A large crowd turned out over the weekend for the Civil War Reunion at the Pennypacker Mills Historic Site near Schwenksville. Participants included Delaware Valley Civil War Roundtable member Jim Dover of Northeast Philadelphia. He says he became a Civil War buff after visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield.
“There’s just this sensation you get at different parts of the battlefield that something important happened here, and you start looking into it and researching it, and the funny thing about American History is the more you look into it, and the personal lives of these individuals, the more you want to keep looking because their lives are so interesting and these guys weren’t backwards. They didn’t have today’s technology, but boy were they intelligent, and the engineering back then was just incredible. They did things back then that would put some of our engineers to shame today because they didn’t have all the heavy-duty equipment, so it’s an amazing part of our history.”
Dover says the schools, under pressure to be politically correct, are not teaching enough about the Civil War and the American Revolution, and kids learn very little about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. He says he and other Civil War Roundtable members teach courses at Holy Family University in Northeast Philadelphia and Manor College in Abington. Others on hand included author Frank Meredith, who grew up in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where Union and Confederate troops fought the day before the Battle of Gettysburg. He says the real story of the war is not as simple as what he learned in school.
“As a kid growing up I learned that the North were the good guys, they wanted to end slavery, and the South were the bad guys, they wanted to enslave people, and that certainly was an element, but there was a lot more to it than that. The young man who is at the center of the story believes very strongly in states’ rights, and he was in Manassas, Virginia when the war broke out, 16 years old and horrified to see federal troops invading sovereign territory and he helped bury the dead, and two years later as a young man he’s still trying to decide which side to fight on. He’s against slavery, but he does believe in state’s rights, so that’s another element of the story. Why do men fight on both sides?”
Meredith says the book is fiction, but historically accurate. The young man at the center of the story has a romantic interest in two women, and you don’t learn which one he picks until the last sentence. The Unfinished Work just came out in hardcover on June 1, and it’s available at Amazon.com or you can get an autographed copy at his website,