Virtue and Sacrifice: Hillsdale and Notre Dame


Hillsdale College’s tribute.

Over at Winston Elliott’s brilliant website, The Imaginative Conservative, I had the honor to write about the necessity of connecting liberty to sacrifice as understood through the students of two of the best colleges: Notre Dame and Hillsdale.

As one walks onto Hillsdale’s campus, he is met by an 1898 statue of a Civil War soldier, a representation of all Hillsdale students who served honorably in that noble and tragic moment in our republic’s history, the American War Between the States. Even our statue of Abraham Lincoln bows to honor the soldier who gave everything to protect the honor of the republic. Every spring, I take my freshmen out to that statue of the soldier. As we stand around its base, I read to them Bruce Catton’s description of the Twenty-Fourth Michigan Infantry—one of the five regiments of the Iron Brigade and made up significantly of men from Hillsdale College and Hillsdale County—on the first afternoon at Gettysburg. Though desperately outnumbered, the Twenty-Fourth took a position on the western road leading into the little Lutheran community. They stood resolutely against the invading forces, standing as once Leonidas and his 300 had stood. Within roughly twenty minutes, the Confederates had cut close to eighty percent of the regiment to pieces, but they had also become convinced that the high ground—Little Round Top and other higher areas in the region—would be impossible to take. As such, they not only hesitated, they halted any advance.

To read the whole piece, please visit TIC:


One Comment on “Virtue and Sacrifice: Hillsdale and Notre Dame

  1. In reading this over at TIC, I was reminded of the scene in “Gettysburg” where Colonel Chamberlain was interviewing some Confederate soldiers, and asked them why they were fighting (thinking it was for slavery). The one replied, “Foah mah rats.” “Rats?” said the puzzled Colonel. He finally figured out the Southerner was saying “rights”. Both sides were fighting for what they thought a noble cause. It is only the recent ignorant bigotry of the Leftists who want to simplify it all under the rubric of ending Negro chattel slavery.
    My ancestor, who died at Shiloh, (not nobly, but of dysentery) came to the US from Germany at age ten. He was not fighting to free any slave, but to preserve the Union. Today, his indifference would mark him “prejudiced”, and his death insignificant. So goes the world.

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