I have long been an enthusiastic supporter of the gang at Emerging Civil War. Chris Mackowski and Kris White founded Emerging Civil War to create a place for the next generation of Civil War historians to try out their voices. And they have formed a very talented team that includes Chris Kolakowski (whom I’ve known for about 10 years now), Dan Davis, Phil Greenwalt, Rob Orrison, Meg Thompson, and others. As I travel around the country, I see far, far more gray hair in the groups that attend the events where I speak and too few young people. Consequently, I constantly worry about the future of Civil War scholarship.
I’m pleased to tell you that after attending an event put on by ECW this weekend, I am far more comfortable with the future of the study of the Civil War. If this is what the next generation has to offer, then we’re in very good hands.
For one thing, there’s the Emerging Civil War Series of books. These are meant to be gateway books into specific topics, filled with lots of photos, maps and battlefield tours. They are intended to provide introductions to different battles that will lead others to study those battles in a far more in-depth fashion. This series is the brainchild of Chris Mackowski and Kris White, and it’s quite good indeed. Our mutual publisher, Savas-Beatie, publishes these books.
This weekend was ECW’s first annual Civil War Symposium. The event was held at the absolutely gorgeous Stevenson Ridge inn (the house where we stayed is the image at the beginning of this blog post), which happens to be owned by Chris Mackowski’s in-laws, and which is located on a portion of the Spotsylvania battlefield. Friday night featured a very interesting panel discussion, and Saturday included a full slate of speakers. ECW gave me the honor of being the keynote speaker at the event, which was on the war in 1864. Four of the talks (including mine) were filmed by C-SPAN and will be broadcast at a later date (I will let you know when I know the date). All of the talks were excellent and it was an honor to be included. Today was a full day battlefield tour. Attendees could choose between an in-depth tour of Spotsylvania, or an overview tour of both the Wilderness and Spotsylvania.
I want to focus on one speaker in particular. Lee White, who is a ranger at Chickamauga, was supposed to speak on the Atlanta Campaign, but a family issue prevented him from attending. A young man named Ryan Quint, who is still an undergraduate college student at Mary Washington University, filled in, and did so quite ably indeed. He gave a terrific talk. If this 20-year-old college student represents the caliber of talent in the next generation of Civil War historians, then our avocation is in very good hands indeed.
It was a real pleasure getting to spend time with the likes of old friend Dave Powell, Chris Kolakowski, Chris Mackowski, Kris White, Dan Davis, Phil Greenwalt, Michael Hardy, John Michael Priest, and lots of familiar faces among the attendees. Thanks to the ECW crew for an outstanding event.
I can’t say enough good things about what this group of historians is doing. The second annual symposium will be on turning points in the Civil War and will be held at Stevenson Ridge next July 30. Next year’s battlefield tour will be of Chancellorsville, one of my very favorite battlefields. Do yourselves a favor and plan on attending. You won’t be disappointed. I will be there.Scridb filter