Conference 2013
"This Terrible War"

The Center for Civil War Research held its latest Conference on the Civil War October 3-5, 2013. This was the Center's seventh academic conference and was presented in conjunction with the Department of History's Porter Fortune Jr. Symposium.

The theme of this most recent conference was "This Terrible War," harkening to Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address in 1865. The conference encouraged scholars to probe the impact of the war in various arenas of life in the United States and the Confederacy.

We were honored to have historian Eric Foner give the keynote addess for the conference. Dr. Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University in New York City. He is a prolific historian of the Civil War era who has examined a dizzying number of topics, such as Republican Party ideology, American slavery, President Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction era. His latest work, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (2010), garnered numerous awards and distinctions, among them the Bancroft Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for History, and the Lincoln Prize. Dr. Foner's keynote, entitled "The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln," detailed the process by which Abraham Lincoln's views toward emancipation of enslaved African Americans transformed over the course of his political career. Although President Lincoln initially favored gradual, compensated emancipation and colonization for black slaves, the Civil War made apparent to Lincoln the moral imperative of full military emancipation. Dr. Foner's examination of Lincoln was a fitting start to the conference weekend.

Our Director Dr. John Neff also presented the 2013 Wiley-Silver Prize to winner Dr. Glenn David Brasher for his work The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation.

The conference continued October 4th and 5th with panels spanning a host of topics, including the experience of enslaved African Americans, the activities of northern and southern women, civilian loyalty and dissent, the international response to the war, the numerical and financial costs of conflict, and the impact of military and political leadership. Among our panelists were such distinguished historians as Nina Silber (Boston University), Wendy Hamand Venet (Georgia State University), Jim Downs (Connecticut College), and J. David Hacker (University of Minnesota). We thank all of our panelists and visitors for a fantastic weekend of Civil War scholarship.



Thursday, October 3 – Nutt Auditorium

Keynote Address, 6:00
The Emancipation of Abraham Lincoln
Eric Foner, Columbia University

Friday, October 4 – Butler Auditorium: Panel Sessions

First Panel, 8:30-10:00: Contrabands of War
Were All the Freedpeople Political?: Rethinking the History of Emancipation
            Jim Downs, Connecticut College
“On the Meeting Grounds:” Slave Religions in Refugee Camps of the Civil War
            Abigail Cooper, Brandeis University

Second Panel, 10:30-12:00: International Response to War
Was “This Terrible War” This Terrible?  A Global Comparative Perspective
            Niels Eichhorn, Middle Georgia State College   
An Act of Colonization: Danish American Negotiations Concerning “Laborers of African Extraction” and the Virgin Islands between 1860 and 1867
Anders Bo Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark
The Lawrence Massacre of 1863, General Ewing’s Order No. 11, and European Press Opinion on Guerilla Violence and Reprisals in the American Civil War
Christopher D. Wilkins, William Jewell College

Third Panel, 2:00-3:30: Northern and Southern Women at War
The Political Identity of Union Women
            Nina Silber, Boston University
“Enlisted for the War”?: Divided Loyalties among Atlanta’s White Women during the Civil War
            Wendy Hamand Venet, Georgia State University

Fourth Panel, 4:00-5:30: Southern Civilians and Slavery in War
“These Negroes Are All the Property She Has:” White Slaveowning Women and the Pecuniary Destruction of Civil War
            Stephanie Jones-Rogers, University of Iowa
The Politics of Slavery and Southern Nationalism Among the Yeoman Soldiers of Western Tennessee
            Gary T. Edwards, Arkansas State University
Saturday, October 5 – Butler Auditorium: Panel Sessions

First Panel, 8:30-10:00: New Insights into the Military Conduct of War
“This is the Last Time I Shall Ever Leave My Family”: The Burdens of Soldiering on Union and Confederate Fathers
            John Patrick Riley, Binghamton University, SUNY
“Justice Mingled With Kindness:” Missouri and the Union Army’s Hard and Humane War
            D. H. Dilbeck, University of Virginia
Spurring on Victory: The United States Cavalry Bureau, 1863-1866
            David J. Gerleman, The Papers of Abraham Lincoln

Second Panel, 10:30-12:00: Quantifying War
“Notorious and Palpable”: Francis Amasa Walker and the Demographic Impact of the American Civil War
            J. David Hacker, University of Minnesota
The Sacred Debt: The Union and the Five-Twenty Loan of 1862
Franklin Noll, Noll Historical Consulting

Third Panel, 2:00-3:30: Interpretations of the War Presidents
“We Have No Need For Men, We Have Principles:” Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet
            Geoffrey Cunningham, Louisiana State University
Triumph of a Railsplitter: Northern Masculinity in Lincoln’s White House
            David Demaree, Kent State University

Fourth Panel, 4:00-5:30: Loyalty and Dissent in War
Northern Alabama Unionists and the Price of Dissent
            Susan Deily-Swearingen, University of New Hampshire
Copperheads and Black Republicans: The Twin Snakes of Loyalty in Eastern Pennsylvania
            Charles R. Welsko, III, West Virginia University