to speak at JCHS annual dinner
The Longest Raid of the Civil War
Nichole R. Osinski
(November 2011) Lester Horwitz is bringing
back the Civil War. The long time author and historian has been writing
and speaking about the Civil War events that hit closer to home. Namely,
Horwitzs book, The Longest Raid of the Civil War,
chronicles the Indiana-Ohio raid of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan
in July 1863. Horwitzs book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
and became the No. 1 bestseller in the Tri-State area when it was first
book became the No. 1 bestseller in the
Tri-State area when it
was first published.
Horwitz, 80, will be the keynote speaker at the Jefferson
County Historical Societys Annual Dinner, scheduled for Friday,
Nov. 11, at Clifty Inn in Madison, Ind.
I want people in my audience to know what happened here,
said Horwitz. How it affected other people.
Horwitz plans to speak about the Civil War in the Kentuckiana and Ohio
area while using his book as a central focus point. The events leading
up to the book are an interesting story in itself. It began when Horwitz
and his wife decided to buy a house in Ohio that had been raided by
Morgan and his men. Over the next 14 years, Horwitz began collecting
stories, books and articles about the raiders.
In 1994 the local historical society asked Horwitz to co-chair an exhibit
lasting for five months. People would come up to me and say, I
would like to buy your book, and I thought, I should write
a book, Horwitz said.
Thus a detailed account of the 1863 ride that began in Tennessee and
ended in Ohio was formed in The Longest Raid.
Not long after being published, the book was nominated for a Pulitzer
Prize in history, and Horwitz also received a call from C-SPAN in Washington,
D.C., asking where he would be giving his next presentation on Morgans
Raid. The network ended up filming him and broadcasting the historians
At his presentation in Madison, Horwitz will share the importance of
local history and how it changed those people involved.
Karen Eldridge, owner of Karens Bookbarn in La Grange, Ky., will
also be featuring Horwitz at a book signing event and hopes people will
take a new interest in this time period.
The Civil War is just a very popular topic, she said. Its
important that people have an appreciation for their local history.
She notes that this is a good time because the United States is commemorating
the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
For JCHS Executive Director Joe Carr, having Horwitz speak during the
sesquicentennial adds a special touch to learning about local history.
It will also be the first time they have had a speaker discuss Morgans
Raid. This was a major event in the Civil War, said Carr.
We try to inspire people to participate and care for their local
The JCHS hopes to further an appreciation of local history not only
through an annual dinner but also through other venues.
JCHS Board President Richard Armstrong said the society does something
at least 10 months out of the year. They have had numerous guests, such
as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, and are planning two upcoming tours,
one of Jefferson County Stone churches and the other cemeteries of Revolutionary
War veterans. The society has also sponsored a childrens art show
and Madison in Bloom garden tour each spring.
Though Horwitz has spoken at more than 300 organizations, this will
be his first time speaking at the JCHS. He plans to not only bring his
interesting stories but also supporting material from the U.S. Library
of Congress and the Indiana Historical Society. Much of his information
comes from traveling around local towns and pulling facts from libraries,
newspapers and local historians. He also received more than 400 letters
from people who had information on Morgans Raid.
With this wealth of information, Horwitz has not only published a book
but adapted it for the stage in a musical titled, The Rebels are
Coming. He also wrote the movie screenplay for The Longest
Raid and is now writing a new book called After the Raid.
This book will continue with the history after Morgans Raid and
what happened to the many people and their descendants who were effected
by the war.
I want people to realize what actually happened in this area during
this time in history said Horwitz. Half a million American
lives lost is nothing to celebrate but it is something to commemorate.
The evening will begin with a social hour
at 6 p.m., followed by dinner. The cost is $30 which is payable at the
door. Space is limited and reservations should be made by 4 p.m. Friday,
Nov. 4. Call (812) 265-2335 to reserve.
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