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Hazard Lecture Series to focus on the American Civil War


Jan Swoope



The American Civil War takes centerstage at the Hazard Lectures Series on consecutive Mondays, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, in Columbus. 


In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war, Dr. James McDonough will speak on "The Struggles at the Battle of Shiloh" Oct. 22 in the Heritage Academy Student Activities Building at 625 Magnolia Lane.  


On Oct. 29, Marc L. Harris will present "The Battle at Antietam." Both programs begin at 7 p.m. and are free to the public. 


The Hazard Lecture Series was designed by the adult children of the late George S. Hazard as a tribute to their father's interest in history and to serve the community. Rotating themes are history, science and the arts.  


"It was obvious that the historical event to consider this year is the American Civil War since we are marking its 150th anniversary," said George Hazard Jr. "We were happy to be able to get Dr. McDonough and Mr. Harris to help us understand two of the big early battles, Shiloh and Antietam." 






The Battle of Shiloh, a two-day engagement in April 1862 in southwestern Tennessee, was one of the bloodiest encounters of the war. McDonough, an award-winning historian and professor emeritus of history at Auburn University, will discuss its significance. 


The native of Nashville, Tenn., has written numerous books on military history, including "Shiloh - in Hell before Night." The Union colonel, whose words give the book its title, foretold the losses when he said to his men, "Fill your canteens, boys! Some of you will be in hell before night." 


Three of McDonough's books have been selected by the History Book Club. He is currently writing a biography of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.  


"Dr. McDonough participated in the observances of the 150th anniversary at Shiloh last spring, so we are really glad to have him come to us fresh from that event. 






Harris, of Columbus, was raised in New York in the Catskills Mountains and earned his master's degree in history from Wesleyan University. While at Wesleyan, he became interested in the Civil War and has been studying aspects of it for many years. 


Harris was a full-time educator for 37 years and taught abroad at the Auckland Grammar (Latin) School in Auckland, New Zealand. He completed his graduate work at Auckland University.  


Harris, whose wife, the Rev. Anne Harris, is the current priest in charge at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus, is an adjunct instructor at East Mississippi Community College. 


"I'm going to talk about Antietam from the perspective of its military importance, obviously, but moreso its political importance and how it changed the focus of the war," remarked Harris. 


"We are anticipating two excellent programs on the Civil War and hope the community will join us for them," said Beth Lucas of Heritage Academy. "Heritage is pleased to host these lectures each year, and we appreciate the Hazard family for providing such interesting and timely programs." 


For more information, or to reserve group seating, contact Lucas at 662-327-5272 or 662-386-3392.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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