Bowdoin to Commemorate Civil War Sesquicentennial with Alumni College

Commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.


Amid the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Bowdoin is preparing to commemorate the sesquicentennial with Alumni College programming. ”The Afterlife of the American Civil War,” a series scheduled August 8-11, 2013, will feature keynote speakers, talks by Bowdoin faculty and walking tours of historic Brunswick.

As Alumni College approaches, the Bowdoin Daily Sun is posting milestones and other remembrances related to the College at the beginning of each month.

Courtesy of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, this month we share extracts from a letter written Oct. 4, 1862 from Charles Henry Howard (Bowdoin 1859) to his mother, Eliza Gilmore. Of special note, Howard mentions his brother Otis (Oliver Otis Howard, Bowdoin 1850) riding with President Lincoln.


Hd. Qrs 2d Div. Sumner’s Corps
Bolivar Heights Va.
Oct. 4th 1862

My dear Mother,

I have written to Rowland and to Dellie since writing to you. I generally give you each a turn.
Genl. Sewall with his Regt. reported this morning at Sunrise. They came in the cars last evening – came across the river & got bivouacked at about 2 a.m. just this side of Harpers Ferry. We did not know they were so near tho’ we knew they had been ordered here. Otis invited Genl. S. & his Field Officers to Breakfast with us which they were glad enough to do….

Col. Sewall is posted up upon the summit of Bolivar Heights to our front & right from which point with his glass he can see the Rebel pickets & with the naked eye see where some Rebel horsemen took some of our men prisoners yesterday who were foolish enough to stray beyond our picket line.

You will probably have seen accts of the visit of President Lincoln to this place. Otis rode by his side all the time he was passing our Div. also visited Loudon & Md. Heights in his company the next morning. Told a good many funny anecdotes suggested by what he saw or heard remarked….

We have no intimations of a movement at present. McClellan was only put in charge of the defenses of Washington – under that order he drove the Rebels out of Md, but was not allowed to go farther….




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