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2nd Saturday Civil War Series: Monument Vandalism and Destruction during the Civil War and Postbellum Period with Abbi Smithmyer
February 11 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
In Person in the Lincoln Gallery at ACFL&MH
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarnegieCarnegie No Account Required!
Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9370579279 Meeting ID: 937 057 9279
As North and South became engulfed in civil war, soldiers and civilians constructed and collected fragments of monuments and memorials. These monuments invoked emotional reactions due to their conflicting meaning and significance, which led to their vandalism during the Civil War and postbellum period. Destruction of monuments at places like Bull Run, Vicksburg, and Yorktown were figurative attacks on the United States and the Confederacy and they stood as literal and representative symbols that connected nineteenth-century Americans to the past.
Although many think of the vandalism of Civil War monuments as a current event, this talk will explore the destructive nature of nineteenth-century Americans towards the constructed battlefield. The talk will illuminate how the vandalism and destruction of Civil War memorials is not a new phenomenon, but rather, these actions are as old as the conflict itself. Furthermore, the study of these pieces of material culture helps us better understand the beliefs and hopes of those living throughout the Civil War era.
Currently a doctoral candidate studying history at West Virginia University where she also received her master’s degree, Abbi Smithmyer grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, attending school at Slippery Rock University for her undergraduate studies. Her dissertation combines cultural, memory, and material culture studies to explore the ways monuments faced vandalism and destruction during and shortly after the Civil War. Her research has been published in the American Nineteenth Century History, the Southern Historian, as well as Emerging Civil War. While teaching classes on U.S. History at WVU, Abbi’s knowledge of the Civil War era has been bolstered by multiple summers at various historical sites and battlefields including the Seminary Ridge Museum, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, Petersburg National Battlefield, and most recently at Manassas National Battlefield Park.
2nd Saturday lectures are made possible by the Massey Charitable Trust