On May 7, Gary W. Gallagher delivered a special evening Banner Lecture entitled "The Spring of 1864: A Season of Hope in the United States and the Confederacy."
Many people consider the summer of 1863 to be the Civil War's great turning point, after which the Confederacy stood no chance of achieving independence. In fact, citizens in both the United States and the Confederacy entered the spring of 1864 with hopes for a favorable outcome of the war. This lecture will assess opinion inside and outside the armies as the campaigning season approached in April, highlighting the importance of U. S. Grant and R. E. Lee to expectations in their respective nations. It will also underscore the importance of engaging contemporary evidence, rather than retrospective accounts, if we are to understand historical events.
Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia and the author of many books and articles, including Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty (2013).
This lecture is cosponsored with the Richmond National Battlefield Park.