Sometimes, simply reading a book’s title opens doors and helps us make connections and understand things better. Who knew that some 240 Yale graduates fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War? Professor Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr., eminent Civil War historian, aims to illuminate that overlooked detail. In October of this year, The University of Tennessee Press will publish his book, Yale’s Confederates: A Biographical Dictionary. They didn’t all come from the South, but they did pay a terrible price. Almost 70% of them were killed in the war. The Yale Library web site reports that the names of the Confederate dead were inscribed in marble along with alumni who fought for the Union in the 1915 Woolsey Rotunda. Another fascinating tidbit from that site is that in the 1870’s, barely ten years after the war’s end, ivy from Robert E. Lee’s house at Washington College in Virginia was planted on the Yale campus to symbolize reconciliation of the Confederacy with the rest of the nation.
- Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center