AUBURN – O.O. Howard, born on a farm in Leeds, became an Army general during the Civil War and, later, the head of an agency charged with helping four million slaves adjust to freedom. Howard University was named in his honor and he was a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The general’s life will be the subject of a talk by Auburn historian Charles W. Plummer at the Androscoggin Historical Society at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the society’s headquarters on the third floor of the County Building, 2 Turner St.
An elevator is available. There is no charge for attending, but donations are accepted.
Plummer describes General Howard as a unique figure in Civil War history who graduated from Bowdoin College in 1850 and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1854. Although he remained in the Army, at times he contemplated entering the ministry. His piety led to his being labeled “the Christian General,” often with disdain by the men who served under him.
During the war he commanded a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. He lost his right arm at the battle of Seven Pines during the Peninsula Campaign in 1862, commanded the Eleventh Corps at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and then was transferred to the Western Theater of Operations where he served until the war’s end.
An abolitionist before the war, the general spent his post-war years advocating for the welfare of the emancipated slaves. In May of 1865 he was appointed the first and only commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau. He founded Howard University in 1867 and remained interested in education for the remainder of his life.
Plummer’s presentation will be accompanied by visuals in the form of overhead transparencies.
A native of Lisbon Falls and a graduate of Lisbon High School, Plummer has degrees in education and a doctorate in religious studies. He served as a naval aviator during the Korean War and is a retired elementary school principal and family counselor.
He travels widely doing portrayals of Confederate and Union Civil War generals, including Joshua L. Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. He recently completed a three-year term on the L. A. Senior College board of directors.