Volume 3 Issue 11 | May 2019
May 2019 Newsletter
Full Moons and Four-Leaf Clovers · News & Notes · Call Out the Cadets
10 Questions...with Todd Arrington · ECW Podcast · Emerging Rev War News
From the Editor
To the east, a full moon is about to lift itself above the horizon. Already, the thin cloud cover glows with pregnant light, signaling the imminent arrival.

I recently re-watched The Wolfman—not the great Lon Chaney, Jr., version but the less-good Benicio Del Toro version—so on some unconscious level, this full moon is the source of mild alarm to me. The cigar I’m smoking to ward away the bugs is apt to do me little good against a werewolf should one come prowling.

I’m sitting on my back porch, enjoying this smooth Macanudo and a bourbon barrel-aged Allagash beer, in an attempt to carve out a little quiet time in what has already been an insanely busy month—and it’s only 2/3 over. May always brings so much to do because of the anniversaries of Chancellorsville (1863) and the Overland Campaign (1864), which keep me particularly busy; some of my other colleagues focus on the opening of the Atlanta Campaign, the battle of New Market, or the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. (No one give the Red River campaign any love, I guess—poor Nathaniel Banks!) ECW has so much already this month that I can barely think in bullet points, let along full sentences.

For me, May also marks the ending of a semester with all its attendant grading. No matter how well-prepped I try to be going into the home stretch, I always have a ton to do.

And, of course, to add one final insult to injury, the lawn—“the green demon,” as my colleague Dan Welch refers to his—somehow needs mowed about thirteen times in the first three weeks of the month.

While mowing earlier today, I came across a four-leaf clover. It’s my ninth one this month. (Seriously!) If you saw the first day of our Facebook LIVE with the Trust, I found one during our broadcast from Germanna Ford, and then I found seven the next day in the Widow Tapp Field (live on camera, so there are witnesses).

What better reminder could there be of how lucky I am to be able to get to do what I love, every single day—whether that be mentoring young writers in the classroom, sharing the stories of the Civil War with so many interested people, or writing, writing, writing.

I may not really be superstitious about the full moon, but I can’t deny my great good fortune. I am a lucky man, indeed.

-- Chris Mackowski, Ph.D.
Editor in Chief
Sixth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge
We have twelve tickets left for our upcoming ECW Symposium, August 2-4, 2019, at Stevenson Ridge on the Spotsylvania Battlefield. Yep—just twelve. Tickets are $155 each and include ten speakers, a keynote address by A. Wilson Greene, and a Sunday tour of the North Anna battlefield with Bert Dunkerly and Chris Mackowski—plus all the other usual cool fun we always have at the Symposium!

You can find more details—and order one of the last tickets—on our Symposium page.
ECW News & Notes
Sarah Kay Bierle hunkered down at the Library of Congress for a few days at the end of May following a successful series of appearances related to the launch of her new book (see the ECW Bookshelf for details). She signed books at the Virginia Military Institute Museum on Remembrance Day (May 15), spoke to the Powhatan Civil War Roundtable, then gave a series of talks at the New Market battle reenactment, where she also signed books, May 18-19. (IN THE PHOTO: Sarah Bierle, Chris Mackowski, and Dwight Hughes at the New Market reenactment.)

James Brookes has an article in the most recent edition of The Journal of American Studies , published by Cambridge University Press: “Images in Conflict: Union Soldier-Artists Picture the Battle of Stones River, 1862–1863.” You can read that article here .

From Bert Dunkerly: “I am in a training program at work with the National Park Service, and one of the requirements is to do a shadow assignment at another park. I could choose any park and any discipline. After much thought, I settled on Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.

"Similar in layout and resources to my home park of Richmond National Battlefield Park, I thought it would give me a chance to learn things that I could apply when I returned. I spent my two weeks working with historian Eric Mink, who is highly regarded for his research and thorough reporting. I learned a variety of things, including how compliance is done to mitigate negative affects during projects. For example, we met with an archaeologist who would oversee construction to install pipelines from a new public restroom at Ellwood Plantation on the Wilderness Battlefield.

"Eric and I also investigated the location of earthworks at Chancellorsville, and helped plot the route for a new walking trail to access the 114th Pennsylvania Monument. Located along heavily traveled Route 3, the site is virtually inaccessible, and a trail is needed to safely reach it. Our research found that, in fact, the park had such a trail here in the 1930s, but it fell out of use and was abandoned. We proposed reestablishing it and identified the route and steps to take to ensure there were no negative impacts.

"I learned how park historians evaluate the impact of projects (construction, repair work, routine maintenance, outdoor projects, etc) on their historic resources and how they can mitigate the impacts. Cultural Resource Management is an importation part of park operations, and something I hope to work more with.”

Meg Groeling surprised everyone when she showed up at Manassas National Battlefield on May 11 with a walker, but she made it most of the way through the woods “In the Footsteps of the 69th NY.” Of course, she straggled, but she was such a good sport about it all that no one complained within her hearing distance. Meg reports, “Historian Damian Shiels was just as charming as possible, as was Harry Smeltzer. John Hennessey was a true gentleman.” Meg says she’s thrilled at the opportunity to write about 11th New Yorker (and Ellsworth aide-de-camp) John Wildey for Mr. Shiels' blog, “The Irish in the American Civil War.” She hopes to use Shiels' methods of examining government documents to piece together the stories of some of the men in the 11th New York, adding to her already copious interest in “Ellsworth's Lambs.”

Kevin Pawlak spent a couple of days in the National Archives recently researching miscellaneous Army of the Potomac files. We can't wait to see what he has found.

Dan Welch will be heading back to Gettysburg this summer as a seasonal Park Ranger with the National Park Service. Look for him on the battlefield or at the visitor center.

Did you catch ECW's team-up with the American Civil War Museum in Richmond at the museum's grand-opening on May 4? Dan Welch and Chris Mackowski were on hand to talk with our 2019 Emerging Scholars, a program we co-sponsored with the museum and Civil War Monitor . Here's a full run-down .

Did you catch ECW’s team-up with the American Battlefield Trust to commemorate the 155th anniversary of the Overland Campaign ? If not, you can still see the videos on the Trust’s Facebook page (even if you don’t belong to Facebook). Kris White hosted the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and North Anna, and Garry Adelman hosted Cold Harbor. Among the familiar ECW faces that joined in the fun were Doug Crenshaw , Dan Davis , Phill Greenwalt, Steward Henderson , and Chris Mackowski.
ECW Bookshelf

The 33rd book in the Emerging Civil War Series is now out: Call Out the Cadets: The Battle of New Market by Sarah Kay Bierle. The book features a foreword by Col. Keith Gibson, director of the VMI Museum in Lexington, Virginia.

Sarah’s book tells the story—among others—of the VMI cadets called into Confederate service to help the forces of Maj. Gen. John Breckinridge stop a Federal advance by Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel.

For more information, check out the publisher’s website: www.savasbeatie.com.

Also, new in audio this month: Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin by Lee White and Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863 by Chris Mackowski, Kris White, and Dan Davis. Both books are available at Audible.com.
10 Questions . . .
with Todd Arrington
By day, Todd Arrington is the site supervisor for the James Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio; by evening, he helps manage ECW’s social media. You can read his full bio here: https://emergingcivilwar.com/author-biographies/authors/todd-harrington/
As ECW's social media manager, you do a lot of behind-the-scenes work. What do you like about social media?
I think it’s a great way to get historical information out to people, whether they’re professional historians or just casually interested in the Civil War era. The reach of social media allows us to communicate information to people everywhere. The number of people that will go out and buy a book (or check it out of the library) or attend a symposium is so small, but tools like Facebook and Twitter give us the potential to reach millions. Even if only a handful of them end up reading an article at EmergingCivilWar.com or getting interested in doing their own research, we’ve still made a major impact.
How did you get interested in social media in the first place?
By necessity, really. About ten years ago it was becoming clearer and clearer that social media was a powerful force in how people received and consumed information, be it about what’s going on in the world, popular culture, or even history. We needed someone to start working with Twitter and Facebook at my workplace, and I just started playing around with it and seeing what worked and what didn’t. That eventually led to Instagram and blogging as well. Surely there are many other social media platforms out there by now that I really don’t know anything about, so I’m far from an expert. But I’ve definitely had fun with it and had at least some success.
You've also been blogging for a while (prior to ECW, you blogged with We're History ). What do like about blogging? 
Blogging is a great way for historians of all levels of education, experience, qualifications, etc., to put their research and ideas out there for the world to see. In academic history, there is so much pressure to regularly publish (“publish or perish,” as some often say) books and articles. For people working in academic history, blogging is a great forum to try out ideas and theories and see if they’ve got legs. But even for non-academic historians, amateur historians, and history enthusiasts, blogging is a perfect way to get your work out there and have people read it, evaluate it, and ask questions about it. It has given everyone a forum to publish pretty much whenever and whatever they want. Not all of it is good, of course, but I’ll also say that some of the best original research I’ve ever read has been on blogs. I’m thrilled to blog with Emerging Civil War and am excited to be working to get We’re History back up and running as well.
You work by day at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. What do you find fascinating about Garfield?
So much about James Garfield is fascinating. He lived through some of the most trying times in our nation’s history and played a significant role in them. But he’s largely forgotten now and usually written off as unimportant because he served so briefly as president before being assassinated in 1881—in office just four months before being shot. But his presidency is really just a tiny part of his life. He lived almost 50 years, and for only 200 days of that was he President of the United States. So learning more about him every day and communicating that information to the public is something I really enjoy. I joke with our staff all the time that by the time I’m finished with Garfield, they’ll be adding him to Mount Rushmore. That might be a stretch, but I’ll keep trying anyway.
You're working on a book about the election that put Garfield in the White House. What discoveries have you made along the way that have been particularly exciting for you?
The thing that has most impressed me about Garfield is how dedicated he was as a congressman during Reconstruction to protecting the civil and political rights and physical safety of African Americans in the South. Garfield was a pretty reliable Radical Republican for most of Reconstruction. And though there are many people that even today choose to believe that slavery had little or nothing to do with the Civil War, Garfield had it pegged from the beginning. Two days after Fort Sumter in 1861, he wrote, “The war will soon assume the shape of Slavery and Freedom. The world will so understand it, and I believe the final outcome will redound to the good of humanity.” And then he put his money where his mouth was and joined the Union Army. For the rest of his life, as a soldier, congressman, and president, he was usually on the right side of history when it came to civil rights. By 1880, when he was a somewhat unexpected presidential nominee for the Republicans, even many of the most radical Republicans were moving on to issues other than civil rights. But not Garfield. In fact, he even addressed civil rights in his inaugural address. What I’ve learned about him during my book research makes me convinced that he was absolutely the right man for the presidency in 1880. Of course, this just compounds the tragedy of his assassination. I think he could have been a truly great and important president.
Lightning Round (short answers):
Most overrated person of the Civil War? 
Stonewall Jackson.
Favorite Trans-Mississippi site? 
Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska. Not a place many people expect to find Civil War history, but it’s hugely important there! (Full disclosure: I worked there for 10 years!)
Favorite regiment? 
Right now it’s the 42nd Ohio since James Garfield commanded that regiment for a time.
What is the one Civil War book you think is essential? 
Hard question! I’ll say Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson but also Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels. The latter is the book that hooked me on the Civil War, so I’d be remiss not to mention it.
What's one question about the Civil War no one has ever asked you that you wish they would?
I don’t know about that, but instead I’ll share a question that I once WAS asked that I still can’t believe. This happened almost 25 years ago when I was working at Gettysburg. A guy asked me, “Why were Civil War battles always fought in national parks?” I hope he was kidding, but I don’t think so.
Emerging Civil War Podcast
Our Emerging Civil War Podcasts for May featured a pair or programs about battles with May anniversaries.

Our first podcast of the months featured an interview with Sarah Kay Bierle about her new book, Call Out the Cadets: The Battle of New Market .

Our second podcast featured part two of a conversation between Chris Mackowski and Kris White about the battle of Chancellorsville.

Each episode is only $1.99. You can subscribe here: https://www.patreon.com/emergingcivilwar .

Emerging Rev War News
Mark your calendars for September 28, 2019! Emerging Revolutionary War is excited to announce that we are partnering with Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and The Lyceum of Alexandria, VA to bring to you a day-long Symposium focusing on the American Revolution.
Alexandria is George Washington’s hometown and we feel is a great place for us to start this new endeavor. Historic “Old Town” Alexandria is home to dozens of museums and historic sites as well as great pubs, restaurants and shops. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is the premier 18th century tavern museum in the country and is host to the famous annual George Washington Birthnight Ball. The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum will be our host location. Today The Lyceum serves as the City’s history museum and is a center of learning through lectures, demonstrations and exhibits.
This year’s theme is “Before They Were Americans” and will highlight several topics about the years leading up to the American Revolution. Our speakers include: Phillip Greenwalt, Katherine Gruber, William Griffith, Stephanie Seal Walters, and Dr. Peter Henriques as the keynote.
Registration will open on July 1, 2019 through AlexandriaVA.gov/Shop or by calling 703-746-4242. For more information about this symposium and get your American Revolutionary Era fix, continue to check out the Emerging Revolutionary War blog at www.emergingrevolutionarywar.org

Upcoming Presentations
1st: Gazette665’s Fourth Annual Civil War History Conference, Temecula, CA
  • Chris Mackowski – Grant’s Overland Campaign
  • Sarah Kay Bierle – Medical Care during the 1864 Valley Campaigns

8th: Chris Mackowski,  Oklahoma Civil War Symposium , University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha, OK 

10th: Eric Wittenberg, “Minty and Wilder at Chickamauga,” Ann Arbor (MI) Civil War Roundtable

12th: Sarah Kay Bierle, Inland Empire Civil War Round Table, Redlands, CA

13th: Phill Greenwalt, “The Florida Brigade at Gettysburg,” North Florida Civil War Round Table, FL

13th: Chris Mackowski, “That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy,” California University of Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable

17th: Derek Maxfield, “Hellmira,” Charlottesville Civil War Roundtable, Charlottesville, VA

19th: Derek Maxfield, Historical play “Now We Stand by Each Other Always,” Valley Civil War Roundtable, Pavilion, NY

20th: Chris Mackowski, “Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness,” Hershey (PA) Civil War Roundtable

20th: Chris Kolakowski, “Grant Takes Command,” Rufus Barringer Civil War Round Table, Pinehurst, NC

22nd: Derek Maxfield, Historical play “Now We Stand by Each Other Always,” Buffalo-Niagara Heritage Village, Amherst, NY

8th: Chris Kolakowski, “The Battle of Hampton Roads,” Western NC Civil War Round Table, Cullowhee, NC

11th-14th: American Battlefield Trust Teacher Institute, Raleigh, NC

11th: Dan Welch, “Color Bearers at Gettysburg,” Lancaster Civil War Round Table, PA

11th: Sarah Kay Bierle, “From California to Gettysburg: The Hancock Family,” Old Baldy Civil War Round Table, NJ (via Skype)

15th: Dan Welch,“Boys give them rocks!” Stonewall Jackson’s Defensive Stand at Second Manassas, Charlottesville Civil War Round Table

17th: Rob Orrison, “Lexington and Concord,” Richmond American Revolution Round Table