Appomattox has long served to mark the end of the American Civil War, but, in reality, it has “a far more contentious, uncertain, ambiguous, and lengthy ending,” says Caroline E. Janney, Ph.D., the John L. Nau III Professor of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia.
Janney, who also serves as the university’s director of the Nau Center for Civil War History, will present “An End or Beginning: Lee’s Army after Appomattox” when she speaks at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.
Janney is the author of seven books, including “Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army after Appomattox,” for which she earned the 2022 Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize. The annual prize, which includes a $50,000 award, is awarded for the finest scholarly work written in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or the American Civil War era.
Of her book, James G. Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, stated: “Deeply researched and beautifully written, ‘Ends of War’ lets us see into the hearts and minds of Confederate soldiers in the crucial weeks and months of the Civil War’s fitful end. It is one of the best history books I have ever read and the story she tells still resonates in our country today.”
The jury that evaluated the 2022 prize nominees reported: “The story Janney tells is so compelling that readers may, at times, forget that they already know the outcome. In short, Janney succeeds in saying something new and important about the Civil War, using a diversity of voices, including soldiers and civilians, political and military leaders, and freed people.”
In addition to her roles at the University of Virginia, Janney is past president of the Society of Civil War Historians and a series editor for the University of North Carolina Press’s Civil War America series. Her other books include “Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation” and “Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause.”
Janney’s presentation is Ohio Wesleyan’s 2022 Richard W. Smith Lecture in Civil War History. The Smith Lecture is named in honor of Richard W. Smith, Ph.D., a retired history professor who taught at OWU between 1950 and 1986. Past speakers in the series, which began in 2002, have included Pulitzer Prize-winner James M. McPherson, author of “Battle Cry Freedom: The Civil War Era.”
Learn more about the OWU Department of History and the annual Smith Lecture at www.owu.edu/history.