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Catawba's January Forum: The Role of South Carolinians during the Civil War

January 04, 2010

Category: Events, Politics

James W. Gettys, currently Professor Emeritus of History at Erskine College, has spent a lifetime studying the history of southern soldiery. His doctoral dissertation at the University of South Carolina looked at South Carolina's role in the Mexican War, and his earlier Masters Thesis was entitled Mobilization for Secession in the Greenville District. Before his retirement in 2008, he held a number of posts at Erskine, including Dean of Admissions, and Vice President and Dean of the College. He twice won the "Excellence in Teaching" award there and was twice elected Chairman of the Erskine College Faculty.

At the next Catawba College Community Forum, Dr. Gettys will examine the experiences of men in a Confederate brigade comprised largely of Upstate South Carolinians who fought in the Army of Northern Virginia. He writes: "The unit entered combat on the eve of the Annus Mirabilis (July 1, 1862 to June 30, 1863) and was one of the outstanding brigades that produced miracles for Lee as they suffered horrendous casualties."  

Meanwhile, civilian life was a mass of contradictions in the land those soldiers left behind. Some supported the war effort with enthusiasm, while others shamelessly exploited the situation for personal gain, and still others worked actively in opposition to the war. "Even in the final months of the war," he writes, "there were belles and parties in South Carolina standing in stark juxtaposition against those civilians who faced hunger and a desperate life after the loss of a husband or father on whom they had depended."

Join us on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in Tom Smith Auditorium of Ralph W. Ketner Hall for a look back at one Southern region's experiences during the epic struggle between North and South.