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This is the archive for May 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Today is a big day for my son Stephen.

A few weeks ago he decided to do an Individual Study on the 18th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. As part of the study, he had to look into the history and answer specific questions his teacher had laid out for him. He then had to follow that up with a presentation on what he had learned. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first – I couldn’t do an individual study now, much less when I was 10.

He started off by reading a summary history of the 18th and by interviewing me. Although I wanted him to ask me so much more, I had to remember he was only a fourth grader and couldn’t push too hard. He also tried to read Thomas Mann’s “Fighting with the Eighteenth Massachusetts” but found it a bit harder than the normal books he reads so we did another interview. A few drafts and a bunch of edits later and he had his report, along with a grade of 95.

Today, he presents and I’ll be there with him - probably trying to stay calm and not answer any questions for him.

He will be wearing my 18th Massachusetts Concert Shirt. It is what I call the shirt that Donald made for us, instead of a list of cities that a rock group went to; it lists battles that the 18th fought in. In the front, is a big picture of the unit’s battle flag. I may drink some coffee or water out of my 18th Mass coffee mug.

Even better, he gets to show off, the items of his Great-Great-Great Grandfather, which he has been telling all his friends about. He also wants me to show off all of the historical information we have, so I will be dragging 5 notebooks that contain over 1300 single spaced typed pages, the culmination of our efforts (as of last year when Donald printed them out). He has also picked out a few books (actually about 10) to take along so that he can show them off as “stuff you read to study so that you can learn about the Civil War.”

To top it off is a 60 meg, 44 slide PowerPoint presentation that we made together last night. It contains some 220 pictures that Donald, Steve and I have collected over the years. This includes about 75 pictures of the soldiers and 130 pictures of gravestones. Too be honest, it didn’t hit me on just how much we had until we spent an hour last night copying out of the database and pasting into the PowerPoint. It is quite a sight to see all of these collected. Unfortunately, it is quite sad too, as we don’t even have 10% of the soldiers who fought with the unit. But we keep struggling on, hoping to find more.

Over the next two days I’ll post a report on how his presentation went and the report itself. Stephen might even do his own guest post on what he learned while doing the project.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I got a nice email from Turner Publishing yesterday talking about a new book – Historic Photos of Gettysburg which is to be released later this month.
Per their website

Historic Photos of Gettysburg recounts the events of this momentous battle. From the carnage at Devil’s Den and Pickett’s Charge to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the 50th and 75th reunions of the veterans from both sides, this look at the scene of the conflict, its aftermath, and its commemoration brings together in one volume a comprehensive visual record of this pivotal event.

You can also take a look at a trailer for the book by clicking here