Historian talks Sherman in South Carolina

Discussion at Civil War round table, Oct. 17


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  • Dr. Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber



By Laurie Gordon

— On Tuesday, October 17, learn about Civil War history as Dr. Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber delivers "Through Their Own Eyes: Soldiers and Civilians in South Carolina, 1865" at the Colonel Henry Ryerson Civil War Round Table at 7:30 pm at Bristol Glen.

Weber will discuss the experiences of both the soldiers and the civilians during the progress of General Sherman's armies in South Carolina.

“I will present accounts from their diaries and letters, detailing both the sorrow and for some, pleasure, that transpired during these months in 1865,” she said. “Both my Masters' thesis and Doctoral dissertation incorporated aspects of these stories.”

In January of 1865, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman and his forces commenced the Campaign of the Carolinas. Both the citizens of South Carolina as well as the soldiers themselves did not know what awaited them. Weber said, “The two wings feigned their march toward Augusta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, as to deceive the population as to their true objective - Columbia, South Carolina. As the soldiers marched, destruction was their friend and the people of South Carolina bore the brunt of being the first state to secede. Once the troops arrived in the capital, a day's visit led to the destruction of three-quarters of the city. Sherman's forces moved out of the city and continued their destructive course until they, the people of the state, tried to move out of harm, but frequently were unable to do so. They found their property, possessions, and lands destroyed.”

“The Colonel Henry Ryerson Civil War Round Table was started thirteen years ago by a small group of people interested in the American Civil War,” said the organization's president, Jennifer CS Brylinski. “We are a registered NJ not-for-profit. Initially our meetings were held at the Sussex County Community College and we now meet at Bristol Glen. We have monthly meetings at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, except for December, June, July, and August.”

Brylinski added, “At each meeting we have an interesting speaker who talks about a specific topic of the Civil War with a discussion session afterward. Each January we have a movie night, and we host two tours each year (usually in Gettysburg). All our funds come from member dues ($25 a year), and our meetings are open and free to the public. No registration is required. Just show up.”

She said, “I have been president of the group for the last ten years, having been vice president prior to that. We named our group after Henry Ogden Ryerson, a colonel in the war in the First Jersey Brigade, who was from Newton. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness and is buried in the Old Newton Burial Ground.”

A resident of Fredon, Weber is an Associate Professor of Military History at the State University of New York at Orange, where she was recently awarded both the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the SUNY: Orange President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In addition, she was just named one of the Marquis Who's Who Top Educators. She is the daughter of a Superior Court Judge (who is also a WWII Army veteran) and an American History teacher.

“I grew up in an environment where the appreciation of history was always encouraged," Weber said, “Every family vacation incorporated a Court House and a battlefield. I feel it is so important that people gain an understanding about our history, inclusive of all that is right and all that is wrong. We must continue to strive to learn about our past.”

For further information about the Colonel Henry Ryerson Civil War Round Table, visit: <URL destination="http://www.ryersoncwrt.com. ">www.ryersoncwrt.com.

</URL>Dr. Heidi Weber (photos provided)

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