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Lincoln on Going To War

I plan on discussing this letter that Lincoln wrote to William Herndon on February 15, 1848 on President Polk and the Mexican-American War.  Anyone interested in placing a bet on how long it takes one of my students to bring up George Bush and Iraq?

If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him?  You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don’t."

I am looking forward to this discussion.

New Civil War Book by Gordon Rhea

RheaI arrived home today to find a package from historian Gordon C. Rhea.  Inside was a personalized copy of his new book, In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: The Wilderness Through Cold Harbor (LSU Press, 2007).  The book brings together text by Gordon and the beautiful photographs of Chris E. Heisey.  This one is a gem and will no doubt make for a very nice Christmas gift. 

Field Trip

Nature_022Students in my Lincoln course today handed in essays based on an article we read and analyzed last week by Jean H. Baker.  They’ve been working hard and the classes are going well so I decided to take a little field trip over to the Confederate cemetery on the campus of the University of Virginia.  It was a beautiful day so it seemed like the right thing to do.  Later in the semester we are going to head down to the Civil War Center at Tredegar and spend some time at the Lincoln – Tad statue across the way.  There is a good chance that next week we are going to have historian William Freehling joining us to discuss perceptions of Lincoln here in Virginia during the secession winter.  That should be a real treat.  A few additional pictures of the trip can be found here.

Let the Festivities Commence: Antietam’s 145th

Thank you God for roughly 23,000 casualties, for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, and George McClellan.  Thank you for the Dunker Church, the Cornfield, Bloody Lane, and Burnside’s Bridge.  Thank you for Lee’s steadfastness and McClellan’s bungling.  Thank you for: “If Lee’s line was penetrated at any point the entire army would have collapsed” and “Perhaps McClellan could have seized the day if his attacks were better coordinated or used his reserves.”

I hope everyone has a fun day.

Upcoming Talks

Just a quick reminder that I will be speaking to the Rockingham County Civil War Roundtable on Wednesday, September 19, at 7:30 p.m., in the Truman Room at the Preston Library on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.  The title of my talk is, "The Battle of the Crater and Civil War Memory" and will focus specifically on the Confederate response to USCTs.  More information here.

I mentioned some time ago that there will be a symposium on Lee’s 200th at the University of Virginia from the end of September through October.  Turns out it is being organized as a course with the School of Continuing Studies.  If you plan on attending you must register for the course, which is $110.  Speakers include Gary Gallagher, Robert Krick, Elizabeth Pryor, William Davis, and Holt Merchant.  I will be leading a discussion with Bill Bergen on the final evening.  Click here for information on the program.