Press/Journalists
Press Release
August 25, 1998
National Archives Co-Sponsors Conference on the Common Soldier in the Civil War

Chicago, IL. . . An often ignored, but crucial aspect of the Civil War will finally be highlighted in a one-day symposium, co-sponsored by the National Archives and Records Administration-Great Lakes Region and the Chicago Historical Society on Friday, September 25.

"The Experience and Meaning of Combat in the Civil War" will reveal the personal experiences of war as told by the common soldier, including women, African Americans and Native Americans. This second annual Civil War symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Chicago Historical Society, located on the corner of Clark Street and North Avenue.

Distinguished Civil War historians and independent scholars from around the country will present their research and conclusions on the experience and meaning of combat for the individual soldier. Among the six guest lecturers is Lauren Cook Burgess, an historian and author, who will discuss the more than 200 documented women, disguised as men, who served in the Union and Confederate armies. Ms. Burgess will be available to sign her book, The Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman. ( Sarah Wakeman’s letters are among the few writings available from a female Civil War soldier.)

Edward Miller, independent scholar and author, will discuss African American soldiers and how their experience differed from that of the majority of Union troops who were of Euro-American heritage. Dr. Miller will sign copies of his book, The Black Civil War Soldiers of Illinois: The Story of the Twenty-ninth Colored Infantry.

One of the day’s highlights will be a special Civil War encampment on the east grounds of the Chicago Historical Society, beginning at 12:45 P.M. More than 20 individuals, including a cannon with gun crew, will conduct firing and marching drills and recreate camp life. This 90-minute program is free and open to the public.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Chicago Historical Society, National Archives and Records Administration-Great Lakes Region, Public History Program at Loyola University- Chicago, and the Chicago and Salt Creek (IL) Civil War Round Tables. The registration fee is $35 ($10 additional for lunch). For registration and additional information, contact Lorraine Mason at the Chicago Historical Society at 312-642-5035, ext. 272.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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