Selected News Briefs from
Recent Issues of Civil War News
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Burns Encourages Citizen Videos Of Gettysburg Address
ARLINGTON, Va. — Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns launched a national campaign to get people across the country, especially students, to learn about and read aloud the Gettysburg Address.
The initiative, in conjunction with PBS and WETA, will run through April 15, when Burns’ “The Address,” a 90-minute documentary, will air on PBS stations.
The campaign will use social media and videos from public figures, political leaders, entertainers and Lincoln historians reading the Gettysburg Address to encourage people to submit their own videos to www.learntheaddress.org.
The five living presidents have submitted their videos, as have other well-known people including Warren Buffet, Carol Burnett, Rachel Maddow, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift and Jerry Seinfeld.
The campaign, which was announced for the Address’ 150th anniversary, was inspired by the subject of Burns’ film. It tells the story of the Greenwood School in Putney, Vt., where students are encouraged to memorize and recite the Gettysburg Address.
Burns said, “We want to tell this story to inspire everyone across the nation, especially school children, to learn the rich history of American freedom and sacrifice embedded in one of the most important declarations ever made.”
A standards-based education curriculum with lesson plans and activities is available at pbs.org/theaddress and PBS Learning Media.
GBPA Elects Trustees,Sets Lady Farm Hours
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) recently elected four Board of Trustees members and announced that the Daniel Lady Farm is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The GBPA owns and operates the 145-acre farm on Hanover Road. Its restored house and barn were Confederate field hospitals during and after the battle. The house was the headquarters of Maj. Gen. Edward “Allegheny” Johnson and the Army of Northern Virginia’s left flank.
The barn retains graffiti left by soldiers in 1863 and again when veterans revisited the site. Both buildings have battle scars. Bloodstains are visible in the house.
A portion of the Camp Letterman field hospital that treated thousands of wounded and dying from both sides was located on the Lady Farm.
The buildings have been open on special occasions, but the new hours mark the first time they will be will be open on a weekly basis.
Book Prize Given; ’13 Entries Invited
WOODBRIDGE, N.J. — The Robert E. Lee Civil War Library & Research Center awarded the 2012 Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. Literary Prize for Confederate History to Cooper H. Wingert.
He was honored for The Confederate Approach on Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign’s Northernmost Reaches (The History Press).
The committee cited the book for its contribution to original scholarship, its engaging and highly readable writing style and its superb research. Wingert chronicled the Confederate approach on Harrisburg and Union efforts to counter this most northern thrust of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army.
The annual prize recognizes the best original work of published scholarship in the field of Confederate military, political or social history.
Submissions for the 2013 Robertson Prize are invited. Publishers are asked to send three copies (no galleys) with contact information to the Robert E. Lee Civil War Library & Research Center, c/o Lawrence Korczyk, Robertson Prize Committee, 124 Hanover St., Gettysburg, PA 17325.
Publishers are welcome to submit more than one 2013 work for consideration. The submission deadline is July 30. The winner will be announced in November.
FARMVILLE, Va. — The 15th annual free Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and Longwood University Civil War Seminar will be held March 15.
Doors open at 8:30 at Jarman Auditorium, Longwood University. Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy Chair Dr. David Coles will begin the seminar at 9 a.m.
Speakers are Eric Wittenberg, Cavalry Operations in the Overland Campaign; Gordon Rhea, Grant and Lee in the Overland Campaign; Stephen Engel, Revisiting the New Market Campaign; Kevin Levin, Confederates Assess the Battle of the Crater; and Brian Wills, Thomas Dashes Hood’s Hopes at Nashville.
Eastern National Bookstore is co-sponsoring the seminar. Lunch will be available on campus. For directions go to www.longwood.edu. For seminar information contact Coles at 434-395-2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434-352-8987, Ext. 232.
MANASSAS, Va. — The Manassas Museum has scheduled eight free book talks starting at 2 p.m. at the museum beginning Feb. 9. The programs are:
Feb. 9, Hope Amid Hardship with Karen Johnston; Feb. 23, Maps of Bristoe Station, Bradley Gottfried; March 9, The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hanger, Civil War Soldier by Bob O’Connor; March 23, Robert E. Lee in War and Peace, Don Hopkins;
And, April 6, The War Came by Train, Daniel Toomey; April 27, Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier’s Odyssey, Bob Plumb; May 18, The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson, Chris Mackowski; June 8, Battle of Big Bethel with Michael Cobb, Edward Hicks and Wythe Holt.
For information call 703-368-1873 or visit www.manassasmuseum.org
Kenosha Museum Film
KENOSHA, Wis. — “Seeing the Elephant,” a 360-degree movie experience, recently opened at the Civil War Museum. The 10-minute film is shown on the hour from 11 to 4, starting at 1 p.m. Sundays.
The film was produced by Boston Productions Inc. and directed by Bob Noll. Museum staff and consultants contributed to the script which made use of journals, letters, period images and other documents. Broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis narrates.
More than 200 people, including actors and reenactors, were involved with the filming at Old World Wisconsin outdoor history museum in Eagle last June.
The high-tech digital movie follows several soldiers as they leave home, train, face battle together and ultimately deal with the consequences of war. It complements the museum’s exhibit “The Fiery Trail” and will be shown on a permanent basis.
The trailer can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhWMNqe7hz8. For museum information call 262-653-4141 or visit http://thecivilwarmuseum.org
Camp Nelson Cited
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — Camp Nelson, a Union recruiting and training center for black troops, recently celebrated its designation as a National Historic Landmark. The plaque was unveiled at a Jan. 4 ceremony.
Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park director of interpretation and archaeology Stephen McBride told the Lexington Herald-Leader the designation is a necessary step toward achieving the goal of the camp becoming a national park.
The camp, named for Maj. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson, was established in June 1863. Eight U.S. Colored Troops regiments were formed there and five others were stationed there. The camp had 4,000 acres and 300 buildings, serving also as a supply depot.
Austin Book Prize
AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Civil War Round Table invites nominations before March 31 for the 19th annual Laney Book Prize. It honors distinguished scholarship and writing on the Civil War’s military or political history and those who took part.
The book must have been published in 2013. The author must appear as a guest speaker to receive the prize on June 19 and 20.
The winner will be announced by May at www.austincivilwar.org/laney.htm. The $2,000 prize, thanks to the generosity of the Morse Foundation, honors Daniel M. and Marilyn W. Laney for their years of work to protect endangered battlefields.
Four copies of each book should be sent to the prize committee c/o Michael Watkins, 12212 Brigadoon Lane #163, Austin TX 78727 before March 31.
CARLISLE, Pa. — Richard J. Sommers, whose career at the Army Military History Institute (MHI) began in 1970, recently retired. He was honored at a Jan. 9 retirement ceremony. The Institute manages the Army Heritage and Education Center’s library, archive and research facility.
Sommers received his B.A. in history from Carleton College and Ph.D. in history from Rice University under Prof. Frank E. Vandiver.
He joined the MHI as chief historian-archivist. He later served as assistant director and in positions at the Army Heritage and Education Center where he was senior historian when he retired. Sommers also taught history courses at the U.S. Army War College.
His 1981 book Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg (Doubleday) received the National Historical Society’s Bell I. Wiley Prize. An authority on the Civil War, Sommers wrote many articles and contributions for publications and gave talks across the country.
Brady Photo Scans
WASHINGTON — Center for Civil War Photography members donated $2,820 to fund the scanning of 47 rare Civil War images at the Library of Congress so that they can be put online later this year at www.loc.gov.
They are from a collection of 50 original Mathew Brady Album Gallery Cards taken during the first two years of the war. Brady’s photographers those years were Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, George Barnard and James Gibson.
The three cards that were scanned earlier include one of a Confederate colonel’s dead horse at Antietam which many soldiers commented about because the horse looked like it was resting.
For information about the Center and its fall Image of War seminar in Fredericksburg visit www.civilwarphotography.org.
WASHINGTON — Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, received a $150,000 grant from the National Archives to support the Oliver Otis Howard Papers Digitization Project. The three-year project will digitize approximately 148,200 pages of manuscript material from Civil War Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, Commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau and third president of Howard University in Washington, D.C.
A new digital access resource, JPASS, was recently launched by JSTOR (journal storage). Founded as a shared digital archive for the scholarly community, JSTOR is a digital library of more than 1,500 academic journals, books and primary sources spanning 50 disciplines and more than 350 years.
JSTOR was established as a nonprofit with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1995. It aimed to help universities and colleges deal with cost and space problems of little-used journals by sharing the costs for digital storage and preservation of materials.
JPASS is for researchers who do not belong to a university or research organization with institutional access to JSTOR. The JPASS service gives online access to more than 7 million documents on a monthly plan of 10 downloads for $19.50 or a one-year, $199 plan for 120 downloads.
For information go to http://jpass.jstor.org.
14th Conn. Donations
Co. F, 14th Connecticut, the living history company from Connecticut, donated $3,394 to preservation causes in 2013.
The largest amount was $1,000 to renew Color Bearer status with the Civil War Trust and multiple smaller gifts for specific Trust fundraising efforts in several states.
Among the group’s 23 donations last year were additional gifts to the Trust to meet matching funds for specific battlefields. Co. F also honored members of the 14th and state troops at Gettysburg by sponsoring luminaries for the annual November memorial program.
For information about the unit visit www.cof14thcvi.com
KENNESAW, Ga. — Visitors to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield can now tour the entire 1864 battlefield by trolley or in their car led by guides who have volunteered at the park for more than 25 years.
Visitors can decide how much time they want to spend on the battlefield, from an hour or two to all day. Profits from the tours go to the 150th Kennesaw Mountain nonprofit.
Contact Brad Quinlin at 404-610-9922, email@example.com or tolearnyourhistory.net for booking and other information.
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Lectures on Irish in the Civil War, music, and a reenactment of Gen. Thomas F. Meagher’s two-day visit to Burlington in 1864 will be part of an April 25-27 commemoration.
The free programs are part of a series on the militant Irish nationalists, the Fenian Brotherhood, which will conclude with a reenactment of the 1866 invasion of Canada from New York and Vermont.
Last July a 150th anniversary historical marker noting the return of Co. A, 13th Vermont Regiment, to Burlington was dedicated in City Hall Park. The Irish company, Vermont’s only ethnic unit, returned as heroes three weeks after fighting at Gettysburg under Capt. John Lonergan.
Lonergan, who received the Medal of Honor for gallantry at Gettysburg, headed the Fenians in Vermont. He invited Meagher, who organized and led the Irish Brigade, to visit.
For information contact the New Fenian Brotherhood: Liam McKone, (802) 644-2433, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Living Historians
FREDERICK, Md. — The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is hosting an all-day workshop for living historians on March 8 from 8:30-4:40.
It will focus on skills, knowledge and resources necessary to provide quality living history programs at historic sites. Topics include tools of the trade and nurses and nursing.
Presenters include Susan Rosenvold, museum educator at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office; John Wega of the U.S. Christian Commission; and Mark Quattrock, founder of the Blue & Gray Hospital Association
Registration deadline is Feb. 28. For information contact Kyle Wichtendahl at email@example.com, 301-695-1864, ext. 1013, or visit www.CivilWarMed.org.
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Licensed Battlefield Guide and author Sue Boardman will give monthly after-hours programs about the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama that include time on the viewing platform.
Her talks, hosted by the Gettysburg Foundation, will include the history of cyclorama paintings and restoration of the one at Gettysburg.
Program dates are Feb. 22, March 22, April 26, May 23, June 7, July 5 and 26, Aug. 16, Sept. 27, Oct. 11, twice on Nov. 14, and Dec. 6.
Tickets are available
at 877-874-2478, www.gettysburgfoundation.org/18 and the visitor center ticket counter.
Camp Nelson Song
Pvt. S.T. Rister of Co. C, 17th Texas Infantry, wrote a poem/song in January 1863 after being at Camp Nelson, Arkansas, the previous fall. He wrote it to the popular tune “Root Hog or Die.”
It can be enjoyed today thanks to historian R.D. Keever who transcribed and recorded the lyrics to the original music with period instruments on a video.
Keever said he produced the song as a sesquicentennial project to honor the 1,500 Texas and Arkansas soldiers who died of disease at the Confederate camp.
He credits and thanks the Arkansas History Commission for preserving the drawing and poem, “The Brakeing Up of Camp Nelson.”
The video can be seen on YouTube at http://youtu.be/c-wgd4A6u6A or Google to You Tube, Root Hog or Die—Camp Nelson.