Welcome to my new blog, a companion to my Civil War Medicine blog!
I'm pleased to announce that I have signed a contract with The History Press (Charleston SC) for a book on the interesting and important role that the University of Notre Dame played in the American Civil War! Tentatively titled: Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory, the book is scheduled to be published in late 2010!
You'll be able to follow along with my research and writing (and maybe even help me!) by following this blog! Add it to your blogrolls and tell your friends (especially if they are Notre Dame fans!).
To get you started, here is a synopsis: Even the casual Civil War enthusiast can probably point to one or more colleges or universities that played a role in the American Civil War; a few that come to mind are the graduates of West Point and the Naval Academy who fought on both sides; the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, also known as the “Harvard Regiment,” as it was largely under the leadership of young Harvard grads; and Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, also known as the “University Greys,” composed entirely of students from Ole Miss at Oxford.
Few institutions of higher education, though, can boast of the sacrifices made by the University of Notre Dame (UND). Over the course of four years, Notre Dame gave freely of its faculty and students as soldiers, sent its priests to the camps and battlefields as chaplains, and its sisters to hospitals as nurses. Though far from the battlefields itself, the war was still ever-present on campus, as Notre Dame witnessed fisticuffs among the student body, provided a home to the children of a famous general, responded to political harassment, and tried to keep at least some of its community out of the fray. When the war was over, a proud Notre Dame welcomed back several bona fide war heroes, mourned the loss of some who made the ultimate sacrifice, and became home to a unique veteran's organization.
While sketches of UND’s role in the Civil War have appeared in published school histories, memoirs, and/or biographies, they are usually brief or limited to one personality or aspect of the experience. Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory will be the first book to incorporate this interesting story into a comprehensive and unified narrative.
A number of personalities will be introduced and their roles discussed, but a few deserve special mention:Fr. Edward Sorin, the founder of UND, who shepherded the school through its wartime crises; Orville T. Chamberlain, a UND student who rose through the ranks of the 74th Indiana – from private to captain - and earned the Medal of Honor for bravery under fire at Chickamauga; Frs. William Corby and Peter Cooney, two UND priests who served with special distinction as chaplains in the war, one in the east and one in the west; the family of William T. Sherman, whose children attended UND during the war; and Schuyler Colfax, an Indiana Congressman seeking re-election during the war, who put political pressure on UND.
At the same time, larger issues – anti-Catholic prejudice, the draft, regional politics, the general experience of institutions of higher education in the period, etc. – will be addressed.
In addition to memoirs, school histories, biographies, and period newspapers, the book will rely heavily on material – much of it unexplored and unpublished - in the UND archives.
More to come, soon!