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(updated 2/12/15)

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Norwich University Has New Exhibit About 1865

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center recently opened the exhibit “1865, Out of the Ashes: Assassination, Reconstruction, and Healing the Nation.”

It focuses on the aftermath of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the rehabilitation and restoration of the South, and efforts to unify the country.

A centerpiece of the exhibition is a recently acquired rare Spencer repeating rifle. Possibly tested by President Lincoln himself, the rifle was in private hands for several generations until going on public view for the first time since the Civil War.

The early-issue Spencer was given to Lincoln by the manufacturer and later given by Lincoln to Gideon Welles in recognition of his Civil War service as Secretary of the Navy.

Welles enrolled at Norwich, then the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy of Norwich, Vt., in 1823. He remained three years. In 1836 he was presented an honorary M.A. degree.

The 1865 exhibit includes historical objects from Ford’s Theatre, a bronze cannon and period currency loaned by the Hon. John W. Walter. 

A separate complementary exhibition features pictorial works by contemporary African American artist Kara Walker. “Kara Walker: Juxtaposition, Contemporary Specters, and Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War,” is on loan from Mount Holyoke College.

Walker overlays black silhouettes with historic lithography to produce commentary on stereotypes found in the nation’s history of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation. 

Both exhibits will be on display until July 31.

The Sullivan Museum and History Center is Vermont’s only Smithsonian Affiliate. It is open free Monday-Friday 8-4 p.m. and Saturday 11-4 p.m. during the academic year. For information call 802-485-2183 or visit or Facebook.


Ford’s Theatre & NPS 150th Schedule

WASHINGTON — Ford’s Theatre will host “Ford’s 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination” events marking 150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Additional National Park Service (NPS) programs include a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial.

The programming through May includes the world-premiere of “The Widow Lincoln,” the musical “Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War,” the “Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination” exhibit, and a Second Inaugural Address Commemoration Ceremony;

Also, “The Lincoln Tribute,” an around-the-clock event on April 14 and 15 marking Lincoln’s assassination and death with an overnight candlelight vigil, tours and discussions.

In addition to the above commemorative programs, additional educational programs are planned.

The NPS will host a March 4 Civil Rights and the Lincoln Memorial program on the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. The distance learning program will take place at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern. 

For more information about Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, visit

For information on the National Park Service and the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, visit

Five New Jersey Flags & 1865 Artifacts On Display

TRENTON, N.J. — Representatives of the New Jersey State Museum and the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association unveiled five historic New Jersey Civil War flags on Dec. 30 at the State Museum Flag Gallery.

The State Museum collections include more than 100 flags carried by New Jersey soldiers. They are rotated periodically for display in specially designed archival cases.

The new exhibit includes the national colors of the 1st, 8th and 9th Infantry regiments, the state colors of the 7th Infantry regiment, and a rare divisional flag from the 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, in which the famed 2nd New Jersey Brigade served.

As part of the Civil War 150th anniversary, the gallery also features a rotating mini-exhibit. The new exhibit focuses on the 4th, 9th and 33rd Infantry regiments and the events of 1865, including President Lincoln’s assassination.

Artifacts include the 1865 diary of Medal of Honor recipient John Beech of the 4th New Jersey Infantry and the presentation sword and 1865 diary of Lt. Col. Nathaniel Bray of the 33rd New Jersey Infantry.

For more information visit



10 Historians, Battle Tour At March Virginia Seminar

FARMVILLE. Va. — The 16th annual free Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and Longwood University Civil War Seminar is March 13-15. It will feature historians’ talks and a visit to Sailor’s Creek State Historical Park.

Doors open at the university’s Jarman auditorium Friday at 5:30 p.m. Dr. David Coles, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, will give the introduction.

The evening’s speakers, starting at 6, are Tracy Chernault, The Fall of Petersburg; Michael Gorman, Photo Forensics: Richmond, 1865; and, at 8 p.m., Chris Calkins, The Appomattox Campaign; Nine April Days.

Saturday morning speakers, following the 9 a.m. introduction, are Chris Calkins, Black Thursday: The Battles of Sailor’s Creek, April 6, 1865; Patrick Schroeder, The Battles of Appomattox: Final Fury and the Last to Die; and Ron Wilson, Surrender at Appomattox.

At 1:45 Elizabeth Varon will speak on Legacies of Appomattox: Lee’s Surrender in History and Memory followed by Mark Bradley speaking about Fort Fisher to the Bennett Place: Closing Operations in North Carolina. The visit to Sailor’s Creek will be from 4:30-6 p.m.

Sunday speakers, following the 9 a.m. introduction, are Bert Dunkerly, The Forgotten Surrenders: Alabama, the Trans-Mississippi, and Indian Territory; Casey Clabough, Confederados; and John Hennessy, Freedom, the Civil War and its Legacies.

No reservations are necessary. For directions go to For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434-395-2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434-352-8987, Ext. 232.


Battle Marker Placed At Hollow Tree Gap

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — A new Civil War Trails marker was dedicated on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Hollow Tree Gap north of Franklin.

After the Dec. 15 and 16 Battle of Nashville, the Confederate rear guard under Gen. Stephen D. Lee set up a defensive line on a gap in the hills where the Franklin Pike crosses a few miles south of Brentwood, just north of the Franklin community still reeling from the battle there on Nov. 30.

Attacking early on the morning of Dec. 17, a brutal fight occurred when about 10,000 cavalry under Federal Gen. James Wilson charged through the gap hoping to destroy the bulk of Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee that was retreating south back through Franklin.

Wilson found the task would not be as easy as he had hoped when he suffered about 100 casualties against the badly outnumbered rear guard. Confederate losses exceeded 300, mostly captured.

Hollow Tree Gap was the first of four major stands by Lee’s rear guard on Dec. 17 that enabled Hood to escape. Fighting during the retreat continued for 10 days and over 100 miles.

Erected in partnership with the Civil War Trails program, the Franklin Civil War Round Table provided the matching funds for the historic marker and provided the text.


Ellwood Volunteers

LOCUST GROVE, Va. — Friends of Wilderness Battlefield invite applications for volunteers to train as guides for this season at Ellwood Manor, the Wilderness Battlefield plantation home which the Friends interpret.

Volunteers will learn about the site, its restoration and Civil War history. Ellwood was a Confederate hospital during the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville. The amputated arm of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson is buried there. Two Federal corps commanders used Ellwood as headquarters during the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness.

Ellwood will be open for the 2015 season from 10 to 5 as follows: April 6-12, daily; April 18-May 31, weekends and holidays; June 6-Aug. 16, daily; Aug. 22-Oct. 25, weekends and holidays

Details about the two training sessions and applications are at or email Robin Nimmo at or call 540-226-8378.


Cyclorama Tours

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The Gettysburg Foundation will host 13 special after-hours “An Evening with the Painting” programs about the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting this year.

Licensed Battlefield Guide and author and historian Sue Boardman will give the presentations at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. They will include an extended time on the platform to view and photograph the painting.

The two-hour programs are limited to 50 people. Viewing dates are: Feb. 28, March 21, April 25, May 22, June 6, July 3 and 25, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 10, Nov. 20 (two showings) and Dec. 12.

Tickets are available at 877-874-2478,, and the visitor center ticket counter.


Watchdog Donations

WARREN, Mich. — The Watchdog, a non-profit which has been dedicated to raising funds for battlefield preservation since 1993, recently gave three $500 donations.

The 2014 recipients were Civil War Trust, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and Stones River National Battlefield.

Civil War News publishes The Watchdog columns on mid-19th century material culture in both paper and electronic editions. The Watchdog publishes several books including The Unfinished Fight Volume I and II (2013) and The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy (2006).

The books along with the CWN columns and a “Good Neighbor” grant from State Farm raised enough funds for the three battlefield preservation awards.


Medical Meeting

FREDERICK, Md. — The National Museum of Civil War Medicine invites lecture proposals before April 1 for the 23rd Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine scheduled Oct. 9-11 in Frederick.

The conference will include a tour of the museum and a hospital tour of downtown Frederick.

The eighth Annual Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award Dinner on Oct. 8 will kick off of the conference.

The dinner honors those who advance modern medical care and conditions for fighting troops, wounded warriors and civilians. One organization and one individual will receive the awards.

Typed proposals for conference PowerPoint presentations should include short biographical information and a bibliography.

Details about conference proposals and the dinner are available from Thomas Frezza at, 301-695-1864 Ext. 1011, or April Dietrich at, 301-695-1864 Ext. 1009.


Salisbury Prison

SALISBURY, N.C. — Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc. will host a free exhibit about the prison on Feb. 20 from 10-4 at Rowan Public Library.

The exhibit will includes flags, images of people associated with the prison, quotes from private and published period sources, the 1866 war crimes trial of Commandant Maj. John H. Gee in which he was found innocent of war crimes and models of prison structures.

For information contact president Sue Curtis, 704-637-6411 or


Book Wins Prizes

WICKENBURG, Ariz. — Robert Walton’s historical fiction Dawn Drums (Moonlight Mesa), set in the last year of the Civil War, won first place in the Arizona Authors Literary Contest’s published writing category.

Dawn Drums also received the Tony Hillerman Award for fiction at the New Mexico Book Awards. In that same contest, the title was a finalist in both the young adult and historical fiction categories.


Becker Drawings

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Museum of Art is exhibiting “Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection” through April 19.

The traveling exhibit from Boston includes more than 85 drawings by Joseph Becker and other field artists for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. For information call 866-843-9278 or visit



Lincoln Museum

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is marking its 10th anniversary with a full year of special events, theater presentations, lectures and exhibits.

Running through February 2016, the “Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865” exhibit produced in cooperation with the Chicago History Museum focuses on five key Lincoln speeches that illustrate his evolving views on slavery.

The more than 120 artifacts in the exhibit include Lincoln’s bloody gloves from the night he was assassinated, the bed he died in and a carriage he used.

In April “The Battle Hymn Story,” a new multi-media theater presentation with music and special effects, joins the popular “Lincoln’s Eyes” and “Ghosts of the Library” productions.

The “To See Jerusalem Before I Die” exhibit about Lincoln’s relationships with Jewish friends, supporters and opponents opens in August.

Other activities will include an Easter Egg Roll, a Mary Lincoln Strawberry Party and birthday parties for the Lincoln sons and White House pets. A complete list of anniversary events is at



Barton Museum

WASHINGTON — The Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office museum at 437 7th Street NW is hosting Saturday 2:30 p.m. lectures in February and March.

Speakers for the “African Americans in the Civil War” talks in February are Dr. Robert Slawson C.R. Gibbs and Betsy Estilow.

Speaking on “Women in the Civil War” topics in March will be Dr. Audrey Scanlan-Teller, Sara Florini, Betsy Estilow and Hilda Koontz.

Information is at 301-695-1864 Ext. 1004 and