Mark H. Dunkelman is an independent scholar living in Providence, Rhode Island. His childhood fascination with family stories and the relics of his great-grandfather, John Langhans, who served in the Civil War as a member of the 154th New York, inspired a lifetime study of that regiment. Dunkelman's earliest goal was to research and write a regimental history of the 154th. This he accomplished with the 1981 publication of The Hardtack Regiment, co-authored with the late Michael J. Winey.
In the years since, Dunkelman has continued his study and published scores of articles and four other books on various aspects of the regiment's history: Gettysburg's Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos Humiston (1999); Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment (2004); War's Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers (2006); and Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York (2012). In the course of his work Dunkelman has connected with 1,187 descendants of members of the 154th, who since 1986 have been holding an annual reunion in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, where the regiment was raised. This year they will hold their 28th annual reunion at the world-famous Chautauqua Institution. Dunkelman has gathered perhaps the largest collection of primary source material on any single Civil War regiment, including more than 1,700 letters, 26 diaries, and portraits of 254 individual members of the 154th.
His latest book, Marching with Sherman, will be the subject of his talk. In it he will describe the results of his effort to locate stories of Southerners who lived along the path followed by the 154th New York across Georgia and northward through the Carolinas. That effort included a six-week, 3,500-mile trip along the regiment's 850-mile route from Atlanta to Savannah and on to Raleigh. Along the way, he collected many fascinating stories, some of which he will share in his presentation.