No Dog in the Fight: Commemorating the Civil War without an Ancestor

I post this piece by a student of Gettysburg College because, even as the actual sesquicentennial winds down, the battle over the meaning and memory of the Civil War seems to be heating up. On the one hand we have the PC crowd who wants all memorials to the war they don’t personally approve of removed from public view, while on the other we have the flaggers and neo-secessionists who are using the War to promote divisiveness and racism. While most of my ancestors were lovers and not fighters, I do know that great great grandfather Thorp made a hefty profit off the war, outfitting the Union fleet as a Ship’s Chandler in NYC and also manufacturing uniforms for the Federal Army. So as a proud descendent of a Yankee War Profiteer, I suppose my kin could be considered spiritual kin to the Carpetbaggers. Perhaps all those descendants of sutlers, merchants, smugglers etc. should form a heritage organization like the SCV or the GAR heritage groups and get license plates proclaiming the fact: I propose a carpet bag as its logo. Any like minded folk whose ancestors benefitted off the war, directly or indirectly, are welcome to join, as well as those who wish their great grand sires had! Just an idea. Enjoy this thought piece via the Gettysburg Compiler.

(Legacy) The Gettysburg Compiler

By Megan McNish ’16

Luminaria. Photograph courtesy of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP.

In anticipation of Remembrance Day and Dedication Day this week, we have asked our Fellows why and how they commemorate the Civil War. Read Megan’s post below, then check back later in the week for more posts on commemoration and remembrance.

Commemoration of the Civil War has been a hot topic lately, with many discussing why and how it should and shouldn’t be done. As a student of Civil War history, I’m clearly biased in believing that the war I study should be commemorated, but, unlike many, my bias doesn’t come from the fact that I have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War. My ancestors came to the United States in the 1880s and 1890s from Scotland and settled in New Jersey and haven’t moved since. So why do I care about the Civil War? Why…

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About Christopher Coleman

I am an author, lecturer, and sometime instructor. My interests span a variety of subjects, including Southern tales of the supernatural, American history and folklore, military history in general, as well as archaeology, anthropology, plus various and sundry things that go bump in the night. I currently have six books in print: Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground, Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War, Dixie Spirits, Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee and The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, a factual history of some more esoteric--and hitherto overlooked--aspects the sixteenth President. My book is Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife, published in hardcover by the University of Tennessee Press and chronicling the wartime experiences of young Ambrose Bierce, noted American author. Bierce has been called many things by many people, but idealist, hero and patriot are terms that should be added to the list after reading this book. I am currently at work on several projects, some dealing with the American experience but also several fiction and non-fiction works looking into the Age of Arthur.
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