Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Suffering of Amos Humiston

The New York Times is running a five-part feature on Sgt. Amos Humiston, a New York soldier who was killed at Gettysburg. Humiston's remains were identified after several newspapers circulated details about an ambrotype of his three young children that was found among his possessions.

Errol Morris is investigating the Humiston case with an eye to both history and memory:
There were two separate searches more than a century apart, an initial search to identify the fallen soldier, and then a subsequent search to discover something about the man. There is also a series of implicit questions. The first question is: What is his name? The second question: Who is he? Tell me something about Amos Humiston. And then, there is a third question: “Who is he to us? What does he mean to us?” 
I'm especially interested in that third question. I wonder if Morris will recognize the Humiston monument as part of a reconciliationist narrative in the monumental landscape at Gettysburg.

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