Anniversary Weekend, July 20 & 21

28 06 2019

BL and MBT Joint Flyer

I have three engagements coming up in and near the Manassas National Battlefield Park over the weekend of the battle anniversary (I’ve never been one for anniversaries, and this will be the first time I’ll be down there for one. If you’re an anniversary type, note that not only is July 21st the 158th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run, it’s also a Sunday, and the battle was indeed fought on a Sunday.)

At 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 20, at the Ben Lomond Historic Site, I’ll be presenting McDowell’s Plan at Bull Run for the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation. You can come hear me expound on my often-referred-to, hairbrained notions of what the General intended. It’s not what you’re used to hearing. But, it’s free! Check out the details in the flyer (which includes all the weekend events. There is also a Facebook Event Page.

Then on Saturday at 6:00 PM, I’ll be presenting “Echoes of the First Shot:” Peter Hains and the First Battle of Bull Run for the Manassas Battlefield Trust.. We’ll be taking a look at Hains’s 1911 memoir of the battle. You can find out everything and register to attend here. There is also a Facebook Event Page. There is a fee for the event that benefits the Trust. This is a free event. Donations to the Trust are appreciated.

On Sunday from 9:00 AM until about 3:00 PM, Kevin Pawlak and I will lead a bus tour of the battlefield and environs for Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation. Stops will include Blackburn’s Ford, Signal Hill, Sudley Springs Ford, and others. There is a fee that benefits the Foundation, but lunch is included. See the flyer, and the Facebook Event Page.





Busy April

10 04 2019

 

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Real life is cramping my style right about now, so while I have this chance I’ll remind you that I have two speaking engagements this month. You can find them and any other of my engagements by following the Book Me, Danno! link in the banner above, but briefly I’ll be at the GAR Hall in Peninsula, OH, on Thursday evening, April 25, and at the Carnegie Free Library (which also has a GAR hall, coincidentally) in Carnegie, PA, on the following Saturday, April 27.

Don’t feel any pressure to attend both of these events – I’ll be presenting essentially the same program at both, with a little more emphasis on blogging at the second. This is a program – The Future of Civil War History – I’ve given a couple of times before, but it’s a very, umm, organic program and won’t ever be the same twice.





Civil War Symposium, April 27, 2019

17 01 2019
Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153, Memorial Day 1904

Capt. Thomas Espy Post 153, Memorial Day 1904

On April 27, 2019, I will be presenting at the annual Andrew Carnegie Fee Library and Music Hall Civil War Symposium, in Carnegie, PA. I’ll be giving a mutation of my Future of Civil War History From a Slightly Different Point of View talk. Also on the schedule is Rich Condon of the Civil War Pittsburgh Facebook page (soon to be website, I am told), and Craig Swain of To the Sound of the Guns. Check out the brochure. There’s a theme.

If you plan to attend, set aside some time to check out the library, it’s almost complete collection of Abraham Lincoln photographs, and the finely restored Capt. Thomas Espy GAR Post 153. Plan to dine post-symposium in Carnegie – if you haven’t been there recently, it’s booming.

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Capt. Thomas Espy GAR Post 143 Today

 

 





2019 Speaking Dates

3 01 2019

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I’ve updated the Book Me, Danno! page for my 2019 speaking/tour engagements (so far). On April 25, I’ll be presenting the Future of Civil War History program at the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) hall in Peninsula, OH. Interestingly enough, I’ll be presenting much of that program again two days later at the Carnegie Free Library and Concert Hall in Carnegie, PA, which also houses a fully restored G.A.R. post. When I presented this program for the first time back in 2013 I really didn’t think anyone would be intrigued enough to hear it again, but these will mark the third and fourth times for some mutation of it.

Yes, the correct date for the 69th NYSM tour is May 11. And I’m not really sure yet what’s going on with the battle anniversary weekend, other than I believe I’ll be working with some combination of Prince William County, Manassas Battlefield Trust,  and Manassas National Battlefield Park, both speaking and touring.





Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable 9/26/2018

26 09 2018
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A pretty crappy selfie, probably affected by the glare from the top of my head.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to put up this recap. Two weeks ago I was invited by the good folks at the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable to go out to Columbus and talk with them a little about my views on “the future of Civil War history,” from a perspective other than the norm. That is, from a guy on the street, for lack of a better term. I gave a similar talk back in 2013 in North Carolina, and updated that one somewhat, Really, it was more a discussion than a presentation. Lots of participation, lots of questions, and predictably we got a little off course, but it was all a good time. I learned a few things, too (this RT has some pretty sharp folks in it). We had between 25-30 in attendance, and I didn’t lose too many to the bar. This was my third presentation to this group, the last in 2014. They’re a good bunch and treated me first-rate.





Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable – 9/12/2018

20 08 2018

Just a little announcement: I’ve been called in as a relief speaker to the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable on 9/12/2018. I was scheduled to speak there in September of 2019, but they were in a jam so I’m filling in. I’ll be dusting off and updating my Future of Civil War History talk that I gave to my friends in North Carolina back in 2013. Here’s a description:

In “The Future of Civil War History,” we will discuss the current Civil War history environment and where it may be headed. We’ll discuss observed trends in academic, public, and “amateur” history delivery systems, the impact of document availability, and what our roles are, may, should, and can be. While there are elements of presentation, this is most importantly a discussion. Come ready to contribute.

I’ve spoken to this fine group twice before – I seem to be on a four-year rotation. Unfortunately, I was really looking forward to working on the subject of my presentation originally scheduled for 2019, but I’ll just have to wait for another opportunity for that.

Time and place available at their website right here.





Mt. Lebanon, Pa. Boy Scout Troop 28

20 03 2018

I just spent a delightful evening speaking to a great group of kids and parents to help them prepare for a day of hiking the Gettysburg Battlefield. Just the basics of the armies involved, the personalities of the army and corps commanders, and the importance of the lessons to be learned from history (especially military history) that get kicked to the wayside a bit in this day of STEM. The kids were very engaged and asked a lot of questions, which I liked, and seemed to be appreciative of my decision to NOT do a PowerPoint presentation – they get enough of that in school these days, I think. So thank you all. I had a great time. If you have any other questions, you can fire away right here in the comments section. If I don’t know the answer, I know someone who does.

[To the dad who asked me about Gettysburg residents who fought for the Confederacy at the battle, see my preview of Tom McMillan’s Gettysburg Rebels right here.]





Recap: Brandy Station Foundation

30 09 2017

On this past Sunday, Sept. 24, I delivered my Kilpatrick Family Ties program to the Brandy Station Foundation down in Culpeper, Virginia. This is a pretty long (4.5 hours) drive for me, so I turned it into a weekend trip and stayed in Warrenton. So let me recap my trip, with special emphasis on items of First Bull Run interest. Click on any image for a larger one.

I got into Warrenton around 6:00 PM, checked into my room, then headed to the historic district. I’ve never visited Warrenton before, so it was all new to me. First up was what is touted as the post-war home of Col. John Singleton Mosby though, based on length of residence, it may better be described as the post-war home of General Eppa Hunton, colonel of the 8th Virginia Infantry regiment at First Bull Run (read his battle memoir here, and his after action report here). Hunton made “Brentmoor” his home from 1877 to 1902, after purchasing it from Mosby.

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In the “law complex” section I found California, the pre-war home of William “Extra Billy” Smith, who commanded the 49th Virginia battalion at First Bull Run (memoir here, official report here). After the war, this building housed Mosby’s law office. Smith was a pre-war and wartime governor of Virginia.

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A few blocks away at 194 Culpeper St. is “Mecca,” a private residence built in 1859. It served as a Confederate hospital to the wounded of First Bull Run, and later as headquarters to Union generals McDowell, Sumner, and Russell.

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The Warrenton Cemetery is the resting place for many Confederate soldiers, most famously Mosby. Also there is William Henry Fitzhugh “Billy” Payne, with Warrenton’s Black Horse Troop at First Bull Run.

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Saturday was spent touring the battlefield of Brandy Station and sites associated with the Army of the Potomac’s 1863-1864 winter encampment with two experts on both, Clark “Bud” Hall and Craig Swain of To the Sound of the Guns. I admit to knowing very little about either of topic, but was given a good foundation for further exploration. I also learned that some red pickup trucks can go absolutely anywhere, and there is good beer around Culpeper.

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L to R – Me, Bud Hall, Craig Swain

Not a whole lot of First Bull Run stuff on the field, though. But the first thing I saw when I got to Fleetwood Hill was “Beauregard,” the home in which Roberdeau Wheat of the First Louisiana Special Battalion recovered from his Bull Run wounds, first thought to be mortal. The name of the house at the time was “Bellevue.” Wheat recommended the name change, in honor of his commanding general and in recognition of the similar translation of both names.

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View of “Beauregard” from Fleetwood Hill

Sunday found me back in Culpeper at the Brandy Station Foundation where, as I said, I presented Kilpatrick Family Ties to a modest audience. I made some late changes to the program on Saturday night, adding one pertinent site from Warrenton (the Warren Green Hotel where one of the characters in the presentation lived for a year) and “Rose Hill,” the home Kilpatrick made his HQ during the winter of 1863-1864. But I did run into a couple of Bull Run items. First, the monument to John Pelham that was previously located near Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock River (it was in a really bad location) has been relocated to the Graffiti House, home of the Brandy Station Foundation. Pelham, if you recall, was in command of Alburtis’s Battery (Wise Artillery) at First Bull Run (personal correspondence here).

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As most of you know, the Graffiti House at Brandy Sation was occupied by both Confederate and Union soldiers during the war. Over its course, soldiers of all stripes inscribed on its walls with charcoal signatures, drawings, and sayings of an astounding quantity. These were both obscured and preserved by whitewash after the return of its exiled owners, and were rediscovered in 1993. The Brandy Station Foundation has lovingly restored and preserved much of the dwelling, and you should make the Graffiti House a bullet point on you bucket list.

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Graffiti House, Brandy Station (Culpeper), VA

I’ll end this post with a shot of the signature of a prominent First Bull Run participant on one of the second floor walls. Can you see it? Here is his official report.

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Signature of Joe Johnston’s First Bull Run cavalry chief

 





Presentation at Brandy Station Foundation

18 09 2017

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Next Sunday, September 24th, I’ll be presenting Kilpatrick Family Ties to the good folks at the Brandy Station Foundation. Follow the link and click on Seminar Series in the left hand column. The venue is The Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Rd, Va, 22714, start time is 2 PM, and it’s all free. This will be the third go-around for this presentation, and as usual I’ve added a few things (and will probably add a few more in the next few days).

Do stop by if you have the time and inclination.

On Saturday, the plan is to meet up with some friends and do a little Kilpatrick chasing around Culpeper. I know, Kilpatrick was not a Bull Run – he’d already been seriously wounded at Big Bethel. But his is a fun story. At least, the story I found is fun. I think.





Ohio County Public Library, 10/18/2016

19 10 2016

cid_dbd30eb9-4165-46cf-a86f-90fafa044a7cYesterday I presented my Kilpatrick Family Ties program to the good folks of the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling, WV, as part of their Lunch with Books program. About 60 were in attendance, including my son who is on break from Waynesburg University, and old friends Jon-Erik Gilot and Jim Dailer.

I thought the presentation went pretty well, though I was thrown when I realized I had left some materials – props, really – at home along with my clicker. I had to leave a few things out because we were on a pretty strict time limit, but managed to get all the important stuff in and field all the questions asked. Sean Duffy at the library does a very nice job, the facilities are great, and the audience engaged. If you are contacted by Sean to speak there, you should jump at the chance. And if you live in or are passing through the area, check out Lunch with Books every Tuesday at noon.

Afterwards my son and I followed Jim to lunch in North Wheeling along the river. A really perfect afternoon weather-wise. Then the boy and I took in a truly fine museum in Wheeling’s Independence Hall. More on that later.