The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: The Last Days of the Confederacy in N.C.

Hardy TI 2019ECW’s good friend Michael Hardy, one of the best regimental-level historians working in the business today, took to the stage in the late morning to talk about the last days of the Confederacy in North Carolina. Of course, the last major battle of the western theater–by that point, all the way in eastern North Carolina–took place at Bentonville and the largest surrender of Confederate forces took place at Bennett Place in Durham.

So why does North Carolina’s ample Civil War story get so overlooked? Join me at ECW’s YouTube page for a quick conversation with Michael to find out more!


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ECW Weekender: 155th Anniversary Event at Cool Spring

Save the date! Save the date! July 20, 2019

Pack your cold water bottles and some snacks and head to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Located east of Winchester and Berryville, Cool Spring saw Civil War fighting on July 16-20, 1864, as Early retreated away from Washington and back into the shelter Virginia’s Valley.

Go explore this history and the preservation/interpretive efforts at this unique battlefield site. What better weekend than the anniversary of the battle? Continue reading

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The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: The War of 1812

“I’m here to talk to you a little bit about the War of 1812,” said ECW’s Bert Dunkerly when he took to the stage this morning at the Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute.

Bert TI 2019

The war is forgotten and misunderstood, Bert said, particularly because it’s overshadowed by the Revolutionary War before it and the Civil War after it. But he did offer some compelling themes to consider: Continue reading

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The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: The Great Humanitarian Crisis of the War—Civil War Prisons

Derek TI 2019 02As a college professor, I don’t have to sit through many lectures (and I seldom, if ever, actually give any, preferring discussion-based lessons instead). So, it’s been a while since I’ve sat through a lecture and even longer since I’ve sat through one I really enjoyed. My ECW colleague Derek Maxfield gave me that pleasure yesterday afternoon, which is a little ironic considering the grim nature of his topic.

Derek spoke at the American Battlefield Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute about a topic that stems from his upcoming ECWS book Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Prison Camp of the Civil War. Specifically, he called prisoner of war camps “The Great Humanitarian Tragedy of the Civil War.”

“This a dark corner of the Civil War,” he told the audience. “It’s one of the darkest corners of the Civil War.” Continue reading

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The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: East vs. West

Not the East

image courtesy Garry Adelman

During his session yesterday discussing the eastern theater versus the western theater, Kris White took a few minutes to define the theaters of war.

The eastern theater included Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. “It was essentially concentrated in a 200-mile corridor between Gettysburg and Petersburg, then over to Appomattox, with most action between D.C. and Richmond,” he said. Continue reading

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The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: Where was the Civil War Won?

Ti 2019 Kris WhiteOnce upon a time, in a decade not our own, a young “emerging” historian wrote a thesis paper for his master’s degree at Norwich University. The paper examined the eastern theater and the western theatre and asked, “Where was the Civil War won?”

In 2013, that thesis served as the basis for an extended blog series at ECW: “Eastern Theater vs. Western Theater.”

Today, that historian, Kris White, now the education manager at the American Battlefield Trust, tapped into that same discussion for a workshop at the Teacher Institute. “This is what I did my thesis on,” he tells the full house that’s crammed into Salon D to hear him. “So, I’m being lazy,” he adds, chuckling. Continue reading

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Can I Really “Jine the Cavalry”?

Stuart’s Ride (Library of Congress)

I was about ten years old when I first read a reference to the Civil War song “Jine the Cavalry” in a kid’s biography book about J.E.B. Stuart. Curious, I wrote a friend, asking if he knew the lyrics and would share them with him; it really irked me for a long time that he never sent them. Years later, I wonder if this older history buff knew I wouldn’t understand the words and all the context at that young age and wanted me to find them when I was a little older and a little farther in my war studies.

The song came to mind on my recent trip during the day I attempted to trace Stuart’s 1862 Chambersburg Raid on a drive that took me into four states and got me lost on backroads. (It was a perfect day!) I was trailing the Confederate cavalry route, and a day or two later as I combed archives in two different states I realized that I have “jined the cavalry” – maybe not forever, but at least for this particular research project. Continue reading

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The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: The Garry Adelman 1865 Photo Extravaganza!

Dutch Gap USCTGarry Adelman bills his photography presentations as “extravaganzas,” and he’s not stretching the point. Still photographs flash on a big screen in the corner of the room, but Garry’s ebullience as he talks about them radiates with the energy of a one-man Spielberg blockbuster. “I have a three-hour talk to give in 40 minutes,” he says to a laugh from the audience—and he successfully pulls it off.

Garry, chief historian of the American Battlefield Trust and co-founder of the Center for Civil War Photography, talks about Civil War photos the way a five-year-old talks about Christmas morning—an odd comparison, perhaps, considering the grim subject matter of some of the photos except that, for Garry, each image holds surprises and secrets and fascinating details, and he is excited to share. Looking at a photo with Garry is like a voyage of discovery. Continue reading

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The Trust’s Teacher Institute 2019: Dan Davis, the Rev War, and the Southern Campaign

Dan Davis, on the stage now at the Trust’s 2019 National Teacher Institute, provides a great overview of the Southern Campaign from the Revolutionary War.

Dan Davis TI 2019.jpg

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The American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute 2019

TI 2019 PrepIn another couple of hours, the Marriott’s main ballroom will fill with nearly 200 teachers from across the U.S. They’ve assembled here in Raleigh, North Carolina, to participate in the 2019 National Teacher Institute sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust. For the next two days, they’ll attend workshops and listen to presentations about a wide range of historical topics and pedagogical approaches; on Saturday, they’ll disburse on field trips that concentrate on the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and Civil Rights.

In the meantime, the ballroom waits, cavern-like, to fill up. Round tables, each set for ten, topped with notepads and pens, sit vacant. The platform at the front of the room hunkers expectantly in anticipation of the cavalcade of speakers it will later host. The A/V guy is taping down cables and adjusting the focus on the projector. Continue reading

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