Category Archives: Meeting archive

Meeting of March 17, 2020

Meeting postponed until further notice.

Tom Roza on “American Revolution vs. The Civil War: Similarities and Differences”

The two most momentous events in the history of the United States of America occurred less than a century apart; the Revolutionary War occurred in 1775-1783 and the Civil War in 1861-1865. An extensive research into the root causes for each of these two conflicts has revealed that there were numerous social, economic, and political similarities—as well as some differences that led to each conflict.

In the 18th Century, because of the vast geographical distance from both England and Europe in general, and the mixing of different ethnic cultures, with each passing day, people living in the Thirteen Colonies were drifting further apart politically, socially, and economically from their European origins. As the 19th Century progressed, the North had become more urban, industrialized, and its citizens were more migrant that produced a philosophy that America was a “Union of States”. Conversely, the South was more rural, agrarian, and its population was more sedentary; generation after generation grew up and lived in the same towns and counties; that produced a philosophy that America was a “Collection of Independent States.”

From a social perspective, for the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, while most of the people living in the thirteen colonies were of English ancestry, cohabitating with other European ethnic groups as well as being in close proximity to Native American Indians produced a vastly different set of values from those living in England and other European countries. Increasingly, the American colonists saw themselves as more independent and were creating a more homogenous society. For the period leading up to the Civil War, American citizens living in the North had retained that homogenous society perspective that resulted in a more inclusive citizenry. American citizens living in the South sociologically had evolved into a more exclusive society that supported slavery and viewed non-Caucasians and those from non-Protestant religions as foreigners.

Tom Roza will discuss the above and more on this interesting subject, which continues to have ramifications for life in these United States to the present day.

Tom Roza has been a student of history for over 60 years. As an officer and the Secretary of the South Bay Civil War Roundtable, Tom has made numerous presentations on the topic of the Civil War to both his Roundtable organization and other historical organizations in the Bay Area. Tom is also a published author of the book entitled, “Windows to the Past: A Virginian’s Experience in the Civil War” that has been accepted by the Library of Congress into its Catalog, and Tom is currently working on a sequel.

Meeting of February 18, 2020

Ken Habeeb on “A Sobering Look at the Union’s Ironclad Warship, and the Battle of Hampton Roads”

After some tentative and daunting test missions, the 172-foot USS Monitor, called the “Yankee Cheese Box on a raft,” or labeled more soberly by some, the “iron coffin,” set sail for Hampton Roads, Virginia, to stop the Confederates’ own ironclad vessel from wreaking havoc on the Union’s fleet of wooden war ships in harbor. Its nemesis was a 263-foot “floating barn roof,” a Northern-built vessel salvaged by the Confederates and re-christened the CSS Virginia.

Although the battle was something of a stand-off, it was viewed by the South as a victory when the somewhat superior Monitor could not finish the job it started. The USS Monitor was a technical feat of engineering, and yet deeply flawed. In what way? And what qualities does the USS Monitor share some fifty years later with the innovative and idiosyncratic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright?

Kenneth Habeeb has written for and edited a number of magazines. He is a fervent U.S. history scholar. He is also program director of the Peninsula Civil War Round Table, and an officer of the California Map Society.

Meeting of January 21, 2020

Howard Jones on “The Italian Prisoners of War – From Surrender to Paradise” and Big Book Raffle

This is the story of 5,000 Italian Prisoners of War who were imprisoned at the Naval Supply Depot in Clearfield, Utah during WWII. This contingent of Italian soldiers was just a small portion of those who surrendered during the war. In fact, over 500,000 surrendered in North Africa and Europe during the war. Most would be imprisoned in England or other countries in the British Empire, but over 50,000 came to the United States. Their story is both interesting and—at times—humorous. The events that occurred in Clearfield would affect our speaker’s wife, Cathy, and her family. In fact, her father was a Naval officer at the base and had to deal with the prisoners who rioted on one particular day. Howard Jones is long time member of the Round Table and amateur historian.

Also This Month — Big Book Raffle!

PCWRT is holding  a big book raffle at the January meeting. There will be a big assortment of Civil War titles, plus other military history books as well. Tickets will be $5 each.

Meeting of December 17, 2019

Tom McMahon on “The Battle of Monocacy”

Also known as Monocacy Junction, the Battle of Monocacy was fought on July 9, 1864, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) from Frederick, Maryland, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. This was just one year after Gettysburg, and 13 months before R.E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. It is a key rag tale battle that becomes the defense of Washington, and a great contributor to the continuance of the Union.

Tom McMahon, now in his 90s, is a third generation native San Franciscan whose great grandparents came as Irish immigrants in 1858 directly to the City, more than likely via the Isthmus of Panama, and then by boat up the West Coast. Tom is a member of the South Bay Civil War Round Table.

Meeting of November 19, 2019

Abby and David Eller on “Cotton”

The production and consumption of cotton textile products was a major part of the global economy in the 19th century. By the outbreak of the Civil War, Southerners had become quite confident in Cotton as King. But Cotton had some surprises in store for its loyal subjects. Learn more about the fascinating history of cotton, and how if influenced the course of the Civil War.

Although they make no pretense of being professional historians, Abby Eller and her husband David are enthusiastic history buffs. They are fascinated by how the Civil War transformed the course of American history. Abby and David have lived in Menlo Park for over forty years. They are active members of both the Peninsula Civil War Round Table and the South Bay CWRT. They also volunteer at San Mateo County History Museum’s second-hand bookstore in Redwood City, where Abby curates the military history book section.

Meeting of October 15, 2019

Dana Lombardy on “Secret Turning Points of the American Civil War”

Dana Lombardy was an Associate Online Editor for Armchair General and now does research, writing and design through Dana is best known for his multiple award-winning Streets of Stalingrad board wargame (three separate editions since first released in 1979), and 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 and published nine issues of World War One Illustrated.

Meeting of September 17, 2019

Dana Lombardy on “How to Evaluate & Review a History Book (With a Handout Guide and Free Books!)”

Author, editor, and publisher Dana Lombardy presents 10 steps that can be used to help decide whether a history (on other non-fiction) book is worth buying. In addition, Dana will present eight steps that are crucial to submitting a book review on Amazon, Goodreads, or your favorite magazines and websites. FREE BOOKS: Dana will hand out a checklist guide and historical books at the end of this talk.

Dana Lombardy was an Associate Online Editor for Armchair General and now does research, writing and design through Dana is best known for his multiple award-winning Streets of Stalingrad board wargame (three separate editions since first released in 1979), and 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 and published nine issues of World War One Illustrated.

Meeting of August 20, 2019

Dennis Kohlman on “J.E.B. Stuart and His Ride Around the Union Army at Gettysburg”

J.E.B. Stuart was the cavalry commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. His division was composed of five brigades. Stuart’s plan was to leave two brigades to watch and report on the activities of the Army of the Potomac and take three brigades on his ride. Who to take and who to leave?

Dennis’s interest in the Civil War started during the Vietnam War, where he saw similarities between the two conflicts: unpopular war, draft riots, a president vilified in the newspapers. He started his research with the Life/Times book series and went from there. He is currently the president of the Sacramento Civil War Round Table and has given numerous talks to Civil War clubs.

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.