28 April 2009 by Published in: General News 10 comments

Gov. Ted Strickland has FINALLY gotten around to establishing a committee for the commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War here in Ohio. From today’s issue of The Columbus Dispatch:

Committee named to plan Ohio’s 150th anniversary Civil War events
Monday, April 27, 2009 10:41 PM
By Alan Johnson
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Ohio’s contributions and losses in the Civil War will be recognized by a committee commemorating the 150th anniversary of the conflict.
Gov. Ted Strickland today established the Civil War 150 Advisory Committee under the direction of the Ohio Historical Society. The 18-member committee will plan events for the sesquicentennial commemoration from 2011 to 2015.

No new state funding was allocated for the Civil War 150 committee, but the Historical Society – which is in a budget crisis – set aside $60,000 from its operating funds for the project. The agency expects to get $40,000 from public and private donations.

Strickland said the 150th anniversary “provides a fresh opportunity for a new generation to rediscover the many ways in which Ohioans contributed to the success of the Civil War, as well as how the war changed life in Ohio.”

Of the 345,000 Ohioans who served in the war, 35,000 lost their lives.

President Abraham Lincoln had two Ohioans in his cabinet: Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. Ohio natives Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman and Phillip Sheridan were Union generals, and one military unit, the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, included two future presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley.

Historical Society spokeswoman Kim Schuette said the agency picked a staff member, Jackie Barton, to coordinate Civil War 150 activities.

All I can say is that it’s about damn time, particularly considering that I wrote to the governor about this 14 months ago….

I’m not on the committee, but that’s okay. I’ve got enough to do with my own projects, my job, and with the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation. I’m just glad that someone finally got around to dealing with this important issue before it was too late. Of course, there’s not a single dollar appropriated for this (big surprise, given (a) the lousy economy and (b) the tendency to deny funding for anything historical in this state), but at least there’s now a commission.

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Comments

  1. Randy
    Tue 28th Apr 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Eric:
    I’m glad to see Ohio stand up and do this. Better later late than never I guess. The clock is ticking towards the start of the 150th, which will be here before we know it, but you still have a chance to have a very meaningful exploration and commemoration of Ohio’s role in the war.
    Even though you are not on the committee (here in NC I believe all members are state employees) you may still have a chance to help out and have some input. Well done, Ohio!

    Randy

  2. Tue 28th Apr 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Well my friend, let’s be honest… Ohio has never really been a front runner. Take Cleveland for instance… that said, better late than never. :)

  3. Tom Thompson
    Tue 28th Apr 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Eric,
    I think you will see many local efforts come up in support (duplication) of the state efforts. Our roundtable has been in discussion with local historical societies and others to help fashion some meaningful programs.

    Don’t be surprised if you are asked to play some role in such efforts. One of the things we hope to achieve is to stimulate high school and college level involvement in the study of Ohio’s contributions to the war effort.

  4. Tue 28th Apr 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Sometimes it’s good to be an ex-Buckeye… at least PA has been planning for some time, and the Penn Civil War Trails is now well in progress.

  5. Chris Van Blargan
    Wed 29th Apr 2009 at 7:32 am

    Eric,

    A decent start, but I wonder when the state is going begin preparing for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. After all, Perry’s victory over Barclay, and the repulse of Proctor’s two expeditions at Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson were critical events in that war and paved the way for expansion in the upper mid-west.

    Chris

    P.S. Michael . . . a Cleveland joke . . . really? Where’s the cheesy rimshot emoticon when I need it. But anyways, we frontrunners will see you in the NBA finals!

  6. Wed 29th Apr 2009 at 9:20 am

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the coverage and the support. The Advisory Committee hasn’t actually been appointed yet: we’re working on criteria/goals. And though we are certainly behind states like Virginia and Pennsylvania, we are mostly in line with or even ahead of some others. I’ve been participating in a quarterly call with all the state coordinators who are planning to commemorate the 150th through American Association of State and Local History, and some states are just starting to plan.

    Also, FYI, there is a legislative act proposed in the Ohio Senate to create a War of 1812 Commission. You can see the legislation at:
    http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_SB_93

    Jackie

  7. Michael Lynch
    Wed 29th Apr 2009 at 9:47 am

    I’ve been wondering if the recent Lincoln Bicentennial will have any negative impact on the Civil War celebrations. Is there a possibility of some public burnout, or will the popularity of the war as a subject in and of itself prevent that from happening?

    –ML

  8. Chris Van Blargan
    Wed 29th Apr 2009 at 11:14 am

    Jackie,

    Great news on the War of 1812 commission. Thanks for the info.

    Chris

  9. Wed 06th Jan 2010 at 12:01 pm

    As a longtime historian and a long time friend of Governor Ted Strickland ( before he became Governor), I know that the Governor has always been concerned with the history of Ohio. I met Governor Strickland and his wife at historic Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio almost thirty years ago and over the years have worked on a number of history projects that he has supported.

    I also have some questions about what criteria (if any) was used by the Sesquicentennial Commission to choose committee members. In my opinion, those chosen to represent Ohio’s African American experince during the Civil War do not have connections with African Americans in Ohio for that purpose.

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