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Gettysburg College

Civil War Era Studies

2012

Articles 1 - 30 of 61

Full-Text Articles in History

Two More Proclamations For A Special New Years Eve, John M. Rudy Dec 2012

Two More Proclamations For A Special New Years Eve, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

'In accordance, as I believe, with the will of our Heavenly Father, and by direction of your great and good friend, whose name you are all familiar with, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, on the 1st day of January, 1863, you will be declared "for ever free."' [excerpt]


Resolute On The Eve Of Emancipation, John M. Rudy Dec 2012

Resolute On The Eve Of Emancipation, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

In the eyes of William Lloyd Garrison, Abraham Lincoln stood waffling on the issue of slavery in the early days of December 1862. To be quite fair, in Garrison's eyes nearly anyone aside from William Lloyd Garrison stood waffling on the issue of slavery most of the time. [excerpt]


Kings And Princes: Christmas In Gettysburg, 1862, John M. Rudy Dec 2012

Kings And Princes: Christmas In Gettysburg, 1862, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

In a house along the first block of the north side of Chambersburg Street, a small metallic ticking noise signaled change. The calendar read December 24th, 1862. The rhythmic tapping was a voice, reaching out in code along thin strips of metal dangling from poles running to the east out of town. Soon, "Hanover, York, Harrisburg, and Baltimore," were sending their glad tidings to Gettysburg's citizens. Then soon, Gettysburg found herself on that Christmas Eve connected, "with all the world and the rest of mankind," the Adams Sentinel reported. In the home of John Scott along Chambersburg Street, the ...


Adventus: The Great Coming Of 1862, John M. Rudy Dec 2012

Adventus: The Great Coming Of 1862, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Harpers Ferry helping to interpret that amazing place for the National Historical Park's annual Christmas 1864 event. One of the greatest joys of my desk job in interpretive training is getting back out into a parkscape to test out new ideas and practices. This time it gave me the chance to experiment out in the field, wearing the olde-timey clothes of the 1860s and discussing how hammers, anvils and black labor won the war through the U.S. Quartermasters Depot at Harpers Ferry. The event is amazingly fun and ...


In Response To Kevin: Truncated And Sliced, John M. Rudy Dec 2012

In Response To Kevin: Truncated And Sliced, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

There is not one program given on any Civil War battle landscape that cannot, somewhere in it's natural flow and using resource-specific elements and tangibles, discuss the cause and context of the war in a meaningful and thematically-integrated way. Period. Full Stop.

Furthermore and because of this, there is no reason or excuse not to cover the cause and context of the war in a meaningful, thematically-integrated and site-specific way in every personal services program in some manner or fashion. Period. Full Stop. [excerpt]


Spielberg's Dead Wrong About The Dead; Or, The Places In The Movie Where I Cried, John M. Rudy Nov 2012

Spielberg's Dead Wrong About The Dead; Or, The Places In The Movie Where I Cried, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I stood in front of the rostrum in the National Cemetery with my parents. They hadn't seen the movie yet. My best-friend was next to them. He hadn't seen it yet. Another compatriot joined us who had seen it, but we were definitely outnumbered in our little knot of folks within the massive crowd. As Spielberg continued speaking, I leaned in to the group. "You really need to see the movie," I said, knowing that no matter whose ears it hit the odds were it'd hit a meaningful target. [excerpt]


Living Fortress Of The Heart: Resonance Of Emancipation, John M. Rudy Nov 2012

Living Fortress Of The Heart: Resonance Of Emancipation, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Jacob dragged me somewhere again. I really should learn to say, "no," because no matter where I get dragged by Jake, it always ends up wrecking my brain for months and making me obsess about some amazingly minute interpretive experience. But I'm a glutton for interpretive punishment. [excerpt]


"With High Hope For The Future": Holy Temples Of Democracy, John M. Rudy Nov 2012

"With High Hope For The Future": Holy Temples Of Democracy, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I did it again. I went to Pennsylvania Historical Association's annual conference (this year in Harrisburg). I always seem to be the black sheep at these gathering, focused on raw emotional meanings and the usable past far more than the broader historiographical implications of either the proverbial or actual price of tea in China. This year I went to present a paper on the knock-down, dragout brawl that Daniel Sickles and William H. Tipton have throughout 1893 over the preservation of the Gettysburg Battlefield to a room full of professional historians. [excerpt]


"I Grow So Weary Of The Sound Of Screams": The Real Ghosts Of Gettysburg, John M. Rudy Oct 2012

"I Grow So Weary Of The Sound Of Screams": The Real Ghosts Of Gettysburg, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Down on Baltimore Street, in the front yard of the sprawling complex that calls itself the "Farnsworth House," a tombstone used to sit. It was greyish-white, tall and arched at the top. In front of the marker, the dirt sat freshly turned, a single rose marking the grave. On the stone's face was the motif of a cherub. And under the wings were inscribed, "In Memory of Benajah Edwards who Departed this Life July 2 1863." [excerpt]


The Whole War In One Photo, John M. Rudy Oct 2012

The Whole War In One Photo, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Broken chains and muskets: the very essence of the slaveholder's rebellion. The war was caused by a blind, stalwart defense of slavery. The war hinged upon the future of slavery in America. The war shattered slavery in the United States forever. [excerpt]


Why The "Harvest Of Death" Doesn't Matter (And Why It Does), John M. Rudy Oct 2012

Why The "Harvest Of Death" Doesn't Matter (And Why It Does), John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I went on a tour a few Sundays ago. It was very tough to explain exactly what I had done (in sensible terms) with my coworkers when I came into the office the next Monday morning. Not just very tough, but embarrassingly tough.

THEM: "What did you do this weekend, John?"

ME: "Well, Sunday I went on a tour of places on the Gettysburg battlefield where one specific photo wasn't taken-"

THEM: *blank stare* [excerpt]


Fear In Illinois: A Father's Grief, John M. Rudy Oct 2012

Fear In Illinois: A Father's Grief, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Like a prose poem, the passage leaped off of the page of the Lutheran and Missionary as I scanned the newspaper's columns. Sitting in the reading room of the Abdel Ross Wentz Library at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, my heart raced. It's not often that you find new words penned by someone you've been studying for years. [excerpt]


Divided Maryland: Antietam 150th Interpretive Talk, John M. Rudy Oct 2012

Divided Maryland: Antietam 150th Interpretive Talk, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

A few weeks ago, I spent an amazing weekend interpreting the Dunker Church. Not many of you were able to visit that amazing place on that amazing weekend.

For those of you out there who didn't get to see my talks that weekend, or for those of you who would like to live them again, check out this MP3 recording of the presentation, with added music and sound. [excerpt]


Veritas: The Power Of The Real, John M. Rudy Sep 2012

Veritas: The Power Of The Real, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

There's something about touching the actual thing, something about contacting the real that makes a distant world come immediately to life. There's an excitement about that moment when you see and touch something a piece of another world. A Thomas the Tank Engine character reminded me of this fact recently. Watch the young boy's face as he picks Stanley back up in a cornfield after his favorite toy travels to space and back. [excerpt]


Victim Of Emancipation: Adams County Flustered, John M. Rudy Sep 2012

Victim Of Emancipation: Adams County Flustered, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Republican stalwart newspaper The Adams Sentinel ran nothing in its folds hinting at the editor's elation over the Emancipation Proclamation in the days following the document's release. In a terse column, headed, "Proclamation of the President," ran the document, unadorned with either accolades or contempt. Elsewhere in the paper's folds, the news hovered back and forth over the fields around Sharpsburg and word of the lackadaisical pursuit of Lee's army into Virginia. The deep meaning of one of Lincoln's most momentous moments seemed to be lost on the Republicans of south-central Pennsylvania, as they eschewed ...


Four Days In Heaven Spending Four Days In Hell, John M. Rudy Sep 2012

Four Days In Heaven Spending Four Days In Hell, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I spent four days this past weekend wallowing in the depths of hell. Around me swirled the maelstrom of battle, a spinning vortex of blood, death, destruction and loss. Outside the windows, every patch of ground is a reminder of the sacrifice and heartache.

If you squinted your eyes, or better yet closed them completely, you could see it all. [excerpt]


Sharpsburg, Maryland: 150 Years Later, John M. Rudy Sep 2012

Sharpsburg, Maryland: 150 Years Later, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

If you are somewhere in the mid-Atlantic region over this next weekend, are obsessed with studying and understanding the Civil War and aren't going to be trying your damnedest to be in Sharpsburg, Maryland this weekend, you might want to check your pulse. [excerpt]


You Don't Get A Tour; Come Back Next June, John M. Rudy Sep 2012

You Don't Get A Tour; Come Back Next June, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

A friend of mine and former supervisor said something to me the other day. I deeply respect him; he taught me the very basics of interpretation. But his words shocked me. I still don't know exactly how to process them.

He said something like, "I saw you leading a tour on Friday with three visitors. It takes something to go out there when you know you're only going to get so few people. I respect you for it; I couldn't do it." [excerpt]


Facts, Damned Lies And Statistics: A 55 Year Stumbling Block, John M. Rudy Aug 2012

Facts, Damned Lies And Statistics: A 55 Year Stumbling Block, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I have to admit something: when it comes to interpretation, I'm making this all up as I go along. I don't have some magical cache of best practices stored up, waiting to deposit them week after week in posts here on the blog. Most of what I know about interpretation I've stumbled upon, either in the thoughts of others shamelessly stolen and added to my toolbox or as rough experiments based on my so-called common sense. [excerpt]


The King Of Rock, Roll N' Interpretation, John M. Rudy Aug 2012

The King Of Rock, Roll N' Interpretation, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Last week was "Elvis Week" in Memphis. I don't know that because I follow Elvis. In fact, I really can't stand Elvis Presley's music. About as far as I can go down that road is listening to "Suspicious Minds," every so often. Nothing else really speaks to me. [excerpt]


"...Our Hearts Tell Us There Is Something Else Out There.": Prowling The Halls Of The Mib, John M. Rudy Aug 2012

"...Our Hearts Tell Us There Is Something Else Out There.": Prowling The Halls Of The Mib, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

In the basement corridor of the Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C. is the most beautiful painting I've even seen. I've gotten the chance on a couple of occasions, while visiting the Department of the Interior Headquarters for meetings and whatnot for work to wander down outside of the cafeteria to see the mural. It is pure beauty, mostly forgotten and ignored by the folks who work in that building everyday. I get these weird looks while I stand in awe of the massive canvas, like I shouldn't stop and stare. I don't care. I ...


Thinking Fourth Dimensionally: How Battlefields Become Deloreans, John M. Rudy Aug 2012

Thinking Fourth Dimensionally: How Battlefields Become Deloreans, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I have written before of my intense love for Back to the Future III. Part of the reason that film resonates with my movie-going soul is my abiding love of the 19th century. Part of me wishes I could hop into a Stainless-Steel Delorian and visit the past for a short stint. I'm pretty sure I'm too much of a pansy to last very long in the world of latrines and muddy water, but I'd love to see the past for even just one fleeting moment. [excerpt]


"Round Eye" At The Wall: The Power Of What We Call Things, John M. Rudy Aug 2012

"Round Eye" At The Wall: The Power Of What We Call Things, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I went on a battlefield tour this weekend with Garry Adelman. It was an amazing experience, as any tour with Garry is, because he delves into how we conceptualize landscapes just as much as what happened on those landscapes 150 years ago. My mind was churning the entire time. Of anyone, both those who work for those places and those who just generally love those places, Garry (and his partner in crime Tim Smith) is tops on the list of most effective living time machines. Like always, Garry got me thinking on 15 different levels, and I'd wager that ...


Fifty Shades Of Blue And Grey: Civil War Torture Porn?, John M. Rudy Jul 2012

Fifty Shades Of Blue And Grey: Civil War Torture Porn?, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Over the past few days I've been thinking about violence. We are a culture of violence. We idolize blind rage and violence, we normalize it and worship it....

We, as a collective American culture, promote violence, normalize it as the proper reaction to any given problem and outright encourage it. [excerpt]


An 1858 Patent Office Report: The Joy Of Being Wrong, John M. Rudy Jul 2012

An 1858 Patent Office Report: The Joy Of Being Wrong, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I love being wrong. I think every historian should love that feeling. Finding that one small piece of evidence that puts a crack in your perception of the past and makes you restructure your view of the flow of history is a joy.

I had one of those moments a few weeks ago at Adams County Historical Society, digging through the vertical files for random things. I go digging every week or so, simply immersing myself in the raw material of the past and seeing what floats to the surface. [excerpt]


The Willard Hotel: Let Us Die To Make Men Free, Jacob Dinkelaker Jul 2012

The Willard Hotel: Let Us Die To Make Men Free, Jacob Dinkelaker

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Everyday I head into work, I pass by the Willard InterContinental building between 15th and 14th streets NW in downtown D.C. Even though Washington, D.C. has changed greatly since the Civil War, the Willard has, in its various different forms and structures, always been there – since even before the Civil War. In its long storied history, the Willard has been there for its fair share of historical events. [excerpt]


M'Er F'Ing History: Speaking In Our Audience's Language, John M. Rudy Jul 2012

M'Er F'Ing History: Speaking In Our Audience's Language, John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

I was talking to Jake the other night about Cookie Monster. Really, we were talking about the theory behind Cookie Monster's latest strategic move and how we could all learn a thing or two from him. Which move was that? The short, furry blue monster's brilliant foray into pop culture with "Share It Maybe," the music video parody of Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Call Me Maybe." In one day, Cookie has racked up 2.3 million hits on the less-than-four-minute video. [excerpt]


Guest Post: John Rambo Fights The Civil War, Aaron Urbanski Jul 2012

Guest Post: John Rambo Fights The Civil War, Aaron Urbanski

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Today we offer another of our “Guest Post Wednesday” extras, with some meditations on Rambo from Aaron Urbanski. Yeah, we’re not kidding... Rambo. Aaron is a graduate of the GMU American History Masters program and alumnus Ranger of the NPS. [excerpt]


Falling Like Autumn Leaves: Cutler's Brigade At Gettysburg, Jacob Dinkelaker Jul 2012

Falling Like Autumn Leaves: Cutler's Brigade At Gettysburg, Jacob Dinkelaker

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

The 147th New York's monument stands along Reynolds Avenue, silently (and incorrectly) marking where the regiment bravely fought and fell on that July day in 1863. The monument lists the brigade, division, and corps of the regiment, along with the various other battles that are part of the regiment's story. It also lists the regimental losses as well - out of 380 men that started the fight on July 1, 212 men were killed and wounded. Placed by the veterans themselves, they knew what that monument represented. It represented the entire ordeal of their regiment and its brigade on ...


Ring The Bells: "Happy 149th Birthday, America!", John M. Rudy Jul 2012

Ring The Bells: "Happy 149th Birthday, America!", John M. Rudy

Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public

Friend of the blog and stalwart DC area historian Aaron Urbanski posted a pithy update to his Facebook wall on Monday, a status update which has infected my brain over the past couple days. The idea is so infectious, so amazingly simple yet profound that I'm shamelessly stealing it and blowing it up to epic proportions. [excerpt]