Back in Boston after 5 days at Gettysburg College’s Civil War Institute. I am exhausted and recharged. All of my presentations went well and I heard some wonderful talks, a few of which you can find on C-SPAN 3. Here are just a couple brief observations about the conference, which focused on the war in 1864. Continue reading
After three straight days of end-of-the-year faculty meetings I am very much looking forward to a long and quiet drive tomorrow morning to the annual Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. This is my third year taking part in the conference as a member of the faculty. It’s been an incredible experience and I want to once again thank Peter Carmichael and the rest of the staff for the honor of being asked to participate. Continue reading
This week the physical process of changing the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest to Westside High School began in Jacksonville, Florida.
This address by H.K. Edgerton took place this past weekend in Elizabethton, Tennessee during a memorial service for “black Confederate” Robert Stover. The event was organized by the Lt. Robert J. Tipton, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp. H.K. is still going strong and will no doubt always have an audience among his white”babies.”
[Uploaded to YouTube on June 8, 2014]
Regardless of the assumptions and background knowledge that we bring, the presence of monuments on our Civil War battlefields may be one of the greatest obstacles to understanding the full range of soldier experiences. The monuments allow us to focus in on the most heroic stories and themes, which no doubt reinforces feelings of national pride and an understanding of what kind of behavior is expected. Such a focus, however, comes at the price of ignoring moments when soldiers fall short of what is expected of them in the heat of battle. Normally, we can safely ignore such moments, but it’s not so easy when one is thrust on us as is the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who reportedly abandoned his station in Afghanistan and spent five years as a Taliban Prisoner of War. Continue reading