ECW September 2020 Newsletter
From the Editor
What are you doing these days to take care of yourself?
The coronavirus pandemic has of course forced all of us to adopt new habits to protect our health, but I’m talking about more than just physical health (although that’s really important). The pandemic is just one of many stress-inducing factors we all have swirling around us right now. I won’t even bother rattling off a list, because we all know what they are and I don’t want to add to anyone’s stress levels by mentioning them.
In the midst of that kind of tumult, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disconnected. That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself. Keep your stress level down. Get plenty of rest. extend a word of encouragement to the people around you. Practice Random acts of kindness. Read. Go for a walk. Treat yourself to a nice dinner.
Sometimes, the most obvious things are the things we overlook or forget about. That’s why I am making an effort to remind you. It’s no secret that the Civil War community, on the while, skews older, which puts a lot of ECW readers in high-risk categories for COVID-19, in particular. We enjoy your company, so we want to make sure you’re doing OK.

Although the world can seem like a stressful, hostile place sometimes, beyond any individual’s ability to fix, remember that the first place you can start is with yourself. If we all made sure to take care of ourselves, we’d all feel a little better. The cumulative effect of that would make the world a little better.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying safe and healthy—and taking good care of yourself.

— Chris Mackowski, Ph.D.
ECW Achieves 501(c)3 Status
Emerging Civil War is now officially a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization! We have always run ourselves this way, with a strong focus on our educational mission, so our designation by the IRS really just formalizes the way we’ve done business for the last nine years.

We don’t plan to be a fund-raising organization. That would put us in competition with many of our great partners who rely on donations to keep them going. We don’t want to hurt them by dipping into the same fund-raising pool they rely on.

That said, with no symposium this year, we’re going to have a tight budget because the symposium is our major source of income. So, we’re hoping our readers might be willing to help us out with a tax-deductible donation to help us get through these lean times. If you’re interested in making a tax-deductible donation, you can do so through PayPal by clicking this link.
Congratulations to the Recipients of this Year's Emerging Civil War Awards
The Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History
Dave Ruth, former superintendent at Richmond National Battlefield (read more)
The Emerging Civil War Book Award
Fight for the Old North State: The Civil War in North Carolina, January–May 1864
by Hampton Newsome (read more)

· Conquered by Larry Daniels (University of North Carolina Press, 2019)
· Bodies in Blue by Sarah Handley-Cousins (University of Georgia Press, 2019)
Brig. Gen. Thomas Greely Stevenson Award for Service to ECW
Jack Melton, Civil War News (read more)

Brig. Gen. Emory Upton Award
presented to a member of the Emerging Civil War community in recognition of outstanding service to ECW
Rob Orrison (read more)

ECW News and Notes
Independent publishers are hurting because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Ted Savas, publisher of the Emerging Civil War Series, recently shared some thoughts on our blog about the need to support independent publishing. If you missed the article, it’s definitely worth reading. Check it out here.

From Doug Crenshaw: Bert Dunkerly and I are did a live video for Richmond National Battlefield on Richmond's lesser-known battlefields on Saturday, August 22, and in September, we're doing one on Fort Harrison, with re-enactors.

As usual, Meg Groeling has been hanging out at home writing about a myriad of things Civil War-related. She is also reading about Berdan's Sharpshooters. “I have this hare-brained theory that the Sharpshooters might be considered a ‘special forces’ unit and, as such, were treated differently from the rest of the rank & file,” she says. “Might this also have applied to the 11th New York in some manner? If Ellsworth had not been killed, might he have created units schooled in the Zouave Drill that could have been used as special forces to find and flush out the enemy immediately prior to a battle? Could they have attained the status Zouave troops had in the Crimea? Inquiring minds want to know!” Meg is also glad baseball is back. Looks like a good, if short, year for the Yankees.

Frank Jastrzembski published an article on Marcellus Crocker in the latest issue of Civil War Times: “Marcellus Crocker: Grant’s Hammer in the Western Theater.” Frank also reports that Brigadier General William Gamble will be receiving a memorial headstone in the next few weeks. (Frank has worked diligently to get the new headstone installed.)

On September 2, Chris Kolakowski will keynote “A Better World Shall Emerge,” a virtual ceremony commemorating 75 years since the end of World War II. The event is sponsored by Virginia’s WWI and WWII Commission. More details are available here.

Chris Mackowski gave a Zoom presentation on “Grant’s Last Battle,” based on his book of the same name, to the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable. The roundtable recorded the presentation, which can be viewed here.

Chris also did a video battlefield tour of Chancellorsville based on Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage as part of a virtual fund-raiser sponsored by Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT). You can see a preview of the tour on the ECW YouTube page. And you can support CVBT’s fund-raiser here.

The September 2020 issue of Civil War News gave a positive review to one of Dave Powell’s latest books, Union Command Failure in the Shenandoah: Major General William Franz Sigel and the War in the Valley of Virginia, May 1864. Reviewer Jonathan Noyalas said, “This study, solidly written, soundly researched, profusely illustrated, and enhanced with detailed maps, is indispensable reading....”

The same issue of Civil War News featured a review by Meg Groeling of Jon Schaff’s Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy. The Megster called it an “intellectually demanding study....”
ECW's 2020 Virtual Symposium
Because of the pandemic, we had to postpone this year’s ECW symposium to next year, August 6-8, 2021. We’ll still focus on “Fallen Leaders” as our theme, Gordon Rhea will still be our keynote speaker, and Greg Mertz will still be our battlefield guide. (Tickets available here.)

In the meantime, we recorded a virtual symposium on Saturday, August 8, 2020 (one of the days our in-person symposium was originally scheduled). Those talks will be available on the ECW YouTube page beginning in early September:

Paige Gibbons Backus: A Fight for Life or Death: Carnage in the Medical Field During Civil War
Sarah Kay Bierle: “We’re the boys who rode around McClellan” The Chambersburg Raid of 1862
Mark Maloy: The First Shots of the Civil War in Charleston Harbor
Derek Maxfield: Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp (pictured above)
Kevin Pawlak: In the Wake of Antietam: The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862
Dan Welch: “Where all so well did their duty” George Greene’s Brigade at Gettysburg
10 Questions...with Sarah Kay Bierle
Sarah Kay Bierle is the managing editor of Emerging Civil War, which means she’s the daily living heartbeat of our organization. By day, she’s the assistant to the director at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We originally profiled her in our December 2017 newsletter. You can read her full ECW bio here.

What’s it been like, transplanting yourself from California to the heart of Civil War Virginia? 

Exciting! The traffic is similar, summers are hot everywhere, but there are Civil War battlefields in Virginia. It’s been more challenging with the pandemic this year, and that has really halted my travel, research, and exploration plans for the year, but it’s also meant that I have the opportunity to really get to know the land, roads, and battleground close to my new home.
I imagine you get to experience history in an entirely different way being here rather than far away. How has that changed your understanding of the Civil War? 

I had understood the importance of walking the ground to understand a battle and troop movements but having the opportunity to really take in the topography or return week after week has really helped. I particularly appreciate getting a better sense of direction and distances—some locations are much closer than I had realized, while others are significantly farther. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania battlefields are great examples and by traveling on foot or by car, I’ve been able to gain a better appreciation for the scope of the battle and the wide areas used for troop movements.
Now that you’ve been on the inside of the battlefield preservation movement for a while, how has that affected your understanding of battlefields? 

I think I’m even more aware of the hallowed ground aspect. When I spent hours advocating, writing, or researching land files and historical records, I go to the fields more equipped with the knowledge of what happened here. To slightly twist a line from the musical Hamilton: Who lived here? Who died here? How will we tell and preserve their stories? I also get more emotional at battlefields when I’m out walking or working on my own. Deeper meaning overall.
What’s your favorite part of the job working for Central Virginia Battlefields Trust? 

Normally, I think I would say “events and visiting with our preservation partners,” but I haven’t really had that experience this year! Since so much of my job is happening with social distancing and remote access, I think writing is my favorite part at this time. I never dreamed I’d get to work in the history field with research and writing for part of my daily job. Getting out and hiking properties or researching new land opportunities is pretty awesome too!
Outside of work, are you in the middle of any projects at the moment? 

Aside from sewing lots of masks for the community and working on some admin processes for Emerging Civil War, I’m pressing forward on some research and learning to write biographies! I’d hoped to have a new manuscript for the ECW series finished this autumn, but cancelled research trips and closed libraries have moved that goalpost. It’s a good challenge to see how much I can find and piece together from my desk, though, as I keep working the puzzle of primary sources to find the facts about those who fought or died during the Civil War.
Lightning Round (short answers with a one-sentence explanation) 
Favorite primary source? 
My Life In The Irish Brigade by Private William McCarter—a new favorite that I discovered this spring!
Favorite Civil War-related monument? 
Sergeant Kirkland Memorial near at Fredericksburg’s Sunken Road. It’s great art and the memorialization of a timeless sentiment of compassion during difficult and horrifying hours.
Favorite unsung hero of the Civil War era? 
I’ll go with heroines here: Kate Corbin Pendleton or Arabella Barlow.
What’s a bucket-list Civil War site you’ve not yet visited? 
Missionary Ridge! Dave Powell’s book in the ECW series inspired me to start probing the western theater a little more.
Favorite ECWS book that’s not one of your own? 
Out Flew The Sabres: The Battle of Brandy Station by Eric Wittenberg and Dan Davis. This is my current favorite (it changes!) because I used this book and the driving tour to explore Brandy Station for the first time this summer.
Emerging Revolutionary War News
August 1780 saw the defeat of another Continental force in South Carolina, when the army under General Horatio Gates was routed at the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780. One of the casualties was Baron de Kalb. To learn more about the Battle of Camden and also the death of de Kalb, click on over to Emerging Revolutionary War’s Facebook page for videos from the hallowed ground in South Carolina. 

While on our Facebook site, check out the "Rev War Revelry" videos, our weekly Sunday night historian happy hour discussion on a number of topics related to the founding era of the United States. A new Facebook Live comes every Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. 

On the publication front, ERW historian Eric Sterner's book on the massacre of Gnadenhutten in 1782 is due out in November. Congrats Eric. Updates will follow. 

As always continue to check our blog:

Emerging Civil War |