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July 29, 2016

Historian Tom Ebert Lectures Aug. 17 at Fort Ontario

Lt. General Robert E. Lee issued what is known today as General Order No. 9, sometimes referred to as his farewell address to the Army of Northern Virginia, on April 10, 1865. Lee declared that, "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources."

With these words, Lee launched what was known as the "Lost Cause," which assumes that from the beginning the North had overwhelming numbers and resources and that the South, despite its courage and fortitude, was doomed from the very start.

But why would the South fight a war for four years, lose 35 percent of its military-age white population in men killed, and tens of thousands wounded and crippled for the rest of their lives, if it thought it couldn't win the war?

These and many other questions will be explored by historian Tom Ebert Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. in his presentation on military strategies of the North and South in the Enlisted Men's Barracks at Fort Ontario State Historic Site. Admission to the lecture is free.

Ebert is a native of Oswego who resides in California. He holds master's degrees in History and Library Science and is a major contributor to the book "Freedom's Delay: Emancipation in America 1775 - 1865" by Dr. Allen Carden, published by the University of Tennessee Press. Ebert is currently co-authoring, with Dr. Carden, a biography of John G. Nicolay, Lincoln's private secretary (chief of staff) and biographer. Ebert has presented several well-received talks on Civil War topics at the annual lecture series. He has also compiled a three-volume documentary history of the 147th New York Infantry Regiment and an annotated brief history of the 184th New York Infantry Regiment.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in Oswego. Anyone with accessibility issues should contact Paul Lear at (315) 343-4711 or paul.lear@parks.ny.gov to make special arrangements. Flashlights are encouraged.

2008 photograph of the Enlisted Men's Barracks at Fort Ontario. Members of Cushing's Battery, 4th US Light Artillery Regiment, are moving two m.1861 3"Ordnance Rifles in front of the barracks, one of the most common and accurate field pieces of the Civil War. (Photo courtesy Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

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