The Civil War and the Normal School
In the spring semester of 1999, Professor Allen Ballard of the University
at Albany directed a graduate research seminar on the the 44th Regiment of the New York Volunteer Infantry, particularly
"New Company E," also known as the Normal School Company. New Company E was raised and led by two instructors
at the State Normal School, the predecessor of the University at Albany.
The students of the seminar researched the various aspects of social mobilization,
recruitment, military experience, life courses after the War, and the historical and institutional memory of the
War at the Normal School. The research included trips to and correspondence with archives in New York, Pennsylvania,
Massachusetts and Wisconsin. One student went to Gettysburg and photographed the position New Company E stood at
Little Roundtop; another visited farmsteads and graveyards in western New York, where a cluster of recruits who
joined the Normal School Company were from and where the quick and the dead returned. One student inventoried and
photographed the extent artifacts of the 44th N.Y.V.I.; another looked at those who became officers in the United
States Colored Troops. Contemporary newspapers were combed through to gather the flavor of the summer of 1862,
when the Company was recruited. This collaborative project has produced a vast amount of material and some new
insights into the nature of the Civil War and the memory of the War.
Not all this research has been digested. As it is, it will be made into a
MultiMedia presentation on this journal. The articles linked below are but a hint at the potential of this project.
--Edward Knoblauch, Editor