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The University of Alabama

Annual Civil War Lectures Series to be Held at UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A series of lectures about the Civil War will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in the Grand Gallery of the Alabama Museum of Natural History on The University of Alabama campus.

The annual John Caldwell Calhoun Sanders Lecture Series includes talks from biographical sketches and personal wartime experiences on campus and in the field to unit histories and accounts of battles or skirmishes involving some 900 UA alumni and its Corps of Cadets.

“The goal of the J.C.C. Sanders Lecture Series is to present the nation’s top scholars on American Civil War history for a diverse audience that includes the general public,” said Dr. William Bomar, executive director of University Museums. “Thanks to collaboration between The University of Alabama Museums and the UA history department, especially Dr. George Rable, the lineup of speakers is always top-notch.

“Besides the expected analysis of battles from a military history perspective, topics have included political factors, biographical studies of key figures and life on the home front,” Bomar said. “The lecture provides the general public the opportunity to hear scholarly authors present their research in a way that is educational and entertaining for everyone.”

Christopher McILwain, a Tuscaloosa attorney and president of Hubbard, McILwain & Brakefield P.C., will speak on “Civil War Alabama.”

McILwain received his undergraduate degree in political science and sociology from UA, and then graduated from UA’s School of Law in 1980. He has since practiced law in Tuscaloosa. His intellectual focus for the past 25 years has been on 19th century Alabama.

Dr. George Rable, the Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History in UA’s department of history, will discuss “The Universal Yankee Nation,” based on his recent book “Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South.”

Rable, a professor in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, earned his doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1978. His research interests include Southern history and the American Civil War.

Dr. Earl Hess, who holds the Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University, will discuss “Braxton Bragg: The Best-Hated Man of the Confederacy.” Hess completed his doctorate at Purdue University.

He has published nearly 20 books, more than 20 articles and more than 100 book reviews. Among his recent Civil War publications are “The Battle of Ezra Church and the Struggle for Atlanta,” “Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness” and “Kennesaw Mountain — Sherman, Johnson, and the Atlanta Campaign.”

In addition to the lectures, there will be several special exhibits on display, including a collection of Civil War cannonballs that were discovered last summer. The cannonballs will be displayed at the Alabama Museum of Natural History during the Sanders Lecture and will be moved to the Gorgas House the following week.

Admission to the lecture is free, but advance registration is requested. For more information, phone 205/348-7551 or e-mail

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.