April 12, 2016
The last in our series of Civil War movies for this season will be shown, free of charge, prior to the regularly scheduled Round table meeting tonight from 4:47pm – 6:47pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.
Tonight’s Feature: Death and The Civil War
Directed by Ric Burns and based on the book “This Republic of Suffering“, by Drew Gilpin Faust, historian and president of Harvard University, this documentary explores how the American Civil War created a “republic of suffering” and charts the far-reaching political and social changes brought about by the pervasive presence and fear of death during the Civil War. Though universally predicted to be a brief and bloodless military adventure, the Civil War dragged on for four years, killing an estimated 750,000 men — nearly 2.5% of the American population. The impact permanently altered the character of the republic,the culture of the government and the psyche of the American people for all time.
Woefully unprepared for the awful work of burying and accounting for the dead, northerners and southerners alike had to find a way to deal with the hundreds of thousands of bodies, many of which were unidentified, and the grieving families who sought information on loved ones who, in the end, would never be found. Following the common Christian notions of the “proper” way to die and be buried was all but impossible for most soldiers on the front. Before the Civil War, America had no national cemeteries; no provisions for identifying or burying the dead, notifying the next of kin, or providing aid to the suffering families of dead veterans; no federal organizations; no effective ambulance corps; no adequate federal hospitals.
At the conclusion of tonight’s film, please feel free to stay for a presentation by Hilda Koontz about the Sultana Disaster. The regularly scheduled meeting will begin at 7:00pm.