By Chelsea Brumagen ’13
Siena’s history department cosponsored a conference with the Capital District Civil War Round Table called “1862: A Year of Battles.” The three-day event commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and featured student presentations, expert speakers and a tour of Burden Ironworks. Organizers said 1862 was the first full year of the war with fighting throughout much of the south and west, which included major battles of Shiloh, Antietam and Lincoln’s drafting of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Assistant Professor of History, Bruce Eelman, Ph.D., shares the scholarly opinion that the Civil Warwas the central, defining crisis in American history.
“It’s really when the American nation was threatened and I think it’s important to recognize that our freedoms and the things we take for granted are not always guaranteed,” said Eelman. “During the Civil War they were very much threatened and we need to remember the sacrifices that thousands of men and women made to serve our nation.”
The conference provided a wonderful opportunity for Siena College students to present their research on the Civil War. Cassandra Jane Werking ’13 shared the fruit of her labors as a Summer Scholar. Werking transcribed letters written by Orsell Cook Brown, Quarter Master’s Assistant of the 44th Volunteer Infantry of New York. She views events like the conference as preparation for her future career. “I love American history and I hope to be a college professor one day in Civil War studies,” Werking said.