Some of ECW’s historians traveled to western New York last weekend for a Civil War event at St. Bonaventure University.
Descendants of the 154th New York Infantry gathered on campus for their 30th annual reunion. The day also marked the official unveiling of the new “Mark Dunkelman-Mike Winey Collection,” a major archive that consists of the historians’ research materials related to the 154th.
As part of the festivities, ECW’s mini “brain trust” offered a look back at the Civil War.
With Eric Wittenberg joining in on the big screen via Skype—“He’s like the Great and Powerful Oz,” joked Kris White—Dan Davis, Derek Maxfield, and Kris White used the recent Sesquicentennial as a lens for looking at the war. Dunkelman sat in on the panel and offered his thoughts, too.
“With the sesquicentennial of the war now over, what’s your one takeaway?” moderator Chris Mackowski asked to kick off the conversation.
From there, participants talked about the things they loved about being Civil War historians, they shared their favorite Civil War stories, and they offered their thoughts on why it’s important to still study the war.
Also on the day’s docket was ECW contributor James Brookes, who flew in from England’s University of Nottingham; James presented a talk titled “The Last and Most Precious Memento,” a look at portrait photography and the Union soldier.
In some respects, the panel served as a warm-up for this weekend’s Second Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, on the edge of the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. With the focus of this year’s symposium on “Legacies of the Civil War,” a panel on Friday night will touch on some of the same things ECW’s historians discussed at St. Bonaventure.
Friday will also feature keynote speaker Dana Shoaf. Saturday will feature seven speakers, and Sunday will take participants out on the field for a tour at Chancellorsville. Ben Brockenbrough, executive director of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, will join the group to talk about preservation efforts at Chancellorsville, too.
For folks still in western New York, an exhibit of items from the Dunkelman-Winey collection is on display at St. Bonaventure’s Quick Arts Center and in the Friedsam Library. The Quick Arts Center exhibit will remain up through Nov. 15, 2015.