Selected News Briefs from
Recent Issues of Civil War News
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GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Historian Kent Masterson Brown will be the Nov. 19 Dedication Day keynote speaker at Soldiers’ National Cemetery on the 151st anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The ceremony is at 10 a.m.
Brown is a law graduate of Washington and Lee University. His books include Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander (University Press of Kentucky, 1993); and Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Historical Society’s new season of Banner Lectures has started. The noon talks, for which admission is charged for non-members, are sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Coming up are Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, cosponsored with the American Civil War Museum, on Nov. 11; and Graham T. Dozier, author of A Gunner in Lee’s Army: The Letters of Thomas Henry Carter to His Wife on Dec. 4.
The full schedule is at, www.vahistorical.org
DURHAM, N.C. — Bennett Place Historic Site’s visitor center has closed for construction of the new museum. The farm is open for tours and programs, while merchandise is for sale in a temporary gift shop.
The new exhibit space that opens in April will replace a 1983 gallery. The site will commemorate the 150th anniversary of surrender at Bennett Place from April 17-26. For information visit www.bennettpplacehistoricsite.com
VICKSBURG, Miss. — At a ceremony at the Iowa Memorial, Vicksburg National Military Park Supt. R. Michael Madell accepted the Civil War diaries of John Hughes Jr.
Hughes served with Co. G, 28th Iowa Volunteer Infantry during the Siege of Vicksburg. His great-grandson, Bruce Davidson of Coronado, Calif., donated the diaries.
The seven diaries cover from April 16, 1861, through 1864. One entry tells what happened on July 4, 1863:
“10:00 A.M. White flags are displayed! The rebel regiments are marched out in front of their works where they stack arms and colors and return. The renowned Gibraltar of the Confederacy is ours!”
In 1906, Hughes was appointed as a member of the governor’s commission that traveled to Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Tenn., to dedicate Iowa Monuments on those battlefields.
Black Vets Honored
LEESBURG, Va. — Loudoun’s African American Civil War veterans were honored in a program hosted by the Loudoun County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library and the Mount Zion Community Cemetery Committee.
Kevin Grigsby, author of From Loudoun to Glory, spoke about the nearly 300 blacks from Loudoun County who served in the Union Army and Navy. A Virginia Civil War Trails sign that was dedicated highlights the service of four Civil War veterans buried at Mount Zion Community Cemetery.
One of Henry Louis Gates’ three celebrity guests on the Oct. 7 PBS “Finding Your Ancestors” telecast had a noteworthy ancestor.
Ken Burns. Anderson Cooper and Ann Deveare Smith all learned of Civil War family connections, but Smith’s was the most unusual.
Her ancestor was free black Basil Biggs, a veterinarian who moved his family from slaveholding Maryland to Gettysburg before the Civil War. Their farm, which was ruined during the Gettysburg battle, served as a Confederate field hospital.
After the battle Biggs was hired to head a crew of blacks who dug up Union graves and reburied remains in what became Soldiers’ National Cemetery, which President Abraham Lincoln dedicated less than five months after the battle.
Biggs’ local obituary noted he had been a conductor on the Underground Railroad and was the town’s wealthiest black resident.
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The Eternal Light Peace Memorial Flame was relit Oct. 8 during a half-hour interpretive program about the memorial at Gettysburg National Military Park.
The igniter’s failure on Aug. 20 caused the gas-fueled flame to go out. Park staff corrected mechanical failures on the igniter, igniter enclosure and associated wiring.
They also improved safety and access to the equipment, which is approximately 35 feet up the inside of the memorial shaft, with a new fall-protection system.
The memorial was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to commemorate the 50th battle reunion in 1913.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is 22 counties away from its goal of having a historical marker in each of the 75 counties before the end of 2015.
Applications for markers 80-87 were the most recent to be approved. In western Benton County six signs marking guerrilla warfare routes were installed in August.
Sons of Confederate Veterans 9th Arkansas Infantry Camp 652 has raised funds for a historical marker in Tyro to honor the 3rd Arkansas, Co. H, Orphan Company.
The commission awarded $11,458 in grants for 150th projects including the July Red River Heritage Symposium, Juneteenth in El Dorado, Reed’s Bridge Battle and Mark’s Mill Battle events and a Boone County Heritage Museum exhibit.
ANDERSONVILLE, Ga. — Andersonville National Historic Site, home of the National Prisoner of War Museum, invites applications for its annual grant program to support original research and writing related to American Prisoners of War.
The grants of up to $1,000 are made possible by the Friends of Andersonville. They can be used to offset travel expenses and other research-related activities excluding large equipment purchases.
Research subjects of interest include the park’s administrative history, early prisoners of war, prisoner of war camps, experiences of minority prisoners, POW families, and prison guards, including the Georgia Reserves and others at Andersonville Prison.
Applications and letters of recommendation must be postmarked by Dec. 12. The application cover sheet can be found at: http://go.nps.gov/POWresearchgrant. Questions can be directed to Chief of Interpretation and Education Eric Leonard at 229-924-0343, ext. 201.