When: April 13th
Where: Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.
Speaker: Kathleen Logothetis Thompson
Topic: ” A Field of Monuments: Commemoration at Gettysburg.”
Visitors traveling over the Gettysburg battlefield today marvel at the more than thirteen hundred monuments and markers dotting the field. While the monuments were placed over time by groups trying to tell their own stories and perspectives of the battle and the war as a whole, many visitors see them all as part of the same commemorative story, placed all at once on the field. In reality, the formation of Gettysburg as the central, most commemorated, and most visited field of the Civil War is a story that has many stages that bring us to the modern field we know today. The work of one man created the legacy of Gettysburg as the crucial turning point of the Civil War and coined the term “High Water Mark” of the war and of the Confederacy. The process of reunion and reconciliation motivated Union regiments to place hundreds of monuments on the field and compete for access to the most famous spots of fighting. And the centennial and modern versions of commemoration have added the Confederate voice to the battlefield and shaped the battlefield in significant ways even into this century. The Gettysburg that we visit today is the product of 150+ years of commemoration, and the process continues today with the recent work of the NPS to reshape visitor experiences.
Kathleen Logothetis Thompson graduated from Siena College in May 2010 with a B.A. in History and a Certificate in Revolutionary Era Studies. She earned her M.A. in History from West Virginia University in May 2012. Her thesis “A Question of Life or Death: Suicide and Survival in the Union Army” examines wartime suicide among Union soldiers, its causes, and the reasons that army saw a relatively low suicide rate. She is currently pursuing her PhD at West Virginia University with research on mental trauma in the Civil War. In addition, Kathleen was a seasonal interpreter at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park between 2010 and 2014, and is the co-editor of Civil Discourse, a blog on the long Civil War.