Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Our Hearts Were Touched with Fire": Rémembering the Civil War

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Our Hearts Were Touched with Fire": Rémembering the Civil War

Article excerpt

On May 30, 1884-twenty years alter the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House became synonymous with unbridled bloodshed-Massachusetts judge Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., addressed a group of fellow Union veterans. "The generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune," he asserted, "in our youth our hearts were touched with fire." But Holmes was concerned about future generations who did not experience the war firsthand, would they continue to remember?

We have entered the final months of the four-year-long statewide effort to remember the war and understand its impact 150 years later, and the resources of the VHS have been a major force in shaping that understanding. With our extraordinary partners at the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we collected 200 artifacts and dozens of little-known stories of the men, women, and children of the Civil War generation together in An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia. By the time this award-winning exhibition arrives at its final stop at Appomattox in March 2015, it will have been visited by more than 150,000 people in Richmond, Hampton, Winchester, Lynchburg, and Abingdon. …

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