CWI Director Peter Carmichael has two upcoming public talks this winter. The first,"I am all most sick all the time and half crazy;” The fate of a Confederate deserter after Gettysburg, will take place on Friday, January 26. The talk will begin at 7:00 pm at the Central Rappahannock Public Library, Fredericksburg Branch, and is co-sponsored by Stratford Hall. On August 20, 1863, just a day before Jefferson Davis called for the Confederacy to renew itself through public fasting and prayer, thirteen veteran soldiers from the 3rd North Carolina decided that God had other intentions. That evening, in the blackness of night, they picked up their rifles, slung on their cartridge belts, and escaped into the woods. From that point on there was no turning back for these runaways. To understand why these soldiers deserted and to find out what happened to them during their journey, Carmichael's program will focus on the words of North Carolina's John Futch, who was illiterate, but nonetheless authored a remarkable set of letters that he dictated to his comrades. Futch's powerful story puts audiences in the shoes of a deserter, enabling 21st-century Americans to see his world as he imagined it after the devastating defeat in Pennsylvania.
Carmichael will visit Richmond on February 24 to speak at the American Civil War Museum’s 2018 Symposium: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times. Co-sponsored by University of Virginia’s Nau Center for Civil War History, the event will be held at the Library of Virginia. Carmichael’s talk, “Will the Real Common Civil War Soldier Stand Up,” will provide a preview of his forthcoming book The War for the Common Soldier (UNC Press, 2018), exploring how “ordinary” soldiers understood the war through emotion, thought, and action, and how these understandings impacted their responses to military authority.