Civil War series

Amherst Town Library series centers on Civil War poetry

January 08. 2014 11:50PM

KEEPING WATCH: Historian George Morrison, a 27-year high school teacher, has traveled more than 18,000 miles researching monuments and memorials after a puzzling 1918 monument inscription piqued his curiosity. He explores “Vanished Veterans: New Hampshire's Civil War Monuments and Memorials” Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Amherst Town Library. He identifies this statue, a Martin Milmore bronze, as the first of a solider to be erected in New Hampshire; it was unveiled in Claremont in 1869. The soldier stands at rest, dressed in a cape, cap and knee-length coat and holding a rifle. 

CLOSER LOOK: This bas-relief panel is on the central column of the large 1878 monument in Victory Park in Manchester. It depicts a boy from the telegraph office, men rallying to the colors, and a soldier wearing aZouave uniform, a French colonial style that featured a fez, short vest and bright baggy trousers.

Dispensing some poetic justice, an Amherst Town Library series next centers on "The Civil War Poetry of Whitman, Melville and Dickinson" at 7 p.m. today.

As the third program in the January adult series "Remembering ... the American Civil War in Focus," presenter Keith Williams focuses on three literary giants of the 19th century, when the Civil War marked a watershed in their respective careers.

Walt Whitman, who served as a nurse in Washington, D.C., during the war, drew inspiration from the men he aided, often merging his experiences with those of the men who fought on the battlefield.

Whitman also wrote about President Abraham Lincoln in the wake of his assassination, and those poems serve as a final commentary on the Civil War.

Herman Melville penned 1866's "Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War, which stand as a testament to the ebb and flow of the Civil War on the battlefield, while Emily Dickinson registers the rippling effects of the national conflict.

"... As we mark the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, these three writers remind us again of the myriad ways the conflict impacted American life," event organizers said.

Williams, who is director the honors program on campus, teaches 19th- and 20th-century literature at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown. Specialized topics include the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance.

The series continues on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. with the New Hampshire Humanities funded program "Vanished Veterans: New Hampshire's Civil War Monuments and Memorials."

From Seabrook to Colebrook and Berlin to Hinsdale, an assortment of memorials pay tribute to those who served in The War of the Rebellion. Beginning with obelisks of the 1860s and continuing to re-mastered works of the 21st century, historian George Morrison presents a diverse selection of New Hampshire commemorations.

Morrison, a 27-year high school teacher, has traveled more than 18,000 miles researching monuments and memorials after a puzzling 1918 monument inscription piqued his curiosity.

The Civil War series at the Amherst Town Library continues on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. with "An Intimate Portrait of Amherst Civil War Soldier, Charles H. Phelps"; Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. with "The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War," and, Tuesday, Jan. 28 with "Civil War Quilts."

There is no admission fee to these programs, however, registration is required by calling 673-2288, emailing or visiting

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