Civil War talks begin today

Published 11:21 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2007

VIDALIA — For the next six weeks, area residents will have the opportunity to discuss what the American Civil War meant for Louisiana when it began, when it ended and what it continues to mean into the present.

The Concordia Parish Library and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will sponsor a six-week reading and discussion series beginning 6 p.m. Thursday at the Vidalia branch of the library.

The series is titled “Battleground Louisiana: Civil War Events and Experiences.”

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The event is open to the public, and books are available at the Ferriday and Vidalia branches of the library, Sally Gilmore with the library said.

The discussion will be lead by Dr. Jerry Sanson, a history and political science professor at Louisiana State University in Alexandria.

One of the readings will be “Brokenburn: the Journal of Kate Stone.”

“‘Brokenburn’ is the story of the Civil War from one woman’s perspective,” Sanson said. “Stone was driven from her home in northeast Louisiana and wound up in Texas. It offers us an interesting perspective on the war in northern Louisiana and eastern Texas.”

Other readings will focus on other parts of the Louisiana civil war experience, and one of the readings will focus on the experience of the Louisiana Native Guards, the first officially recognized black soldiers in the Union army, Sanson said.

The group will also examine the experience of black soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, he said.

Discussions will also center on the largely unsuccessful 1864 Union Red River campaign.

“We’ll explore why the Union failed in that attempt when they were so successful in the rest of Louisiana,” he said.

The Red River campaign ended in Alexandria, which the Union troops burned.

“Because the Union troops were so disappointed with the outcome of the Red River campaign, they burned Alexandria on their way out,” Sanson said. “There is some debate as to whether or not they were ordered or if it was spontaneous, but the end result was the same.”

The series will continue each Thursday until its end.