William Kurtz's blog

Hoos in the Hoosier State

Marion Goss and William H. Gillum’s friendship arose through surprising circumstances, given that Gillum had served in the Confederate army. Born on November 22, 1847, in Augusta County, Virginia, Gillum was the son of Dr. Pleasant G. Gillum, another UVA School of Medicine alumnus. William H. Gillum’s grandfather was a successful planter and an early settler of Albemarle County. Exactly one day before Jacob D. Mater enlisted in the 149th Indiana, Gillum enlisted in the Staunton Artillery of the Confederate army on January 24, 1865. Gillum was present at Robert E.

Hoos in the Hoosier State

While many of our UVA Unionists attended the University before the war, very few enrolled after their service. In 1869, two young men from Parke County, Indiana, travelled hundreds of miles south to enroll in the University of Virginia School of Medicine. As veterans of the 149th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Marion Goss and Joseph Noble starkly contrasted with the typical UVA student profile. At the time, the vast majority of the faculty and student population maintained ardent pro-Confederate views, and many had served in the Confederate army.

They Hant No Vaginia Genilmen

The Civil War caused a national letter-writing boom, as young men rich and poor traveled far from their homes to fight. Many Civil War soldiers were experienced writers. Sons of wealthy plantation families were well-educated and well-read, and they wrote letters peppered with literary references, purple prose, political ideology, and sharp insights into the world around them. Some coped with the lonely hours in camp by writing elaborate love poems to their spouses at home.

Patriots in Pandenarium

In August 1864, three men named John Allen, James H. Garland, and George W. Lewis enlisted in Company A of the 127th Regiment United States Colored Troops (USCT). They were young—giving their ages as 17, 20, and 26, respectively on their enlistment papers—and all lived in Mercer County in western Pennsylvania. They were from a local community named “Pandenarium,” although all three had actually been born far to the south in Albemarle County, Virginia.

UVA Unionists (Part 3)

In the decades following the Civil War, the University of Virginia erased its Union veterans from its history, constructing a narrative of unwavering Confederate commitment. The few writers who mentioned these UVA Unionists insisted that they were northern students, thereby reaffirming the image of southern unity. In 1906, Captain William W.

UVA Unionists (Part 2)

As the seven Lower South states seceded in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s election, Unionists in the Upper and Border South struggled to hold their fracturing country together. Many of these Unionists insisted the country could endure “half slave and half free”—as it had for more than eighty years—and they worked tirelessly to contain the crisis by finding a middle ground in the debates over slavery. Their efforts failed, however, because southern secessionists and hard-line Republicans refused to compromise, but also because of divisions within the Unionist ranks.

Report from the Field

Now that the summer is over, I can safely say that working at Richmond National Battlefield Park was incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. Although I faced some challenges working as woman in the male-dominated field of Civil War history, it was so wonderful to spend the day talking about my passion for Civil War history with most of our visitors. Throughout the course of this internship, I learned so much about the field of public history and historical interpretation.

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