Colby Award Winner Author Steven Sodergren to Present on Civil War

Daphne LarkinAcademics, Campus Life, College of Liberal Arts, Events, Faculty & Staff, News, Press Releases, Research & Innovation, Top Story


September 19, 2018

The Norwich University Peace and War Center will present “The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-1865,” a presentation by Colby Award Winner Steven E. Sodergren on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Mack Hall auditorium.

Free and open to the public, this is the final event in a day of presentations, which includes the presentation of the Colby Award. The Peace and War Center announced in April that Sodergren won the 2018 William E. Colby Award for his book, “The Army of the Potomac in the Overland & Petersburg Campaigns” (LSU Press, 2017). Now in its 19th year, the Colby prize is awarded annually by Norwich University to a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs.

Sodergren’s evening lecture is the keynote in a full day of guest historians, presentations, and book signings on the Norwich campus, all free and open to the public and centered around the Civil War. On Thursday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. in the Todd Multipurpose Room, undergraduate Thaddeus Boothtrudo’20 will present his research on Vermont sharpshooters in the Civil War.

Then, at 3 p.m., a book signing will take place in the Kreitzberg Library featuring guest authors Howard Coffin, author of “The Battered Stars,” “Full Duty, Guns Over the Champlain Valley,” and “Nine Months to Gettysburg;” Brian Matthew Jordan, author of “Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War;” Jerry Morelock, author of “Generals of the Bulge: Leadership in the U.S. Army’s Greatest Battle;” Carlo D’Este, author of “Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War” and “Patton: A Genius for War;” Kevin M. Levin, author of “Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder” and “Interpreting the Civil War at Museums and Historic Sites;” and 2018 Colby Award winner Steven E. Sodergren.

To complement this event, Norwich University students, faculty, and alumni will also participate in an immersive learning field study “staff ride” to the sites of the St. Albans Raid, the northernmost land action of the Civil War. “Staff rides” are a unique experiential learning tool used by militaries and military historians worldwide. They include a preliminary study of a campaign or battle and a field study at a historic site that seeks to have students walk in the footsteps of the key historic decision makers so that they can learn from the past in order to prepare for the challenges of the future. The field study will bring students along the sites of the raid, include living history encampments, and showcase the exhibits of the Saint Albans Museum. Norwich University is pleased to partner with the Saint Albans Museum to present this unique learning experience to students. The Saint Albans Museum also facilitates historic walking tours for the public. For more information, visit

Sodergren, the first Norwich University author to receive the Colby award, is associate professor of history and is the chair of the department of history and political science at Norwich University.

In his book and to be highlighted in his lecture, Sodergren explores the many factors that enabled the Army of the Potomac to endure the brutal physical conditions of trench warfare and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose as fighting resumed on the open battlefield in 1865. Drawing from soldiers’ letters and diaries, official military correspondence, and court-martial records, he paints a vivid picture of the daily lives of Union soldiers as they witnessed the beginnings of a profound shift in the way the world imagined and waged large-scale warfare.

The final year of the Civil War witnessed a profound transformation in the practice of modern warfare, a shift that produced unprecedented consequences for the soldiers fighting on the front lines. In his lecture Sodergren will examine the transition to trench warfare, the lengthy campaigns of attrition that resulted, and how these seemingly grim new realities affected the mindset and morale of Union soldiers.

Winners of the Colby Award receive a $5,000 author honorarium provided through the generosity of the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Foundation. Visit for information. Named for the late ambassador and former CIA director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. The William E. Colby Award began at Norwich University in 1999.

About the Pritzker Military Museum & Library

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is located in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Open to the public, the Museum & Library features an extensive collection of books, programs, artifacts, and rotating exhibits covering many eras and branches of the military that are available to visitors in person and online at Opened in 2003, the Museum & Library is a center where citizens and service members come together to learn about military history and affairs. Each year, the Museum & Library awards the prestigious Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing to recognize a living author who has made a lifetime contribution to the understanding of military history affairs. The Museum & Library is a living memorial to current and former service members and their families that is supported by its members and sponsors.

About the Saint Albans Museum

The Saint Albans Museum is a 501(c)3 community non-profit with a mission to preserve and share the history and heritage of St. Albans, Franklin County, and northwestern Vermont through exhibitions, educational programs, art, cultural performances, public archives, and special events for all ages.

About Norwich University˜

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin, M’17
Director of Media Relations & Community Affairs
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886