Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

2012 Menard Summer Lecture Series

Posted in Education by Andy Hall on April 25, 2012

The Galveston Historical Foundation has announced its 2012 Menard Summer Lecture Series, this year focusing on the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. I’ve been honored to be asked to participate, along with some of great historians it’s been my pleasure to know. Presentations will be offered on Sunday afternoons in June, July and August, on the dates listed. Reservations are recommended. Tickets for individual lectures are $10 for GHF members and $12 for non-members; tickets for the entire series are $35 and $40, respectively. Reservations may be made with Jami Durham at GHF at 409-765-3409.


“Overview: The Battle of Galveston

Dr. Donald Willett, June 3rd at 2:00 p.m.


On October 8, 1862 the city of Galveston, the largest and wealthiest city in Texas, surrendered to Union forces. For most Texans this action was unacceptable. In response, the Confederacy sent General John Bankhead Magruder to the Lone Star State to avenge the defeat. Magruder quickly put in place a brash plan that defied all military logic, defeating the superior Union forces and forcing them to abandon the “Queen City of the Gulf.” Galveston became the only Southern seaport ever recaptured by the Confederacy and the only major seaport still in Rebel hands when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.
 
Don Willett is an Associate Professor in the Maritime Studies Program at Texas A&M University at Galveston, where he teaches classes on American and Texas history, the American Civil War and reconstruction and the history of American sea power. He earned his BA from St. Edward’s University, his MA from Stephen F. Austin State University and his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He is past president of the East Texas Historical Association and on the Board of Directors for the Gulf South Historical Association. Willett has published two books on Texas history, The Texas That Might Have Been: Sam Houston’s Foes Write to Albert Sidney Johnston and Invisible Texans, as well as several articles. He is currently working on an anthology of Galveston titled Galveston Odyssey: Essays on Galveston History.

 

“The General Behind Juneteenth”
Edward T. Cotham, Jr., June 17th, 2:00 p.m.

It has become one of the most important symbols of the end of the Civil War and the coming of Emancipation. But what do we really know about the events that shaped it? On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger issued General Orders No. 3 from his headquarters in Galveston. Granger’s order confirmed that the Emancipation Proclamation was in effect in Texas. Celebrated today as the origin of the “Juneteenth” festivities, General Granger’s June 19 order was actually the result of a long chain of political and military events involving the battles and leaders of the Civil War. In his multi-media presentation, Ed Cotham will describe the events that led to General Granger’s arrival in Galveston, the issuance of the Juneteenth order, and the reaction to that order.
 
Edward T. Cotham, Jr. is the prize-winning author of many books and articles on Civil War history, emphasizing the battles and skirmishes in Texas. A frequent lecturer on these subjects, Ed also leads occasional tours of Texas battlefields and state historic sites. His published works include Battle on the Bay: the Civil War Struggle for Galveston, Sabine Pass: the Confederacy’s Thermopylae, and The Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine: The Illustrated Note-Book of Henry O. Gusley. Ed wrote a chapter on Federal naval strategy and Texas in The Seventh Star of the Confederacy: Texas during the Civil War. This book was the winner of the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table’s A.M. Pate, Jr. Award for excellence in research and writing on the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi.
 
Mr. Cotham is President of the Terry Foundation in Houston, Texas. The Terry Foundation is the largest private source of scholarships at Texas universities with more than 700 Terry Scholars on scholarship. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Houston and a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. A native Texan, Cotham returned to Texas to obtain a Law Degree from the University of Texas in 1979.


“For-Profit Patriots: Blockade Runners of the Texas Coast”
Andrew Hall, July 15th at 2:00 p.m.

In the closing months of the Civil War, long, low blockade runners slipped in and out of Texas ports, racing both to keep the Confederacy supplied, and to generate dramatic profits for their owners. It was a risky, high-stakes gamble that was the foundation for many fortunes on both sides of the Atlantic. Almost 150 years later, archaeologists and historians have begun to uncover the stories of these remarkable vessels. The discovery of the paddle steamer Denbigh in 1997, and of a wreck believed to be the famous Will o’ the Wisp in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, open the door to a long-overlooked story of patriotism, avarice and daring during those last desperate months of the conflict.
 
Andrew Hall has served as a volunteer with the Texas Historical Commission investigating shipwrecks for more than 20 years, and was part of the first group of state marine archaeological stewards appointed in the United States in 2001. Hall served as co-principal investigator of the Denbigh Project, the most extensive excavation and research program on a Civil War blockade runner in the Gulf of Mexico. He has served as historian, illustrator or website developer on several nautical archaeology projects, including the 1686 wreck of the French ship La Belle (1995-97) the Civil War blockade runner Denbigh (1997-2003), and the U-166 Project (2003). He wrote the chapter on the interface between nautical archaeology and the Internet in the International Handbook of Underwater Archaeology (2002), and has co-authored several other journal articles.

“Yellow Fever in Galveston During the Civil War”
James Schmidt, August 12th at 2:00 p.m.

“No disease brought more fear and more deaths to Galveston’s early residents than yellow fever,” one modern historian has justly declared.  No less than seven major epidemics struck Galveston between 1837 and 1860, killing more than two thousand people.  Yet another deadly yellow fever epidemic struck Galveston in the summer and autumn of 1864 during the Civil War, striking civilians and Confederate troops that garrisoned the island.  The lecture will examine the grim – yet interesting – role that yellow fever played during the Civil War in Galveston, including misconceptions of the causes of disease, precautions that could have been taken, and heroism displayed in sick rooms, in the voices of those who lived through it.
 
James Schmidt is a chemist by training and profession.  After receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Central Oklahoma, he has worked in a number of private, government, and industrial laboratories, and is currently employed as a scientist with a biotech firm in The Woodlands, Texas.
 
Mr. Schmidt has had a life-long interest in history, with a special regard for the Civil War.  His historical writing credits include more than fifty articles for The Civil War News, North & South, Learning Through History, World War II, and Chemical Heritage magazines, and other publications.  Mr. Schmidt is also a popular speaker and has given lectures on the Civil War to groups around the country.
 
Mr. Schmidt’s books, Lincoln’s Labels: America’s Best Known Brands and the Civil War, Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine co-edited with Guy Hasegawa, and Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory, have received praise from both popular and academic historians alike. His next book, Galveston and the Civil War: Voices of an Island in the Maelstrom, will be published by The History Press in Fall 2012.

It’s going to be a great summer.

___________

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3 Responses

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  1. Thom Bassett said, on April 26, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Congratulations, Andy! If your lecture is available after the conference, I’d love to watch or read it.

    • Andy Hall said, on April 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Thanks. I don’t know if these things are recorded, but I’ll let folks know if they are.


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