ALL MEETINGS ARE HELD ON THE SECOND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT THE ATHENS COUNTY LIBRARY BRANCH AT 30 HOME ST. IN THE CITY OF ATHENS. MEETINGS START AT 7:00 P.M. AND RUN FOR AN HOUR AND HALF.
Sept. 13, 2017 (Wednesday) — Civil War Monuments in the 21st Century: Relevant Historical Artifacts or Relics of a Past Best Forgotten
This program will focus on the recent controversies involving the removal, the relocation, and in a few cases, the destruction of Civil War monuments, mainly in the South. Brian Schoen will place these monuments in historical context by discussing when they were erected and what they represented to the people responsible for them. After these opening remarks, those present will be encouraged to engage in a give and take on the hotly contested issue so much in the news. If, as historian Carl Becker claimed long ago, “History is what the present chooses to remember about the past,” who and what do we wish to commemorate? How do we, as a society, deal with previous generations’ answers to those questions, both those that took form in the stone and bronze statues peppering our public landscape and those that never made it off the drawing board? Join us for what promises to be a vibrant and highly relevant conversation.
Oct. 11, 2017 (Wednesday) – How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion: a humorous look at the war. (May have to defer to 2018-19, unless he comes for honorarium only, which is possible.)
How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion is a veteran’s humorous but heartfelt look at life as a Civil War soldier. George W. Peck was a famous speaker and author of humor in the latter part of the 19th Century. “I enlisted for bounty,” Peck wrote. “I thought the war was nearly over, and the probabilities were that the regiment I had enlisted in would be ordered home before I could get to it. In fact the recruiting officer told me as much, and he said I would get my bounty, and it would be like finding money. I would not assert that the recruiting officer lied to me, but I was the worst deceived man that ever enlisted, and if I meet that man, in this earth, it will go hard on him.”
Nov. 8, 2017 (Wednesday) — Flamoyant Generals (Frey, et al)
This would be a roundtable discussion of some of the most eccentric and flamboyant generals of the late rebellion. Possible candidates include George Custer, Stonewall Jackson, Judson Kilpatrick, David Hunter, Thomas Francis Meagher, Nathan Forrest, Don Carlos Buell, Thomas Maley Harris, and John C. Frémont.
Jan. 10, 2018 (Wednesday) – “Glory to God in the Highest, Ohio Has Save the Nation”: Buckeye State Politics During the War
Brian Schoen will present an in-depth look at the internal politics of the Buckeye State during the war. Among other things, he will explore the shifting political alliances that occurred as the war progressed and discuss the election results in 1860, 1863 and 1864 on a county-level basis that gives some insight into regional differences of opinion that existed at the time. The 1863 gubernatorial election is particularly instructive and of local interest since it pitted Ohio Alumnus John Brough, of Washington County, against Peace Democrat Clement Vallandigham, who was a national leader of the Copperhead movement. Bough was a War Democrat, who also had the Republican nomination and was running as a “fusion” candidate. Come prepared to be surprised at what you discover about these elections and the role played by Southeastern Ohio citizens.
Feb. 14, 2018 (Wednesday) – Local Luminaries in the War
Steering Committee members will each study up on one of the local guys who made a name of himself during the war make a brief report to the assembled masses on that individual. Then after these presentations a round table discussion will follow. Men to be considered are: Charles H. Grosvenor, Milton Holland, Jasper North, Wm Houlton and William Richey. The last four were all recipients of the MOH.
March 14, 2018 (Wednesday) – Civil War Memory (or another topic)
A presentation by Wayne Mott on a topic to be negotiated.
April 11, 2018 (Wednesday) – Intrepid Mariners
John Fazio will make a PowerPoint presentation about the saga of the only major battle between ocean-going vessels in the Civil War. John A. Winslow and Raphael Semmes had become best friends while serving together during the Mexican War. However, during the Civil War, Semmes captained the C.S.S. Sumter and the C.S.S. Alabama and became the scourge of Federal commercial shipping, sinking or capturing 85 merchant ships and one Union warship. As Captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, Winslow pursued his former friend and the Alabama for 14 months before cornering him off the coast of Cherbourg, France, where the two ships fought to the death. Their last view of each other and the action taken by Winslow in consequence of it is the stuff of legend. The story is not only history; it is supreme literature.
May 9, 2017 (Wednesday) – Kansas-Nebraska Act (Michael Wood, perhaps with financial help from the History Department); if this can’t be worked out, a Big Deal, Little Deal, Part II.