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Well-known Civil War historian to deliver presentation at Lander

October 26, 2012
Mac Wyckoff grew up in Oregon where, he said, there is virtually no interest in or knowledge about the American Civil War. He told an interviewer that he was a history major at Linfield College, in McMinnville, Ore., but he recalls only one lecture on the Civil War.

After graduating from Linfield with a history degree in 1970, Wyckoff developed an interest in the Civil War and, in the years that followed, his interest led him to a career that has made him one of the leading experts on the War Between the States.

Wyckoff will appear at Lander University on Monday, Oct. 29, to deliver a lecture titled "South Carolinians in Love and War," focusing on several members of the Second and Third South Carolina infantry regiments and their letters to friends and loved ones.

In 1977, Wyckoff took a job as historian at the Ft. Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor and became the first civilian to live on the grounds of the fort since the civilians who built it. He toured S.C. Civil War sites, and battlefields in Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Antietam before accepting a position at the Shiloh Military Park, in Tennessee, his first job as a battlefield historian. Later, he would work at other military parks where he lectured on the war and led battlefield tours.

Wyckoff spent 25 years studying Gen. Joseph Kershaw's Brigade of South Carolina. Among his writings are four books on the 2nd and 3rd Regiments; the book "The Legacy of a Common Civil War Soldier: Private Thomas Marion Shields," which he co-authored, and several magazine and journal articles and essays. He has also written reviews of several Civil War books and assisted authors with research and editing.

He founded the annual Symposium on South Carolina in the Civil War, which is held every fall at the state Department of Archives and History in Columbia.

Wyckoff's appearance at Lander was arranged by the university's History Department and History Honor Society. The lecture will be held in Room 300 of the Carnell Learning Center beginning, at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free. Seating is limited, so early arrival is encouraged.