News from ECW · August 2017
Change in the Air · 2018 Symposium Tickets Now Available · Upton Award Winner · News & Notes
Summer has begun to give way to the first cool evenings of fall. For some of us, that means it’s time to write syllabi, prepare course content, and welcome students back to our classrooms. For others of us, it means fewer tourists visiting our battlefields and historic sites—which also means a chance to finally catch up on some writing projects because we’re spending a little less time on the front lines.
I used to love this time of year in western New York: mornings would be deeply shrouded in fog, and big yellow school busses would lumber out of the white mist as they made their rounds collecting their begrudging cargo. As the fog burned off, it took with it, little by little, day by day, the vibrant green from the forested hills, leaving behind small patches of amber, gold, and crimson. As September ages and October approaches, the color takes over completely.
In central Virginia, I still get to enjoy four seasons, although full-blown fall will come almost a month after it does farther north.
Of course, we all know from reading the headlines that change is in the air in other ways, too—not just for the Civil War community but for American society as a whole and its relationship to its own past. Many of us have followed events with great interest, wondering whether we are heading into autumn of a different sort.
I wonder what colors we’ll see when the fog lifts.
-- Chris Mackowski
Early Bird Tickets Available for the Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Aug. 3-5, 2018
Early-bird tickets are now available for our Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge.
Yes, we know: it seems like we just wrapped up the Fourth Annual Symposium. It was a smashing success, too. But now we’re looking ahead to Aug. 3-5, 2018, and our theme, “
Turning Points of the American Civil War
It will be our FIFTH annual symposium, too, which we’re really excited about. We’re planning some cool stuff that you’ll want to be there for, so get your tickets now. You can take advantage of the early bird price of $130 now through December 31, 2017.
And, if you came to this year’s event, we’ve emailed you an exclusive offer, with even more of a discount, as our way of saying thanks. If you’ve not received that email, let us know at email@example.com.
10 Questions with . . .
Each year, members of the Emerging Civil War community choose one of their peers as the recipient of
ECW’s Emory Upton Award
, which recognizes the contributions of someone who has gone above and beyond for the organization.
This year’s recipient was
. Jennifer serves as ECW’s chief financial officer and handles most of our business functions. Most of us got involved with Emerging Civil War because we love the Civil War, not because we love running a small business; Jennifer’s expertise and behind-the-scenes work keeps the books balanced and the business solvent.
You're an events manager, not a Civil War person. How did you get roped into this Civil War stuff?
I married into it! I met my husband, Chris Mackowski, in 2013 at a Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge. It was his interest in the Civil War and my wanting to support his endeavors that brought me to the group.
Have you developed any new appreciations about the Civil War since getting involved with ECW? If so, what?
It is a little embarrassing to say that I have lived just a couple miles away from the Spotsylvania Battlefield for much of my life and the first time I visited was in 2013 with Chris. Needless to say, I hadn't exactly been a Civil War enthusiast! It wasn't until I traveled alongside Chris to round tables and heard him recite firsthand accounts of the war that I really gained an appreciation of the Civil War. To hear the story of the 22" oak tree that was shot down from bullets at the battle of Spotsylvania or that one soldier fell every second for four hours at the battle of Chancellorsville—it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the loss of life that took place during the war.
Yet you also have a pretty impressive Civil War history at Stevenson Ridge, where you're the managing partner. What are some of the highlights?
During the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, three-quarters of the Union army occupied or traveled across the property that is now Stevenson Ridge. We have some incredibly well-preserved earthworks first built by the Ninth Corps and then improved by the Fifth Corps. We also have a huge system of covered ways on the property—one of the first instances they were ever used in the Eastern Theater. They are essentially elaborate trench systems built to allow the troops to bring supplies to the front while remaining under protective cover. And of course, there’s my favorite Civil War-related item: a pair of doors once owned by Ulysses S. Grant and, later, William T. Sherman.
How has your business sense helped you behind the scenes at Emerging Civil War?
Since I became involved with ECW, I have encouraged Kris White and Chris Mackowski (co-founders) to treat it as much like a business as possible—certainly not a business where the main purpose is to make a profit, but at least the kind where you aren't digging into your own pockets to keep the wheel spinning. They love what they do and have enjoyed organizing the annual symposium, but I had to push them to actually charge enough for tickets to cover the cost of the event itself. So your readers have me to thank for an increase in the ticket price these last couple years! My general knowledge of accounting has helped me in my capacity as bookkeeper for ECW, and I like to think my background in hospitality and special events has contributed to the success of our annual symposium.
You do a fair amount of traveling with your husband while he does roundtable talks. Do you have a favorite adventure?
There is something to say for Southern hospitality! Whenever we visit the Outer Banks Civil War Roundtable, they put us up in a charming little hotel right on the beach and take us to a fantastic barbecue restaurant for lunch with authentic sweet tea and fried okra. We've always added on another day or two and turned it into a mini vacation.
Because you're not a "Civil War person," we'll skip our usual Lightning Round questions and just ask one of them:
What's one question about the Civil War nobody's asked you but you wish someone would?
Thankfully I don't get quizzed too often about Civil War history, but no one has ever asked me who my favorite general is. Who doesn't love to talk about the generals they love and hate??
Sarah Kay Bierle
's new historical novel
is in the publication process and scheduled for release in September 2017. Set in 1867, the fictional story follows Susan Rose Arnold—a lighthouse keeper's daughter—as she discovers the Civil War's effects which cast dark shadows two years after the conflict ended, creating secrets which could tear her family apart—or draw them closer together.
Two of ECWs premier naval historians will be speaking
at the 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposium.
will be presenting on Civil War naval leadership. Look for the more information about the event, which runs September 14-15, 2017,
Speaking of Civil War naval history and our very own
, Dwight just launched his own website
. You can find more information about his blogging with ECW, publications, and where you can see him at
Prof. Julie Mujic
will be spending an evening with the Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable on September 11, 2017. To find out more about her presentation and the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table,
, co-authors of
A Want of Vigilance
, will be speaking on another topic that both have worked on over the past several years, the Potomac Blockade. Their research, published this past year as an issue of
Blue & Gray
magazine, will be brought to life at the October meeting of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table. They hope you can join them!
Chris Mackowski reviewed Paul Kahan’s
Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War.
Kelly Mezurek reviewed Robert S. Levine’s
The Lives of Frederick Douglass.
Matt Stanley reviewed Phillip Leigh’s
The Confederacy at Flood Tide: The Political and Military Ascension, June to December 1862.
Civil War News
featured a few ECW-related pieces in its latest issue.
’s “Critics Corner” featured a look back at Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln by William Tidwell. The issue also reprinted
s ECW blog post from July 11, “
Getting More Young People Interested in the Civil War: Some Suggestions
.” The issue also featured a review of
The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station
, published by History Press. Reviewer Walt Albro lauded the book’s “clear and understandable description and overview of the action.”
: Sarah Kay Bierle, Booksigning at Huntington Beach Civil War Days, Huntington Beach, CA
Bert Dunkerly, Richmond (VA) Civil War Roundtable
Kevin Pawlak, “‘The Jewels of War:’ Robert E. Lee, George McClellan, and the Battle of Antietam,” Bull Run Civil War Round Table
: Chris Kolakowski, “Leadership Makes the Difference at Mobile Bay,” McMullen Naval History Symposium, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Dwight Hughes, “Leadership and Discipline on All the Oceans: The Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah,” McMullen Naval History Symposium, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Dave Powell, “Longstreet in the West,” Kenosha Civil War Museum, Kenosha, WI
Dan Welch, Wayne County Civil War Round Table, Wayne County Public Library
: Sarah Kay Bierle, “Gettysburg Civilians,” San Marcos Interfaith Senior Community, San Marcos, CA
Chris Mackowski, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” Hershey (PA) Civil War Roundtable
: Sarah Kay Bierle, “Gettysburg Civilians,” Vista Interfaith Senior Community, Vista, CA
Phill Greenwalt, “Where the War Was Lost: The Disastrous 1862-1863 Leadership of the Army of Tennessee,” Tampa Bay Civil War Round Table, Tampa Bay, FL
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