So, I managed to get myself double-booked for two different events the first weekend in October. One is the annual Middleburg conference, which I described here.
The other is my friend Ted Alexander’s fall event for the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars for October 2013 is titled The Cavalry at Gettysburg, and should be quite good. If I hadn’t gotten myself into the pickle of double-booking myself, I would be there for the whole event.
Here’s the schedule:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4
9:00am – 12:30pm – Sessions at the hotel
The Battle of Monterey Pass – John Miller
Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: JEB Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg – Jeffry Wert
McNeil’s Rangers in the Gettysburg Campaign – Steve French
12:30pm – 1:30pm – Lunch
1:30pm – 6pm – Sessions at the hotel
Prelude to Gettysburg: Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville – Ed Bearss
“If Only I Spoke” – A Gettysburg Witness Tree – film by – Radford Wine
The Stuart Horse Artillery at Gettysburg – Robert Trout
“General Insubordination: Custer vs. Kilpatrick in the Third Cavalry Division” – Bruce Venter
6:30pm – Buffet Dinner at the hotel
7:30pm – George Washington Sandoe and the Militia Cavalry of 1863 – Scott Mingus
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5
Bus Tour – Lunch included
7:30am – 6pm – “The Cavalry at Gettysburg” – Eric Wittenberg, Ed Bearss and Jeffry Wert. Sites visited include -
East Cavalry field
Buford’s Cavalry positions
South Cavalry Field including Farnsworth’s attack
6pm – Dinner on your own
8pm – The Battle of Brandy Station – Eric Wittenberg
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6
8:30am – 12:00pm – Sessions
“He’s a Bully General”: Custer and his “Wolverines” – Jeffry Wert
Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hager- stown – Steve Bockmiller
“Forward the Harris Light!”: The 2nd New York Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign” – Bruce Venter
Ted’s programs are always terrific, and he’s got lots of good speakers lined up. To register for this event, click here. I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
Each year, the Mosby Area Heritage Association puts on its annual Middleburg Conference on the Art of Command in the Civil War. Childs Burden and the rest of the MHAA folks put on a tremendous program every year, and it’s always my pleasure to attend this event when asked. I actually assisted Childs with assembling the slate of speakers for this year’s program, and the tours are always first-rate. If you’re interested in such things, this event is a first-class program every year, and it benefits a great cause.
This year’s program is titled Prelude to Gettysburg: The Armies Move North. The schedule is below:
Friday, October 4
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Registration, Reception and Book Browsing
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Speaker: Horace Mewborn “Mosby’s Intelligence to Stuart: June 16 – 24, 1863”
6:15 pm – 7:15 pm
Speaker: Eric Wittenberg
“A Study in Controversy: The Historiography of Jeb Stuart’s Ride to Gettyburg”
Dinner on your own
Saturday, October 5
Registration, Coffee and Snacks
8:30 am – 9:30 am
Speaker: Clark B. Hall
“The Army is Moving – Lee’s March Toward the Potomac – The Gettysburg Campaign Begins!”
9:45 am – 10:45 am
Speaker: Scott Patchan “Milroy’s Boys and the Long Shadow of the Second Battle of Winchester”
11:00 am – 12 noon
Speaker: Robert K. Krick “‘The Forlorn Attempt to Find Another Jackson: Reorganizing the Army of Northern Virginia in the Spring of 1863”
12:00 noon – 12:30 pm
Speaker: Robert O’Neill, Jr. “‘The Michigan Brigade Before Custer: From Michigan to Gettysburg”
Speaker: Chris S. Stowe, Ph.D. “The Entente Cordiale is Destroyed Between Us: Joseph Hooker, George Meade, and the Politics of Commanding the Army of the Potomac”
Speaker: Scott L. Mingus, Sr. “Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Confederate Expedition to the Susquehanna River, June 1863″
Panel discussion and book signing
Cash bar opens upstairs at the Red Fox Inn
Banquet dinner upstairs at the Red Fox Inn
Sunday, October 6
Buses depart behind the Middleburg Community Center as we follow Lee’s army north into Pennsylvania (box lunches will be served)
Buses return to Middleburg
I thoroughly enjoy this event, and will be assisting with leading the tour on Sunday. Unfortunately, I will not be there on Saturday, as I have another event that day that I will discuss in another post.
I hope to see some of you there!Scridb filter
For those of you who find Sherman’s 1865 Carolinas Campaign as fascinating as I do, please check out this excellent program at Bentonville on September 14-15, 2013. There are some really good speakers, and a bus tour with Mark Bradley and Ed Bearss. How can you possibly go wrong?
Ticket sales are brisk, so please sign up if you’re at all interested in attending. I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
For Clint Schemmer’s excellent article on the Brandy Station Sesquicentennial tour that appeared in today’s edition of the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star newspaper, please click here. Clint has some excellent photographs in his article, which is why I’m not just repeating it here. It’s definitely worth a read.
Nice job, Clint!
And here’s Scott Manning’s take on the tour. Thanks for the kind words, Scott!Scridb filter
I made the banzai run to Culpeper, Virginia for the sesquicentennial tour of the Battle of Brandy Station on Friday, which is a 7+ hour drive. This was a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the battlefield that featured several stops on private property. I’ve been to the battlefield literally dozens of times, including any number of times with Bud Hall, but we visited some sites that I had never seen before. Bud also announced that this would be his final tour of the battlefield, so the moment represented a passing of the torch.
More than 200 people attended. I had some very serious misgivings about the logistics of moving so many people from place to place without the benefits of buses, but the folks from the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, ably led by the CWRT president, Cecil Jones, did an absolutely superb job of managing the logistics. Cecil and Craig Swain deserve the bulk of the credit for putting together this event and for managing logistics that otherwise could have gotten out of control very quickly and very easily.
Our rallying point was at the artillery park for Maj. Robert F. Beckham’s horse artillery on the Civil War Trust’s property, where everyone gathered, and Bud gave an overview of the run-up to the battle. The first photo is of Bud giving that overview.
From there, we went to Buford’s Knoll and Bud laid out much of the morning’s action. I gave a biographical sketch of John Buford’s life, and we got a spectacular vista of the Union position. In the second photo, I’m giving the overview of Buford’s life. Seated in the chair on the right side of the photograph is our distinguished guest for the day, Col. (Retired) J.E.B. Stuart, IV, the great-great grandson of the great Confederate cavalry chieftain. From there, we went on to the site of the Richard Hoopes Cunningham house (long ago demolished) to examine a Union artillery position. From there, we moved onto private property to get a look at Beverly Ford, where Buford’s command crossed the Rappahannock River. This was also a position held by Rooney Lee’s Confederate cavalry in the early phases of the battle.
The next stop was a place where no tour group had ever been, Rooney Lee’s main line of battle on a knoll on Beauregard Farm. Beauregard Farm is a massive, 6000 acre farm that abuts and includes a significant portion of the battlefield. Fortunately, the owners are friends of our preservation efforts, and this position has been forever protected from development via a preservation easement. This was the first time that Bud ever took a tour group there. The third photograph is of the very long line of automobiles making their way to Rooney’s Knoll, as Bud calls it. The sight of the cars snaking along was very reminiscent of the final scene of the movie Field of Dreams, which was the first thought I had upon seeing it. I’ve never been there before, and it was a spectacular spot.
From there, we went to St. James Church, where we had lunch and an excellent demonstration by Trooper Todd Kern and his living history group, the Valley Light Horse. That’s Todd on the left side of the photograph. Afterward, I led a discussion of the charge of five companies of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry into the teeth of Confederate artillery, taking flanking fire the whole way.
From there, we addressed the fighting at Fleetwood Hill. We did so on the north side of the hill, where we had a spectacular view of the McMansion atop Fleetwood Hill that will soon be coming down. Bud led a lively discussion there, and we enjoyed a spot that does not see much visitation.
Sadly, there were torrential rains in the area on Thursday and early Friday from a tropical storm, and the road to Farley, at the northern end of Fleetwood Hill, was too badly damaged by the rains to permit the passage of so many vehicles. That, unfortunately, meant that that portion of the tour had to be canceled, which is too bad. Few groups ever get up there, and few groups get to see Farley, which is private property.
The final stop was at Rose Hill Game Preserve, a historic plantation house in Stevensburg that was the starting point of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid. We discussed the Stevensburg portion of the battle there and did a wrap-up of the battle and tour, heard the history of the property, and then some lovely refreshments were enjoyed by all. Thanks to Dr. John Covington for his hospitality there.
All in all, it was a spectacular tour that covered some ground never before seen by a tour group of any size. It also marked a passing of the torch from Bud Hall to the rest of us of the BSF Board in Exile. It’s a challenge that we have gratefully accepted. This photo–the final one–is of the teacher and his student, atop Buford’s Knoll. The student does not know if he’s ready to take the passage of that torch, but he will do his level best to carry on the legacy.
It was a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful program. It was an honor to be asked to do so, and it was a privilege to stand there and help Bud Hall to present this material to a large tour group for the last time. Thanks also to everyone who attended, and to everyone who made things run so smoothly.
Thank you to Debra Naylor for the photo of Bud Hall and me, and thank you to David Kinsella for the photo of him and me. I appreciate your allowing me to use your images here. To see larger versions of any of these images, simply click on them.
The only thing marring the tour was the ridiculous, immature and grossly unprofessional conduct of the Brandy Station Foundation. Our original plan was to interpret the fighting at Fleetwood Hill from the BSF property to the north of Fleetwood Hill. When Cecil Jones gave the BSF the courtesy of telling them that, Useless Joe McKinney demanded that he be entitled to speak to our group and that we not use the BSF porta-potties there as a condition of our taking the tour group onto the BSF property (which, I might add, Bud Hall helped to pay for). The issue with the porta-potties was simply being chintzy. However, the demand that he be permitted to address our group was an astoundingly nervy thing for him to do, given that he and his board of appeasers have stood in the way of our efforts to preserve that ground. There was NO way that that was going to happen, now, or ever. We decided to move to the north side of Fleetwood Hill instead.
Then, on Friday night, while at dinner with some friends, former BSF president Bob Luddy–whom I’ve known for 15+ years–and his wife came in and were seated at the next table over from us. He spent the entire meal giving us the stink eye, and then when they got up to leave, I stood up, greeted him, and offered a hand to shake, and he very childishly refused to shake my hand, much like a two-year old child throwing a temper tantrum. He quite rudely and unprofessionally turned on his heel and stomped away. It left all of us shaking our heads, wondering what sort of an adult acts that way.
The final element of this little drama was the most comical. This was a reservations-only event. Only those who registered were welcome. When we got to Rose Hill, a guy nobody recognized showed up who had not been with the tour group over the course of the day. He started prying for information about where we went on the tour and which parcels we visited that were private property. Without any prompting, this uninvited party crasher admitted that he is a volunteer for the BSF, and when pressed about it by Craig Swain, he became very defensive about the whole thing before leaving unceremoniously. It’s bad enough that McKinney and his wife badmouth us to everyone who will listen–yes, we do know what you’re saying–but to act so childishly because you feel threatened? Please. Grow up, already!
Are we really that much of a threat to the BSF that they have to stoop to such childish and unprofessional conduct? Apparently, we are. We’re doing the work that they refuse to do because they’re too busy currying favor with landowners and tending to the Graffiti House. They should change their name to Friends of the Graffiti House and just step aside and let those of us who are serious about saving this battlefield do this important work. Instead, they act like babies. Perhaps that explains the outrageous conduct.
Despite the ridiculous, puerile conduct of the BSF and its people, we nevertheless had a superb day and a truly magnificent event. Thank you again to all who attended and especially to those who handled the logistics of this program. We could not have done so without you.
Finally, the Civil War Trust announced last week that we are 42% of the way to the goal for the purchase of Fleetwood Hill. To donate, please click here. Thank you for your support of our efforts to save the single most-fought over piece of ground of the American Civil War.Scridb filter
Below are the details of the Brandy Station sesquicentennial tour, set for Saturday, June 8, 2013. ONLY THOSE WITH CONFIRMED RESERVATIONS ARE PERMITTED TO ATTEND. RESERVATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AFTER THURSDAY, JUNE 5.. For a larger version of the map, please click on it.
A Message from Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable:
Dear Tour Registrant,
Thank you for registering for the Brandy Station 150th Anniversary Tour hosted by the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable (LCCWRT).
As the date for the event is fast approaching, please make note of the following information:
1. Our first “rally point” on June 8 will be the Civil War Trust’s property on the north end of the Culpeper Airport. Please refer to the directional map shown below for detailed directions from US Rt. 29 to the initial staging area for the tour. For your convenience, the web link below may be used to determine the best route to the designated parking area for the initial staging area for the tour:
Tour registrants are instructed to check in at the registration tent upon arrival and pick up an individual tour field packet containing battle maps and other historic information. After picking up the field tour packet, each registrant should proceed to the designated assembly area for an initial tour orientation by the guest historians. Portable toilets will also be available at the initial staging area for the convenience of tour attendees.
2. In order to cover the necessary ground for this special Sesquicentennial event, the tour will begin promptly at the initial staging area tour stop at 8:30 AM sharp on Saturday, June 8. Please make appropriate travel, parking, tour registration and hiking preparation arrangements, accordingly.
3. Although we have planned for adequate parking accommodations at the various tour stops for this event, it is highly recommended that tour participants consolidate vehicles where possible to reduce the number of vehicles on the battlefield roads and at designated parking areas for the individual tour stops. This will also facilitate rapid movement and parking of vehicles at each tour stop and provide more time for enjoying the tour that has been prepared by the guest historians.
As part of this effort, tour participants are requested to consolidate vehicles at the initial staging area parking area at the beginning of the tour if you are driving alone or with only one additional passenger. Return transportation will be provided to personal vehicles left at the initial staging area parking area at the end of the day. Be sure to lock your vehicle before leaving any personal items in the vehicle.
We also highly encourage tour registrants who have purchased multiple tickets on the Eventbrite website to carpool with friends as much as possible before arriving at the battlefield. There are several “park and ride” commuter lots with ample parking space on weekends located nearby where tour registrants can meet friends in order to consolidate transportation before arriving at the battlefield.
4. Handicap and Special Transportation: Those tour participants that need special transportation requirements between tour stops should plan to provide their own specially equipped vehicles for their special needs. Every effort will be made to accommodate these special vehicles at each tour stop and those tour participants with special transportation needs.
5. Please follow the designated lead “tour stop” vehicle that will lead the tour car caravan to and from each designated tour stop. Please follow the parking directions and instructions of the tour parking staff/traffic control attendants wearing yellow florescent jackets at the designated parking areas for each tour stop.
6. After leaving the initial staging area parking area, please be alert for directional tour signs posted at key intersections, along the side of the road and open fields identifying the LCCWRT Tour Route and location of the designated tour stops for your information and convenience. These tour signs will have the logo “LCCWRT TOUR” at the top.
7. For your safety and enjoyment of the tour, please obey all traffic signals/signs at intersections and all speed limits while moving from one tour stop to the next. The tour will not start at each tour stop until all tour participants have parked their cars and have arrived at the designated meeting place for the beginning of the tour.
8. For the convenience of tour attendees, adequate portable toilet facilities (both male and female) will be available to tour participants at various tour stops throughout the day. The locations of the portable toilets are identified on the tour stop itinerary map included in the tour field packet for your convenience.
9. The tour will traverse some moderately difficult grassy terrain and old farm roads. Please wear appropriate clothing including comfortable hiking shoes/boots (no open sandals), broad brimmed hats, sunglasses and (preferably) light colored tan khaki long pants (to avoid problems with pesky ticks). Be sure to tuck pant legs into socks and spray with insect/tick repellant. You may wish to bring a change of clothing for the end of the day at the last tour stop located at Rose Hill.
10. This tour will take place rain or shine. Please check local weather in the area prior to arriving at the battlefield and include rain gear if inclement weather is anticipated.
11. General Field Packing list – plenty of bottled water, insect/tick repellant, sunscreen, and packed lunch.
12. LCCWRT has charted an outstanding program which will take tour participants to places that tour groups have never visited before. Our guest historians will share unique vignettes in time that will enthrall the listener and carry you back to a time of plumed hats, bold cavaliers and swift horses. In order to include these important and rarely seen historic locations and share the wonderful stories that are associated with these sites, please be aware that the tour may extend up to ten hours in length. Tour attendees are free to leave the tour at any time during the day if their personal schedule does not permit them to complete the entire tour. But for those who do choose to remain with the tour through the final tour stop at Rose Hill, a special treat will be waiting.
13. If you know of anyone who has not registered for this special Sesquicentennial event, please encourage them to complete the proper registration for this event by clicking on the following web link and follow the instructions shown thereon:
By registering, tour planners will be better able to properly plan for the logistical requirements of the tour.
14. Emergency LCCWRT Contact Phone Numbers:
Cecil Jones (President) (571) 217-9816 (cell)
James Morgan (Vice President) (571) 225-2812 (cell)
15. Disclaimer: Although this is an easy outdoor hiking event without any known physical hazards, participation in this event is at tour registrant’s own personal risk. The Loudoun County Civil War Round Table and its members as well as all associated event historians, guides and support staff provided for this special Sesquicentennial event will not be held accountable or responsible for any personal injuries or damages to personal property incurred by participants while attending this event. All personal property belonging to individual tour registrants is the tour registrant’s sole responsibility. All personal items left in vehicles while participating in this event are the sole responsibility of the individual owners involved. Travel to and from this special event is at tour registrant’s personal risk.
Again, we thank you for registering for this special 150th Anniversary event and we look forward to seeing you on the battlefield on Saturday, June 8.
Loudoun County Civil War Round Table
This will be a once-in-a-lifetime tour. I encourage all interested readers to register. I hope to see some of you there!Scridb filter
For those interested in attending the June 8 sesquicentennial tour of Brandy Station, we’re nearly done with laying out the itinerary for the tour. I’m confident that it’s going to be a once in a lifetime tour.
Stand by just a bit longer, and we will announce the details here as soon as the final details are pinned down. It will definitely be prior to the tour date.
We thank you for your patience.
For those interested in attending this free tour, please click here.Scridb filter
I’m pleased to invite all of you to attend the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Brandy Station, to be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013.
In conjunction with the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, the 150th anniversary of North America’s largest cavalry battle will be commemorated. The precise details are still being worked out, so I can’t provide you with an exact schedule yet. However, we will be conducting an all-day walking tour of the battlefield that day. And the best part: it’s FREE!!!
However, we want to recommend that, in lieu of paying for the tour, everyone who participates makes a donation to the Civil War Trust’s campaign to save Fleetwood Hill. The amount can be your choice, but we would like to see everyone who attends the tour make a donation of some sort.
Bud Hall, the nation’s leading expert on the Battle of Brandy Station, will be conducting a uniquely rare walking tour of remote battlefield sites that have never before been visited by any tour group. Craig Swain, yours truly, and some of the other folks who have been involved in the fight to save Fleetwood Hill will also assist in leading the tour. Priceless anti-bellum homes and bucolic river fords are just a few of the historically significant sites that will be visited on this special tour. Bud Hall told me today that he will be leading a tour group into the area on Yew Ridge where Rooney Lee had his fencing match with Wesley Merritt for the very first time that day. This is an exceptional Sesquicentennial event that you will not want to miss! All tour materials including maps and handouts will be provided. A bag lunch, hat, sunscreen, bug spray and walking shoes are suggested for this tour which will take place rain or shine. Come join us as we commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station!
To RSVP, click here. Please note, while this is a free tour, we do ask for you to RSVP so we can obtain an accurate headcount. We will use the site to disseminate detailed information about the event. The site simply asks for your name and email address. You will receive a “ticket” via email.
What: Battle of Brandy Station Tour
Where: Brandy Station, Virginia
When: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please mark the date on your calendar!
I hope to see some of you there!Scridb filter
The Friends of the Bentonville Battlefield are putting on what promises to be an excellent seminar on September 14-15, 2013. The focus of the program is the Civil War in North Carolina in 1865, and it promises to be a first-rate offering. Saturday’s program will be in Smithfield, and then there will be a battlefield tour led by Mark Bradley and Ed Bearss on Sunday. I’m honored to be on the program with the finest scholars of the 1865 Carolinas Campaign working today.
Here’s the program for Saturday:
Bentonville Battlefield’s NC 1865 Civil War Symposium Agenda
Saturday : September 14, 2013
8:00 am to 8:45 am Welcome and Refreshments. Paul A. Johnston Auditorium at Johnston Community College.
8:45 am to 9:45 am Robert M. “Bert” Dunkerly. The Confederate surrender in North Carolina.
10:00 am to 11:00 am Colonel (Ret.) Wade Sokolosky. The Battles of Wyse Fork and Averasboro
11:15 am to 12:15 pm Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle. The Wilmington Campaign.
12:15 pm to 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Eric Wittenberg. Cavalry during the Carolinas Campaign.
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Dr. Mark L. Bradley. The Battle of Bentonville.
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm Keynote speaker: Edwin C. “Ed” Bearss.
The program benefits the Bentonville battlefield, and will be a terrific event. See you there!Scridb filter
I’ve been going to Gettysburg since I was in third grade, and multiple times each year since 1994 or so. Over the course of all of those years, I have walked pretty much the entire battlefield multiple times, and I thought I had seen pretty much everything there was to see.
Every time that I think I’ve seen everything, I find something new. That happened again yesterday. While leading my Stuart’s Ride tour for the First Defenders Civil War Roundtable yesterday afternoon, I noticed something I had never noticed previously: that the Low Dutch Road, which borders East Cavalry Field to the east, intersects with Route 30. We finished up the tour at 5:15 or so, so I had some time to kill before meeting some friends for dinner in New Oxford. After doing some book browsing on Steinwehr Avenue, I decided to get from that part of Gettysburg to Route 30 by taking the Low Dutch Road, just to see if it might help me better understand the East Cavalry Field battle. I’d never been north of the park road on the Low Dutch Road, so I had no idea what to expect.
A couple of hundred yards north of the park road, I discovered a War Department marker I had never seen before. It marks the far right flank of the Union cavalry on East Cavalry Field, and discusses Capt. William E. Miller of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry and his charge into the Confederate flank during the climactic part of the battle on East Cavalry Field. I had no clue that this marker even existed before yesterday. Neither, it turns out, did J. D. It was a new one on him too.
That’s the marker in the photo. I took that photo this morning with my Droid phone, and I regret that it’s a lousy photo. It’s a lousy photo from the combination of the fact that I’m a lousy photographer, poor lighting conditions for shooting pictures, and a not-so-hot cell phone camera. Next time, I will take a real camera with me and will get a real photo of this marker and will post it here. If it’s of interest, you can see the full-sized image of the marker by clicking on the smaller photo that you see here.
So, I found something completely new to me at Gettysburg this weekend. Just when I was getting really cynical about it, I gained new insight. I guess that’s why I keep going back…..Scridb filter