Saturday, October 29, 2011

Program Summary - "Refighting the Civil War - Part 2"

The October 26th Program meeting for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured CVGS member Susan Zimmer (on the Union side) and Robyn Adair (on the Confederate side) discussing their Civil War soldiers, the San Diego area heritage organizations, and resources that should be consulted to find information about Civil War era ancestors.  They were in "period dress" for this presentation.  Thirty three persons were in attendance.

There were no "pistols at ten yards" for this showdown commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Susan quizzed the audience on the event that started the Civil War, the bloodiest battle, asked if more American lives were lost in the Civil War than in World War II, the years the war began and ended, who were the generals at Appomattox Courthouse, and if General Grant allowed the Confederate soldiers to keep their weapons.

Susan described the role of California and San Diego in the War.  There was only one incident in San Diego County - near Lake Henshaw, called the "Affair at Minter's Ranch."  The Yankees captured a group of Rebels and they were put in Yuma Prison.  The only California battalion was raised by Massachusetts.  Their role was to protect the western frontier, prevent the Confederates from gaining a foothold, allowed soldiers to return east, and to prevent Indian uprisings.  She also defined some of the cemeteries in San Diego where Civil War soldiers are buried, showed several local war memorials, and described some of the memorial services held.

Robyn's Confederate soldier was Everard Blackshear, of the Georgia Blackshear Guards.  She described three generations of female ancestors who were members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), showed the four-page UDC application, and noted the activities of her UDC chapter in San Diego.  and noted that (now has the Compiled Military Service Records of Confederate soldiers online.  The National Archives does not have Confederate records, but the different State Archives do have service and pension records.

Susan's Union soldier  was First Lieutenant Amos W. Downes, of Company F of the 49th Illinois Infantry.  She described finding his records, filling out the three-page Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War application, and the activities of her DUVCW Nancy Hanks Lincoln Tent #5 in San Diego.  The Compiled Military Service Record for Union soldiers costs $25 at the National Archives, and the Union Pension Files start at $75 (for up to 100 pages). 

In order to determine if an ancestor was a Civil War soldier, they suggested looking for males born after 1816, check the 1890 U.S. Census Civil War Soldiers Census (but A through K is lost), check the 1930 U.S. Census, which lists veterans.  They provided a one page list of links to websites with Civil War information, and information on the different Civil War heritage organizations in San Diego.

No comments: