Niles District Library, Niles History Center to co-host Civil War program

NILES — The Niles District Library will be taking a dive into history later this week.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Niles History Center and Niles District Library will co-host a program called “The Life and Times of Civil War Brigadier General Henry A. Morrow” presented by John Urschel. The program will take place at the Niles District Library.

Henry Morrow is well-known among Civil War and history buffs for his role with the famed Iron Brigade. Urschel will discuss the life of this local hero, including his pre-war career as a soldier, attorney and judge. Morrow served as Colonel of the 24th Michigan, organized at Detroit and mustered into service on Aug. 15, 1862.

In October 1862, the 24th Michigan joined the Iron Brigade. Named for their tough disposition, the Iron Brigade consisted of units from Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. They fought in several major battles during the war, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Urschel will discuss Morrow’s role as part of the 24th Michigan Infantry and the Iron Brigade, placing special emphasis the troop’s efforts during the Battle of Gettysburg July 1 to 3, 1863. Toward the end of the war, Morrow achieved the rank of Brigadier General.

Morrow was not a Niles native, but he married local resident Isabella Graves. His post-Civil War military career kept him traveling around the country, yet the couple made Niles their home for many years. Morrow died in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1891 and was laid to rest at Niles’ Silverbrook Cemetery. 

Presenter John Urschel has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public history from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. He is the former records manager and archivist for South Bend and St. Joseph County, Indiana and retired records and Information manager for Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In 2011, Urschel began researching Civil War veterans from the Buchanan area. This initial research led him to author a multi-volume series on area Civil War participants called Michigan Boys in Blue.

The program is part of the fall local history series offered by the Niles District Library and Niles History Center. Refreshments will be served, sponsored by the Friends of the Niles District Library and History Center. Admission is free, though donations will be accepted to help support the program. For more information, call the Niles District Library at (269) 683-8545 or the Niles History Center at (269) 845-4054.

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