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As a child growing up in Buffalo, New York, Mark H. Dunkelman was inspired by family stories and relics of his great-grandfather to begin a lifelong study of the Civil War. Dunkelman focussed his attention on his ancestor's regiment, the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry. He first attempted to follow the route of the regiment's marches under Gen. William T. Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas in 1978--a trip that ended in disaster. Another attempt two years later also ended in failure. By the turn of the millennium, Dunkelman had connected with more than a thousand descendants of members of the 154th, who had shared with him a vast trove of wartime letters, diaries, and other materials. Using those sources, he had published four books and dozens of articles of 154th New York history. He again turned his attention to the regiment's role in Sherman's marches, intending to write a book on the subject. Early in 2007 he spent six weeks following the 154th's route through Georgia and the Carolinas. With an abundance of sources in hand, he knew exactly where the regiment went and what it experienced. Now he sought stories of the Georgians and Carolinians the regiment encountered along its path. He finished his trip with two boxes stuffed full of accounts by Southerners who had witnessed the marches. Their stories and memories of the Yankee invasion combine with those of the Union soldiers they encountered in Dunkelman's book, Marching with Sherman, which was published last year by Louisiana State University Press.
Dunkelman will give a talk about the book at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 19, at the Old Governor's Mansion. Copies of Marching with Sherman will be available for sale and signing.