Hagerstown Community College professor Thomas Clemens recently won two awards for his work as a Civil War historian.
In April, Clemens received the Hagerstown Civil War Round Table’s Henry Kyd Douglas Award, which is presented to individuals who have advanced the study of the Civil War through preservation, publication, and education. Clemens was chosen because of his work as a historian, reenactor, and licensed tour guide at Antietam Battlefield, as well as his numerous publications and book reviews on Civil War history.
Clemens received his second award in June when he was recognized as a 2010 Army Historical Foundation (AFH) Distinguished Writing Award recipient for his work on “The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Volume I: South Mountain,” the first part of a two-volume historical, annotated manuscript that details one of the most famous campaigns of the Civil War. The manuscript itself is the work of Ezra A. Carman, a Union colonel in the 13th New Jersey Infantry, who was later appointed as the historical expert to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894. After the war, Carman wrote a 1,800-page manuscript on the Maryland Campaign, using firsthand accounts from war veterans and his own personal experience. In addition to eyewitness accounts, the manuscript includes maps and photos. A biographical dictionary will be included in Volume II, which is expected to be released in 2012.
According to Clemens, Carman’s manuscript sat untouched for decades in the Library of Congress, referenced by historians but never published in its entirety. Clemens, recognized internationally as one of the foremost historians of the Maryland Campaign, began studying the campaign as part of his doctoral dissertation, and has spent the last 11 years editing and annotating Carman’s manuscript. The campaign itself Clemens has studied for more than 30 years.
A professor of history and political science, Clemens earned his doctoral degree from George Mason University, where he studied under Maryland Campaign historian Joseph L. Harsh. He is also one of the founders of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc., where he currently serves as foundation president. Clemens has been teaching at HCC since 1978.