Student hobnobs with history legends at national Civil War conference

Student hobnobs with history legends at national Civil War conference

Rebecca Reed at a Civil War conference in Gettysburg.

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Rebecca Reed, a senior American studies and history major at Lycoming College, learned details about the Civil War from nationally-known historians during a Civil War Trust conference held June 1 through 5. Reed earned one of six coveted scholarships to the annual conference held in Gettysburg, Pa.

During the conference, historians shared current research about the Civil War and conducted guided tours of the famous battlefield. Participants, who came from around the country, also benefited from networking opportunities throughout the event.

“Conferences of this nature are always enjoyable for me because I get to meet people who are extremely passionate about the Civil War,” said Reed. “Not only do I have the opportunity to network with renowned historians in the field, I am also able to connect with individuals who wish to discuss military tactics and debate the merits of various generals.”

Speakers included history professors and Civil War authors who have studied the war for decades. Dick Sommers, retired from the U.S. Army Military History Institute, spoke about the strategic imperatives and tactical realities faced by Southern Generals Lee and Longstreet; Chuck Teague, a National Park Service ranger at Gettysburg, discussed the eloquence of the Gettysburg Address; and Lawrence Keener-Farley, a volunteer historian at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum, displayed original small arms of the Civil War and described how they worked. Jim Hessler, a licensed battlefield guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park, illustrated how General Daniel E. Sickles nearly lost the battle for the Union Army and eventually declared himself the winner. Dan Toomey, the author of several books on the Civil War, compared the reunions of northern and southern soldiers together on the Gettysburg Battlefield 50 and 75 years after the event.

The conference scholarship, provided by donors of the Civil War Trust, included registration fees, travel expenses and hotel accommodations. More information about the organization can be found here: http://www.civilwar.org/.

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