News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
3rd June 2010

More civil war events at PML

posted in Books |

Who was Ladd; who was Whitney? Why do they have a memorial downtown (the one in front of City Hall)? You can find out tonight at 7 pm, as the Pollard Memorial Library continues its exploration of Lincoln and the Civil War. You will learn how two volunteers from Lowell gave their lives early in the war, galvanizing the Union and “becoming icons for Lowell patriotism.” While at the library, you can visit the traveling Forever Free exhibit, which is there until June 25th. I urge you to look at the murals in Memorial Hall to see depictions of three key events in the Civil War: Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh and the surrender at Appomattox.

Since the Lincoln Reads Lincoln book group meeting on May 26th which I attended, I’ve been immersed in one of the three chosen books, Jay Winik’s April 1865, which is a stirring account of the final days of the war. Winik’s point is that the end of the Civil War could have been much worse than it was, but thanks to the farsightedness and generosity of Lincoln, Grant, Lee and others, the South laid down its arms, turning its back on the temptation of guerilla warfare — a prospect much-dreaded by Lincoln. I’m still reading the book, and am planning to read the other two that were suggested: A. Lincoln, by Ronald C. White, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, by James McPherson. One of my favorite authors, the quirky Sarah Vowell who wrote The Partly Cloudy Patriot once said that she “thinks about the Civil War every day.” Lately, I’ve felt the same way, which feels timely since next year will mark the sesquicentennial of the war (that’s 150 years in case you were wondering or didn’t feel like doing the math).

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