Making Sense of the

American Civil War







Kinsley Library

208 E. 8th Steet

Kinsley, Kansas 67547


January 22, 2012

February 12, 2012

March 11, 2012

April 15, 2012

May 6, 2012





               A Reading and Discussion Program at the Kinsley Library

       to commemorate the anniversaries of the Civil War and Emancipation


“Making Sense of the American Civil War” was created and funded by the National

     Endowment for the Humanities as part of its We the People initiative, which

   promotes scholarship, teaching, and learning about American history and culture.


The following books will be read and discussed in this program:


March by Geraldine Brooks [2005]

Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson

America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th

           Anniversaries,  a new anthology edited by Edward L. Ayers and published

           by NEH and ALA



The program is designed as a series of five conversations exploring different facets of the Civil War experience, informed by reading the words written or spoken by powerful voices from the past and present, as listed below:


January 22    Session One: Imagining War   Conversation with Dr. Leo Oliva

1. March by Geraldine Brooks [2005]

2. Selections from America’s War anthology:

           Louisa May Alcott, excerpt from Journal kept at the Hospital, Georgetown, D.C. [1862]

Ø        JEB, John, and Bleeding Kansas presented by David Clapsaddle 

                JEB Stuart who was to become the dashing Confederate cavalry officer and John Brown who was to be

                      martyred for his abolitionist passion both came to Kansas in 1855.  Both men witnessed the pro-Civil War

                      conflict in the young territory during what became known as Bleeding Kansas.  Strange that both men

                      were to die in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Brown at the end of the hangman’s noose; Stuart from a

                      wound received in the Battle of Yellow Tavern.


February 12     Session Two:  Choosing Sides    Conversation with Dr. Oliva

Selections from America’s War anthology:

           Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” [1852]

           Henry David Thoreau, excerpt from “A Plea for Captain John Brown” (excerpt) [1859]

           Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address [March 4, 1861]

           Alexander H. Stephens, “Cornerstone” speech [March 21, 1861]

           Robert Montague, Secessionist speech at Virginia secession convention [April 1-2, 1861]

           Chapman Stuart, Unionist speech at Virginia secession convention [April 5, 1861]

           Elizabeth Brown Pryor, excerpt from Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee

                      Through his Private Letters [2007]

           Mark Twain, “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed” [1885]

           Sarah Morgan, excerpt from The Diary of Sarah Morgan [May 1862]

█    Kansas and the Civil War in American History and Memory presented by Dr. Brian Miller

Ø                          The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Kansas coincide.  Dr. Miller will present a critical re-examination

                      on how the Civil War affected the state of Kansas and why the Kansas struggles have been largely

                       ignored in American History.


March 11  Session Three: Making Sense of War -Conversation with Dr. Oliva

Selections from America’s War anthology:

           Ambrose Bierce, “What I Saw of Shiloh” [1881]

           Ulysses Grant, excerpt from the Memoirs [1885]

           Shelby Foote, excerpt from Shiloh [1952]

           Bobbie Ann Mason, “Shiloh” [1982]

           General Braxton Bragg, speech to the Army of the

           Mississippi [May 3, 1862]

█    John Brown Speaks  Abolitionist John Brown will tell of his life and the events that led him to wage war

          on slavery.  He speaks on his role in the turbulent history of Kansas Territory, including the crucial Battle of

          Black Jack, and about his attempts to end slavery by organizing and leading an army of freed slaves that

          resulted in his capture during the Raid on Harpers Ferry.  Brown will be portrayed by Kerry Altenbernd


April 15    Session Four: The Shape of War    Conversation with Dr. Leo Oliva

1. Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James M. McPherson

2. Selections from America’s War anthology:

           Gary W. Gallagher, excerpt from “The Net Result of the Campaign was in Our Favor—

                    Confederate Reaction to the Maryland Campaign” [1999]

           Drew Gilpin Faust, “The Work of Death,” preface to This Republic of Suffering [2009]

█    Civil War Detective: Researching Veterans and Grave Sites presented by Kevin Ivey


█    On Exhibit:  Kansas Territory, Kansas State Historical Society Traveling Trunk


May 6    Session Five: War and Freedom     Conversation with Dr. Leo Oliva  

Selections from America’s War anthology:

         Abraham Lincoln, address on colonization [1862]

         John M. Washington, “Memorys [sic] of the Past” [1873]

         Frederick Douglass, “Men of Color, To Arms!” [March 1863]

         Abraham Lincoln, “Emancipation Proclamation” [January 1863]

         Abraham Lincoln, “Gettysburg Address” [November 1863]

         Abraham Lincoln, letters to James C. Conkling and Albert G. Hodges [1864]

         James S. Brisbin, report on U.S. Colored Cavalry in Virginia

█    David Lester's Soldier's Monument  presented by Ray Wetzel, Hillside Cemetery Sexton 


█    Followed by visits to Soldier’s Monument at Hillside Cemetery, Kinsley and the


█    KSHS Traveling Exhibit Lincoln in Kansas at the Edwards County Historical Museum

                         About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.




Kansas Humanities Council

Wet-Dry Routes Chapter of the

        Santa Fe Trail

Southwest Kansas Library System

North Edwards County Cemetery  


Edwards County Historical Society

Fort Larned Old Guard

Kansas Genealogical Society, Inc.

Kansas Heritage Center

Kansas State Library

Friends of the Kinsley Library

South Kansas Camp #2064, Kansas

         Division, Sons of Confederate


Manhattan Public Library


Civil War Photographs - LOC

Civil War Photographs-NA

Civil War Primary Documents

Civil War Letters

LaRue Civil War Letters

Civil War Research Sites

compiled by Kevin Ivey