For those Americans with an inkling of interest in American history and the American Civil War this coming week’s 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg will mark the beginning and end of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
Maine Senator Angus King, Jr. took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to remember Col. Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine’s heroic stand on Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. I think he has seen the movie, “Gettysburg” one too many times. You will get a kick out of his maps.
Earlier today I returned from five days in Gettysburg for the annual Civil War Institute. Like last year, I feel rejuvenated and utterly exhausted. I had an incredible experience interacting with the participants and catching up with many good friends. Thanks to Peter Carmichael and the rest of the CWI staff for all the hard work. I can’t imagine the logistical juggling that takes place beforehand, but they seem to do it so effortlessly and that they do it in the name of history education makes it that much sweeter.
I suspect that many people in Gettysburg are horrified at the prospect of tens of hundreds of thousands of strangers descending on their peaceful town this summer. Not Daniel. He is going to make the best of it by heading out and meeting new people.
I am hoping to have a bit of time to take Carol Reardon’s and Tom Vossler’s new Gettysburg guide out for a test run next week at the CWI. The book is right up my alley given its emphasis both on what happened during the time of the battle as well as the many postwar battles over memory. Here is a taste of that approach in a series of videos that Reardon and Vossler recently did for CSPAN. First up is the North Carolina monument.
123rd New York Infantry & Culp’s Hill
24th Michigan (Iron Brigade)
Finally, here is David Thompson’s (Civil War Monitor magazine) interview with Allen Guelzo about his new Gettysburg book. This is a book that I recently finished and highly recommend. David was kind enough to give me the opportunity to ask a couple questions of Prof. Guelzo. I suggested he ask whether beliefs in American Exceptionalism have hampered our understanding of the battle and the war as a whole and whether it is fair to measure every new Gettysburg book with Coddington’s classic work.