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Civil War roundtable discussion will be held in Canton

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CANTON — The Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House are the topics for discussion at the next St. Lawrence County Historical Association Civil War Roundtable discussion Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Silas Wright House, 3 East Main St. The North Country Civil War Roundtable is part of the association’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which was fought from 1861-1865.

Roger Hutchinson will begin the program by exploring the opening battle of General U.S. Grant’s Overland Campaign which was fought amidst a marshy, impenetrable tract of land near the Rapidan River in Virginia, known as “the Wilderness.” Both armies were fresh out of winter headquarters, when approximately 100,000 Union troops and 60,000 Confederates clashed on May 5-7, 1864. This battle was a tactical draw, but Grant pushed his men forward and continued southward to Spotsylvania Court House.

Jan Wojcik picks up the story at Spotsylvania discussing “Three Conversions at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House – how new ideas about warfare, race, and democracy emerge during the bloody month of May 1864.” Another 100,000 Union troops and 52,000 Confederates continued the Overland Campaign at Spotsylvania from May 8-21, 1864.

Roger Hutchinson is a retired forester with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and a longtime member of the Civil War Roundtable. His interest in the Wilderness stems from Hutchinson’s possession of a Civil War foot locker which belonged to an ancestor who perished at the Wilderness. Jan Wojcik is a retired professor of humanities at Clarkson University, Potsdam, and new member of the Roundtable.

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