Welcome to website of the San Francisco Peninsula’s own Round Table. Founded in 1972, we are a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of America’s Civil War era history. You are welcome to join us on the third Tuesday of each month to hear noted historians and authors speak on various topics related to the War and other history topics. See the MEETING INFO tab above for meeting times and directions. Upcoming meetings:
Join us at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City, 11:30 on Tuesday, December 20. See the MEETING INFO menu item for specific times and directions. This month’s topic is
Walter Day presents “Civil War Combat, the Battle of Shiloh”
Walter will present a re-enactment of Shiloh, which was the first major battle of what was to be a long and bloody war. The reenactment video will be supplied by The History Channel DVD entitled “Civil War Combat,
America’s Bloodiest Battles”.
Join us at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City, 11:30 on Tuesday, January 17. See the MEETING INFO menu item for specific times and directions. This month’s topic is
Jim Rhetta on “Newspapers and Open Source Intelligence in the Civil War”
The Civil War is called the “first modern war” due to the first use of many new and modern technologies. Often overlooked is the fact that it was also the first war that newspapers covered capable of reporting events in less than 12 hours. With the majority of the population literate, this capability produced a new and significant impact on both war efforts that politicians on both sides had not experienced before and were unprepared for. In addition, newspapers frequently printed information of high and timely military value, an action that never occurred before, which enraged generals on both sides. This information is now known as Open Source Intelligence, can be of high value, and is commonly used by all participants in current global conflicts.
Howard Jones on “Cumberland Island: the Story of Patriots, Strong Women, and Incredible Wealth”
Cumberland Island is located along the Georgia coast, just North of Jacksonville, Florida. The story begins with Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Green and his plans to harvest Live Oak trees on the island for shipbuilders. His widow, Caty Greene Miller would eventually operate a large plantation on the island for many years. Included in the presentation are bits of history about the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War. The topic also touches on the lives of Eli Whitney, Light Horse Harry Lee, and his son Robert E. Lee.
After many years the island would be purchased by Thomas Carnegie, the brother of Andrew Carnegie. Thomas Carnegie’s wife, Lucy, would be the central figure during this period. She would live like royalty in the immense Dungeness mansion they had built on the island. But eventually, the money ran out and her heirs fought over the future of the island. Ultimately, her heirs signed an agreement with the National Parks Service that would allow them to sell their property and still live on the island for the rest of their lives.
Howard Jones is a long-time member of the Round Table as well as the immediate past Commander General of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars.
Howard Jones on “George Washington and the Battle of Yorktown”
The Revolutionary War was entering its fourth year. Somehow, General George Washington had managed to keep the Continental Army intact against superior British forces. Then in 1778, the Americans won a stunning victory at Saratoga. This victory was the War’s turning point.
The French had waited for such a victory before they would support the American cause. In 1780, some 6,000 French troops were landed at Newport, Rhode Island under the command of General Rochambeau. These forces would later unite with the Continental Army in New York. Washington had always believed that the War’s deciding battle would be fought in New York.
As the joint forces prepared to attack they received a message from the Marquis de Lafayette who commanded a small detachment of troops near Williamsburg, Virginia. General Lafayette told them that the army of General Charles Lord Cornwallis had gone into winter quarters in Yorktown. Lafayette believed that Cornwallis could be attacked and beaten at Yorktown. A victory at Yorktown might just end the war.
In 1781, Washington decided to attack! The presentation will detail the story of Washington’s 400 mile march from New York to Yorktown. It will describe the 20 day siege that ended with Cornwallis’ surrender. And finally, it will tell the story of the 1783 Treaty of Paris that guaranteed America’s freedom and independence.
Howard Jones is the immediate past Commander General of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. Several years ago he was asked make a presentation to a fifth grade class about the Revolutionary War. He dressed as a Continental Soldier for the presentation and the kids loved it. Since that time he has given the same presentation dozens of times to both elementary school children and adult heritage groups.
Walter Day hosts “Spotsylvania Courthouse: The Clash of Grant and Lee at the Crossroads”
Walter hosted the Wide Awake Films documentary. For nearly two weeks in 1864, the titans of the Civil War—Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant—clashed violently, for the first time, at the crossroads of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia. Recorded during the 140th anniversary reenactment of Spotsylvania, this film highlights thousands of reenactors in a variety of media formats, from the ultra high resolution of high-definition video to the authenticity of archival looking film. Utilizing Wide Awake Films signature Civil War Combat Cameraman footage, Spotsylvania Courthouse is the first documentary of its kind. Winner of 2006 Telly Award.
Arthur Henrick on “Stories from the Battlefield: The Henry Rifle or the 16-shooter during the Great Rebellion”
Arthur’s talk concerned and displayed a modern reproduction Henry. He included quotes from actual accounts from enlisted men and officers on how they used and appreciated the expensive and treasured 16-shooters that Rebels called “that damn Yankee Rifle, loaded on Sunday and fired all week” and the resistance to its deployment in the Union Army.
Arthur also brought dummy modern rounds and an actual Henry round, and displayed the rapid cycling of a Henry. He also brought a fancy engraved 1866 Henry (also known Winchester Yellow Boy) that was introduced in 1867.
Arthur W. Henrick, a frequent presenter at the Peninsula Civil War Round Table, is a Civil War, Roman, and World War II reenactor.
Meg Groeling on “Lincoln on the Third Ballot!: The 1860 Republican Convention”
Meg Groeling just laughs at the antics of current politicians, knowing they pale when compared with folks from the past. One of the most famous “brokered” conventions was the one held in the Wigwam, in Chicago, in 1860. Champagne, oysters, promises made and hearts broken–all while Elmer Ellsworth’s Chicago Zouaves performed on the stage, keeping the doors open and giving David Davis and Ward Hill Lamon time to wheel and deal. We at least got Abraham Lincoln out of it! Who knows what will happen this time? Plus she is bringing Lincoln/Hamlin campaign ribbons! Maybe Harry’s Hofbrau will supply the champagne . . .
Jack Mather on “James Glasgow Farragut”
Farragut was raised in the south and married into a Virginia family that supported secession. When Virginia left the Union, Farragut and his wife had to decide within 24 hours which action to take. Farragut decided to support the Union; he and his wife went to New York. At the age of 60 Farragut brought 50 years of naval experience to the U.S. Navy. Jack’s presentation was the story of the man and his career.
Jack Mather is a long-time member of the PCWRT and is well read on broad historical topics. Jack is a retired teacher of history at both the high school and college level.
Book Faire at Laney College, Oakland, benefiting battlefield preservation! Saturday, July 9, 2016, 12:30–4:30 p.m. http://ww1ha.org/2016-military-history-book-faire/