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Westminster College presents author Gene Barr for Lecture and Book Signing

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Posted on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The history program at Westminster College will welcome author Gene Barr to campus to lecture and sign copies of his book, A Civil War Captain and His Lady: A True Story of Love, Courtship, and Combat.

The lecture is open to the public and will be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21 in the Lakeview room of the McKelvey Campus Center. A book signing will immediately follow. Copies of A Civil War Captain and his Lady are available in the Westminster College Bookstore.

The book focuses on one-time Westminster College student, Irish immigrant Josiah Moore, who later became a Union Soldier. More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Josiah met and fell in love with 19-year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be long and bloody. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, form the basis of the book.

Josiah’s and Jennie’s letters shed significant light on the important role played by a soldier’s sweetheart on the home front, and a warrior’s observations from the war front. Josiah’s letters offer a deeply personal glimpse into army life, how he dealt with the loss of many close to him, and the effects of war on a man’s physical, spiritual, and moral well-being. Jennie’s letters show a young woman mature beyond her age, dealing with the difficulties at home while her brother and her new love struggle through the travails of war. Her encouragement to keep his faith in God strong and remain morally upright gave Josiah the strength to lead his men through the horrors of the Civil War.

In addition to the deeply moving and often riveting correspondence between Josiah and Jennie, Barr includes additional previously unreleased material on the 17th Illinois and the war’s Western Theater, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the lesser known Meridian Campaign – actions that have historically received much less attention than similar battles in the Eastern Theater. The result is a rich, complete, and satisfying story of love, danger, politics, and warfare, and it is one you won’t soon forget.

About the Author: A native of the Philadelphia area, Mr. Barr is the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy association. Gene Barr has had a longstanding interest in American history, particularly the Civil War period, sparked by his first visit to Gettysburg as a youth. He was active in living history for more than a quarter century and participated as an ‘extra’ in four films depicting the Civil War period, including “Glory” and “Gettysburg.” This is his first book.

For more information, contact Timothy Cuff, Professor of History, at