This month, students from CWI Director Peter Carmichael’s Gettysburg in History and Memory class visited the National Archives in Washington D.C. Over twenty students departed Gettysburg just before sunrise on February 10, accompanied by Dr. Carmichael and CWI Interim Assistant Director Kevin Lavery.
The students are researching the lives of individual soldiers who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. Although some Civil War service records and pension files are available online, most have not yet been digitized. A visit to the National Archives to work with these key primary sources was essential to being able to tell each soldier’s full story. The students have been tasked with writing a narrative about the soldier’s life before the battle, creating a tour showing his movements at Gettysburg using digital maps, and reflecting on the consequences of his death. Their work will become the basis for a new digital history initiative that will be launched by CWI in June 2017.
During their visit, they also met Gettysburg alumni John Deeben and Trevor Plante, as well as Dr. David Gerleman, assistant editor of the Lincoln Papers. They even had a brief encounter with David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States. The trip was enriching from both a professional and scholarly standpoint, and we are looking forward to taking another group to the National Archives in the future.
Stay tuned for more stories about the students’ experiences and the launch of our new digital project.