’s opens at 11 am for cafeteria style lunch; our meeting will start promptly at 12 noon. See the MEETING INFO menu item for directions. This month’s topic is

Stephen Kirby on “Naval Warfare in the Valley of the Mississippi River (1862-1865)”

Stephen’s great grandfather, Joshua Tecumseh Kirby, served nearly three years in the Union Army as a Private in Company G of the 76th Illinois Volunteer Regiment. For some years he has studied his service that was under overall command of Grant, Sherman, and other Union generals in the Mississippi Valley. The Civil War in this western campaign saw the development of many technological advances in steam-powered riverboats and related weaponry and a very successful combined operations of the U.S. Navy and Army that led to the clearing of the Mississippi River system from Confederate control by the summer of 1863 and the splitting of the Confederacy. It has been said that the taking of Vicksburg is one of the three salient Union victories that led to the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and ultimately the end of Civil War and the end of abomination of slavery in the U.S.. Joshua was involved in many of the key battles east of Vicksburg and the Union siege of the strategic city, as well as in the defense of nearby Jackson. He also fought in the last large-scale battle of the Civil War in the costly taking of Fort Blakely and Spanish Fort near Mobile, Alabama.

After the war, Joshua T. Kirby became a successful farmer and later also taught himself to be a skilled mechanic and dealer in early steam-powered agricultural equipment. He was likely influenced by the use of steam in riverboats on which he was frequently transported during the war.

Stephen Kirby is a semi-retired geologist and will also briefly show how some aspects of warfare along the Mississippi River systems were greatly influenced by the hydrology and geology of this giant river system.

Meeting of September 17, 2024

Join us at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City on Tuesday, September 17. Harry’s opens at 11 am for cafeteria style lunch; our meeting will start promptly at 12 noon. See the MEETING INFO menu item for directions. This month’s topic is

James Campbell on “Monumental Questions: Race, Memory, and the Struggle Over Confederate Monuments”

As people across the United States confront the nation’s legacy of slavery and racial inequality, monuments and memorials honoring the Confederacy have become political flashpoints, with some people demanding their removal as toxic symbols of white supremacy and others warning of an attempt to erase history and heritage. In this roundtable presentation, Stanford historian James Campbell will discuss the ongoing struggle over the nation’s memorial landscape, reconstructing the historical context in which Confederate monuments were created as well as the process by which they have become proxies for debates about race and citizenship today.

James T. Campbell is the Edgar E. Robinson Professor of History at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in American and African American history. He is the author of Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa (1995) and Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 (2006), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. Co-edited books include Race, Nation, and Empire in American History (2007); Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (2019); and Mississippi Witness: the Photographs of Florence Mars (2019). He is currently completing a book on historical memory and the Mississippi Freedom Movement. A committed public historian, Campbell has served as a consultant for numerous documentary films, curricular projects, and museum exhibitions, including the “Power of Place” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Meeting of October 15, 2024

Join us at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City on Tuesday, October 15. Harry’s opens at 11 am for cafeteria style lunch; our meeting will start promptly at 12 noon. See the MEETING INFO menu item for directions. This month’s topic is

Magnus Akerblom on “King Cotton”

In honor of our past President of the PCWRT, this month’s presentation is one Abby Eller made before moving to Oregon this fall. It gives great insight into how cotton production would impact the war. Until the beginning of the war the US was the world’s largest producer of cotton, and the staple of the Southern economy. This impact on the Southern economy and its trading partners was greatly affected by the US Civil War.

Magnus Akerblom was born in Sweden and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1957. They lived in Lake County for three years and then moved to San Mateo. After graduating from Burlingame High School, Magnus served three years in the U.S. Army. He attended the College of San Mateo where after taking a class in U.S. history, Magnus developed a life long interest in the Civil War.

One of Magnus’s favorite pastimes is off road wheeling in his Jeep. He belongs to the Esprit De Four club, and conducts a class on how to drive off road.

Magnus has been a member of the Peninsula Civil War Round Table for three years.

Meeting of July 16, 2024

Alice Mansell on “The First Lincoln-Douglas Debate”

Who made the Lincoln-Douglas Debates happen and how did the Debates quickly become known coast to coast? Meet two people who sat on the debates’ first podium in Ottawa, Illinois. Judge Caton, the first lawyer in Chicago, the “King of the Telegraph” in the Midwest and an Illinois Supreme Court justice with a country home/deer park close to Ottawa; and Mr. Hossack who shipped the first wheat from Ottawa to Chicago on the new I&M canal he helped to build, and was convicted the next year for harboring a runaway slave after many years of his Ottawa home being a stop on the Underground Railway.

Alice Mansell is a business owner and lawyer who majored in physical sciences and history in college.

Meeting of June 18, 2024

Mark Costin on “Price’s Raid: 1864 Confederate Campaign in Missouri”

By 1864 Missouri had been in Union control for two years. Believing that Missourians wanted liberation from Union forces, the Confederates made a desperate attempt to divert Union forces from other war theatres and retake Missouri. The campaign, often referred to as a raid but much larger in actuality, was led by former Missouri Governor General Stirling Price and consisted of 11 major and minor engagements including the battles of Pilot Knob, Westport, and Mine Creek. The campaign was ultimately a disaster for the Confederacy. This talk will outline the strategic situation in Missouri in 1864 as well describe the personalities and battles of the campaign.

Mark Costin is a retired engineer living in Sunnyvale, CA, who previously worked on functional safety for automated and autonomous vehicles. A long time history buff, this is Mark’s second presentation to the the Peninsula CWRT. 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 May 21, 2024

Nick Marinaro on “The Battle of Mobile Bay”

The battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, was arguably the most consequential naval battle of the Civil War, which pitted Confederate naval forces commanded by Admiral Franklin Buchanan against the Union naval forces commanded by his arch-nemesis Admiral David Farragut. The chaotic battle resulted in a Union victory that effectively neutralized any further Confederate naval activities in the Southern theater. Following this battle, the Union commanded total control of the seas and inland waterways, which negated the Confederate navy’s ability to move troops on the water and to import needed supplies and resources.

Nick Marinaro was born and raised in Fresno, California, and has had an interest in the Civil War since elementary school. He graduated from Clovis High School and Stanford University with a degree in Human Biology. His 38 year professional career was with the Stanford University/City of Palo Alto Fire Departments, retiring as Fire Chief. Nick has been a member of the Lions Club for 23 years and is the President of the Peninsula Council of Lions Clubs and Treasurer for the Lions Veterans Charities. He is a Board Member of the Palo Alto/Stanford Historical Association (PAST) and the Treasurer of the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable.

Meeting of April 16, 2024

Ken Habeeb on “California’s Role in the American Civil War”

Ken is a history researcher and writer with an interest in US exploration and culture including the Civil War and represented maps, books, and early photography. Ken likes research that brings to life personalities and events that often converge to form fascinating connections.

Meeting of February 20, 2024

Nick Marinaro on “The Naval and Maritime Environment of the Civil War”

Nick Marinaro will speak about the naval and maritime environment at the beginning and during the American Civil War and the impact on the Southern States as a result of the Union’s “Anaconda Plan.” The execution of the plan significantly blockaded the major southern ports and significantly restricted commerce in and out of the South.

Nick Marinaro was born and raised in Fresno, California, and has had an interest in the Civil War since elementary school. He graduated from Clovis High School and Stanford University with a degree in Human Biology. His 38 year professional career was with the Stanford University/City of Palo Alto Fire Departments, retiring as Fire Chief. Nick has been a member of the Lions Club for 23 years and is the President of the Peninsula Council of Lions Clubs and Treasurer for the Lions Veterans Charities. He is a Board Member of the Palo Alto/Stanford Historical Association (PAST) and the Treasurer of the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable.

Magnus Akerblom will lead the Discussion Question of the Month: “Which Civil War Era Woman Do You Admire the Most and Why?”

Meeting of December 19, 2023

Mark Costin on “The Battle of Fort Fisher”

By late 1864 virtually every Southern port on the Atlantic seaboard besides Wilmington, NC, 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 December 1864 and the second successful attack in January 1865.

As an added note, the presentation will include a brief biography of Robley Dunglison Evans, who was at Fort Fisher and later became a prominent admiral in the US Navy and participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba in the Spanish American War.

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 November 21, 2023

Abby Eller on “The Grand Army of the Republic: Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty”

The largest and most powerful Civil War veterans’ organization, the Grand Army of the Republic as one of many fraternal orders that flourished throughout America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The GAR shaped American nationhood in many ways still with us today.

Abby Eller is fascinated by the enormous impact the Civil War had, not only on our own country’s history, but many other parts of the world as well. Abby keeps in mind what her favorite Civil War historian Bruce Catton had to say about Civil War history: “It deserves all the attention we can give it.”