Category Archives: Meeting archive

Meeting of May 15, 2018

Abby Eller on “The Destruction of Slavery During the Civil War”

At the outbreak of the Civil War, as Southern white men went off to fight, everyone knew they could count on the labor and loyalty of their slaves back home. Or could they?

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation has been criticized for only freeing the slaves in the rebel states but not in the loyal slave states. It is said that it did not really free any slaves at all. Or did it?

Would it surprise you to know that tens of thousands of slaves were already emancipated before the Emancipation Proclamation?

Come join us to hear the fascinating story of the demise of slavery during the Civil War, and how decisive this was to the war’s outcome.

Meeting of April 17, 2018

Tom Roza on “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War”

Tom Roza of the South Bay Round Table has recently completed writing his first book on the Civil War. It was published last summer and is entitled Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War. He will present the story of how he wrote the book and what it took to get it published.  Tom applied his 50+ years as a Civil War historian to write this novel from a Southern perspective. He worked for 8 months with a professional editor from Austin, TX, on story flow and character development. It is available on Amazon.com and KDP eBook sites. Here is a link to the book on Amazon.com: link

Meeting of March 20, 2018

Abby Eller on “Judah Benjamin, The Brains of the Confederacy”

Judah Benjamin is scarcely remembered today. And yet, Jefferson Davis’s wife Varina Howell Davis stated that he would meet with President Davis for hours every day to discuss Confederate government matters. Judah Benjamin was known as “The brains of the Confederacy.” During the Civil War, Judah Benjamin, Jefferson Davis, and Varina Howell Davis formed a close friendship that lasted the rest of their lives. But when Jefferson Davis wrote his memoirs at the end of his life, he only made the briefest mention of this man. Why was this? And Judah Benjamin’s life story after the Civil War was so remarkable, it would be unbelievable if it weren’t actually true.

Abby Eller joined the Redwood City Civil War Round Table in July of this year. She and her husband Dave live in Menlo Park. Abby has been an American history buff ever since high school. In 2013 she joined Historic Union Cemetery Association based here in Redwood City.

Meeting of February 20, 2018

Chimi Miskow on “Japanese-Americans in Japan during World War II, Part 2”

The plight of the Japanese Americans during World War II has been well chronicled in the past, but the lives of Japanese-Americans in Japan during this same era is almost unknown to many people. Perhaps you can peek into that era from Chimi’s family tale. She was born in 1939 to Hideo and Michiko Naganuma in Los Angeles; they were called back to Japan in 1940, intending to return to the United States, but the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 had put everything in the pause mode. The Naganuma family spent the war years as Americans in Japan. Chimi finished her high school education in Japan in 1959, then came back to the States to go to college. After college, she was hired by Pan Am as a stewardess for her language skills in Japanese, Chinese, and English. During her time of employment with Pan Am, Chimi met Ken and they have been here raising their daughter Catherine. This is a continuation of the January meeting topic.

Meeting of January 16, 2018

Chimi Miskow on “Japanese-Americans in Japan during World War II”

The plight of the Japanese Americans during World War II has been well chronicled in the past, but the lives of Japanese-Americans in Japan during this same era is almost unknown to many people. Perhaps you can peek into that era from Chimi’s family tale. She was born in 1939 to Hideo and Michiko Naganuma in Los Angeles; they were called back to Japan in 1940, intending to return to the United States, but the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 had put everything in the pause mode. The Naganuma family spent the war years as Americans in Japan. Chimi finished her high school education in Japan in 1959, then came back to the States to go to college. After college, she was hired by Pan Am as a stewardess for her language skills in Japanese, Chinese, and English. During her time of employment with Pan Am, Chimi met Ken and they have been here raising their daughter Catherine.

Meeting of December 19, 2017

Jim Rhetta on “Attack and Die, Cultural Influences on Combat in the Civil War”

The Civil War was also a war between two cultures, Celtic and English (again) and each had cultural influences on the attitudes toward war and how it was to be conducted. Jim’s presentation highlighted the cultural differences and identify their impacts on conduct of the Civil War.

Meeting of November 21, 2017

Abby Eller on “The History in Historic Union Cemetery”

A quarter century ago, Jean Cloud led a coalition of concerned citizens in our area, who fought hard to save Historic Union Cemetery here in Redwood City, from being lost to demolition and commercial development. Historic Union Cemetery Association has worked ever since, to continue to restore and maintain this national and state historic landmark. What is so important about Historic Union Cemetery?

Abby Eller shared some of the many stories that Historic Union Cemetery has to tell. We found out why Redwood City is called that, and why it was originally called Mezesville. How a man in our area had a town and lake named after him. The Grand Army of the Republic had a burial plot in Union Cemetery. You’ll hear about their importance, and their women’s auxiliary, to Civil War veterans. There were a few other stories as well.

Abby Eller joined the Redwood City Civil War Round Table in July of this year. She and her husband Dave live in Menlo Park. Abby has been an American history buff ever since high school. In 2013 she joined Historic Union Cemetery Association based here in Redwood City.

Meeting of October 17, 2017

Jack Mather on “FDR and Voices in the Night”

man reading a speech

Jack Mather

Jack described Franklin Roosevelt’s interactions with Huey Long, Father Coughlin, the Bonus Army, groups Left and Right, Joseph Kennedy, and Douglas McArthur.

Meeting of September 19, 2017

Walter Day on “A Visit to Hitler’s ‘Wolf’s Lair'”

On July 20, 1944, disaffected German Army officers launched one of the most daring undertakings of WWII: An attempt to kill Adolf Hitler at the Wolfsschanze, or “Wolf’s Lair.” This was a difficult task since the Wolfsschanze was designed to protect Hitler.

By July 1944 the plotters were getting desperate. The Allies had landed in France and the end was predictable.

A young wounded officer from the North African Campaign, Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, flew to the Wolfsschanze to brief Hitler and plant a bomb, provided by the British, to kill Hitler. This is his story!

Meeting of August 15, 2017

Dana Lombardy on “Sex… and Spies, Oh, My!”

Wherever thousands of men have gathered to fight wars throughout history, romance—and prostitution—have followed. “They didn’t want to die virgins” was a major concern of many soldiers and affected morale in nearly every army that fought in the Great War. In addition, exotic dancers and courtesans such as Mata Hari had relationships with high-ranking military officers and politicians—and in her case it led to being tried and executed as a spy. What else will be revealed?

black-and-white headshot

Dana Lombardy

Dana Lombardy is Publisher of World War One Illustrated magazine for the World War One Historical Association. He was an Associate Online Editor for Armchair General magazine and now does research, writing and design through his Lombardy Studios. Dana is recognized for his nearly twenty television appearances, including multiple episodes of The History Channel’s “Tales of the Gun” series. He has contributed as an editor, cartographer, graphic artist, and designer on many books, games and magazines, was Publisher of Napoleon Journal from 1996-2000.

Meeting of July 18, 2017

Walter Day on “The Battle of Perryville, The Invasion of Kentucky”

Why was Kentucky important in the Civil War?

  • Control of strategic rivers (the Ohio in particular)
  • Source of manpower for armies
  • Food

Perryville was a relatively large battle for its time in the Civil War. Federals numbered about 55,000 men (22,000 engaged) under US General Don Carlos Buell. Confederates fielded some 17,000 men under CSA General Braxton Bragg.

We are fortunate to have an excellent video of this re-enacted battle*, with a Bonus Feature of Ed Bearss (pronounced “bars”), former Chief Historian of the National Park Service, describing this battle in great detail. If you’ve never seen Ed, come and enjoy this! He’s 94 now and only recently stopped leading battlefield tours. He’s a one of a kind historian whose passion has been to learn and tell anyone who’s interested incredible details of every battle fought in the US, as well as World War battles in which the US fought. Until very recently, he led many tours every year around those fields, and tour groups often had to jog to keep up with him.

*The video, “Battle of Perryville, the Invasion of Kentucky”, is provided by Wide Awake Films, LLC.

Walter Day is the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable Program Chairman. He has been a student of Civil War history since he was a teenager. He has visited most of the battlefields where his great grandfather’s unit, the Wilcox Brigade, 8th Alabama Infantry, CSA, fought. He is a retired Electrical Engineer and U.S. Naval officer. He has followed Ed Bearss around on tours of at least 8 Civil War battlefields, as well as the WWII Normandy battlefield.

Meeting of June 20, 2017

Jack Mather on “Two British Generals and the Struggle for Control of North America”

man reading a speech

Jack Mather

One died and was successful, one failed and lived: James Wolfe, John Burgoyne, and the birth of the United States of America.

Meeting of May 16, 2017

Howard Jones on “John Paul Jones, An American Hero”

Howard’s presentation was about the heroics of John Paul Jones who took the fight for American independence to the British Isles during the Revolutionary War. The epic battle between the American ship, Bonhomme Richard, and the British ship, Serapis, is legendary in naval history. His ultimate victory became the basis for the creation of a United States Naval Academy and a world-power American Navy.

Howard is a Marine Corps Veteran and a graduate of the University of Oregon. He is the immediate Past Commander General of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. He is a former President of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. In addition, he served for 12 years as the Public Member of San Mateo County’s Local Agency Formation Committee, (or, LAFCo). Howard frequently gives presentations about American history to elementary grade school children and heritage groups such as the DAR, SAR and the UDC.

Meeting of April 18, 2017

Ruthanne Lum McCunn on “Hidden History: Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Civil War”

In this vividly illustrated talk, Ruthanne Lum McCunn brings to life the amazing stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Confederate and Union Navies and Armies, including that of Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way), the veteran whose life she reclaimed in Chinese Yankee. Discussing the subsequent battle of Chinese veterans for citizenship, she also explores an important and virtually unknown chapter in America’s rocky yet persistent struggle towards a more perfect Union.

Ruthanne Lum McCunn is a writer of Chinese and Scottish descent whose award-winning work has been translated into eleven languages, published in twenty-two countries, and adapted for the stage and film. She is most recently the author of Chinese Yankee, the true story of Thomas Sylvanus.

Meeting of March 21, 2017

David Ainsworth on “SS Jeremiah O’Brien—Then and Now”

David’s talk covered the geopolitical basis for the Merchant Navy Liberty Ship building during WWII, its peculiar origins, its astonishing achievements, and the distinguished deployment of the ship itself in the Normandy invasion and elsewhere. Finally, he will cover its return to Normandy for the 50th anniversary of Operation Overlord in 1994 and the way in which the old ship—still operating—contributes to the community today.


David Ainsworth graduated from the University of Kansas and subsequently served as an infantry and embarkation officer in the U. S. Marine Corps. He attended Golden Gate Law school in San Francisco and practiced maritime law for thirty five years, first for Matson Lines and then American President Lines, where he served as Vice President and General Counsel. He has also been of counsel to a Washington DC law firm and presently consults for a San Francisco based shipping company. He has authored two novels, In Extremis and The Chasm, both political suspense stories (visit www.davidainsworthbooks.com for details) and is a member of the volunteer crew of the SS Jeremiah O’Brien (docent and  Chairman of the Speaker’s Bureau.) He resides in the Napa Valley and enjoys making wine each fall for his house label, Admiralty Cellars.

Meeting of February 21, 2017

Gene Paleno on “The Porter Conspiracy”

Gene has written a well-researched non-fiction historical novel about a relatively unknown Civil War Major General. Although innocent, Fitz John Porter was accused of losing a crucial battle and tried and convicted for cowardice and disobedience. This true story reveals the political false reasons for his court martial.

The tale depicts the Second Battle of Manassas in grim, eye-witness accounts of the fighting and dying during three days in August 1862. President Abraham Lincoln’s unhappy part in the tragedy is woven together with the events of that period like threads in a bloody tapestry to create the changes that shaped and changed America for all time.

Gene Paleno has farmed in Lake County for nearly fifty years and been writing even longer. During most of the good part of a century of life Gene has had more occupations and professions than you can count on both hands. He writes to entertain. Gene has written fifteen full-length novels and several collections of stories on a wide range of subjects, and a weekly newspaper column of the animals and people he’s met while he’s farmed…to novels about the Civil War, Lake County history, and Adult science fiction and fantasy.

Asked, “Why do you write?” his reply was, “Because I must. Writing is like breathing. It is the reason I wake each day glad to be alive.” “Besides,” he adds, “Seeing my stories in print and knowing people enjoy reading them is like having Apple Pie… and I love Apple Pie.”

Meeting of January 17, 2017

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”

jim-rhettaThe 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.

Meeting of December 20, 2016

Walter Day presents “Civil War Combat, the Battle of Shiloh”

civil-war-combat-dvd-coverWalter presented a re-enactment of Shiloh, which was the first major battle of what was to be a long and bloody war. The reenactment video was supplied by The History Channel DVD entitled “Civil War Combat,
America’s Bloodiest Battles”.

Meeting of November 15, 2016

Howard Jones on “Cumberland Island: the Story of Patriots, Strong Women, and Incredible Wealth”

Howard Jones Commander GenCumberland 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.

Meeting of October 18, 2016

Howard Jones on “George Washington and the Battle of Yorktown”

Howard Jones as George WashingtonYorktown was the decisive battle of the war and it ultimately resulted in our independence.

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.

Meeting of September 20, 2016

Walter Day hosts “Spotsylvania Courthouse: The Clash of Grant and Lee at the Crossroads”

Wide Awake SpotsylvaniaWalter 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.