Carmichael Selected as New Civil War Institute Director

Congratulations to my good friend Peter Carmichael on being selected as the new Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.  It’s safe to say that anyone with a passion for Civil War history would welcome the opportunity to teach it in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“I am very excited about the Civil War Institute and building on this incredible legacy of Gabor Boritt,” said Carmichael. “There’s no other place like Gettysburg College to be a public intellectual and where you can bring together students, scholars and the public to study the Civil War. I have visited here numerous times, but to think about this place to live in and to teach is extraordinary. I am honored.”

As you can imagine this was a highly competitive position.  I know of a number of top-notch scholars who applied for this position and I am confident that any number of them would have done an excellent job of advancing the mission of the Institute.  Peter’s commitment to reaching out to the broader community as well as his interest in public history makes him an ideal choice for this position.  Best of all a move to Pennsylvania will hopefully translate into more visits with Peter and his wife.  I wish them both all the best as they prepare for another big move.

[Photograph from Five Forks, L to R: Keith Bohannon, Kevin Levin, Peter Carmichael]

Final Thoughts About John Latschar

As many of you are now learning John Latschar resigned as superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.  You can read the story here.  What follows is my first video blog in which I offer some final thoughts about yesterday’s post.  It is meant to clarify some of my remarks, specifically in response to Eric Wittenberg’s initial comment.  Things did get a bit heated yesterday and I want to extend an apology to Eric for my choice of words in response to his comment.  I hope the video helps to explain the emotion behind my response.  Eric and I may not agree on much of anything, but the one thing we do agree on is that, if it comes to it, our Phillies are going to kick the crap out of Brooks Simpson’s Yankees.

John Latschar Receives Preservation Award

According to Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “John Latschar’s contributions to historic preservation cannot be overstated… His work has preserved and rehabilitated Gettysburg’s sacred ground and transformed the experience of visiting the battlefield for millions of annual visitors.” As far as I am concerned no one has worked harder to preserve the Gettysburg battlefield than John Latschar. One need only look at the new view sheds and tour the state-of-the-art visitors center, which includes one of the most sophisticated and entertaining Civil War exhibits in the country to appreciate his achievements.

The news concerning Latschar’s inappropriate use of government computers will no doubt distract from his accomplishments and give fuel to his detractors. I am not a federal employee so I can’t comment on how they’ve chosen to handle this particular violation. Can someone tell me what counts as a “sexually explicit” photograph for the federal government? Does it include a Sports Illustrated swim suit issue? I do agree that Latschar should be focusing on other issues during his working hours, but I honestly could care less what he looks at. This little piece of supposedly salacious news tells me next to nothing about Latschar’s character.

Robert E. Lee Symposium on Civil War History

ghost_leeStratford Hall will be hosting what promises to be an exciting and educational weekend seminar on Robert E. Lee as military commander on January 22-24, 2010.  The program will be led by historians, Gary Gallagher and Peter Carmichael.  The weekend includes a trip to Gettysburg for a tour of the battlefield.  Not only are Gallagher and Carmichael two of the most respected historians in the field, but they are also extremely knowledgeable battlefield guides.  I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with both so do not miss this opportunity.   Gallagher will present a talk on Friday evening, titled “The Most Important Confederate: General Lee’s Impact on the Battlefield and the Home Front” and both Gallagher and Carmichael will lead a discussion on Sunday morning about primary sources related to Lee and the campaign.  Civil War enthusiasts and teachers alike should consider attending this program.

I graciously accepted a very kind offer to take part in the conference as the “official” blogger.  Can’t wait!