Monthly Archives: June 2019

Meeting of July 16, 2019

Howard Jones on “Marines Fighting Marines – The Battle of Drewry’s Bluff”

The Battle of Drewry’s Bluff took place on May 15, 1862. It was a small but significant part of General George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign that began on March 17, 1862. It might have been the difference in the battle if it had been successful. Essentially, McClellan’s advance towards Richmond had stalled on the outskirts of the Confederate capital. Plans were then made to send a flotilla of ships up the James River and break the deadlock by shelling Richmond.

The only obstacle to this plan was Drewry’s Bluff, located just 7 miles downstream from Richmond. Here the river made a sharp turn and a massive bluff rose 110 feet above the river. The bluff was heavily defended by the Confederate States Marines Corps. A flotilla of 5 ships, including the indestructible Monitor, was sent upstream to blast its way through the defenses and capture Richmond.

The Battle of Drewry’s Bluff is unique because it is the only battle in the history of the United States Marine Corps where U.S. Marines and former Marines, (now the Confederate States Marine Corps), met in direct combat. Many of these men would have known each other from before the war.

Howard Jones is the President of the Peninsula Civil War round table and an amateur historian.

Meeting of June 18, 2019

Monika Trobits on “San Francisco in the Mid-19th Century”

San Francisco in the mid-19th century, an instant city, geographically isolated in the West, yet fated to be the gateway for a worldwide migration in search of golden dreams. Hundreds of thousands made the arduous journey to the fledgling city, including Argonauts who rushed west from the Northern and Southern states. They had seemingly left behind the political, economic and other slavery-related tensions of the period only to find that it had all traveled west with them. Monika’s presentation will explore the remnants of the antebellum and Civil War eras as they played out in old San Francisco, a boom town fraught with daily dramas, political rivalries and heated battles over pending statehood.

Monika Trobits has lived in San Francisco for 37 years. A New York City native, she has been studying local history since the mid-1980s. She established her tour company in 2011: and developed a walking tour in conjunction with her first book: Antebellum and Civil War San Francisco: A Western Theater for Northern & Southern Politics (published 2014). Nowadays, she also teaches walking history classes for OLLI, based at SF State. Her other nonfiction works include, “Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco in the 1920s” an article that was published in the winter 2011 edition of the Argonaut and her second book, Bay Area Coffee: A Stimulating History, published in February 2019. Monika earned a B.A. in political science/history from SF State and lives down the road from the site of the 1859 Broderick-Terry duel.