Congratulations to author Chris Mackowski. Chris has been named Historian-in-Residence at Stevenson Ridge. Stevenson Ridge is located on the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, and will host the First Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, in August. (Click here for a quick overview or jump past the page break for full details).
SPOTSYLVANIA, VA—Historian Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., has joined the staff at Stevenson Ridge as historian-in-residence.
Mackowski is the author of several Civil War books and magazine articles, and he is the managing editor and co-founder of the blog Emerging Civil War. For a decade, he has worked in a variety of capacities for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, most recently as a volunteer tour guide at the Spotsylvania battlefield last summer. Along with his work at Stevenson Ridge, Mackowski is a writing professor in St. Bonaventure University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Allegany, N.Y.
“With the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War currently underway, and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania coming up this summer, we’ve been focusing more attention on our historical resources,” says Stevenson Ridge Managing Partner Jennifer Hawkins. “Adding a historian of Chris’s caliber to our staff will help us continue to be good stewards of those resources.”
Stevenson Ridge has nine historical structures that have been relocated to the property and restored by co-owner Dan Spear. Additionally, the property sits adjacent to the Spotsylvania National Battlefield and has more than half a mile of original Civil War earthworks. The Park Service has called them “the best-preserved earthworks in private ownership.”
“The Union Ninth Corps occupied this ground during the battle of Spotsylvania,” Mackowski explains. “For a few days, this was the extreme left flank of the entire army, so the soldiers really had to fortify their position. As a result, the earthworks here are extensive.”
Mackowski will work to map the earthworks and develop interpretation that explains the action that took place on the property. He is also doing curatorial work on and developing interpretation for Stevenson Ridge’s collection of Civil War artifacts.
Mackowski has already incorporated some of his work into the recently released second edition of his book, A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, co-authored with historian Kristopher D. White. They are also co-authors of Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church; and The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson. They’ve also written two monograph-length articles on the battle of Spotsylvania Court House for Blue & Gray magazine, and their work has appeared in Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, and Hallowed Ground, as well. They have a forthcoming book due later this year, Grant’s Last Battle: The Story of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.
Mackowski has also authored volumes on the battle of Chancellorsville and the battle of the Wilderness, and with Al Conner, Jr., the forthcoming book Seizing Destiny: The Army of the Potomac’s Valley Forge and the Civil War Winter that Saved the Union.
“Heritage tourism is an important part of the local economy, and it continues to grow,” Mackowski says. “We want to take advantage of that, of course, but just as importantly, we have some wonderful historic resources at Stevenson Ridge, and we’re excited to share them.”
Along with Mackowski’s work as historian-in-residence, Stevenson Ridge will continue to offer tour services from local historian John Cummings.
“John has done some good work for Stevenson Ridge for a number of years,” Hawkins says. “His knowledge of the Spotsylvania battlefield comes from a lot of first-hand experience being out in the field, so his tours really give visitors an insider’s look.”