This weekend I will be conducting my first battlefield tour of the 2012 season. The last AABT trip that I led was back in November, so I’ve been itching to get back out on our local hallowed grounds. This time I have the pleasure of guiding a very good friend of mine who is working on his PhD in History at Carnegie Mellon University. As he is not wheelchair-bound, there won’t be any limitations on where we can go. Therefore we will be doing an expanded version of my Fredericksburg Battlefield tour. Although the Civil War is not his specialty, he is slated to participate on several CW-related academic panels this year. My goal is to present the local events of December 1862 and the repercussions that followed.
It’s always a privilege to have an opportunity to work with professional historians and teachers as they truly have an elevated way of analyzing history and exploring how it relates to other topics. They also don’t get skewed by allowing their own personal views to dictate their conclusions (unlike the good ol’ heritage crowd). Their ability to interpret history in a sociological and philosophical manner is a learned skill that few of us public historians have. I certainly don’t. Most teaching historians like my friend are required to read close to a hundred books a year in order to teach their students. Add to that their own research and publishing projects and that equates to a helluva workload. Frankly, I have a newfound respect for these folks. With that said I hope to learn more from my friend than he will from me! (Recap of our experience to come…)