Flags of Our Fathers

By William Sweet


Robert Romer ’52 knows what an odd thing it is to be a historian. It may lead you to stroll in a cemetery, looking for people you never knew, as if they were old friends. In Romer’s case, a cemetery stroll inspired him to correct an inadvertent slight against some black soldiers from the Town of Amherst who fought in the Civil War.

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A Cannon for the Confederacy: The Legacy of Frazar Stearns

Submitted on Thursday, 3/15/2012, at 3:28 PM

By William Sweet

A century and a half ago, a member of the Amherst College Class of 1863 followed his chemistry professor into this country’s bloodiest conflict and returned in a coffin. After the body of Frazar Stearns—the son of the college’s fourth president, William Augustus Stearns—came back to Amherst, so did a cannon that he had helped reclaim from Confederate forces. It was a pale substitute for a 21-year-old with a promising future, but the “Amherst Cannon” would become a boon for historians.

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Honoring Black Union Soldiers

Robert Romer, professor emeritus in physics at Amherst College, and historian of the town of Amherst, spoke with local newspapers about his efforts to honor the contributions of black soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. On Sept. 18, a ceremony at Amherst’s West Cemetery recognized members of the Massachusetts 5th Cavalry, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, and Genalvin Marse, a member of the Connecticut 29th Colored Infantry whose gravestone was erected by "the boys of Chi Psi" at Amherst College.

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David Blight's Race and Reunion Offers Critical Appraisal of America After the Civil War

January 24, 2001Contact: Director of Media Relations413/542-8417 AMHERST, Mass. David W. Blight, the Class of 1959 Professor of History and Black Studies at Amherst College, has just published Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory ($29.95, 512 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001), a study of how Americans "black and white, from North and South, soldiers and politicians, writers and editors" made sense of America's most wrenching war.