Lottery for Bull Run 150th Event

19 04 2011

Friend Craig Swain hipped me to this announcement of a lottery for tickets to the shindig.

A limited number of tickets for the July 21 Manassas 150th Commemorative Ceremony will be made available through a lottery.

The morning ceremony near the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center on Henry Hill will feature a keynote address by Dr. Ed Ayers and music by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Only those with tickets will have access to the Henry Hill area of the battlefield during the event. The area is expected to re-open to visitors at noon.

Four thousand tickets to the special ceremony will be distributed through an online lottery. Applications will be accepted from 10 am April 27 through 10 pm May 4. Winners will be notified by email on May 9.

For more information on the event and the ticket lottery: www.virginiacivilwar.org/manassas.php

As of now, I have no plans to attend – but it sounds like fun.





Gettysburg College Civil War Institute Tours

10 02 2011

Here’s a description of the tours for the upcoming 29th Civil War Conference of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.  The conference runs from June 27 through July 1 – here’s the registration brochure.  You have to be enrolled in the conference to attend the tours.

Manassas Battlefield Tours

Buses depart college campus at 8:00 a.m., arrive in Manassas at 10:00 a.m.  Meet tour guides in Manassas.  Lunch on the battlefield (brown bag).  Dinner location to be determined en route home.

*Bus #1 – Ray Brown/Jim Burgess
A View from the Ground: On the frontlines of First Manassas

National Park Service Historians Ray Brown and Jim Burgess will explore significant areas of the battlefield where much of the heaviest combat occurred and where key decisions were made that shaped the outcome of the action, as well as the circumstances that propelled Thomas J. Jackson and his brigade into a pivotal role on Henry Hill.  The tour will require considerable walking over rolling terrain on Henry Hill and Chinn Ridge.    On the actual ground CWI participants will gain a better understanding of how the field actually looked at the time and learn the location of key landmarks and terrain features that help define the location of opposing battle lines This tour by bus and foot will cover sites associated with the battle, including Stone Bridge, Van Pelt house site, Sudley Springs Ford Portici, Robinson House site, Henry Hill, and Chinn Ridge
 
*Buses #2 & #3 – Joe Rizzo caravan with Greg Wolf 
From the First March to the Final Rout:   A Comprehensive Tour of First Manassas

Where Thomas J. Jackson earned the nickname “Stonewal,”on Henry Hill is the focal point of virtually every Manassas tour.  If you are searching for a deeper explanation into the operations and strategy that led to this pivotal moment, if you want to follow in the footsteps of the armies before Jackson helped turn the tide, and if you want to study other critical moments of the campaign that took place away from the towering Jackson monument near the National Park Visitor Center, then this is tour to take, since it includes both a general treatment of the battle and specialized stops for the personal who already has a firm knowledge of the engagement.   Even the veteran visitor of Bull Run will see place–such as Manassas Junction, “Liberia,” Blackbrun’s Ford–that are rarely available to the every-day-visitor of Manassas.

Bus #4 – Ethan Rafuse
Staff Ride

In 1906 officers from what is today the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College executed the school’s first “staff ride”.  Carried out under the direction of Maj. Eben Swift, this exercise involved in-depth study of the great 1864 campaign across northern Georgia that ended with the fall of Atlanta.  The idea behind the staff ride (a concept borrowed from the Prusso-German officer education system) is to use historic battlefields as open-air classrooms to help military professionals better understand the real world challenges of command.  Participants in the 2011 Civil War Institute will have the opportunity to travel to Virginia to participate in a staff ride of First Manassas.  In addition to studying and critically analyzing the course and conduct of one of the Civil War’s truly great campaigns and the terrain where the fighting took place, the ride will provide participants with an appreciation of how the professional military uses history, and its place in the development of leaders for the current and future operational environments.  Unlike the traditional battlefield tour, the emphasis of the staff ride is on analysis of events and the development and application of critical thinking skills.  Thus, it is presumed that participants in a ride have some familiarity with events and are prepared to actively engage with the instructor and other participants. What value does studying campaigns and battles fought over rolling hills by armies wearing fancy uniforms and equipped with single-shot muskets have for officers as they think about the present and future of war in 2010?  Come along and find out!

Bus #5 – Harry Smeltzer [I will be on the bus down and back]
Hidden Mysteries of First Bull Run

This tour explores the battle through a series of personal vignettes that offer an intimate view July 21, 1861.  Even for the veteran tourist of First Manassas, “Hidden Mysteries” will offer a fresh perspective through the stories of participants like Peter Hains, Daniel Tyler, William Falkner, and E. B. C. Cash.    These individuals might not be household names, but their experiences reveal critical and often overlooked moments of the First Manassas Campaign. We will visit the critical portions of the battlefield, as well as a few spots not commonly visited by the casual tourist like the remnants of the war’s first monument and an 1861 road trace. Led by Smeltzer, a noted expert on First Manassas and host of the blog “Bull Runnings,” is geared toward a CWI participant who is familiar with the battle and visited the site before. There will be a moderate amount of walking as part of this tour, with some hilly terrain.
 
Bus #6 – Ed Bearss
Advanced Tour of First Manassas/Bull Run





“The Conspirator” Trailer

27 01 2011

It looks like Robert Redford’s The Conspirator will be making its debut on tax day, April 15, 2011.  Here’s the trailer (hat tip to Hop Tak):





Seminar on the War in 1861 and a Podcast Blog

23 01 2011

Thanks to Craig Swain for bringing this to my attention.  The Appomattox Court House National Historical Site announced that a seminar will be held at Longwood University in Farmville, VA on Saturday, February 26, 2011, The War Begins, 1861.  There are two lectures on First Bull Run that look interesting (I’m not implying that the other lectures are less than interesting by any means).  Here’s the schedule:

Jarman Auditorium at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Schedule

9:00 a.m. Doors Open
9:25 a.m. Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University
9:30 a.m. David Ruth, The Nation Crosses the Rubicon: Fort Sumter 1861.
10:30 a.m. John Hennessy, First Manassas: Legends, Lies, and Misunderstandings.
11:30 a.m. Patrick Schroeder, The Fire Zouaves at Bull Run: Heroes or Humbugs?
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Jeffery Wert, “‘He Stood out from the Great War Canvas': Jeb Stuart.”
2:45 p.m. Mike Gorman, Richmond Again Taken: Images of the Confederate Capital.

No reservations necessary. Signs will be posted on the Longwood University campus. For directions to the campus go to www.Longwood.edu.

For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434-395-2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434-352-8987 ext. 32.

Longwood also has a podcast blog at That a Nation Might Live.  It’s a little confusing – you have to click-through on each post to find a link to the podcast, usually located underneath an illustration.  Check it out.





A New Year, a Stamp, and a Milestone

31 12 2010

First, Happy New Year to all my readers and Facebook fans.  Here’s hoping 2011 will be as good as or better than its predecessors.

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Second, the U. S, Postal Service has announced it will be releasing Civil War themed stamps in each year of the sesquicentennial (see here).  The first two stamps will commemorate 1861 events, the bombing of Ft. Sumter and the Battle of First Bull Run.  I could only find this small image of the Bull Run stamp, but it is a copy of the painting that hangs on the wall of the Manassas Visitor Center, The Capture of Ricketts’ Battery, painted for the NPS in 1964 by Sydney E. King.  Here’s a nice big image of the painting (click for a larger version):

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Third and last, this is the 1,000th post on Bull Runnings – thanks for stopping by!





2009 Battle Anniversary

15 07 2009

I’ve received some inquiries regarding anniversary programs at Manassas National Battlefield Park.  I got this from the website, though it was tough to find:

148th Anniversary of First Manassas (Bull Run) 

Date:  7/18/2009, 7/19/2009

Time:  10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Location:  Henry Hill

Details:

See Union and Confederate troops portrayed in an encampment representing the raw soldiers of the summer of 1861 on the Henry Hill battlefield.  Demonstrations of musketry and artillery firing will echo over the grassy fields where the combat raged 148 years ago.  Soldier life demonstrations will describe the experience of citizen soldiers, naive amateurs in their baptism of fire, encountering their “first gunpowder christening.”  U.S. Marine Battalion exhibits will illuminate the uniforms and equipment of Civil War Marines.  Replica colors or flags of regiments in the colorful confusion of the battle will be unfurled, and impressions of Union and Confederate uniforms will depict the “fog of war” the muddle of confusion in the reek of smoke on the battlefield.  Park Ranger tours will be conducted over the ground where bravery and sacrifice was witnessed in what the raw troops, “as green as grass” believed would be the “only battle of the war,” only to be sobered by the carnage revealed in the brutal combat.
 
Fee Free Weekend
 
Contact Park ranger staff at (703) 361-1339





More on the So-Called “Army of Northeastern Virginia”

25 10 2008

You’ll notice in Col. Pratt’s report that he uses “Army N. E. Va” in the closing.  As I’ve discussed here and here, I’ve never been able to find any documentation creating or formally recognizing an Army of Northeastern Virginia.  Pratt’s report is one of only three references to such an organization in the Official Records.  The other two are Porter’s endorsement (dated August 19, 1861) of Burnside’s report, and Robert E. Lee’s reference to his own army in a September 3, 1862 letter to Jefferson Davis (OR, Series I, Volume XII/2, p 559).  Pratt’s report is exceptional in that it contains the first reference to the army that is contemporary to the battle, as the report is dated July 22.  Pratt was a judge before and after the war, so maybe he was predisposed to timely record keeping.  Or maybe he pre-dated the report.  I honestly don’t know.

I don’t want to belabor this point.  McDowell was in command of the Department of Northeastern Virginia, and the federal troops within that department.  But every reference I’ve found to the Army of Northeastern Virginia, with the exception of Pratt’s report, was written after McDowell’s army was broken up.  I can’t find any mention of the Army of Northeastern Virginia in the New York Times for 1861.








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