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ORICL - Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning



250     Civil War Life and Times in Knoxville 1861-1865

The Civil War impacted the lives of citizens, not just soldiers.  What happened to families in Knoxville during the war still resonates today.  Since Knoxville was an occupied city for the duration of the Civil War, the war affected the citizens of Picture of Civil War SoldiersKnoxville perhaps more than any other city.  Knoxville was inhabited not only by its native southern population but also by northerners who had been here for many years.  Numerous families had allegiances to both sides.  Knoxville was also a strategically important town for many reasons.  Each class in this series examines conditions present in Knoxville before and during the war and delves into the history, thinking, and attitudes of many of the families living in Knoxville.

Dennis Urban is a retired emergency management technical consultant and instructor from ORISE.  He is a lifelong student and researcher of the Civil War.  Mr. Urban graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Secondary Education.  He currently serves as president of the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable.

Two sessions:  Wednesdays, 6:00 - 7:10 p.m., February 10; March 23

251 Civil War Overview

The instruction team from the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at LMU shared exhibits and items from their archives with us last summer and will be doing so again this spring.  Building on their prior presentation and our response regarding areas of knowledge and interest, they will discuss various aspects of the Civil War including:

Capturing the War in Art - Using photography, music, art and drawings, photographers and artist-correspondents provided the home front with images of the war.  Narratives and images from the museum's archives will be presented and discussed.

Avenues of War – Drawing from the exhibit Abraham Lincoln and the Technology of Warfare, we’ll investigate how rivers and railroads changed the face of war as both sides moved huge armies over difficult terrain on the country’s web of waterways and tracks.Civil War Soldiers and Flags Picture

Civil War Leaders:  A Small Band of Friends in the Midst of a Big Argument – Many of the opposing generals were previously classmates at America’s military academies.  Some had earlier fought together against common enemies in the Indian and/or Mexican Wars.  Presidents Lincoln and Davis were born 100 miles apart in Kentucky.  A Union general was also a Virginian and a Confederate general hailed from Pennsylvania.  Who were these men and what caused them to take up arms against each other and their nation?

Based on class time and interest, the instructors may add information on other subjects related to the war and that time period such as:

The Union and Confederate navies and naval battles.

Newspapers, other publications and communication/propaganda methods.

Weapons development, production and use. This may touch on the carnage caused by “newer” weapons, treatment of wounded soldiers, and other lingering impacts.

Lincoln’s Family:  Before, during and after, especially in the context of trends and influences of and on their times.

Steven M. Wilson has served two stints as Director or Assistant Director/Curator at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, the first in 1987-91 and now from 1998-present.  In the interim he worked with the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum in Wyoming, the National Firearms Museum and the Outagamie County Historical Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Mr. Wilson also had the pleasure of working as Research Assistant for Alex Haley from 1985-87.  He has a BA in History from LMU and an MA in Historic Preservation from UT-Knoxville and has written several books of fiction with settings in the Civil War and WWII.

Michelle Ganz received her BA from Ohio State in 2003 and her MLIS from the University of Arizona in 2006.  She holds an Archivist Certification and has been the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum since 2007.

Six sessions:  Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:10 p.m., March 23, 30; April 6, 13, 20, 27

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