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Confederate Prison Symposium marks 20th year April 28-30

The 20th annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium, sponsored by the Robert F. Hoke Chapter 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be held April 28-30.

The symposium will provide seven historical lectures relating to the Confederate military prison, two public memorial services, a banquet, displays and books.

Over the three days, programs are held in several locations. Anyone interested in attending is invited to register. The Salisbury Confederate Prison Association’s annual meeting will take place at the conclusion of the Saturday lectures.

Friday, April 28, activities begin at 5 p.m. in the Landmark Church fellowship hall with the reunion of descendants and friends.  Light refreshments will be served, and displays will be set up.

At 6 p.m. Friday, participants will introduce themselves and talk about any connection they might have to the prison. Veterans also will be recognized with music and lapel ribbons. This Friendship Banquet will be catered for the 20th year by Debbie Suggs.

The keynote address will be given by Kevin Cherry, who will speak on resources available for research on the Salisbury Confederate Prison.

Cherry is deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and director of the Office of Archives, History and Parks. He serves as the secretary of the N.C. Historical Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office.

Saturday’s six lectures will be held in Tom Smith Auditorium of Ketner Hall on the Catawba College campus.

Gary Freeze, American history professor at Catawba, will give an overview of the history of the prison. Freeze holds all his degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has become nationally noted as a historian of the North Carolina Piedmont.

Author and historian Robert Carpenter of North Carolina will share from letters written by Salisbury Prison guard Daniel Haynes Dellinger.

Carpenter received his bachelor’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College, his master’s degree from Wake Forest University, and his EDS degree from UNC-Charlotte. He retired after 34 years in education in Gaston County, including 27 years as a principal.

Carpenter, also an author of Civil War books, currently serves Belmont Abbey College as an adjunct professor and teaches genealogy classes at Gaston College.

Historian Ron Nichols of Wisconsin will talk about his Salisbury prisoner-of-war ancestor, Edward Nichols, who belonged to Company C, 36th Wisconsin Infantry. Nichols has been an amateur genealogist since the 1970s and took part in an all-volunteer project to create a biographic outline of some 3,000 soldiers from Monroe County, Wisconsin.

Nichols, who has a degree from the University of Wisconsin, is retired from the VA Medical Center in Madison after 30 years as a clinical perfusionist.

Archaeologist Ken Robinson of North Carolina will show slides and talk about the 2005 and 2012 studies of the prison that he led for the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc.

Robinson is an archaeologist with more than 35 years of professional experience in the field, and he served as director of public archaeology at Wake Forest University for 12 years.

Robinson has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Wake Forest and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.

Historian and prisoner descendant Geoffrey Ryder of Colorado will talk about post-traumatic stress disorder among prisoners. Ryder has degrees from Albany Medical College and Harvard University.

He served a career in the Army. Ryder subsequently practiced in the VA, particularly treating those with PTSD.  Salisbury POW Walter Bills of Massachusetts was an uncle of Ryder’s great-great-grandfather.

Author and Historian James R. Tootle of Ohio will speak about the game of baseball during the Civil War and at the Salisbury Confederate Prison. Tootle is a baseball historian and volunteers with the Ohio Historical Society as a member of the Ohio Village Muffins, a vintage baseball team that played exhibition games in Salisbury during the 10th annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium in 2007.

Tootle has written two books on baseball — “Vintage Base Ball, Recapturing the National Pastime” and “Baseball in Columbus.”

On Sunday, April 30, there will be two public memorial services: a 10 a.m. service for prisoners at the Salisbury National Cemetery and an 11 a.m. service for guards at the Old Lutheran Cemetery.

Among groups participating in the services with the Robert F. Hoke Chapter of the UDC will be the Charles F. Fisher Chapter 73 of the Children of the Confederacy, Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, Order of the Black Rose, Gibbon-Burke Camp 2 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 4th Iowa Independent Light Artillery and the 40th North Carolina, Orange Light Artillery.

Later that afternoon, there will be a tour of the prison site for registrants.

Registration for the symposium is $65 per person, when postmarked by April 7, and $75 afterward.

There is a $15 charge for refunds after April 14 and no refunds after April 21.

Send checks to Robert F. Hoke Chapter 78, UDC, P.O. Box 83, Salisbury, NC 28145-0083.

For more information, contact symposium Chairwoman Sue Curtis at 704-637-6411 or southpaws@fibrant.com.

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