Ever since my senior year at UCLA, when I had the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Joan Waugh wherein each student selected a Civil War regiment as the subject of a rigorous study and paper, I have had a strong bond with the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment; more famously known as The Harvard Regiment. This moniker was assigned because 31 of the officers and men of the regiment were either active students or recent graduates when they joined the regiment to fight.
This was by far my favorite undergrad class, and that affinity has persisted. I've been able to collect some of the seminal texts regarding the 20th over the years, and was thrilled when Richard Miller published "Harvard's Civil War", which is the best regimental history I've ever read. This interest has reached new levels over the past few months because of three wonderful happenings.
First, I was invited to join a community on Yahoo focusing on the 20th. Every Tuesday we have an online chat, there's a daily digest that comes out, and an active homepage on Yahoo for people to share photos, blogs, etc.
The man who runs this community is behind the second part of this renaissance, as he got the good people at Civil War Interactive to select "Harvard's Civil War" as the next subject of the website's book chat. Here is the schedule if you would like to participate.
The last part of this focus is actually a two-parter. I am in the midst of preparation for my lecture on October 15th for the San Diego Civil War Roundtable where I will be discussing the 20th at the Battle of Gettysburg. This is an absolute blast, as I feel like I'm getting back to my Civil War roots, and have nearly every book I need already in my collection. It's also my love of books that is the second part of this new focus. The one book I wanted to use, entitled "Isn't It Glorious", is coming in the mail this week. I got to speak with the publisher at Moon Trail Books over the phone and I was stoked when she asked me to please review the book and that she would send me a review copy along with my purchase. What an honor and what a thrill!