The Civil War historians visiting St. Bonaventure University next week won’t simply be reflecting on a battle that ended 150 years ago.
They’ll discuss why the ripple effects of the nation’s darkest period still wash over us today.
The Confederate flag controversy that boiled to the surface in South Carolina after the church killings June 17 in Charleston is just one example.
“The Civil War is still very much with us today,” said Kristopher D. White, a co-founder of the blog Emerging Civil War and one of the historians who will be part of a panel discussion on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the 30th annual reunion of the Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Most of the men from the 154th were from Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
“People have strong opinions about some of these hot-button topics, but there really needs to be calm, rational discussion from all sides. We hope to offer some of that.”
The panel discussion will feature Civil War authors White, Eric Wittenberg, Derek Maxfield and Dan Davis, and be moderated by Dr. Chris Mackowski, professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure and a prolific Civil War author.
Wittenberg’s critically acclaimed works have focused on the plight of everyday cavalrymen of the Civil War, and have addressed nearly every major cavalry battle of the Civil War. His battlefield preservation work includes serving as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, and he is a member of the governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
The reunion will celebrate the donation to St. Bonaventure’s Friedsam Memorial Library of the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry. The collection includes documentary material as well as numerous prints, objects and artifacts related to the regiment.
Descendants of the 154th will gather from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The reunion activities beginning at 3:45 are open to the public and free, except for the closing barbecue and concert at 6 p.m., which is open to the public but costs $30 per person. Registration for the dinner/concert closes July 29 and can be made at www.sbu.edu/154threunion.
The first public event is the opening of the Quick Center for the Arts exhibition of “The Hardtack Regiment: 154th New York Volunteer Infantry.” The exhibition is part of the collection of regimental artifacts from the collection of Dunkleman, author of several books about the men of the 154th regiment.
Among the cases of artifacts are letters written from the battlefield, carte de viste (small photos) of soldiers and items carried by the soldiers into battle. A to-scale mural of the regiment’s memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield is also in the exhibition. The exhibition will be open through Nov. 15.
A timeline of public events:
For more information about reunion activities or to register, go www.sbu.edu/154threunion. On-campus accommodations are available for $50 per night and may be booked online as well.
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