Monday, February 26, 2007
And although some of the units in existence today can trace their history to the start of the country, they did not always fall under the purview of the government of the United States. At one point, the states and towns had their own militias, tasked with defending their area in time of need.
During the Civil War, many of these militias became regiments or the nucleus of other fighting units. Many of the former members would be promoted due to their military experience – Joseph Collingwood of the 18th is a great example. He was made captain of H Company due to his previous experience as a member of Plymouth’s militia.
Believe it or not, some of the militias still exist and not as part of the National Guard. It is state law in South Carolina that faculty of The Citadel are members of the Unorganized Militia of South Carolina. When I was a student it was changed, originally being titled the South Carolina Unorganized Militia – the professors did not like what the abbreviation stood for – even though some felt it fit them quite nicely. Apparently, if the Military reserves are called up, the National Guard is called up, is called up, the draft is exhausted, our last defense are the professors of The Citadel. Not sure if I like that but so it goes.
This weekend, the Washington Light Infantry celebrated its 200th Anniversary. Although today they have become a Service Organization – they are credited with deterring the British from entering Charleston during the war of 1812, participating in the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and II. They also helped establish The Citadel - which would later man the cannons that would fire upon "The Star of The West" as it tried to resupply Fort Sumter.
Here is a great article on the celebration while here is one on the current Commanding Officer of the unit. You will need to register but it’s free and worth the read.
Monday, February 12, 2007
The conference, titled "In the Cause of Liberty, How the Civil War Redefined American Ideals," will be held over two days, Friday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 24th at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. Not to be redundant, because you’ll see conference information on the museum’s Web site, but Friday morning’s Keynote Speaker will be James H. McPherson. Rise and shine early, because after 8 a.m. coffee and opening remarks, McPherson will step to the podium, followed by lecturers and discussions on Antellum America, with presentations on the [Founding] "Fathers, Slavery, and Race," "The Idea of Union," and "State’s Rights and Secession." Whew! And that’s only the morning program! The afternoon session will include lectures on “Lincoln, the Republican Party, and Union,” George C. Rable speaking on "Confederates as Patriots and Rebels,” and concludes with Chandra Manning presenting on “Wartime Nationalism and Race, USA and CSA," at which point the discussion will be thrown open to the audience. Whew!, again, because there's much, much more to come on day two. Are you beginning to see the "kid in a candy story" connection?
You can register for the full conference or for single days. I was very surprised at how reasonable the cost of attending was, particularly because of the individuals on the schedule. As they say, the stars are coming out to shine in Richmond.
For those unable to attend, count on me to give you a first hand account on our Blog. As I remarked to Anedra (got it right again) in my reply to her, I’m really looking forward to the conference, because this is the “big picture” being presented here, with a whole slew of topics that I’m personally interested in. I’m even open to having some existing opinions altered. If you are able to attend, and, before I forget, there’s even a Friday reception at Tredegar, I’ll be interested in knowing what you've learned also.