Historian Tom Desjardin, Pittsfield resident and Maine’s Commissioner of Education, will discuss “The Civil War’s Effects on Maine and Mainers” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the First Universalist Church, Easy Street, in Pittsfield. This event is sponsored by the Mid-Maine Community Forum. Desjardin holds a Ph.D. in history and has published four books on the subject, most notably “Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign,” according to a press release.

Two local Civil War re-enactors will be on hand for the evening, according to a news release from Mid-Maine Community Forum.

Desjardin’s talk is part of a series of events honoring Mainers who served in the Civil War. This series begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Pittsfield Public Library with an open discussion of the book “Yankee Warrior: the Story of a Civil War Hero from Maine” by former Maine Army National Guard Officer Robert L. Haskell. Haskell will be on hand for the discussion. The subject of the book is Medal of Honor winner Capt. Walter G. Morrill, United States Army, a Maine country boy, who, as a young volunteer, commanded Co. B, 20th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg. His name is etched on the Pittsfield’s War Memorial on Main Street by the railroad track.

Beginning Thursday, April 2, and continuing to Thursday, April 15, a book discussion at the Library will focus on one more true war experience of a rural youth turned soldier, “Soldier’s Heart” by Gary Paulson. “Soldier’s Heart” was the term used for post-war stress disorder in the Civil War era, called shell shock in World War I, combat fatigue in World War II, and, more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Continuing through the spring, other events will include a Veterans’ Roundtable. Local veterans will relate their own experiences to those documented in the books under study. Multiple copies of the books to be discussed are available at the Pittsfield Public Library desk.

In May, a grand finale in Pittsfield’s historic Universalist Church will feature music of the era and a play, David Greenham’s “A Civil War Veteran Returns.” Uniformed battle re-enactors will be present along with authentic field equipment.

These events are planned and sponsored by the local and legendary team members of the Pittsfield Historical Society, Pittsfield Public Library and Maine Central Institute, with the collaboration of the Heart of Pittsfield and the Mid-Maine Community Forum. These events are made possible through a grant from the Maine Historical Society and the Maine Humanities Council, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, call Mid-Maine Community Forum at 747-1591.


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