2016-17 ECW Speakers Bureau Now Available

Speakers Bureau 16-17 coverThe 2016-2017 Emerging Civil War Speakers Bureau brochure is now available. You can download it by clicking here or by checking out the “Speakers” tab under out main menu.

If your roundtable, historical society, library, or other group is looking for a speaker, wait until you see what we have to offer!

We’ve had several folks join the line-up, and we’ve had several others change up some of their talks, so there’s plenty new to see.

This year’s line-up of speakers: Continue reading

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Mapping the Petersburg Campaign: Sutherland Station

Sutherland Station (Greene)

Click on image for larger version

I have come to believe that the primary reason why Petersburg is an often overlooked campaign in the scope of the Civil War is the challenge of understanding its nine and a half month progression. There is no shortage of thrilling stories, detailed primary accounts, or battlefields to visit. It is just a matter of not being able to wrap one’s head around it. (I’ll here similarly admit I tend to avoid reading about cavalry actions for the same reason.)

Rather than continuing to bemoan this fact, however, I’ve determined to be the change you want to see. I hope those who attended the Third Annual ECW Symposium left with a better appreciation for the final day of the campaign, even if it was based off the maps I created more so than my own interpretation. Nearly every Civil War scholar and buff could draw a pretty accurate map of Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Chancellorsville, or Chattanooga. Let’s do that with Petersburg.

Last week I prepared handouts for a Pamplin Historical Park sponsored car caravan tour of the Sutherland Station battlefield. On the afternoon of April 2, 1865, a Confederate quasi-division led by John Rogers Cooke repulsed two charges from Nelson Miles’s II Corps division before being flanked and forced to withdraw. This yielded the South Side Railroad–Petersburg’s final supply line–to the Federals.

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ECW Honors Ted Savas

Theodore_P._SavasAs part of Emerging Civil War’s fifth anniversary commemoration, we are pleased to inaugurate the second of two new awards: The Brig. Gen. Robert Greely Stevenson Award for Service to Emerging Civil War. This award is given as occasion dictates to a person or entity that has performed invaluable service to Emerging Civil War. The recipient of this year’s inaugural award is Theodore P. Savas, managing partner of the publishing firm Savas Beatie, LLC.

“Simply put, Emerging Civil War would not be where we are today without Ted Savas,” said ECW’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mackowski.

ECW’s Chief Historian, Kristopher D. White, made the initial contact with Savas in the fall of 2012. “He agreed on the spot to support what became the Emerging Civil War Series,” White explains. “The move proved to be a watershed event for us and for Ted. We made the jump from the blogosphere to the bookshelf.” Continue reading

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Longstreet goes West, Part One: Machiavellian or Misunderstood?

Longstreet PortraitConfederate General James Longstreet remains one of the war’s most controversial figures. Detractors see him as a scheming subordinate whose ambition overreached his talents; supporters hail him as a clear-sighted realist who understood the changes in warfare better than most of his contemporaries, and who tried to change with the times.

Short of Gettysburg, no aspect of Longstreet’s Civil War career stirs more controversy than his trip west to reinforce the Army of Tennessee in September, 1863. Was this venture a duplicitous effort to get out from Robert E. Lee’s thumb, undermine Braxton Bragg’s command of that army, and at last let Longstreet take his rightful place in the sun? Or was it a trip motivated by the increasingly disastrous course of the war in the West, a feeling that no matter how well the South did in Virginia, the war was not being won in the Old Dominion State? Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Confederate, Memory, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“A Twitter Feed” of the Civil War–What Historians Really Do, Part 2

la-1471386823-snap-photoSometimes things just fall into our laps, and sometimes we have to break down walls just for the chance to be turned away.  This opportunity is one of the former, and a beautiful opportunity it is! Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Battlefields & Historic Places, Campaigns, Civil War in Pop Culture, Emerging Civil War, Internet, Websites & Blogs, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Personalities, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Question of the Week: 8/22-8/28/16

Question-HeaderIf you could receive a personal letter from a historical person in the Civil War era, who would you like to receive one from?

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ECW Weekender: Judah P. Benjamin at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Florida

ECW Weekender-Header

Tucked away, approximately 40 miles south of Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, is the last surviving plantation house in South Florida. Situated near Ellenton, Florida, in May1865, the former Confederate political official found temporary refuge here as he eluded Federal authorities.

IMG_0484Major Robert Gamble, Jr. established his sugar plantation along the Manatee River, a far cry from many a plantation home of like character in the Deep South. Six years later work was completed on his mansion home. Gamble would own the home and the subsequent 3,500 acres until 1859, when he had to sell it to honor debts. Continue reading

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“And now I am going to tell you what I think about soldiering”

Sheldon-No Time for ProofreadingFrom my ancestor, Sheldon S. Appleby—the letter that began my hunt earlier this week for information about a Civil War ancestor I didn’t know I had.

Suffolk, V.A.
Feb. 6th 1863

Dear Father and Mother, Continue reading

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Picketing the Army of the Potomac’s Winter Encampment: Union Cavalry at Lamb’s Creek Church

Lamb's Creek Church

Lamb’s Creek Church

Following the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 and the failure of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s “Mud March”, the Army of the Potomac established winter quarters in Stafford County. Responsibility for guarding the approaches fell to the Union cavalry. Picket lines were established from Dumfries south to the hamlet of Falmouth and then west to the vicinity of Hartwood Church. East of Falmouth it continued into King George County, where  the Federals used Lamb’s Creek Church as an outpost. This position allowed them to patrol south toward the Rappahannock or farther east to King George Courthouse.

 

 

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Finding Sheldon Appleby

Sheldon Appleby signatureI know Sheldon and Mary Appleby only through their handwriting and by their daughter, Nell—my great-great-grandmother, “Grandma Nellie,” whom I know, in turn, only by name. The handwriting I know Sheldon by isn’t even his own—not really, anyway. Rather, it’s a photocopy of a photocopy (perhaps of a photocopy). That’s how tenuous my connection is to Sheldon and Mary, my great-great-great grandparents.

Shelton served in the 85th N.Y. Volunteers, but until last spring, I never even knew he existed. A great aunt on my mother’s side—the last surviving member of her generation in my family—sent to me a letter Sheldon had written from Suffolk, Virginia, on February 6, 1863, to his parents.

“I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines and let you know that I am well,” he assures them in a hand loopier and less spidery than much of the handwriting of the period. After a couple pages of chitchat, he signs off cheerily: “I hain’t got time to read this over and you must excuse the mistakes as usual.” Continue reading

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