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Civil War groups working to promote history

Special Photo
The Sons of Confederate Veterans met recently in Henry County with members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. On hand for the occasion were (from left): Kelly Barrow, of the SCV; Henry Commission Charman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis; Brad Schall, of the SCV; and Eric Peterson, of the SUVCW.

Special Photo The Sons of Confederate Veterans met recently in Henry County with members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. On hand for the occasion were (from left): Kelly Barrow, of the SCV; Henry Commission Charman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis; Brad Schall, of the SCV; and Eric Peterson, of the SUVCW.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

As the anniversary of the Civil War approaches, efforts are underway, locally, to educate the public about both sides of the historic conflict.

Our History Project, Inc., a national, non-profit organization, is working with the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) Camp 108 in McDonough, to promote historical education, preservation and community projects.

Our History Project, Inc., chose to work with the SCV "because of the volunteerism, open involvement, passion for history and open platform presented by its members," according to Christopher Chapman, current SCV camp commander, and a past camp commander for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW).

He added that members of SCV Camp 108, in 2010, logged more than 2,000 community-service hours, which included multiple education days at local schools.

"This does not count its members supporting their churches, charities, community businesses, local needs and projects," said Chapman. "They have shown and proven their dedication to preserving our nation's past through works, writings and media presentations.

"[The SUVCW's] goal is historic preservation, and to honor the service of union veterans," Chapman continued. "The Sons of Confederate Veterans is essentially seeking to accomplish the same goals, for Confederate veterans."

The local SUVCW chapter held its first meeting last month, at Nash Farm Battlefield, in Hampton. Chapman said the meeting served as a way to kick off Civil War-themed events locally.

"The 150th anniversary of the Civil War will be celebrated in a number of ways throughout the country over the next four years, including battle re-enactments, conferences, symposiums, monument dedications, parades and other activities," he said. "This event represents the first of many planned for Henry County, and for the Nash Farm Battlefield."

Chapman believes the public wants to know more about the Civil War, and in genealogy associated with it. "I think right now, because of the sesquicentennial, interest is increasing," he said.

Eric Peterson, chief of staff for the Sons of Union Veterans for Georgia and South Carolina, said several programs will be held over the next four years, to commemorate the 150th, or sesquicentennial, anniversary of the Civil War. The first, he said, will be a memorial service scheduled for April 16, at Fort Sumter, S.C.

"We will have a joint Confederate and union honor guard to fire a salute volley, in honor of veterans from both sides," Peterson said.

He added that it is important to remember the sacrifices made by union and confederate soldiers, during the Civil War.

"Some historians have called the Civil War, the second American Revolution," Peterson said. "I agree with that. The first American Revolution founded the country, but the Civil War defined what kind of country it would be."