15 June 2007 by Published in: General musings 4 comments

As I said earlier today, I’m here for the annual conference of the Shenandoah Civil War Associates. The program is administered through James Madison University and based there. I drove in yesterday, a lovely 7 hour drive through BFE in West Virginia. Last night we had a board meeting to plan next year’s program (which will be April 1-9, 1865) and an absolutely incredible meal.

This year’s program is the Overland Campaign of 1864. Faculty for the symposium are Gordon Rhea, Jeff Wert, Robert E. L. Krick (also known as Krick the Younger) and yours truly. Today was a partial day, mostly to introduce the campaign. Tomorrow and Sunday are battlefield stomping days. Tomorrow, we cover the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Sunday, we cover North Anna, Cold Harbor, and will make a half hour or so stop at Yellow Tavern. We return to Harrisonburg on Sunday night. There’s a final speaker on Monday morning, a panel discussion, and a farewell lunch. I will head out to drive home about 1:30 or so, meaning that I will get home about 8:30, undoubtedly exhausted. It’s supposed to be 95 on Sunday, so it’s going to be a long day in some pretty beastly heat.

This morning was free time for me, so I took advantage of it. I got up, had breakfast and then visited three different battlefields. Not far from my hotel is the site of the June 6, 1862 Battle of Harrisonburg, where Turner Ashby was killed. There’s a nifty little site there, with a couple of interpretive markers and a monument to Ashby on the spot where he bought the farm.

I left there and drove the 15 or so miles down to Port Republic, meaning that I visited the Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields. I was alone, there’s not much interpretation out there, and nobody would ever call me an expert on Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign. I figured out what I could–not terribly much–enjoyed the gorgeous landscape, and headed back.

The program began at 1:00. Gordon was supposed the be the first speaker, at 1:30. However, Gordon had to be in court in St. Louis today (for those who don’t know, he’s also a lawyer), so the schedule was juggled. Jeff Wert gave a talk on the state of the armies in 1864, we had a booksigning session, and then I did a talk on cavalry operations in the Overland Campaign.

Tonight, there was a dinner. Poor Gordon–he got to Dulles and discovered that his puddle jumper flight to the Shenandoah Regional Airport had been canceled, so he had to rent a car and drive like the wind to get here by 7:30. He then gave a great overview of the entire campaign that was very useful. Not bad for a guy who’s been up since 4:00 AM.

Tomorrow morning, it’s up at 6:00 to be ready to load up the bus at 7:45. Unfortunately, Jeff Wert won’t be able to join us. His lovely wife Gloria is ill, so Jeff will be going home tomorrow instead of coming with us. Bobby Krick will join up with us on Sunday, tomorrow is Gordon and me. Trust me when I tell you that it be MAINLY Gordon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Three battlefields today. Two (three, actually, since we’re having lunch at the Chancellorsville visitor’s center) tomorrow. Three or more on Sunday. It just doesn’t get any better than this. And, as Steve Martin used to say, “I get paid for doing this….” ๐Ÿ™‚

I will try to post something tomorrow night from our hotel in Fredericksburg.

Scridb filter


  1. Jim Morgan
    Sat 16th Jun 2007 at 2:57 pm

    What I want to know is why don’t any of these CW groups that do seminars sponsor one on a REALLY important battle like Ball’s Bluff?

  2. Dave Powell
    Sat 16th Jun 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Balls Bluff…


    I gotta a whole battlefield park here, unused. Like new, move in condition.


    Dave Powell

  3. Ray Todd Knight
    Sat 16th Jun 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Sounds interesting, Eric
    I don’t think I ever mentioned to you that Turner Ashby was kin to me. His great-grandfather was my 7th great-grandfather. From the little I’ve read about him it looks like his legend grew alot after he was killed.


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