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Civil War Trust

State Civil War Sesquicentennial Quarterly Review

October 24, 2011
Prepared by the Civil War Trust (www.civilwar150.org)

Civil War 150 Quarterly ReportAs of October 3, 2011, twenty-four states have formed commissions or established initiatives to commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial (hereafter referred to as CW150). In June, the Utah Civil War 150 Committee was officially recognized by the governor as the state’s organizing committee for sesquicentennial events. The Five Colleges in Massachusetts are holding a major symposium on the war, focusing on its causes and consequences. Other symposia and conferences are taking place in Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. With the anniversaries of only a few small battles (such as Ball’s Bluff) occurring this fall, the bulk of Civil War events are local, living history events focusing on the war’s impact on a specific area. Many of the details for these events can be found below.

State Commissions

The following states have established commissions or initiatives to commemorate the CW150, often through or in conjunction with the state's historical society.

State Entity Formed Web Presence?
Alabama Committee 2010 Yes
Arkansas Commission 2007 Yes
Connecticut Commission 2010 Yes
Delaware Heritage Commission 2010 Yes
Georgia Steering Committee 2007 Yes
Illinois Initiative 2011 Yes
Indiana Committee 2009 Yes
Iowa Advisory Committee 2009 Yes
Kentucky Commission 2009 Yes
Louisiana Initiative Unknown No
Maine Committee 2009 Yes
Maryland Advisory Board 2007 Yes
Massachusetts Commission 2011 No
Michigan Committee 2007 Yes
Minnesota Task Force 2011 Yes
Mississippi Commission 2009 Yes
Missouri Commission 2010 Yes
New Jersey Committee 2008 Yes
New York Committee 2010 Yes
North Carolina Committee 2006 Yes
Ohio Initiative 2009 Yes
Oklahoma Commission 2009 Yes
Pennsylvania Planning Committee 2007 Yes
South Carolina Advisory Board 2008 Yes
Tennessee Commission 2007 Yes
Texas Commission 2011 Yes
Utah Committee 2011 Yes
Vermont Commission 2010 Yes
Virginia Commission 2006 Yes
West Virginia Commission 2009 Yes
Wisconsin Commission 2011 Yes

Alabama: Fort Morgan State Historic Site will be among the many sites offering living history encampments or demonstrations geared toward the holiday season.

Arkansas: The Arkansas CW150 Commission continues to provide a detailed calendar of statewide CW150 events on its website.  The commission is continuing its Sesquicentennial Passport Program, which will allow visitors to collect stamps at 23 Civil War sites around Arkansas.  The state commission is also sponsoring a traveling exhibit on “Civil War Arkansas, 1861-1865,” which will visit various locations around the state. The Old Statehouse Museum’s exhibit entitled “An Enduring Union” will run through the end of the year, to be followed by another exhibit “Wall of Fire” in 2012.  On November 5-6, there will be a Civil War Weekend at Historic Washington State Park.  On October 31, the South Sebastian County Historical Society is hosting an event on the experience of local families during the war.   There are also a number of lectures and seminars taking place throughout the state, including at the Saline County Library, the University of Central Arkansas, the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, and the South Arkansas Historical Foundation.  The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is hosting a Civil War podcast contest for K-12 students.  Looking further ahead, the Quantrill Special Collections Research Project will open at the Gentry Public Library in April 2012, expanding the opportunity to research the notorious guerilla.

California: Although California lacks a CW150 commission, there are two events of note in the state this fall.  Until February 2012, the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands will host an exhibit entitled “And the War Came.”  On November 11-13, the West Coast Civil War Conference will take place in Sacramento, featuring Craig Symonds and Brian S. Wills as speakers. 

Connecticut:  The Connecticut CW150 Commission provides a calendar of statewide events on its website.  Throughout the fall, Matthew Warshauer will speak on Connecticut soldiers at various locations.  In addition to its exhibit of Civil War letters, the Gunn Memorial Library is hosting a number of events throughout the fall, including discussions of Connecticut soldiers at Antietam, a performance of “The Life and Times of William Webb,” and a tour of the Washington Green Cemetery.  The Burlington Public Library also is presenting several events, including a showing “The Red Badge of Courage” on October 6 and a talk on “The Outrageous Dan Sickles” on November 11.

Delaware:  The Delaware CW150 Heritage Commission website contains digitized records, soldiers’ portraits, and a calendar of upcoming events.  The Old Library Museum in New Castle will host an exhibit entitled “New Castle in Mourning” through November 13, and an exhibit called “A Civil War Christmas” from November 26 to December 9.  The Milton Historical Society is hosting a “Civil War Conversation” on individual wartime stories on October 19.  The Hagley Museum and Library will hold a lecture on the October 20 on the experiences of Quaker soldier Henry Gawthrop and a lecture on the holidays in the 19th century, with an emphasis on the Civil War, on December 1.  On November 5, Steve Newton will give a lecture on “From the Crater to a Tree Near Smyrna: The Tragic Odyssey of Obie Evans and other African-Americans in Civil War Delaware” at the Delaware Public Archives.

District of Columbia:  The Washington Post has ongoing special coverage of the CW150, including local event listings, timelines, photos, book reviews, and videos.  The Smithsonian Institution has developed a special CW150 website with information on upcoming exhibits, events, and on-line resources.  Beginning October 1, the Newseum will present an exhibit “Blood and Ink” showcasing more than 30 front pages of Civil War-era newspapers.

Florida: A number of living history events are taking place in Florida this fall.  On October 1-2, there will be a “Confederate Garrison” event at Fort Clinch State Park; on October 14-16, the Florida Agricultural Museum will host an event about the Pellicer Creek Raid; on November 18-21, there will be a reenactment of the Raid on the Suwanee River in Live Oak; and on December 3-4, the Fort Clinch State Park will host a “Union Holiday Encampment.”

Georgia:  Georgia has a detailed list of upcoming events on its official CW150 website.  The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville is giving tours on “Labor Behind the Veil,” telling the story of slaves and free blacks at the mansion.  On October 15, James Robertson will discuss his book The Civil War’s Untold Story at the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era.  The Robert Toombs House will host the third part of their series “Our Confederate Heritage: 1861” on December 10.  The Smith Plantation in Roswell is hosting an exhibit highlighting the Smith family’s wartime experience; the exhibit will run through the end of year.   Richmond Hill in Milledgeville is presenting an experiential exhibit recreating a Confederate encampment through the end of the year.  Other events are being held in Rome, Lavonia, and Savannah.

Illinois:  The Illinois CW150 website includes a calendar of upcoming events from all over the state, including many museum exhibits and ongoing event series.

Indiana:  The Indiana CW150 website includes a calendar of events.

Iowa:  The exhibit “The Fiery Trial: Iowa and the Civil War” continues to tour the state.  A list of events and programs is available here.

Kansas:  Although Kansas has no sesquicentennial committee or commission, it is not lacking commemorative events!  A tour entitled “Bleeding Kansas: Where the Civil War Began” begins and ends in Kansas City and will take place October 15-21. The Kansas Historical Society provides educational materials, exhibits, and other resources on its sesquicentennial website.

Kentucky:  There are a number of ongoing exhibits at museums in Kentucky, including the Highland Museum and Discovery Center’s “The Civil War: The Gathering Storm, 1861-1862”, which will run through October 31.  On October 14, there will be a reenactment of the Battle of Camp Wildcat.  The Frazier History Museum will open an exhibit entitled “Civil War: My Brother, My Enemy” on October 15.  Bowling Green will also host a number of living history events.

Maryland:  The “Civil War 150: The Baltimore and Maryland Commemoration” website includes information about upcoming events, sites, and the “Baltimore Civil War Experience Pass”—a three-day pass to four local museums with Civil War exhibits. The Maryland Humanities Council has also put together a website of CW150 resources, and the Maryland Office of Tourism provides a list of upcoming Civil War-related events.  From October 1-31, the Monocacy National Battlefield will display an exhibit on the Trent Affair.  On October 15-16, Historic St. Mary’s City will host a weekend featuring living history events on the American Civil War and English Civil War.  The Mount Clare Museum House in Baltimore is also holding a number of lectures and other events this fall.

Massachusetts:  At the Massachusetts Historical Society, Nina Silber will lecture on “Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War” on November 17.  The Five Colleges are hosting a Civil War symposium on “Civil War Causes and Consequences” on October 14-15.  Eric Foner and David Blight will be the keynote speakers.

Michigan:  The Michigan CW150 Commission provides a list of upcoming events on its website.  There are a number of living history events and reenactments taking place in October, including events at Wolcott Mill, Northville, and Monroe County.  Additionally, Michigan’s second Civil War Sesquicentennial Conference will take place on November 12.

Mississippi: The Mississippi CW150 Commission provides a list of upcoming events on its website.

Missouri:  Missouri hosts a number of events this fall.  The third Trans-Mississippi Conference will take place in Springfield on November 4-5.  On October 15, the town of Cuba will give a trolley tour of its Civil War murals.  The Missouri State Archives will host lectures regarding Bloody Bill Anderson’s attacks on Germans on October 20 and about Lincoln and the rights of citizens in Missouri on November 10.  The Missouri History Museum will open an exhibit on “The Civil War in Missouri” on November 12.  The Missouri CW150 Commission website also continues to be an invaluable resource for information on upcoming events.

New Jersey: The New Jersey Civil War 150th Anniversary Committee maintains a listing of news and events on its website.  Several educational institutions have upcoming sesquicentennial programs.  Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, in partnership with the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee (NJCWSC) presents a major exhibit, Gone for a Soldier: Jerseymen in the Civil War, which will be on view at the museum from November 6, 2011 to July 1, 2012.  Newark Museum is offering a webinar on October 20 from 6:00 to 7:00.  Civil War @ 150 is a new teaching resource that will strengthen the teaching of Civil War history.  Additionally, the Newark Museum’s renowned collection of American art includes numerous examples of art created during the Civil War era.

New York:  The New York CW150 Committee’s website includes a calendar of events taking place across the state.  Particularly, there are a number of living history events taking place in Kinderhook, Johnstown, Manlius, and Sidney.  On November 4-5, the Capital District Civil War Roundtable will hold a banquet and conference on New York in the Civil War.  The New York Times’ “Disunion: The Civil War” blog offers an on-line timeline, interactive maps, and slideshows.

North Carolina:  Like many other states, North Carolina is hosting many local living history events this fall, including events in Durham at the Bennett Place on October 8-9 and at Kure Beach on October 22.  The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort will host a talk on wartime yellow fever on October 8 and a lecture on North Carolina unionists on December 10.  University of North Carolina-Asheville will hold a lecture on women in the mountains on November 5, and the North Carolina State Archives will host a lecture on Rose Greenhow on November 14. On November 12, the New Bern Academy Museum will reopen as the New Bern Civil War Museum.  Information regarding other CW150 events are available on the Department of Cultural Resources’ calendar.

Ohio:  Licking County continues to present a number of Civil War related events, a schedule of which can be found here.  The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is also putting on a number of events, including lectures on October 12, November 9, and December 14; the Greater Toledo Civil War Roundtable is also hosting several lectures and events this fall.  The American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin is holding several events, including teacher appreciation days and lectures. Many other museums, historical societies, and local communities have planned a variety of events and exhibits throughout the state, which can be found on the Ohio CW150 Initiative’s calendar.

Oklahoma:  The Oklahoma’s sesquicentennial commission’s website now has a list of events that are taking place in the state.  This fall, the highlights are two lectures at the Oklahoma Memorial Union: Vernon Burton will speak on the “The Age of Lincoln and the Civil War” on October 17 and Tony Horowitz will discuss John Brown’s raid on November 8.

Pennsylvania:  The Pennsylvania CW150 Planning Committee’s website continues to be an invaluable resource for information on the vast number of events taking place in the state.  The Committee’s “Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show” continues to travel the state.  For the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on November 19, a number of events will take place in Gettysburg, including an illumination, a parade, and an observance of the address.  The Gettysburg Foundation is also presenting a number of events throughout the fall, as does the York Civil War Roundtable.  On October 15, the Heritage Center of the Union League of Philadelphia will celebrate its grand opening.  On October 10, the Pennsylvania Council for History Education will hold a conference on “Pennsylvania in the Civil War Era” in Ambridge.  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will display Civil War documents on October 13.

South Carolina:  The South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board’s website contains a list of events in the state.  On October 4, the Florence County Library will host a talk on Judah P. Benjamin; on November 3, the library will host a discussion of William Seward.  On November 4-5, the Annual Symposium on South Carolina Civil War History will take place in Columbia.  Multiple events are commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Port Royal, including a lecture and a tour.  The Middleton Place House Museum and Edmondston-Alston House is mounting special changing exhibits under the title “Secessionists, Soldiers, and Slaves” which will commemorate the CW150 through 2015.  Additional events and ongoing exhibits are posted on the Lowcountry Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration’s website.

Tennessee:  Stones River National Battlefield will hold a Civil War encampment and living history programs at Fortress Rosecrans on October 15.

Texas:  The Texas Historical Commission (State Historic Preservation Office) established an in-house Texas Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Initiative in April 2010.  The Initiatives include ongoing agency projects at Palmito Ranch Battlefield National Historic Landmark [the last land battle of the war], regional Sesquicentennial Outreach Workshops in 2011 and possible 2012, and continued efforts to place Texas Civil War Monuments outside the state; including the next monument at Gaines’ Mill, Virginia in May 2012.

Utah: The Utah Civil War 150 Committee was officially recognized by the governor in June.  The committee lists upcoming events on its website. 

Vermont:  The Vermont CW150 Commission’s website provides information on places to visit, educational resources, and a list of upcoming events.

Virginia:  The Virginia CW150 Commission’s website has an extensive list of Civil War events taking place this fall, as well as a list of local sesquicentennial committees.  The main event of the fall will be the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Battle of Ball’s Bluff: kick-off lectures will take place on October 20, followed by a weekend of reenactments and encampments on October 21-23.  On October 14-16, the Pamplin Historical Park will hold is 15th annual symposium on the “Civil War in 1861.”  The Balch Library in Leesburg also presents a variety of Civil War programs.  Similarly, St. Paul’s Church in Petersburg will host a series of Civil War lectures every Wednesday night in October.  The Mariners’ Museum is presenting a lecture on October 22 on Ericsson’s Battery as part of an ongoing series on the Monitor and the Merrimack.  The Virginia Historical Society will also present several lectures regarding the Civil War over the next few months.  The Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Battlefield will host a lecture on November 12 entitled “Years of Anguish, Virginia Goes to War.”  The Seventh Annual Fairfax County History Conference will also be held on November 12, focusing on the theme of “Fairfax Divided.”  The “American Turning Point” exhibit continues to tour the state.  Living history events will take place in Winchester, Appomattox, Bristow, and other towns.  In addition to ongoing historic walks and tours in cities such as Alexandria and Winchester, a number of holiday events will take place at Ben Lomond, James River Plantation, and Ellwood in December.

West Virginia:  Several events in West Virginia focus on the citizens’ vote for statehood in October 1861 and the subsequent constitutional convention.  On October 24, the West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling will host an event celebrating the vote for statehood.  The Hall will host a reenactment of the constitutional convention on November 26.  Huntington’s Guyandotte Days will be held on November 4-6.  A complete list of events can be found on the West Virginia CW150 Commission’s website.

For more information, please visit the Civil War Trust sesquicentennial commemoration website at www.civilwar150.org

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