2019 “Leaders & Legacies of the Civil War Era” Programs

**All programs are held at Mentor Public Library 8215 Mentor Ave
All programs start at 12 p.m.
Free reservations please call (440) 255-8811
Attendees are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy during the program.


Wednesday, March 13—
Cleveland’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Public Square in downtown Cleveland was the site of President James A. Garfield’s funeral in 1881, and since 1894 it has also been the location of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Made of polished black Quincy stone with six foliated bronze bands listing the 30 battles in which soldiers from Cuyahoga County fought, the monument is a must-see when visiting downtown Cleveland. Learn more about the monument’s history and symbolism! SPEAKER: Dan McGill, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, April 10—
The Lincoln Assassination (Encore)
President Abraham Lincoln went to a play at Ford’s Theater on the evening of April 14, 1865 feeling hopeful about the nation’s future. After all, Confederates under Robert E. Lee had just surrendered, and the Civil War was all but over. But during the play, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in hopes of avenging the South, and Lincoln’s hopes for a peaceful reconstruction died with him. This program will examine the circumstances and impacts of Lincoln’s murder. This is an encore of a program originally presented in 2015. SPEAKER: Todd Arrington, James A. Garfield NHS.


Wednesday, May 8—
Reinventing Freedom: The Importance of the Fourteenth Amendment
Written during the tumultuous years of Andrew Johnson's presidency, the 14th Amendment was the Republican Party's policy and platform for Reconstruction. Why was an amendment to the Constitution needed to protect the civil and political rights of freedmen? Why did Republicans in Congress make ratification a condition of readmission of the seceded states? How did James Garfield assess the amendment? How has this one amendment to the Constitution changed the meaning of our basic law? The 14th Amendment has been described as "the constitutional amendment that reinvented freedom." This presentation will explore its importance at the time of ratification, and how it has remade America. SPEAKER: Joan Kapsch, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, June 12—
The Significance of June 19
Though not as immediately recognizable as December 7 or September 11, the date June 19 is actually a very significant one in American history. Many important events related to the history of the Civil War, slavery, and civil rights have occurred over the years on June 19. This presentation will examine several of those important June 19 events, from the Civil War era to the 20th century civil rights movement. SPEAKER: Todd Arrington, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, July 10—
The Battle of Gettysburg (Encore)
The Union Army of the Potomac and Confederate Army of Northern Virginia battled in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from July 1-3, 1863. When the fighting ended, over 50,000 Americans had become casualties (killed, wounded, captured, or missing) in the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. Why did Robert E. Lee invade the North? How did the Union win the battle? Why is Gettysburg called the “High Tide of the Confederacy”? Learn all of this and more in this encore presentation of a program originally presented in 2013. SPEAKER: Todd Arrington, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, August 14—
The Siege of Atlanta (Encore)
Atlanta, Georgia was a major population and industrial center in the Confederate South, and Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman knew the city needed to fall in order to defeat the Confederacy. Learn why Sherman targeted Atlanta, what happened as he and his troops approached the city, and even how the eventual Union victory there impacted the 1864 presidential election! This is an encore of a program originally presented in 2014. SPEAKER: Joan Kapsch, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, September 11—
The Battle of Antietam (Encore)
The battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) resulted from Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first attempt to invade the North. This fight on September 17, 1862 ended up being the bloodiest single day in American history as approximately 23,000 soldiers from both sides became casualties in about 12 hours of fighting. Was Antietam truly a Union victory? How did this battle affect President Abraham Lincoln’s plans for the Emancipation Proclamation? This is an encore of a program originally presented in 2012. SPEAKER: Todd Arrington, James A. Garfield NHS.





Wednesday, October 9—
Civil War Archaeology
The Civil War ended over 150 years ago, but relics and artifacts from it are still being found today! This presentation will explore the methodology of historical archaeology and how that methodology is reflected through Civil War archaeology. It will also explore ethical issues surround the practice (for example: no metal detecting allowed in national parks!) and provide insight on best practices for those interested in Civil War archaeology. SPEAKER: Rebekah Knaggs, James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, November 13—
The Battle of Franklin (Encore)
On November 30, 1864, Union and Confederate forces clashed around Franklin, Tennessee as part of the Nashville-Franklin Campaign. Confederates under Gen. John Bell Hood conducted several frontal assaults against fortified Union positions and were unable to break through, leading to a major military disaster for the Confederacy. This is an encore of a program originally presented in 2014. SPEAKER: Scott Longert, National Park Service (Retired), James A. Garfield NHS.

Wednesday, December 11—
Christmas in Camp during the American Civil War
Everyone loves to be home for the holidays, but American soldiers are often unable to do so. It’s true today and was also true during the Civil War. How did soldiers in Union and Confederate winter camps mark the holiday season? What did they write in letters home to wives, children, parents, and siblings? This presentation will offer a look at how fighting men on both sides of the Civil War spent the winter holidays. SPEAKER: Allison Powell, James A. Garfield NHS.



Last updated: February 15, 2019

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