West Hartford resident Dr. Matthew Warshauer, who co-chairs the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission, will present ‘Assassination: The Story of a President’s Murder and a Nation’s Heartbreak’ on Tuesday, April 14, and will also give a presentation at the Noah Webster House on April 29.
By Ronni Newton
April 2015 commemorates the sesquicentennial of two critical moments in American history – the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War as well as the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
West Hartford resident Dr. Matthew Warshauer, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University who also serves as co-chair of the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission, is involved with several programs to commemorate both important historical events.
On Tuesday, April 14, which is the 150th anniverary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission, in collaboration with The Center for the Arts & Humanities and the University of Saint Joseph Queenes Companye, will hold a special commemorative event.
Warshauer will guide attendees through the closing days of the war – “from the joyous celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to the nation’s heartbreak as news of the assassination quickly overshadowed Union victory,” according to a news release.
“It’s a one-night-only event, a very original performance that will be like stepping back through a window in time,” Warshauer said. The event will include actor readings from original documents, newspapers, and reminiscences, as well as a truly amazing array of historic images, according to the release. It will also address John Wilkes Booth’s motivations, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s obsession with capturing those responsible, the voices of Connecticut soldiers who heard the news at the front, and the public’s reaction to the most audacious act in American history.
“Imagine the mindset of the country [in April 1865] – people were in heaven that they had survived the Civil War, and then they find out just four days later that Lincoln had been killed,” Warshauer said. The program will capture the moment of death, the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, and how the nation reacted along the way, he said.
The Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission has been hosting activities focused on the importance and lasting legacies of the American Civil War and Connecticut’s involvement in it, for the past four years, and this month marks the “beginning of the end” of the commemoration, Warshauer said.
The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will also host Warshauer for a program on April 29 focusing on the Civil War’s impact not only in Connecticut but also specifically in West Hartford. His program will include information about several Civil War era soldiers who are buried in Old North Cemetery in West Hartford.
“Assassination: The Story of a President’s Murder and a Nation’s Heartbreak,” will take place on Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hoffman Auditoriun at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. Warshauer said there are some seats still available. The cost is $20 general admission; $15 reenactors, seniors, military, students and staff of USJ. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ccsu.edu/civilwar.
Warshauer’s lecture and discussion will be held at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, April 29 at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, 227 South Main St. in West Hartford.
According to the release, Dr. Warshauer, the author of four books, is a specialist on 19th century political and constitutional history. His book Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival (2011) is a riveting account of the state’s remarkable, often turbulent, Civil War history. He followed this state history with an edited book, Inside Connecticut in the Civil War: Essays on One State’s Struggles, which was written by his graduate students and breaks new ground on Connecticut’s part in the nation’s greatest trial.
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