Barden offers class on Civil War

ARLINGTON A history buff who specializes in the Civil War, Frank Barden is offering a class on Thursdays, Oct. 4 to Nov. 22 through the city of Arlingtons Recreation Program.
I took several history courses during my college years and, over time, developed an abiding love for the Civil War, said Barden, who is a volunteer member of the citys Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission as well as chairperson of the Performing Arts Council advisory commission.
I picked up one of Bruce Cattons books, A Stillness at Appomattox, and was hooked, he added.
Barden became an avid student of Civil War history and accumulated a sizeable library of battle-related books with biographies of many of the major participants.
I consider it one of the most intriguing periods of American history, he said.
His book knowledge is complimented with a personal interest inspired by his avocation as an amateur genealogist.
I have come to learn that two of my ancestors died in the war -- one at Cold Harbor and the other at Corinth, he said.
In his 16-hour class, Barden will answer such questions as Did the formation of the United States lay the groundwork for the war? and Should the Union have won at Bull Run?
He explores the question of Abraham Lincolns roll in the war, and how his political position was affected by it.
Barden said it all started 45 years ago when he started working toward a degree in communications at Shoreline Community College.
One of my first courses was History 101. The professor was a high school history teacher during the day and I asked him to tell me the difference between teaching history in college compared to high school. He said, When I teach college history, Im able to teach the truth.
Barden has first-hand knowledge from exploring the territory of the war, as well. When visiting Gettysburg, Penn., he hired a very special a Civil War researcher for a week of private guided tours.
We toured so many battlefields Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancelorsville each night going from one battlefield to another learning how the battles flowed, Barden said.
Back at Gettysburg battlefield Barden met with re-enactors who shared some of their memories of living as Union and Rebel infantryman on the actual battlefields as well as the occasional paranormal events that have been known to occur.
The Civil War buff plans to take the audience back to the mid-17th century when slaves first started to arrive in the colonies. He will bring the audience forward in time through the American Revolution, touching on the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the impact of that document and the Federal Constitution on the Northern and Southern attitudes that led up to the decision to secede and fire on Fort Sumter.
Barden will compare the economic conditions and religious differences of the North and the South and hell try to answer the following questions:
Could the war have been avoided?
Was Lincoln the right choice for the North?
What was the position of the European countries?
Barden said he plans to encourage conversation with the ultimate goal of relating the Civil War to the issues that the United States is experiencing today.
The class runs from 6 8 p.m., Thursdays, Oct. 4 Nov. 22 in the Community Room of the Arlington Boys and Girls Club, 18513 59th Avenue NE, Arlington
Admission is free. Register with the city of Arlington at 360-403-3448.

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