|The San Francisco Civil War Round Table Meeting
21st March 2013
Arriving members found the UICC surrounded by large numbers of SFPD and CHP. It turns out
that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, was attending a reception in the building.
Our meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the introduction of guests.
Patrick Doyle confirmed the sad passing of long-time member and past president, Bob Quinn,
and announced that a memorial will be held at 4840 Mission Street on Saturday 23rd from
11:00am to noon.
|David Hargrave, Phil Gioia, Bob Tillman
|The President reminded members that Debbie Grace and Melani Van Petten will repeat their
award-winning presentation, "Women in the Civil War," in March at Burlingame Public
Library on March 28th at 7:00pm. See our Events page for more information.
Guest speaker Phil Gioia gave an inspiring account of the Battle of Newmarket which took
place on 15 May 1864 at the sleepy little farm town of New Market, Virginia.
In that springtime, a Union expeditionary force under Union General Franz Sigel was advancing
up the Valley, intent on destroying its sources of food, fodder, and forage for the Confederate
In 1864, more a high school than the world-famous college it has
become, The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), had sent its entire
cadet corps on a grueling four-day, 85-mile forced march north,
up the Valley turnpike. At New Market they had joined with
Confederate General John Breckenridge’s seasoned Confederate
As a last-ditch effort to hold against what appeared to be an
imminent Union victory, Breckenridge committed his only reserve:
the 247 boys of VMI. In one of those moments in military history
which can only result from will and courage, the cadets frontally attacked a full battery of Union
artillery, overrunning the guns, breaking the Union line, and forcing Sigel to withdraw in defeat.
12 boys were killed and 48 wounded – a grim casualty rate of 24 per cent. In doing so, the
cadets gained everlasting fame for themselves and VMI, the only American military college
authorized by Congress to carry a battle streamer on its Regimental colors,
inscribed ‘NEW MARKET - 1864’.
Phil's vivid portrayal of the bravery of the cadets in this incredible action drew enthusiastic
applause from the audience. After a spirited discussion, the meeting ended at 9:00pm