Civil War Talk Radio: April 1, 2005

Air Date: 40105
Subject: Donald C. Pfanz: Battlefield Historian
Book: Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier’s Life
Guest: Donald C. Pfanz

Summary: Donald C. Pfanz, author of Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier’s Life, talks about his role as historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Brett’s Summary: Don Pfanz discusses several interesting topics with Gerry P.  First, he talks about the scarcity of books on Ewell, who he has written a biography of.  Gerry adds that of the seven men who were Corps commanders under Lee during the war, only Ewell and Richard H. Anderson have failed to receive much attention.  The main area Pfanz discusses regarding Ewell is his performance at Gettysburg on Day 1.  After looking at the available evidence, Pfanz believes Ewell’s troops were too worn out by the fighting, had to attack uphill against a strong defensive position, and were outnumbered.  He believes any attacked on the evening of July 1, 1863 would have been ill-conceived and would have only resulted in several thousand casualties for Ewell without anything to show for it.

The second portion of the show covers Pfanz’ role as a historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  He covers the battles within the park’s jurisdiction, describes the encroachment of developers, and discusses the always controversial topic of the subjects to be covered in battlefield visitors’ centers.  Pfanz does believe in increased representation for topics such as slavery and womens’ issues, but he believes some visitors centers are more appropriate places for these topics than others.  Gerry helpfully suggested Fort Sumter as one of those places.  I tend to agree with Pfanz in this regard.  It was a fascinating interview and it was interesting to hear the topic of interpretation at National Battlefields from a historian at one of those battlefields.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public Historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Roundtable located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

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