Guest Lecturer Shares Accounts from a Union Soldier's Civil War Diary

February 25, 2013

The Civil War diary of Hoosier soldier who later became an Indiana college president will be the focus of a free, public lecture featuring historian Dr. Lloyd Hunter at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 28, in TECO Hall, in the School of Business building at University Campus.

Parking is readily available in the campus garage and on surface lots. University Campus is located at 33701 State Road 52 in the east Pasco County town of Saint Leo, four miles east of Interstate 75 (exit 285).

Dr. Hunter is the author of For Duty and Destiny: The Life and Civil War Diary of William Taylor Stott, Hoosier Soldier and Educator, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press. He is also professor emeritus of history and American studies at Franklin College in Indiana, the same institution where Stott rose to the presidency in 1872 and stayed until his retirement in 1905. Dr. Hunter occupied the Roger D. Branigan Chair of History at Franklin College, and received the Carnegie Foundation’s award as the 2003 Outstanding Indiana Professor of the Year. His own retirement has allowed him time to write and discuss his research into Stott.

Dr. Hunter had already been doing research for many years on Stott and his Indiana infantry unit when the diary was discovered. Stott had earned his bachelor’s degree at Franklin, a Baptist institution known for preparing clergy members, before enlisting to fight for the Union Army. “He felt it was the responsible thing to do,” Dr. Hunter explained. Over the course of his service, he rose from the ranks of private to captain, and was a “consummate reader,” eager for the accounts of the war in other areas that he could glean when newspapers made their way into the unit’s camps. Consequently, Dr. Hunter says, Stott’s diary contains “comments on battles and generals serving in other theaters. Not all of it was accurate.”

Dr. Hunter visited all the battle areas where Stott’s unit fought. Although Stott made it through the war without being wounded, he suffered illnesses that left him with problems throughout the rest of his life, including nerve pain and digestive ailments.

Dr. Hunter’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences within Saint Leo’s School of Arts and Sciences. Several classes and events at University Campus this semester happen to feature Civil War topics, an era that also continues to hold the public’s interest, especially with the recent release of the popular film, Lincoln.

Dr. Hunter’s guest lecture also fits with the university’s 40th Military Anniversary, which commemorates Saint Leo’s four decades of providing educational opportunities to servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Further information and public events related to this yearlong anniversary celebration can be found here. /news-events/celebrating-40-years-of-serving-those-who-serve.aspx.