The Trust’s Teacher Institute: Teaching Through Turning Points with Kris White

Kris in TI workshopWhat is a turning point?

That’s the question Kris White asked the assembled room of teachers in Valley Forge. They’d come to his Teacher Institute workshop to hear him talk about “Teaching Through Turning Points.” As co-editor of ECW’s Turning Points of the American Civil War, part of our “Engaging the Civil War” Series with Southern Illinois University Press, Kris has had turning points on the brain for well over two years. He has a little experience with the topic.

“This isn’t a book talk, though,” he promised the assemblage. “I used to hate professors who would make us buy their books, so I’m not going to do that. But Mackowski in the back might have some.”

“I do,” I chirped up from a corner—although, by that point, I’d already nearly sold out. Turning Points turned out to be a hot commodity.  Continue reading

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McCook and the Czar


Alexander McD. McCook

100 years ago last night, Czar Nicholas II and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks near Ekaterinburg, Russia. This was the end of the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled Russia since 1613.

The US representative to Nicholas II’s coronation in 1896 was Alexander McCook, former US Army Major General and corps commander at Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga.

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All Star President of the New York Mutuals Captain Jack Wildey–Part 2

Currier & Ives lithograph of baseball at New York’s Elysian Fields

When the 11th New York got back to Washington and took stock of their situation, it did not look good: almost seventy men had been sent to Richmond as prisoners and as many as 177 were lost to action. At least thirty-five had been killed outright with more to soon die of their wounds. On August 12, 1861, the remaining members of the regiment were sent back to New York City to disband in preparation to reorganize, obtain equipment and recruit replacements.[1]With Captain Wildey’s fame preceding him, he rode home with his mates. Continue reading

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Home Run Derby Star Captain “Jack” Wildey–Part 1

When John Hay and George Nicolay drove their rented buggy over to Camp Lincoln to say hello to their friend Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, they found him wearing his “blouzy red shirt” and enjoying that New York favorite: Base Ball. Most New York firefighters played the game, and among those involved was Ellsworth’s aide-de-camp, Captain John “Jack” Wildey. Continue reading

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Question of the Week: July 16-22

In your opinion, what is the most overlooked part of Civil War history that needs to “emerge” into studies and discussions?

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The Trust’s Teacher Institute: Rethinking George Washington with Phill Greenwalt

Phill @ TIWhen he takes to the front of the room for his talk at the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute, Phill Greenwalt introduces himself as the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and as the acting chief of interpretation at Morristown National Historic Site. “If I say anything you like, I’m that guy,” he says, pointing to his Morristown title; then he points to his ERW title. “If I mess up, I’m that guy,” he chuckles.

It’s Phill’s self-proclaimed tongue-in-cheek mission to see how many times he can work Morristown into any conversation while he’s at the Teacher Institute. “Washington spent more time in Morristown during the war than anywhere. It’s where America survived,” Phill points out. “I say that within a stone’s throw of Valley Forge, which says it was the place where the war was won.”

Phill is here to talk about rethinking George Washington. Teachers can explore what their students think they know versus what they don’t know. Washington offers a great study in mythology versus reality.  Continue reading

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Week In Review: July 9-15, 2018

Hope you are all staying cool! Several of the Emerging Civil War members have been leading tours and lecturing this week.

Monday, July 9:

Question of the Week offered a chance to share what you’re reading this summer.

Guest author Kristen M. Pawlak shared about General John S. Bowen and the surrender at Vicksburg.

Ryan Quint wrote about the aftermath of the Battle of Monocacy.

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The Trust’s Teacher Institute: Where’s “Waldo”

I’m not normally one for taking selfies, but I got to spend time with a lot of cool people and see a lot of cool stuff at the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute in Philadelphia this week, so I want to share some of those meetings and interactions. Everyone heads home today–although I’ll have more dispatches to share once I have the time to get my notes written up!–but I thought this would be a fun way to close out the conference. It feels a little like “Where’s Waldo” to pop up in photo to photo, though.

I’ll start with a pair of my ECW colleagues and good friends, Dan Davis and Phill Greenwalt as the three of us shared lunch at City Tavern:

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ECW Pop-Up Tour: Hartsuff’s Brigade at Antietam

George Hartsuff

Get ready! Sunday, July 22, 2018, is the date for an ECW Pop-Up Tour at Antietam. Register and grab some water and walking shoes and come join Kevin Pawlak and Dan Welch for a special tour.

What: A caravan tour focusing on the actions of George Hartusff’s Union brigade in the Battle of Antietam. After walking through the brigade’s actions on September 17, 1862, participants will also visit the site of one of Antietam’s largest hospitals as well as Antietam National Cemetery, the final resting place of some of the members of Hartsuff’s brigade. Continue reading

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The Trust’s Teacher Institute: Independence Forever!

TI Crossing the StreetWe’ve had a great couple of days at the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute. I have notes from some fantastic talks and workshops that I’ve attended, which I’ll get typed up when I have the chance. There’s so much going on, and so many great programs, it’s been hard to sit down and write!

Today, we’ve ventured away from the conference center in Valley Forge to walk in the footsteps of history. That first means we need to hop on some busses, though. Two rumble off to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, led by Garry Adelman and Tim Smith. Another two, with Philll Greenwalt leading one and Dan Davis and me tag-teaming the other, roll off to downtown Philadelphia.  Continue reading

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