First documentaries produced by students, tells the story of the university’s role in the civil war

A statue dedicated to the Hillsdale Civil War soldiers occupies the center of Kresge Plaza.
Virginie Aabram | schoolboy

A student-made documentary about Hillsdale College and the Civil War premiered Tuesday night to a standing-only audience.

“It’s a story that had to be told in the last hundred years since documentaries have existed,” said Buddy Moorehouse, a professional filmmaker who oversaw the film’s production. “I am so proud that they were the ones who were able to tell this story.”

The film was a group project of Moorehouse’s Video Storytelling course, involving the work of junior Gabrielle Bessette, senior Reagan Gensiejewski, senior Lily McHale, and sophomore Carter McNish.

The documentary tells the stories of four male students from Hillsdale who served in the Union Army during the Civil War – Henry Magee, Moses Luce, Asher LaFleur and Richard Seage – as well as a student, Mary Blackmar, who served as a military nurse. .

More than 500 Hillsdale students and alumni fought in the Civil War, according to associate professor of management Peter Jennings, who appears in the film.

“Behind the statistic is a story,” McNish said. “There were hundreds of them, and we talked to five of us. “

Magee enlisted at the start of the war in 1861 and served until its end. He, Luce, and LaFleur all served in the Michigan Fourth Infantry Division.

During a retreat to the courthouse in Spotsylvania, Virginia in 1864, Luce traveled to safety to hear LaFleur scream at him from where he had fallen with an injured leg.

” Lucy ! Lucy ! I’m bleeding to death! I’m bleeding to death! ”Cried LaFleur.

Under enemy fire, Luce returned to the battlefield and took her friend to safety.

During the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Confederate troops captured the Union Flag. A Union officer rallies a group of soldiers to retake him. He killed the Confederate soldier with the flag, but was immediately killed by another Confederate himself. Seage grabbed the flag and raised it momentarily, only to fall injured. What happened to the flag afterward is unknown.

“The battle for the flag was a small, but meaningful and symbolic moment, and on the ground, the soldiers saw the fight for the flag,” Jennings said in the documentary. “It was inspiring for them. It helped them rally and fight back.

Jennings said Seage and the Battle for the Flag was the inspiration behind the Civil War monument.

Blackmar, a 21-year-old medical student at Hillsdale, wanted to serve in the war, but the minimum age to be a nursing nurse was 30. Blackmar lied about his age and got a job at a military hospital so close to the front lines that a drummer dubbed it “the halfway house.”

Blackmar once held his fingers over the artery of a hemorrhaging Confederate soldier for 24 hours until a surgeon arrived, saving his life.

Kim Gehrke, Coordinator for Institutional Progress and participant in the screening, said it was striking that the soldiers were fighting not only for their homeland, but also for their ideals.

“They stood up for and fought for their ideals – what they thought was good, true and beautiful about this country and their home and what it meant to be an American and what it meant to be a man. free, ”she said.

Gehrke went on to speak of the bravery of the soldiers.

“They believed that fulfilling what they were meant to be as men meant obeying this call to go and fight,” she said, “to free the slaves, defend the Union, defend our flag and the principles on which their country was founded. “

Gensiejewski reflected on the significance of the historic event for the community of Hillsdale today.

“It reminded me that Hillsdale teaches the right things,” Gensiejewski said. “I think it just showed us the importance of how we need to document this. We have to tell people, we have to fight the evil in this world with what we have here in Hillsdale.

Moorehouse plans to offer its Documentary Film Making course in the spring semester.

“Everyone is welcome to take it,” he said.

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