Civil War Events @ the Library

Past Civil War Events

Jonathan Earle
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Plaza Branch

This year’s election stakes are high, as always. But perhaps no presidential vote in U.S. history was more consequential than that of 1860.

The nation roiled over the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln captured the Republican nomination over New York Sen. William Seward, and then took on a divided Democratic Party. His win in November – with less than 40% of the popular vote – prompted the immediate secession of South Carolina, roused the rest of the South, and ushered in the Civil War.

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Central Library

Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare rose to prominence centuries and continents apart. But one of America’s greatest presidents felt a real connection to one of mankind’s greatest writers, beginning with their shared belief in the power of language. Lincoln read Shakespeare and quoted him often in conversation, finding particular resonance in Hamlet, Macbeth, and their reflections on the dangers of excessive ambition, the horrors of civil war, and the corruptions of illegitimate rule.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Central Library

While perceived as a mostly southern phenomenon, racist violence existed everywhere in the decades following the Civil War – including Kansas and the larger Midwest despite the region’s identification with pastoral virtue and racial harmony.

Former Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart discusses the events behind his new historical novel Firebrand, which revolves around the life of noted Kansas free-state fighter August Bondi.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Central Library

August Bondi remains a compelling figure in Kansas history, a Jewish immigrant from Austria who fought alongside anti-slavery crusader John Brown and later became one of the first to enlist with the Union in the Civil War. He eventually settled in Salina, serving as postmaster, school board member, and local judge, among other civic endeavors.

Award-winning author Andrea Warren discusses the fascinating subject of her latest nonfiction book for young readers, Billy Cody, who went from boyhood in rural Kansas to fame as scout, Indian fighter, and hunter Buffalo Bill.  Appropriate for ages 9 and up.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Plaza Branch

Billy Cody lived as a boy on a homestead in Kansas, went to work at age 11 when his father was killed in the Civil War-era border war with Missouri, became a Pony Express rider at 14, and ultimately learned the skills of a scout, Indian fighter, and buffalo hunter. He gained worldwide fame as Buffalo Bill, star of the traveling Wild West shows.

Closing the Civil War Sesquicentennial series, historians Terry L. Beckenbaugh and Ethan S. Rafuse of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth assess how the North prevailed and why the Civil War remains so compelling today.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Central Library

After four of the bloodiest years of warfare in its history, peace finally had come to the United States in May 1865. For two glorious days, Washington, D.C., residents watched as the mighty Union armies that had compelled the surrender of the Confederacy’s main forces marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in triumph. “The rebels,” Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed a few weeks earlier, “are our countrymen again.”

Parkville, Missouri, author Tom Rafiner discusses the long, dark, post-Civil War shadow cast by the 1863 edict known as “Order No. 11,” which mandated the evacuation of non-rural residents in three western Missouri counties. Healing in its aftermath took decades.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Central Library

By the time of Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the land and people of western Missouri had suffered as much as any during the Civil War. The 1863 edict known as “Order No. 11”—forcing the evacuation of all non-rural residents of three western counties including Jackson—and the Federal army that carried it out had depopulated those counties, devastated homes and farms, and left deep scars.

Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the tumultuous final months of the Civil War – marked indelibly by Lincoln’s assassination – and examines the start of Reconstruction in the South.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Central Library

With the end of the Civil War in sight as he delivered his second inaugural address in March 1865, Abraham Lincoln eloquently implored his divided countrymen “to bind up the nation’s wounds” and “do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace.”

But the chaos of war was not yet ended. The South was reeling from Sherman’s destructive March to the Sea. Entire cities, including the Confederate capital of Richmond, were being overrun. Forty-one days after being sworn in for a second term, Lincoln was felled by an assassin’s bullet.

Nearing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher, in which Marines fought, Bud Meador of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth discusses the Marine Corps’ role throughout the Civil War.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Central Library

The story of the U.S. Marine Corps is one rich in history – of serving the nation from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, let alone the ability to survive in the political theater in Washington, D.C.

Ethan S. Rafuse leads a panel of colleagues with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in examining the momentous year of 1864, when the balance of the Civil War may have tipped to the North.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Central Library

The Civil War may have reached a turning point in 1864, when Ulysses S. Grant became general-in-chief of the Union armies, Confederate defeats continued to mount, and Northern voters in November sustained the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.