Bossard Library to host symposium on Civil War

GALLIPOLIS — Civil War historians and enthusiasts are encouraged to attend a Civil War symposium to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 at Bossard Memorial Library in Gallipolis.

This event is being hosted by Bossard Library in collaboration with the Cadot-Blessing Camp #126 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation. The symposium will feature a full day of Civil War music, presentations, and discussions.

Sam Wilson, Ph.D., professor of history at the University of Rio Grande, was integral in organizing this event.

“We were fortunate that several organizations came together to make this symposium possible,” Wilson said. “Each of these organizations, the Bossard Library, the Cadot-Blessing Camp #126 of the SUVCW, and the Buffington Island Preservation Foundation, are active in promoting local history and the Civil War in our community.”

The event will feature presentations by historians and authors who will speak on various aspects of the Civil War.

Wilson, who also serves as the moderator for Bossard Library’s Civil War Book Club, reported that this event will be defined by its emphasis on Ohio’s role in the conflict.

“What makes this symposium unique is its focus on southern Ohio during the war,” Wilson stated. “We hope that the community takes advantage of this opportunity. A great deal of effort went into bringing these various speakers to Gallipolis for this event.”

Doors to the event will open at 9 a.m. and Civil War music with musician Steve Ball, who will be accompanied by Lisa Ball, will begin at 9:30 a.m. Ball, who specializes in Civil War music, has performed at the American Civil War Museum of Ohio, the National Civil War Museum, and various other notable venues.

Following the morning’s musical program, Anthony Gibbs, the founder and creative director of Black Historic Impressions, an organization dedicated to the remembrance and exhibition of African American contributions to history, will begin the day’s events with a presentation on the United States Colored Troops. This presentation will begin at 10:15 a.m.

A presentation by David Mowery will follow at approximately 11 a.m. Mowery is a native of Cincinnati, a board member of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, and the author of several books on the Civil War. He will speak about the crucial role Cincinnati played in the war.

Following a lunch break from 12-1:30 p.m., Kelly Mezurek with speak about the role of Ohio women in the war. Mezurek is a professor of history at Walsh University, a member of the Ohio Humanities Speakers Bureau, and is the author of several publications on the Civil War.

Darryl Smith will discuss John Hunt Morgan’s first Kentucky raid beginning at 2:30 p.m. Smith is the owner and operator of Walking With History, an organization that offers walking tours of historic sites across the Midwestern United States with a focus on the Civil War. Smith is also a member of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table and a board member of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation.

The final presentation for the day will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. and will feature a discussion of Ohio in the Civil War. The featured speaker, Mark Holbrook, will discuss how Ohio and Ohioans helped change the outcome of the war. Holbrook previously served as the marketing manager at the Ohio History Connection and retired from a 20-year career as a Civil War reenactor, among many other ventures. He is a member of the Ohio Humanities Speakers Bureau.

Wilson further noted that this event is free and open to the public and also thanked the staff at Bossard Library for their work in organizing the symposium.

“A great deal of thanks goes to Debbie Saunders and the Bossard staff for making this event possible,” Wilson said.

Those with an interest in history and the Civil War can stop by the library to enjoy any or all of the day’s presentations. Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day and books/CDs written by the day’s presenters and their affiliated organizations will be available for purchase.

For additional information, please visit or call 740-446-7323.

Submitted by Bossard Library.