In 1882, General William T. Sherman donated a twelve-pound Parrott gun to his home town of Lancaster, Ohio. That gun is still there to this day, situated in a small city park next to a monument to Cump Sherman. Unfortunately, the ravages of time and weather haven’t been kind to the gun’s carriage, which is rapidly deteriorating. The local SCV camp has taken on a campaign to Save the Cannon, by raising funds to replace the carriage. On October 23, the campaign is hosting an evening with General Sherman to raise funds for the purchase of a new carriage, and I’ve donated some books for the fundraising auction and also just purchased a brick in honor of all the brave men who followed the guidon. If you have a couple of spare dollars and want to help a worthy cause, I hope you will consider this one.Scridb filter
I’ve got a couple of events coming up in the next few weeks, and I thought I would post some details in case anyone is interested in checking them out.
Next Wednesday, August 18, I will be speaking to the Civil War Forum of Metropolitan New York, which meets at the Roger Smith Hotel, located at Lexington Avenue and 47th Street. The cost is $35.00 for members and $45.00 for guests. An RSVP is required. Details may be found on the Forum’s web site. I will speaking on Jeb Stuart’s controversial ride to Gettysburg.
On Tuesday, September 14, I will be giving the same talk to the First Defenders Civil War Roundtable, which is located in my hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. The meeting will be held at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. The meeting begins at 6:30, and reservations are required.
I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
Spotted in the gift shop of the new Visitor Center in Gettysburg…..
This is wrong in more ways than I can count…..Scridb filter
I am a charter member of the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable. I attended the first meeting in 1988, and I was its second president and second program chair. I have been involved with the organization from the very beginning. The organization has grown and evolved over the years, and it has now launched its own website, which I invite you to check out. I have added a link under the Civil War Sites of Interest section. Kudos to CWRT president Tim Maurice for getting this site launched.Scridb filter
And for the winner of this month’s Dumb-Ass Reenactor of the Month Award, I give you this brilliant Montana school superintendent. From the March 8 edition of the Billings Gazette:
Superintendent accidentally discharges muzzleloader in class
ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 10:19 pm | (60) Comments
Dwain Haggard’s high school history lesson on Friday backfired.
Haggard, who used to be a Civil War reenactor, was showing the five students in Reed Point High’s American history class his replica antique black powder muzzleloader when the gun fired and lodged a ball in the front wall of the classroom.
“I can’t explain how it was loaded,” Haggard said.
Haggard has been district superintendent since 2007, and each year he’s visited the high school’s American history class to show off his Civil War-era equipment. When he shows the muzzleloader, he finishes the demonstration by firing a cap, which makes a small “pop” when he pulls the trigger, he said.
But this time, “when I dropped the hammer on it, to all of our surprise, it went off,” he said.
Jake Bare, a junior at Reed Point High, was in the class when the gun fired. He said it caught everybody off guard.
When Haggard pulled the trigger, there was a loud bang,and the room filled with smoke, Bare said.
“Holy criminy, you just shot the map,” he said.
Indeed, the ball shot through the “o” in the word “North” at the top of the map and lodged in the wall, Haggard said.
The gun was never pointed at the students once Haggard inserted the cap. He was facing away from the students, pointing the gun toward the ceiling when he pulled the trigger.
The students were “never really in danger,” he said.
After settling down the students and dismissing class, Haggard said, he called the school board to explain what happened and then called the parents of the five students.
“None of them were upset with me,” he said.
One father, he said, laughed until he cried.
The board and his staff have been supportive, he said.
He described the incident as “bitter irony.” As superintendent, Haggard has worked with the school to increase safety at the school, updating its drills and the training staff receives.
Hat tip to John Maass for bringing this priceless little gem to my attention.
Can you say “dumb-ass,” boys and girls?Scridb filter
I’ve also agreed to participate in an upcoming Civil War conference to be conducted at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The event is March 26-27, and I will be doing a completely different presentation at Liberty from the one I’m giving next weekend at Longwood University. There’s also a period church service on Sunday morning March 28 for those interested in such things, although Susan and I won’t be attending that for obvious reasons. Here’s the program for the Liberty event:
Liberty University Civil War Seminar 2010
“Jine the Cavalry”
The 14th Annual Liberty Civil War Seminar Schedule of Events: March 26 – 28, 2010
Location: The Pate Chapel at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA
6:30 p.m. Banquet/Welcome & Prayer
6:45 p.m. Meal
A silent auction will be held tonight to benefit the National Civil War Chaplains Museum.
9:30 p.m. Mr. Kenny Rowlette –Instructions for Saturday Session
Location: The Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. 1st speaker of the day
4:00 p.m. Kenny Rowlette–Closing Remarks & Door Prizes
In addition to the speakers’ presentations, there will be numerous exhibits of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia for the public, and vendors of Civil War items.
Period Worship Service
Rev. Alan Farley of Reenactors Mission for Jesus Christ will be speaking in the Whorley Prayer Chapel on the campus of Liberty University.
Our Special Guest Speakers and their topics:
Dr. James I. Robertson
Keynote Address – Topic TBA
Kent Masterson Brown
John Hunt Morgan
Flora: Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart
Phillip Sheridan: The Man Behind the Myth
Eric J. Wittenberg
Custer and the Cavalry Actions at Gettysburg
The Battle of Brandy Station
George Custer During the Latter Years of the Civil War
Libby Custer: In the Shadow of Her Husband
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Rev. Alan Farley
Period Church Service (Sunday, March 28,2010)
Seminar Admission Info:
In addition the Friday night Banquet and the Saturday Luncheon, both which feature antebellum menus and entertainment, there will be special door prizes and an exhibits.
On Sunday morning there will be a Period Church Service held in the Whorley Prayer Chapel at LU with special speaker, Rev. Alan Farley.
The presentations on Saturday will be held in Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Everyone is encouraged to secure reservations for this seminar by Wednesday, March 25. If you register before March 1st, admission to the seminar is $60 (which includes all of the seminar sessions, the Friday night banquet, and Saturday’s luncheon). Between March 1st and March 25th, admission is $65. After March 25, 2009, the price for both days is $75. Admission to the Seminar for Friday only is $35; admission for Saturday only is $40.
For special group pricing for the seminar or more information, call 434-592-4366 or email email@example.com.
Seminar attendees can choose to stay at either the Wingate by Windham Hotel or Days Inn at River Ridge Mall and will receive special LU Civil War Seminar rates.
WINGATE BY WYNDHAM:
Phone: (434) 845-1700 or 1-888-494-6428
DAYS INN at River Ridge Mall:
Phone: (434) 847-8655 or 1-800-787-3297
My 49th birthday is Friday, March 26. I hope that some of you will come and help me celebrate it. I can’t think of a better way to do so than to spend it with my fellow Civil War cavalry scholars and good friends Jeff Wert, Bud Hall, Horace Mewborn, and Scott Patchan. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of hearing Brian Steele Wills speak, he’s hilarious–it’s like watching a stand-up comic do Civil War humor.
It will also be my pleasure to unveil my new book on the Battle of Brandy Station there, which goes to the printer today in order to be ready by the Liberty event.Scridb filter
I’ve been invited to participate in a cavalry conference being sponsored jointly by Longwood University and the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park at Longwood University on February 27. For those of you who might be interested in attending, here’s the flyer for the program:
ELEVENTH ANNUAL CIVIL WAR SEMINAR
THE CAVALRY: WEAPONS, LEADERS, and BATTLES
Cavalry Generals J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) and Philip Sheridan (USA)
February 27, 2010
9:00 a.m. Doors open
9:25 a.m. Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University
9:30 a.m. Robert Dunkerly
“Horsepower and Firepower: Weapons of the Cavalry.”
10:00 a.m. Eric Wittenberg
“Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of
Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.”
11:15 a.m. Jeffery Wert
“‘He Stood out from the Great War Canvas’: Jeb Stuart.”
1:45 p.m. Clark “Bud” Hall
“The Battle of Brandy Station: Attack and Defense of the Daremark Line.”
2:45 p.m. Scott C. Patchan
“Overview of cavalry operations in the 1864 Valley Campaign.”
Bert Dunkerly is currently a park ranger at Appomattox Court House NHP, where is the park’s historic weapons safety officer. He has worked at several other National Parks, including Gettysburg, Stones River, Jamestown, Kings Mountain, and Moores Creek. He has authored several articles and books on the Revolution, Civil War, and historic preservation.
CLARK B. HALL
Clark B. Hall serves as Senior Managing Director for The Fairfax Group, a premier international security and investigative firm. Mr. Hall previously served as Global Business Security Director for General Electric and also as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to service with GE, Mr. Hall enjoyed a distinguished career with the U.S. Congress as a criminal investigations manager, during which time he served as Chief Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Iran/Contra Committee. Prior to Congressional service, Mr. Hall spent seventeen years with the FBI, wherein he managed nationwide organized crime investigations, serving as Unit Chief, Organized Crime Section, FBI Headquarters. He has written and lectured widely on cavalry operations in the Civil War and is a co-founder and past board member of the Chantilly Battlefield Association; Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and the Brandy Station Foundation. Mr. Hall has been presented numerous battlefield preservation commendations, including the “Anne B. Snyder Preservation Award.” He is a decorated Marine combat veteran, who served in Viet Nam as a tactical commander. Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State University. He has performed graduate studies in history and law at Kansas State and the University of Virginia and now resides in Middleburg, Virginia. He is currently working on Sabers Across the Rappahannock: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863.
SCOTT C. PATCHAN
Scott Patchan was born and raised in Ohio, and attended college at James Madison University. He has written dozens of articles for Civil War Magazine and other periodicals, is a contributing writer and historical consultant for the Time Life Series Voices of the Civil War and for the Kernstown Battlefield Association. He is a frequent lecturer on many aspects of Civil War history and is often requested as a battlefield tour guide. He is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign. His first book The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia received critical acclaim when it was published in 1996 and is now out of print. He has a forthcoming book on the Battle of Third Winchester.
JEFFRY D. WERT
Jeff Wert graduated cum laude with a B. A. History from Lock Haven University in 1968. In 1976, he completed his M. A. in History at Penn State. Wert taught at Penns Valley Area High School from 1969 to 2002 and was Pennsylvania’s “Teacher of the Year” in 1999. He is now a full time author and an historian. He has written articles for Civil War Times Illustrated, American History Illustrated, Blue & Gray Magazine, America’s Civil War, Military History, Virginia Cavalcade, Pennsylvania History, and the Civil War News. Wert has contributed and edited Historical Times Illustrated’s “Encyclopedia of the Civil War.” He has wrote seven books including: From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign 1864; Mosby’s Rangers; General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier; Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer; A Brotherhood of Valor, Gettysburg—Day Three, The Sword of Lincoln; and Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart. His books have won numerous awards. Wert has appeared on the History Channel’s “Civil War Journal”; C-Span 2’s “Book Talk”; and PBS’s “Valley of Fire.” Wert is an Honorary Board of Directors for the Civil War Preservation Trust; serves on the Advisory Council for the Lincoln Award at Gettysburg College; and is on the Historical Advisory Board for the Friends of Gettysburg.
Eric J. Wittenberg
An attorney in Columbus, Ohio, Eric Wittenberg has long been a student of Civil War cavalry operations. Wittenberg has published fifteen books on Civil War history, most of them centering on Virginia. Additionally, his articles have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, America’s Civil War, and Civil War Times Illustrated. He is very active in battlefield preservation, and serves as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and also serves on the Governor of Ohio Commission on Ohio’s Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is also active with the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation. He is a graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
This annual seminar is sponsored by Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Eastern National Bookstore, The Department of History, Political Science, & Philosophy, and the Center for Southside Virginia History at Longwood University.
This seminar is FREE and open to the public.
Parking available on Longwood University campus except in 24 hour reserved spaces, handicapped, or tow-away zones.
Lunch is available at the Longwood University Dining Hall
Signs will be posted on the Longwood University Campus. For directions to the campus go to www.longwood.edu. For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434.395.2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434.352.8987, Ext. 32.
Some of my favorite folks–Scott Patchan, Bud Hall, and Jeff Wert–are on the program with me, and Patrick Schroeder, the staff historian at Appomattox, is the coordinator. And best of all: it’s free!
If you’re in the area, please stop by.Scridb filter
Hat tip to Russell Bonds for bringing this beauty to my attention.
From the January 7 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, we have our first nominees for Civil War morons of the year for 2010:
Stanardsville Civil War dispute ends in courtroom stalemate
By STAFF REPORTS
Published: January 7, 2010
STANARDSVILLE — In a Civil War re-enactment that went too far, two Union and Confederate cavalry commanders who tussled on the field of battle each were found not guilty of assault.
The two pressed charges against each other after the Sept. 19, 2009, re-enactment of the Battle of Stanardsville.
The Confederate commander, Doug Nalls, claimed his Union counterpart, Joseph Ferguson, knocked off his hat and Nalls allegedly responded by firing his revolver. While the weapon was not loaded with a bullet, the Union commander suffered facial injuries from the revolver’s powder blast, according to a prosecutor.
This chapter of the Civil War ended in a draw: A judge concluded yesterday that he could not find either man guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The Greene County commonwealth’s attorney said the re-enactment gone bad was the result of “bad blood” between the men that boiled over on the battlefield, located about 20 miles north of Charlottesville.
Confederate re-enactors testified during the several-hour trial that the two had exchanged words before the violent encounter. According to Confederate witnesses, the Union commander used archaic slurs such as “blaggard” and “knave” to describe his Confederate counterpart.
The prosecutor, Ronald L. Morris, said today that more contemporary insults were also exchanged. He said courtroom accounts of the physical exchange were in dispute except for two points: “The hat came off and the gun was fired.”
Nalls’ father testified he had to wade into battle to separate the men.
Ferguson left court unhappy with the outcome. “The feud on the battlefield goes on,” he said.
Injuries, accidental or otherwise, are not uncommon during Civil War re-enactments. In 2008, a Confederate re-enactor brought a loaded weapon into a battle being filmed for a documentary and shot and wounded a Union re-enactor. — The Associated Press
I’d call this galactically stupid, but that would be an insult to stupid people. Amazing. Truly amazing.Scridb filter
Allow me to begin by thanking everyone who weighed in on the question that I posed a week ago. I got lots of feedback, which is what I was hoping for. One person, Jim Durney, was a resounding no vote, but everyone else was universally supportive, both of my desire to tackle a project on the Revolutionary War, but also to take on the 1780 Battle of Camden.
So, after some reflection, I have decided to tackle the Battle of Camden. My friend Scott Patchan, who has done some terrific work on the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and I have been looking for a project to do together for some time. We had talked about perhaps doing a biography of William Woods Averell together, but we’re probably the only two people interested in such a book. Scott leads a lot of tours of Revolutionary War battlefields, and is very knowledgeable about the War of Independence.
So I put two and two together and decided to ask Scott if he would be interested in tackling Camden with me, and he readily agreed. Consequently, Scott and I will be teaming up to do the first detailed tactical study of the Battle of Camden, which had far-reaching consequences for the Patriot cause.
Others of you gave me some really good suggestions, including Kings Mountain and a battle study of the Battle of Brandywine. Brandywine has long interested me, as I grew up about an our from the battlefield, and it was the largest set-piece battle of the war. I intend to tackle Brandywine too.
So, here’s the plan. I have a book on Sheridan’s May 1864 Richmond Raid and the Battle of Yellow Tavern under contract, and will fulfill that contract. Then, Scott and I intend to tackle Camden. Then I will do another Civil War book (the third volume in my trilogy with J.D. Petruzzi), and then I expect to take on the Battle of Brandywine. So, fear not, Civil War readers. I will never give up on the Civil War entirely, and I will continue to write about it. I just won’t be doing it exclusively.
I need to grow as a writer and historian, and variety will only make me better.
I will have more news about the Revolutionary War to report soon. Thanks again to all who took the time to give me input on this important decision.Scridb filter
Ted Strickland, the Governor of Ohio, authorized the formation of a Civil War sesquicentennial commission in April. The membership of the commission was finally announced this past week, and your humble servant was named as one of its 15 members. From the Ohio Civil War 150 website:
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY NAMES CIVIL WAR SESQUICENTENNIAL ADVISORY GROUP
by Kristina – December 10th, 2009.
Filed under: News. Tagged as: Civil War 150 Advisory Committee.
Members Represent Statewide Effort To Ensure Successful Commemoration Effort
(COLUMBUS, OHIO)—In response to Gov. Ted Strickland’s directive to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in Ohio (2011-2015), the Ohio Historical Society has appointed 15 Ohioans to the Civil War 150 Advisory Committee, announced Jim Strider, acting executive director.
Made up of individuals from around the state, the committee will provide guidance to the historical society on programs and activities to ensure a successful commemoration effort at both the state and local levels. Meeting will run quarterly, and members will serve until the end 2015.
“These individuals represent men and women who have a deep interest in Ohio history, particularly its Civil War heritage,” Strider said. “Advisory committee members also will contribute their professional expertise in history, education, state government, historical organizations, media and tourism.”
The Civil War 150 Advisory Committee includes:
James Bissland is from Bowling Green in Wood County. He taught in the journalism program at Bowling Green State University for 20 years and serves today as an associate professor of journalism emeritus. Bissland is the author of “Blood, Tears, & Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War,” published in October 2007.
Tom Brinkman Jr., a former Ohio legislator (2001-2008) from Cincinnati, has an educational background in history and experience with former commemorative initiatives in Ohio. He lives in Cincinnati in Hamilton County.
Andrew Cayton is a Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University. He lives in Oxford in Butler County. He is the author of “Ohio: The History of a People,” published in 2002. He has earned many honors and distinctions for both his scholarship and his teaching, including a Fulbright position in American Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Bob Davis serves as commander of the Department of Ohio, Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. This patriotic and educational organization seeks to preserve the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and to care for GAR memorials and identify the location of union veterans’ gravesites. Davis lives in Canal Winchester in Fairfield County.
Gainor Davis is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Reserve Historical Society of the Western Reserve Historical Society, an organization whose collections include an extensive and unique Civil War-era collection. She has more than 27 years of experience, including leadership roles in history organizations in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Louisiana. She resides in Cleveland Heights in Cuyahoga County.
Paul LaRue is a social studies teacher at Washington High School and lives in Washington Court House in Fayette County. He has been honored for his innovative methods of teaching Civil War history by the American Legion (2003 Educator of the Year) and the Civil War Preservation Trust, among others.
Roger Micker, from Wheeling (West Virginia), is a social studies teacher at Steubenville High School in Steubenville, Jefferson County. He is president of the Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable, a re-enactor, a member of the Ohio Historical Society Teacher Advisory Committee, and a Teaching American History program participant.
Bob Minton is Colonel of the Army of the Ohio Reenacting Battalion and involved in Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island. He has also raised funds to conserve two Ohio Civil War battle flags. Minton lives in Fostoria in Hancock County.
Don Murphy, from Cincinnati in Hamilton County, serves as chief executive officer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He is the former deputy director of the National Park Service and before that served for seven years as the director of California State Parks.
Rep. Mark Okey represents House District 61, which includes Carroll County and parts of Mahoning, Stark and Tuscarawas counties. The McCook House, an Ohio Historical Society site, is within his district. His interest in Civil War history is evidenced by his personal collection and research. He resides in Carrollton in Carroll County.
Dave Roth is the co-founder and publisher of Blue & Gray Magazine, which focuses on Civil War battlefields and provides in-depth information on Civil War sites for its readers. The magazine has surpassed 25 years of operation and 150 issues. Roth lives in Columbus in Franklin County.
John Switzer is a journalist with the Columbus Dispatch, who lives in Columbus in Franklin County. Previously a weather columnist, today he writes a Sunday Metro column, often revealing his interest in historical topics.
Diana Thompson is the executive director of the Miami County Visitors & Convention Bureau. She has 26 years of experience in the hospitality field and is active in the Ohio Travel Association, including teaching for the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy. Thompson lives in Piqua in Miami County.
Catherine Wilson is the executive director of the Greene County Historical Society. She has experience in archives, genealogy, history scholarship and Civil War re-enacting. She has authored a number of articles on topics of relevance to Civil War history as well. She resides in Xenia in Greene County.
Eric Wittenberg, from Columbus in Franklin County, is an attorney who has authored more than 10 books about the Civil War and also writes a blog, Rantings of a Civil War Historian. He is a member of the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable and Vice President of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation.
About the Civil War 150
Ohio’s leadership before, during and after the Civil War had a profound influence on American history. Decades later, Gov. Ted Strickland wants to make sure that all Ohioans remember the past of their great state and the sacrifices that were made to preserve the Union. He chose the Ohio Historical Society to lead the effort because the state history organization is “uniquely positioned” to direct the initiative.
“It is important not only to commemorate the historic significance of the Civil War, but to also celebrate the role that Ohio and Ohioans played in achieving the monumental victory,” Gov. Strickland said in his directive to historical society last April. “The Ohio Historical Society is uniquely positioned with the expertise and physical resources to lead the state in commemorating the Civil War in Ohio.”
Civil War 150 Efforts Underway
In addition to establishing the Civil War 150 Advisory Committee, the historical society has organized a statewide network of organizations and historic sites so that the Civil War tribute can be organized seamlessly. One goal is to raise awareness of the upcoming sesquicentennial and encourage Ohioans to visit the many Civil War sites across the state.
“Ohio’s link to the Civil War is a very significant one,” Strider said. “Ohioans had a deep and lasting influence on the war, and the war spurred an age of great prosperity and political power for the state.”
To help raise awareness about Ohio’s pivotal role in Civil War history, the Ohio Historical Society and Cleveland State University’s Center for Public History and Digital Humanities recently launched www.ohiocivilwar150.org to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the war in 2011 to 2015. The Web site is a collection of information as well as a dynamic tool for the public, educators and local history groups to collaborate and share their knowledge of Ohio’s fascinating Civil War history.
The Ohio Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that serves as the state’s partner in preserving and interpreting Ohio’s history, natural history, archaeology and historic architecture. For more information about programs and events, visit www.ohiohistory.org.
On one hand, this is a very great honor, and I am honored to have been selected. On the other hand, Ohio’s economy is in shambles (and has been for some time), and we’re going to have to put together programming for the sesquicentennial with next to no budget, largely because the Ohio Senate pulled funding for it back in June. It’s going to be a real challenge to pull this off with no budget to speak of, but I will keep everyone posted as to our progress. Our first meeting has yet to be scheduled, but I’m sure it will be shortly after the first of the year.Scridb filter