Area history presentation set for April 8

Terrance Winschel, nationally known Civil War lecturer and retired Historian from the Vicksburg National Military Park, will speak Tuesday evening, April 8, at 7:30 p.m., at Simrall Hall Auditorium (Rm. 100) on the MSU campus in Starkville. The public is invited to attend this event of local, state, and Civil War interest.

The subject of his talk is “Stephen D. Lee and the Making of an American Shrine.” Of course, Stephen D. Lee may be best known in this area as the first President of Mississippi A & M College (now MSU.)

Few men, North or South, had as significant an impact on shaping post Civil War America as did Stephen D. Lee. The former Confederate lieutenant general was a planter, educator, legislator, and statesman who in the aftermath of war devoted his life and energies to forge bonds of fraternity and brotherhood between those who had worn the blue and gray in the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Terrence J. Winschel traces the remarkable course of Lee’s life focusing on his activities to memorialize his comrades in arms. A leader in the “New South” movement, Lee threw his considerable influence behind the efforts of Union veterans to establish a national military park at Vicksburg, comparable to those established previously by Congress.

Although defeat at Vicksburg had sealed the doom of the Confederacy, Lee believed that the Southern soldiers who had fought so valiantly at Vicksburg deserved to be honored rather than shadowed by shame.

In 1895, the Vicksburg National Military Park Association formed for the purpose of petitioning Congress to establish a national military park at Vicksburg. The Union and Confederate veterans who comprised the Association elected Lee as their president.

Four years later, their efforts were crowned with success as President William McKinley signed the legislation. In recognition of his work, Lee was appointed to the park commission, and was elected Chairman by his fellow commissioners, both of whom were Union veterans.

For those of you who have visited the Vicksburg National Military Park or are familiar with the story of the Siege of Vicksburg , you will find through Winschel’s presentation that the park has a rich and fascinating history all its own. Mr. Winschel’s talk is sponsored by the Golden Triangle Civil War Round Table, which includes members from Starkville and many surrounding counties.

For more information, please call 662-325-4552.