CHICKASHA — If you visit the South and bring up Gen. William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea, you probably will find some people who are still upset and angry.
That’s part of the reason James Finck, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s Summer History Symposium coordinator, wanted to discuss the march at this year’s symposium. The other reason? It’s the march’s 150th anniversary.
More than 200 people are expected to attend this year’s symposium, which will include a keynote address by American Civil War scholar Joseph Glatthaar on Sherman’s march. The symposium will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Te Ata Memorial Auditorium at USAO in Chickasha. The event is free and open to the public.
As part of the symposium, Finck is holding a summer camp for high school students to discuss history with major historians. Last year six students signed up for the camp. This year the number more than doubled, Finck said.
Sherman’s March to the Sea took place in 1864 from mid-November to mid-December when Sherman and his troops marched through Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean, destroying food sources and homes along the way to show the North’s might over the South.
The march was the first time the civilian population had been specifically targeted during warfare. The event changed the nature of warfare and is still a point of contention, Finck said.
“It seems like everyone in Georgia, their great grandfather’s house was burned down by Sherman, whether it was in the path or not,” Finck said.
During the keynote address, Glatthaar will discuss the march and its significance.
Glatthaar wants those who attend to understand the Union soldiers’ dedication to their cause and winning the war. He also wants attendees to understand the hardships faced by the Confederacy because of the march.
Overall, Glatthaar said he wants to engender a love for history to those in the audience — especially high school students.
“I just hope that these students will come away with a good appreciation of their own heritage, and understand that you can’t really figure out where you are if you don’t understand where you’ve been,” he said.
If you go
Summer History Symposium
Topic: Gen. Sherman’s March to the Sea
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Te Ata Memorial Auditorium, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha