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Personal Stories of the Civil War at the Needham Historical Society

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Join the Needham Historical Society on Sunday, November 11th at 2pm for Personal Stories of the Civil WarThe larger history of the Civil War is made up of the smaller stories of towns and soldiers - stories that are told more in family records, letters, and keepsakes than in the history books.  In "Personal Stories,"  Claire Fusaro and Janet Drake use these family memories to understand the day-to-day experiences of young MA men, away from home for the first time, and fighting for the Union and each other. 

Claire Fusaro will tell about Company C of the MA 44th - a company made up mostly of Needham men - as they prepared for the Fredericksburg campaign.  Using letters and photographs in the Needham Historical Society's collections, she put together a timeline of their journey from training in Readville to the pivotal battles of the Goldsboro Expedition.  Ms. Fusaro is a Needham resident and former history teacher in Wellesley.  She co-authored the Historical Society's exhibit "Free Soil - Free Men:  Needham and the Civil War."

Janet Drake's great-uncle, George Harwood of North Brookfield, signed up with the MA 36th for a three-year stint.  His long service took him thorough some of the most famous and difficult battles of the War, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. His letters home to his sisters and parents provide a soldier's -eye-view of these important events.  Using the letters as a guide, Ms Drake and her husband David followed George Harwood's route through the south to see the places where he lived and fought.  Ms. Drake is a lifelong Needham resident and former librarian at the Wellesley Library.

The program is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.  Following the talk, visitors are encouraged to view the exhibit "Free Soil - Free Men: Needham and the Civil War, 1861-1863."  . Using the soldier’s letters, photos and memorabilia, Free Soil – Free Men looks at Needham’s response to the Civil War, and the experiences of some of its young soldiers.  For more information visit www.needhamhistory.org

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