Vermont historian Howard Coffin to speak in Shelburne

Dorothea Penar and the Shelburne Historical Society have a display of Shelburne documents from the period and biographical information about some of the 80 Shelburne men who fought in the war. Courtesy photo
Dorothea Penar and the Shelburne Historical Society have a display of Shelburne documents from the period and biographical information about some of the 80 Shelburne men who fought in the war. Courtesy photo

Submitted by Shelburne Historical Society

We all know the big story of the Civil War, the dates, the names of historic battles and famous generals. We have watched Ken Burns’ Civil War documentaries and perhaps memorized the Gettysburg Address. But do we know the history of Vermont and Shelburne and the Civil War?

Noted Vermont historian and author Howard Coffin will speak at 7pm at Shelburne Town Hall on Feb. 8. He will cover Vermont’s involvement in the War, the Vermonters who fought in the war, and sites in Vermont that have a relationship to the Civil War.

Coffin’s talk is sponsored by the Vermont Council on the Humanities and hosted by the Shelburne Historical Society.

This quote from his book Full Duty, Vermonters in the Civil War conveys the scale of that involvement. “In the aftermath of the Civil War it was calculated that Vermont had furnished 34,238 men to the war effort. Of those, 5,224 died. Vermont’s population when the war began was 315,098. It has been said, though not confirmed, that Vermont ranked first in the number of men per capita killed in combat. There is no record of numbers of maimed and crippled.”

Shelburne Historical Society will have a display of Shelburne documents from the period and biographical information about some of the 80 Shelburne men who fought in the war. It is interesting to note the family names, some historical and some whose descendants still live here, listed on the report of men who served in the Civil War from Shelburne: Barstow, Douglas, Morehouse, Holabird, Isham, Thomas, Blinn, Collamer, Tracy, Spear, Van Sicklen, Meack, Harrington, Peirce, Bacon and many more.

Howard Coffin is a seventh generation Vermonter with six ancestors who served in the Vermont Civil War Regiments. He is the author of four books on the Civil War: Something Abides: Discovering the Civil War in Today’s Vermont; Full Duty: Vermonters in the Civil War; Nine Months to Gettysburg; and The Battered Stars. He also wrote Guns Over the Champlain Valley, a book on military sites along the Champlain Corridor. He lives in Montpelier.

For information about the program, which is free and open to the community, contact Dorothea Penar at dfpenar@comcast.net.

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