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.”

Meeting of October 17, 2023

Dana Lombardy on “An Alternative Look at Gettysburg”

The Battle of Gettysburg, together with the capture of Vicksburg in July 1863, became the major turning point of the Civil War. How Gettysburg was fought and why it turned out as it did, is widely discussed and debated to this day, and likely will be for years to come. Historian Dana Lombardy will present his viewpoint, then address our questions and comments.

Starting with The American Heritage History of the Civil War, Dana has been interested in Civil War history since 1962. Dana has also been a wargame and model builder enthusiast since his teen years. While in college, he and his friends formed a wargame and military history magazine publishing company. By now Dana has published scores of games, magazines and videos; some of these have been award winners. He is also the published author of several books including Historic Photos of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Grant Rising, and Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Army. He is currently researching and documenting the war in the Ukraine.

A selection of Dana’s games, books and magazines will be available for sale at the October meeting.

Meeting of September 19, 2023

Joan Larrabee on “John Singleton Mosby”

Colonel John Singleton Mosby, CSA, was a colorful and effective leader of Confederate Partisan Rangers during the United States Civil War. Operating in Northern Virginia, his independent guerrilla regiment waged war on Federal troops, wagon trains, and railroads. He wrote his Memoirs near the end of a long life, even spending years as an attorney in San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Joan Larrabee grew up in a military family; one great-grandfather served in a New York regiment as a teenager at the end of the Civil War. She earned a degree in history at Stanford University and a Master of Urban Planning at San Jose State. She worked for the City of San Jose in the fields of community services, public works, and transportation.

Meeting of August 15, 2023

Ken Habeeb on “Civil War Guns, Artillery, Ammunition, and Their Accuracy”

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

Meeting of July 18, 2023

Nick Marinaro on “The CSS Hunley Part 3 of 3”

In the third of his three part series on the Confederate submarine Hunley, Nick Marinaro will discuss the latest scientific theory about what likely caused the submarine and crew to be sunk and lost until it was recovered and examined in our time.

Nick Marinaro, a Fresno native, has been interested in Civil War history since elementary school. He graduated from Clovis High School and Stanford University. In 2010 Nick retired as Fire Chief after a 38 year career with the Stanford University and City of Palo Alto Fire Depts. Nick has been a Lions Club member and officer for 21 years. He is also on the board of the Palo Alto-Stanford PAST Historical Assn. Nick has been a member of the Peninsula Civil War Round Table for the past 2-1/2 years and serves as the PCWRT treasurer.

Meeting of June 20, 2023

Kristin Patterson on “United States Tax Stamps Used to Raise Funds for the Civil War”

The United States Government enacted its first Federal Tax on October 1, 1862, to raise money to support a Civil War that had been going on much longer than President Lincoln had anticipated. This presentation will talk about the different revenue stamps that were created including ones inscribed Agreement, Bank Check, Certificate, Insurance, Mortgage, Playing Cards, Probate of Will, Proprietary, and more, ranging in face value from 1¢ to $200. These stamps are gorgeous pieces of history with many still attached to the item for which they collected the tax.

Kristin Patterson started collecting postage stamps when she was 10. But changed her focus 22 years and started collecting U.S. Civil War tax stamps and documents with revenue stamps. She has been very active in the philatelic community, serving 4 years as President of Sequoia Stamp Club, 17 years as Chair of PENPEX Stamp Show (, and served on the American Philatelic Society and American Philatelic Research Library Boards.

Kristin has authored two books. In 2003, she self published It’s a Wrap! U.S. Revenue Stamps Used on Playing Cards, 1862–1883. This colorfully illustrated book highlights fifteen U.S. Playing Card Manufacturers who used the first U.S. tax stamps. In 2010, she published her second book, WESTPEX – The First 50 Years, about the most successful stamp show in the U.S.

Kristin has also written many articles for philatelic journals, including the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. This article discusses how the Gettysburg Cemetery came to be and how the States, with volunteers who fought in Gettysburg, funded the effort during the Civil War.

During the presentation, Kristin will have with her some original Civil War documents to show.

An 1865 receipt for salary payment to Brigadier General Lucius Fairchild who at the time was Wisconsin Secretary of State. In 1866, Fairchild was elected Wisconsin Governor.

Meeting of May 16, 2023

Magnus Akerblom on “The Battle of Gettysburg”

“Hancock at Gettysburg” by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett’s Charge

General Robert E. Lee’s military career had reached its zenith, and he wanted to bring the war to the North and away from Virginia.

The Union army was aware of Lee’s intention, so they moved North to meet his challenge. This resulted in the largest and bloodiest war ever on U.S. soil. Careful planning was required in order to have enough food, equipment, ammunition, medical
supplies, etc. to sustain such a long campaign.

A group discussion is planned after the presentation.

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’ 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.