Yesterday, June 19, marked the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth Day.
On that day in 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas that the Civil War was over and slavery had ended. It is a day historically celebrated as a commemoration of African-American liberty.
The Society of Civil War Historians states that this event marked just one of the many endings to the Civil War.
This blog's coverage of the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial effort is also marking an ending, today, June 20, 2015. It is a fitting moment. When this blog began over eight years ago, it sought to focus attention on Michigan's heroic role in the Civil War era. It has stayed true to that purpose. The entries here drew the attention of The History Press in Charleston, S.C. The result was the 2011 publication of "Michigan and the Civil War: A Great and Bloody Sacrifice." The author was in a Barnes & Noble bookstore earlier this week and saw two copies of it for sale in the Michigan/Local books section. The book has promoted Michiganders' Civil War story and should continue to do so, the Lord willing. The author's proceeds continue to support the Michigan Civil War story.
How so? The proceeds from reader purchases no longer go to the State CWS observance, as it has wound down; instead, they go to a legacy project of the Michigan Historical Commission, to erect a Michigan monument at the Antietam National Battlefield Park.
That effort will be aided even more by forthcoming publication of a first-of-its-kind book on the Michigan-Antietam story. The History Press is again the friendly publisher. The date is slated for August 31, 2015.
Co-authored by noted historian, Civil War 'buff,' and Antietam expert Brian James Egen of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, the book will tell the story of Michigan's role in the Maryland Campaign of 1862. It will contain stories never before told, or told for the first time with historical accuracy and fullness. We hope it will do well to educate and to raise funds for the monument.
Thus, this blog will transition to a new purpose, of serving to tell about the book and the monument project and so much more. The reader here will find developments about the book's progress. Additionally, the blog will furnish materiel that could not make its way into the book for reasons of length. It will round out stories that are touched on in the book. It will be designed to round out readers' experiences with the book and provide added content. Amazing to think that a story once said to be "not much" (by a Park Ranger) could not be contained in a 65,000 word volume, necessitating a companion online resource to provide all of the story, as best as we have constructed it.
So, farewell to the official CWS in Michigan commemoration. Welcome to the new purpose -- the incredibly profound story of Michigan's vital part in the campaign that produced the Emancipation Proclamation, changed the war, changed the nation, produced at such great sacrifice.
So, much more to follow ...