Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Have Returned!

Friends,

Just like General Douglas MacArthur (who's father was a Civil War veteran), I have returned.  All of you have my sincerest apologies for my dropping off the face of the earth.  Actually, I didn't really do that.  I'm still in La Porte.  But nonetheless, here I am.  I am teaching nine, yes you read that right, nine classes this semester including one that I have never taught before and it is literally kicking my ever living Irish-American butt!

Today I had the opportunity to lead a group of my students (and my wife's students) on a tour of the San Jacinto Battlefield.  For those of you who don't know, this is the spot where Texas won their independence from Mexico.  Today the park is surrounded by the lovely glow of chemical plants.  My first law enforcement job was with the State Parks and Wildlife Department and I was assigned there as a Park Police Officer.  (In some states they call them Park Rangers...as in the Park Rangers who carry guns.  Here we call them Park Police.)  I even got to live in a house on the park property!

So as I was wandering the battlefield today with the students, I remembered the last time I visited a battlefield and that happened to be Shiloh.  I believe if you look down in my earlier posts I referenced that trip.  That got me to thinking that I have really let my blog go to waste and I needed to remedy that.  Luckily I still remember my password!

I am teaching about the Civil War right now in my 1301 courses and to be honest, it is hard.  I've literally spent my entire life either studying or reenacting the war.  When you have gained such a body of knowledge about something it is often difficult to decide what to include in a class and what to leave out.  This is a basic US History survey course and so it doesn't call for a level of detail that one might want to include.  Many of my fellow colleagues run out of time and don't even cover the war at all.  That is a travesty if you ask me.  I move fairly quickly through the semester so that I can include ample time for studying what people far smarter than me have called the defining event in American History.

Here is how I cover it:

Class 1:  Election of Lincoln through First Manassas
Class 2:  1862 (Including fall of New Orleans, Shiloh, McClellan in Virginia, Antietam, The Proclamation)
Class 3: 1863 (Battle of Galveston, Gettysburg, Draft Riots, Sabine Pass)
Class 4: 1864-5  (Wilderness Campaign, March to the Sea, Franklin/Nashville, Appomattox)
Class 5: Civil War Medicine

I am a military historian and so I focus a lot on that, but of course we also draw in a little of the social history while we move along.  My students have always told me that my Civil War lectures are the best ones that I do, but that could also be because it is the end of the semester and they know that they'll be done listening to me beat my gums for 3 hours a week soon!

My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict who must apologize over and over again to all my readers for disappearing!