Jun
1
to Jun 2

Lehigh Valley Civil War Days ~ June 1 & 2

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June 1 - 2, 2019

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Click here for Civil War Day website

This event is free to the Public and a fee for all Reenactors. Registration before the event starts at a lower fee with a higher fee for late and walking on. Anyone dressed in period attire will be considered a reenactor.

Learn how the Civil War was fought in 1864 through battle reenactment scenarios (Cold Harbor and Fort Stedman), discussions with Living Historians and tours of the trenches. Visit the Military Camps to learn about a soldier’s life and activities in camp. Visit the Historic Street to learn about other aspects of life during the Civil War. Visit the Lyceum to learn about Civil War period music and to hear lectures. Children’s Activities, Infantry firing demonstrations and Saturday evening dance (period clothing not required) and concert followed by night firing 

LOCATION on Google Maps

Mission Statement
To unite the many organizations in and around the Lehigh Valley engaged in portraying the different aspects of American Civil War society. To work with the united organizations towards the goal of restoring and expanding the Lehigh Valley event at Whitehall and striving towards the addition of future events like it. In doing so, our goal is to restore to the Lehigh Valley area, local events geared towards the education and preservation of Americas’ Civil War Heritage, thus “Teaching history through living history”

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Jun
4
6:30 PM18:30

“Grant and the Siege of Chattanooga” presented by Ken Serfass  (as General Ulysses S. Grant)

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“Grant and the Siege of Chattanooga” presented by Kenneth J. Serfass, Gunnery Sgt USMC, retired
as Ulysses S. Grant
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 Program Notes: Chattanooga

After the Confederate victory at Chickamauga in northwest Georgia in September 1863, the Union army retreated to the vital railroad junction of Chattanooga, in Tennessee. Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg laid siege to the city, cutting it off from all Union supplies.   In response, President Lincoln ordered Major General US Grant to Chattanooga.  After arriving in late October, soon refortified the city, opening up a desperately needed supply line, and began maneuvers to lift the siege.

My talk is always centered on the qualities of US Grant that have made him a hero to me.   Most of the talks are topical to his war experiences and also relate back to his youth in Ohio and West Point years.

For military programs, many come to realize that Grant was a grand strategist, and not a localized tactician.  His was a position of macro management, and these map plotting presentations work to portray things from the strategic level, leaving the tales of regimental and personal bravery to other occasions for the most part.

I use this map and my similar Vicksburg and Overland campaign maps with school groups and others for a more hands on approach.  It is visual learning, and when somebody holds a marker with the label on it, they touch it, they see it, they speak it, the lesson sticks much better than what a lecture would do.   It is very effective. 

I also made the map markers to look like something Grant's boys would have played with, more than something slick and modern.  I try to keep my impression in the period as much as possible and won’t use any multimedia gizmos, and only microphones when the room is just too large for this old Marine's voice to fill up.  I have found that when an audience buys into the notion that they ARE meeting a figure from history, there is magic to remember.

https://gburggrant.wixsite.com/usgrantlivinghistory

Gunnery Sgt Kenneth J. Serfass was born in Bethlehem, PA on June 18th, 1966.  He joined the USMC in 1984 and his final tour was with the First Marine Division Band during Operation Iraqi Freedom and retired from the Marine Corps in July of 2004 to become a music teacher. 

Ken WAS a civil war reenactor and now is a first-person impressionist with nearly fifty years of study of his childhood hero, US Grant.  He now works as a full-time professional living historian portraying Ulysses S. Grant, presenting between 11 and as many as 23 appearances each month between February and November each year as his work season.

Ken began appearing publically as General Grant in 2009 while living in San Diego CA, even then speaking at events across the country and he presents in as many venues as are relevant to the life of Grant.  From horseback tours and rail road excursion rides, at living history and roundtable events to public libraries on a regular basis across many eastern and southern states, and annually in Southern California at Huntington Beach’s Civil War Days over Labor Day weekend, Ken is established firmly on both coasts. 

He has appeared at Pamplin Park near Petersburg VA, and at several national park sites on an annual basis.  In 2015 he was invited to join The Federal Generals Corps, a living history organization hosting first person impressions of many of the most well-known Union generals in the American civil war, to be their “Ulysses S. Grant.”  This past July he presented at Petersburg NPS for the Crater Commemoration, and the following day at City Point NPS, Grant’s war time Virginia headquarters.  They now have invited him back to make this an annual occurrence.

He has spoken on Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign to the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Association to develop broader civil war study among their guides.  He is the only Grant impressionist to present his own topical programs at the General Grant National Memorial, in New York City, presenting first person public interactive addresses, as General and also as President, and has developed Junior Ranger programs for NPS, bringing America’s youth closer to history. 

Ken’s travels and experiences and are serving to inspire two books he is writing, first to share what it’s like to live the life of a great American hero and the other is historical fiction and science fiction combined around his adventures presenting living history, set in the civil war and dealing directly with US Grant’s activity in Virginia in 1864.    

Entertaining and educational, the spectrum of venues includes schools, all sorts of service and history clubs, as well as museums, and business groups seeking leadership training and inspiration.  Ken’s work has generated a great following of supporters and others who share his love or American history and the attributes of positive role models throughout our national past.  Many are happy to refer him to others so they too can talk to history and share in our rich heritage.

It is with a profound honor that he tells the story of one of America’s greatest military leaders and Ken takes it very seriously to reaffirm Grant’s place of honor among the most respected people of our nation’s history.  His passion for the subject is evident in his presentation, and it is hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm for his subject and believe that you’ve met US Grant in living history.

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Sep
3
6:30 PM18:30

"Gettysburg Rebels" presented by Tom McMillan

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Gettysburg Rebels is the gripping true story of five young men who grew up in Gettysburg, moved south to Virginia in the 1850s, joined the Confederate army - and returned "home" as foreign invaders for the great battle in July 1863. Drawing on rarely-seen documents and family histories, as well as military service records and contemporary accounts, Tom McMillan delves into the backgrounds of Wesley Culp, Henry Wentz and the three Hoffman brothers in a riveting tale of Civil War drama and intrigue.

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Nov
5
6:30 PM18:30

"Cloaked in Mystery: The Curious Case of the Confederate Coat" presented by Richard Lewis

Detail found in Civil War photography sometimes yield big surprises. For Richard Lewis, a lifelong student of Confederate Generals and a uniform enthusiast, a seemingly insignificant detail in a general’s studio portrait led to a five year (and counting) project and two articles in Civil War Times magazine.  This talk takes an illustrated look at the uniform of the generals of the Confederacy and a step by step discovery of a big secret that eluded historians for more than a century. 

Richard Lewis of Richmond, Virginia, is the retired Director of National Media Relations for the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Secretary and board member of Civil War Trails, Inc. He received a Bachelor's Degree in History from Louisiana State University in 1978 and studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War scholar Dr. T. Harry Williams. Richard served as Liaison to the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission from 2010 to 2015 and is the former Marketing Director at Pamplin Historical Park. He has authored articles in Civil War Times and Hallowed Ground magazines and has appeared multiple times on the History Channel. 

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May
7
6:30 PM18:30

“In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas W. Colley in the 1st Virginia Cavalry”  presented by Michael K. Shaffer

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“In Memory of Self and Comrades: 
Thomas W. Colley in the 1st Virginia Cavalry”  presented by Michael K. Shaffer

Thomas W. Colley served in one of the most active and famous units in the Civil War, the 1st Virginia Cavalry, which fought in battles from First Manassas/Bull Run to the defense of Petersburg. In May 1861, along with the other members of the Washington Mounted Rifles, Colley left his home in Washington County, Virginia, and reported to camp in Richmond. During the war, he received wounds on three different occasions: first at Waterloo Bridge in 1862, again at Kelly’s Ford in 1863, and finally at Haw’s Shop in 1864. The wound received at Haw’s Shop resulted in the amputation of his left foot, thereby ending his wartime service.

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Michael K. Shaffer is a Civil War historian, instructor, lecturer, newspaper columnist, and author. He is
a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, Georgia Association of Historians, and Georgia Writers Association. Shaffer teaches Civil War Courses at Kennesaw State University's College of Continuing and Professional Education, and frequently lectures to various groups across the country. After the program, he will have copies of his books available for purchase!

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Apr
27
7:00 AM07:00

Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

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Our annual work day will entail work at the John Slyder Farm on the southern end of the battlefield. As always there will be something for everyone including fence painting & fence rebuilding. This will be our 5th year since we’ve expanded our role by including partners from Saucon Valley High School, Boy Scout Troop 89 from New Tripoli & the Whitehall Historical Society. Most groups who volunteer at Gettysburg have limited numbers and have limited goals. Because our numbers have reached 40 to 50 some folks we have been able to help the National Park Service staff accomplish projects other group cannot attempt. Caitlin Brown, Park Coordinator will once interpret action that occurred on the site after our task is completed. All are welcome. Please advise me if you know of any other folks outside of our CWRT membership who may have an interest in this rewarding labor.

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   The John Slyder farm was on the western side of Big Round Top, just down Plum Run from the Devil’s Den. John had moved from Maryland and bought the 75 acre farm in 1849. By the 1860’s it included a two story stone house, barn, blacksmith and carpenter shops, an orchard of peach and pear trees, thirty acres of timber and eighteen acres of meadow.

   On July 2nd Confederate General John B. Hood’s Division swept across Slyder’s farm in its advance toward the Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The crops and orchards were trampled and destroyed and the farm buildings became a Confederate field hospital, with the family’s possessions looted or spoiled. Two months after the battle, in September, John sold the farm and moved to Ohio. The Slyder family had connections with other Gettysburg families. John’s wife Catherine was the sister of Lydia Leister, whose house became General Meade’s headquarters during the battle. And in October of 1863 John’s son William married Josephine Miller, the granddaughter of Peter and Susan Rogers, whose farm lay on Emmitsburg Road.

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   The farm passed to the Snyder family, who owned it around the turn of the century. It is now owned by the National Park Service. The monument to Companies E & H, Second United States Sharpshoters (Vermont Sharpshooters) is beside the driveway in front of the farmhouse. 

‘X’ marks the Slyder Farm on the map to the right. The entrance is off of the Emmitsburg Road (also known as Business Rte 15 & Steinwehr Ave)

Logistical details to as we get closer to April 27.

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Apr
15
7:00 PM19:00

Clara Barton Portrayed by Alisa Dupuy Monday April 15th

Make your reservations today to see Alisa Dupuy portray Clara Barton on April 15 at 7pm at the Southern Lehigh Public Library 3200 Preston Lane • Center Valley, PA • 18034

During the American Civil War, Clara Barton became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” delivering supplies and caring for the sick and wounded. After the war, Barton organized a campaign to locate missing soldiers. Her enduring legacy was the founding, in 1881, of the American Red Cross. 

REGISTER ONLINE

Program co-sponsored by Civil War Roundtable of Eastern, PA and SLPL.

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Apr
10
to Apr 13

Shenandoah Valley Civil War Conference - April 10-13

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The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s 4th Annual National Civil War Conference in Front Royal, Virginia will focus on Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Campaign, the largest and costliest campaign ever fought in the Valley. The conference will include talks, programs, special events, and tours of Third Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, and Cedar Creek – all featuring the finest historians in the nation.

See the post in Community News for more information on the conference

See the post in Brigade News for a discount for CWRT of Eastern PA members.

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Apr
2
6:30 PM18:30

Peter Carmichael Presents "The War for the Common Soldier"

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Peter S. Carmichael is Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College and Director of the Civil War Institute. His books include Lee's Young Artillerist: William R. J. Pegram and Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee.

 Peter Carmichael’s talk will be about his most recent book:  The War for the Common Soldier:  How Men Thought, Fought, and Survived in Civil War Armies

     Summary:

How did Civil War soldiers endure the brutal and unpredictable existence of army life during the conflict? This question is at the heart of Peter S. Carmichael's sweeping new study of men at war. Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind by individual soldiers from both the North and the South, Carmichael explores the totality of the Civil War experience--the marching, the fighting, the boredom, the idealism, the exhaustion, the punishments, and the frustrations of being away from families who often faced their own dire circumstances. Carmichael focuses not on what soldiers thought but rather how they thought. In doing so, he reveals how, to the shock of most men, well-established notions of duty or disobedience, morality or immorality, loyalty or disloyalty, and bravery or cowardice were blurred by war.

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Digging deeply into his soldiers' writing, Carmichael resists the idea that there was "a common soldier" but looks into their own words to find common threads in soldiers' experiences and ways of understanding what was happening around them. In the end, he argues that a pragmatic philosophy of soldiering emerged, guiding members of the rank and file as they struggled to live with the contradictory elements of their violent and volatile world. Soldiering in the Civil War, as Carmichael argues, was never a state of being but a process of becoming.

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Mar
5
6:30 PM18:30

“ETHNICS IN THE CONFEDERACY” PRESENTED BY TED ALEXANDER

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“ETHNICS IN THE CONFEDERACY”

PRESENTED BY TED ALEXANDER

Ethnics in the Confederacy - typically the Civil War is viewed as a conflict between white Anglo Saxons on both sides. However, if one turns up the history microscope you will find a multitude of diverse ethnic groups on both sides. Our speaker will discuss the ethnic patchwork of the Southern Confederacy. In this broad brushstroke presentation, our speaker, the co author and contributor to two National Park Service publications on ethnic participation in the war, will discuss the involvement of at least 10 ethnic groups. Among them; Germans, American Indians, Hispanics and Asians just to name a few. Noted ethnic personalities such as the Cuban, Colonel Ambrosio Gonzalez, the Tejano Colonel Santo Benevides and others will be discussed too.

Biography -  Ted Alexander was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and at a young age moved to Pennsylvania and later Maryland. He would spend his summers in Mississippi listening to his granddads stories of his father who served in the 31st Mississippi. Back in Pennsylvania his grandmother told him stories handed down about her uncle in the 126th Pennsylvania and her dad who was in the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade. A visit to Gettysburg at age 5 sparked his interest in the Civil War and for the rest of his life he was hooked.

     Ted has a BA  in History and Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. and a MA in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County He taught 9th grade U.S. History at Greencastle - Antrim High School for 2 years. In 1980 he achieved his lifelong goal of being hired with the National Park Service; first as a Seasonal Ranger at Harpers Ferry NHP and later as a full time ranger at the National Mall and later Fort Washington, National Park.  Since he was a kid, Ted wanted to work as either a ranger or historian at Antietam of Gettysburg. In 1985 his wish came true when he was transferred to Antietam National Battlefield. There he retired as Historian in 2016.

Ted is the author, co - author or contributor to 10 books on the Civil War and other aspects of American history, including Antietam: The Bloodiest Day. He has also written more than 200 articles and book reviews for publications such as Blue and Gray Magazine, Civil War Times, and The Washington Times.

He is the co -founder and host for Chambersburg Civil War Seminars. These events feature top scholars such as Ed Bearss, James McPherson, Dennis Frye and others. Since its founding in 1989 these events have raised more than $215,000.00 for preservation.

Ted is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served 2 tours in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V for valor.

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Feb
14
10:00 AM10:00

Pennsylvania  153rd Company E - Talk at Palmer Historical Society

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Pennsylvania  153rd Company E - Talk at Palmer Historical Society

February 14, 2019

10:00-11:30

Palmer Library

Join NCHGS volunteer staff Kathleen and Neil Coddington for a lecture on the 153rd Company E soldiers from Palmer Township who fought in the Civil War. Appearing in full period uniform and dress, the Coddingtons will bring artifacts and share stories of the men and women who served the Union cause.

Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society

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Feb
5
6:30 PM18:30

“Hinsonville's Heroes: Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County, PA” presented Cheryl Renée Gooch

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“Hinsonville's Heroes: Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County, PA” 

Dr. Cheryl Renée Gooch, author of Hinsonville’s Heroes: Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County, Pennsylvania (The History Press, February 2018) will discuss her newest book which traces and interprets the lives of 18 men from this free black community who served in the war to end slavery, and their families’ efforts to ensure that they are remembered for their role in re-unifying this country.

Named for Emory Hinson, a black man who purchased acres straddling Lower and Upper Oxford townships in Chester County, PA, the former 19th century village of Hinsonville attracted both free and determined to be free people who championed religious freedom, higher education, land ownership and equal rights. Residents organized a black Protestant church, supported the founding of Ashmun Institute (later Lincoln University), vigilantly opposed slavery and, in some cases, emigrated to Liberia as a part of the colonization movement. The community’s tradition of self-determination compelled 18 of its men to enlist to advance the freedom cause, 11 of whom trained at the former Camp William near Philadelphia.

Since its release, Hinsonville’s Heroes has maintained active interest among Civil War Round Table, general and academic audiences, and was featured on Pennsylvania Cable Network-TV’s PA Books.

Author Bio:

Dr. Cheryl Renée Gooch is an academic leader, published scholar and active historical researcher. She served as historian and primary writer for the Delaware History Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Journey to Freedom” which chronicles the Black Delawarean experience from 1629 to the present. 

An active member of the Toni Morrison Society Bench by the Road Project, Dr. Gooch led the effort to place the memorial bench at Hosanna Church which honors Hinsonville’s Civil War veterans, the church’s role in founding Lincoln University, and its members participation in Liberian colonization and the abolition of slavery.

A Life member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), she serves on the Executive Council, and is a member of the organization’s National Heritage Sites Committee which works with the National Park Service to expand inclusive interpretations of our country’s parks and sites.

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Jan
8
6:30 PM18:30

“Photographing Our Civil War Battlefields” presented by Chris Heisey

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“Photographing Our Civil War Battlefields” presented by Chris Heisey

Join photographer Chris Heisey on January 8, 2019, when he presents a program: Photographing Our Civil War Battlefields to the Civil War Roundtable of Eastern PA. He will share 70 of his evocative contemporary battlefield images of hallowed grounds that range from Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Gettysburg. He will provide battle historical anecdotes as well as share his personal experiences while shooting his imagery over the past three decades. 

Chris Heisey’s images have appeared in more than 200 publications and media productions worldwide. He has co-authored two previous books, Gettysburg: This Hallowed Ground with Kent Gramm and In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: Wilderness thorough Cold Harbor, with Gordon Rhea. The forthcoming Gettysburg: The Living and the Dead, co-authored with Kent Gramm, will be released by Southern Illinois University Press in May 2019. Over the past 30 years, he has visited some 380 American battlefields and supports several historic preservation groups whose mission is to save threatened hallowed grounds. He works for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he is a photojournalist and writer. 

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Dec
4
6:30 PM18:30

“Civil War Women of Compassion, Courage, and Grit.” presented by Rich Rosenthal

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“Civil War Women of Compassion, Courage, and Grit”

Presented by Rich Rosenthal

President of the North Jersey Civil War Round Table

 A story of survival during wartime – not from cannons and bullets – but of life itself. The women who are left at home without adequate means of support and must provide the basic necessities of food and shelter and still impart their values to their children.

New Jersey’s own Cornelia Hancock, rejected as a nurse by Dorothea Dix because she is too pretty, defies her, and goes to Gettysburg to assist the wounded soldiers and stays throughout the Civil War.  Mary Ann Bickerdyke, who defies army red tape to care for her boys, the wounded, setting up hospitals and kitchens, even following Gen. Sherman through the mountains of Georgia on the way to Atlanta.  Sara Pryor, living through the privation and destruction of the south, still has the courage to defy Gen. Sheridan and demand rations for the starving women and children families in her community

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Rich Rosenthal has lectured on numerous historical subjects and is president of the North Jersey Civil War Round Table, is a board member and one of the founding members, with the pre-eminent New Jersey historian, the late John T. Cunningham, of the North Jersey American Revolution Round Table. He resides in Parsippany with his wife, Harriet; they have two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Nov
6
6:30 PM18:30

“On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4 – 15, 1864" presented by Gordon Rhea

“On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4 – 15, 1864 presented by Gordon Rhea

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Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee are customarily considered the leading generals in the American Civil War.  Each, however, is often viewed in a distorted, stereotypical fashion.  Grant, the story goes, habitually resorted to headlong attacks and seldom maneuvered.  And Lee, according to the prevailing mythology, had the uncanny ability of fathoming his opponent’s intentions and anticipating his every move.

The Overland Campaign of 1864 – the initial engagements between Grant and Lee in the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Court House, at the North Anna River, at Cold Harbor, and the movement to Petersburg – suggests a very different interpretation of these preeminent American warriors.  In my presentation, we will step back and take a fresh look at Grant’s and Lee’s generalship, focusing on how each reacted to the other in this brutal and costly forty-odd-day campaign of wits and will.  It is an exciting tale and one that provokes controversy to this day

Gordon C. Rhea - A native of East Tennessee, Gordon Rhea earned a B.A. in history with honors from Indiana University, an M.A. in American History from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Stanford University Law School. He served as Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, as Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C., and the United States Virgin Islands, and has been in the private practice of law for the past three decades. While growing up, he frequently visited Civil War battlefields with his father. His five-volume series on the Overland Campaign between Grant and Lee in Virginia in 1864 stands as the authoritative treatment of those battles. He has written numerous articles, is a frequent speaker at historical societies, and strongly supports the Civil War Trust and other organizations dedicated to preserving America's battlefields.  His most recent book, On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4 – 15, 1864, was a finalist for this year’s Lincoln Prize and the winner of this year’s Emerging Civil War Book Award and the Daniel M. Laney Prize.  

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Oct
2
6:30 PM18:30

"Schuylkill County's Coal Heavers: The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers"presented by David A Ward

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"Schuylkill County's Coal Heavers: The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers" presented by David A Ward

Originally commanded by Col. Henry L. Cake, formerly of the National Light Infantry, the 96th Penna Vols served for three years in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Div of the 6th Corps in the Army of the Potomac. Principally War Democrats the regiment fought with determination at Gaines' Mill, Crampton's Gap, Salem Church and at Spotsylvania on May 10 and again on May 12, 1864.  The regiment lost 6 officers and 126 enlisted -- killed or mortally wounded -- in its three years of service.

The talk will highlight the regiment's military engagements, offer a few quotes regarding their views on the direction of the war and reactions to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Other topics too such as their observations regarding the chaos of combat and death and dying will also be afforded coverage.  In addition, I'll use quotes from the soldiers to describe the generals they served under -- Slocum, Bartlett, Franklin, Brooks, Sedgwick and Upton.

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David Ward Bio: Born Pottsville, Pennsylvania 1957. Graduated from Franklin & Marshall College 1980 with BA in history. Graduated 1988 from Southern Connecticut State University with master’s degree in history and library science. Professional librarian at New Academy, Livingston, New Jersey, 1984-1987. Assistant Library Director at The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut 1987-2018.

Founded Connecticut Civil War Round Table in spring 1989. Served as program chairman from 1989-1995. Hosted New England Civil War Conference June 1990-1992. Owner and operator of the popular battlefield tour company Civil War Tours 2000-2015. 

Published works:

The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishing, 2018.

“Sedgwick’s Foot Cavalry: The March of the Sixth Corps to Gettysburg,” no. 22 (January 2000), Gettysburg Magazine.

“Of Battlefields and Bitter Feuds: A History of the 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers,” Civil War Regiments vol. 3, no. 3 (1993).

Historical consultant: Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg 2012.

Book Reviews Civil War News, Blue & Gray Magazine.

 

 

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Sep
4
6:30 PM18:30

"The Life and Death of James Johnston Pettigrew" presented by George Franks

George F Franks III

George F Franks III

"The Life and Death of James Johnston Pettigrew" presented by George Franks  
     Most people only know Johnston Pettigrew from the "Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge" at Gettysburg or from his appearance in the movie about the battle. Pettigrew was considered the "most brilliant man in the South". A scholar, linguist, author, legislator, military advisor and Confederate officer, Pettigrew was a complex man whose contributions are not widely recognized today. George Franks uncovered many stories about the little-known Confederate general during his study of the July 14, 1863 Battle of Falling Waters in Maryland - where Pettigrew was mortally wounded. Franks lives on the Falling Waters Battlefield.

     George F. Franks, III is the President of Franks Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, and owner of Geo. Franks, Hatter, a global e-commerce business. He is a former technology executive with extensive international experience. George is the founder and President of the Battle of Falling Waters 1863 Foundation, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. He is a Commissioner on the C&O Canal Federal Advisory Commission. George served as an officer and governor of theCompany of Military Historians and as President of the organization’s Chesapeake Chapter. He was President of the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table in Washington, D.C. and is an active member of Hagerstown Civil War Round Table, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the Civil War Trust. George is the author of Battle of Falling Waters 1863: Custer, Pettigrew and the End of the Gettysburg Campaign and lives in the 1830 Daniel Donnelly House on the battlefield - less than a mile from the C & O Canal. George was awarded the 2015 John Frye Historical Preservation Award by the Washington County (Maryland) Commissioners. He studied history at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh where he was graduated Magna cum Laude. AT&T selected George for the executive programs in marketing and international business at University of Virginia Darden School and Emory University Goizueta Business School.

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Jun
5
6:30 PM18:30

September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril - presented by Dennis Frye

Frye's latest book, " Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination " has just been released.   Click here for Amazon listing

Frye's latest book, "Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination" has just been released.  Click here for Amazon listing

     September, 1862 was the worst period of Lincoln's presidency. At no other time was the United States closer to a permanent divided states. Confederate armies were conducting offensives along a 1,000 miles front from Mississippi to Maryland. Could Washington be saved from invasion? Could Pennsylvania be protected from Robert E. Lee's Rebels? Could Lincoln find a general that could win? No one knew . . . at that moment, at that time. We will live the drama as it unfolds.
     Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Dennis has written ten books and 99 articles, with his newest book just released: Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination. His previous book, "September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril," won the Laney prize for best Civil War scholarship. Dennis has appeared in numerous documentaries on PBS, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, A&E, Discovery, CSPAN, Fox News and Voice of America. Dennis helped produce Emmy-award shows on John Brown, Antietam, and Maryland during the Civil War. Dennis is an original founder and past president of two nationally renowned preservation organizations - the Civil War Trust and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Dennis also is a battlefield guide in demand, leading tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic and the New York Times. He and his wife Sylvia have restored General Burnside's post-Antietam headquarters as their residence.
     Dennis will have two books for sale:  the new release (out only 2 weeks) Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination as well as September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril. Special deal for anyone buying both - $35.00 (normal retail would be $48).
       Additional Note: Many of you enjoy arriving at our dinner meeting a little early to partake of comradeship and an adult beverage at the Holiday Inn watering hole. As part of our 40th year Anniversary Celebration Tony Major has arranged for a Cash Bar to be set up in our meeting room. This will allow you to not only enjoy a beverage and also to chat with all who attend. We do have a minimum to meet so if you are so inclined please come straight to the meeting room. Kindly spread the word as I forgot to mention this important information at the May meeting!! If all goes well we might be able to extend this service to our regular meetings. Thank you, Ed

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May
19
to May 20

LEHIGH VALLEY CIVIL WAR DAYS IN WHITEHALL - MAY 19-20

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LEHIGH VALLEY CIVIL WAR DAYS TO COMMEMORATE THE BATTLES OF CHANCELLORSVILLE AND SPOTSYLVANIA

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE SCHEDULE

 On May 19 and May 20, 2018, Friends of Camp Geiger will sponsor their 10th Lehigh Valley Civil War Days, at the Whitehall Parkway Recreational Area on Church Street in Whitehall, PA. 

Event opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.  Jackson’s flank attack at Chancellorsville, which took place in May 1863, will be featured (the only known reenactment of the Chancellorsville Battle to take place this year).  Jackson’s assault on the 11th Corp, in particular Northampton County’s 153rd PA regiment, forced the Union to retreat.

The local reenacting group that portrays the 153rd PA Volunteers will be featured in this battle.  The battle will be reenacted on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.  A battlefield lecture by Jeffrey Stocker author of We Fought Desperate”: A History of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment will precede the battle.

On Sunday, a reenactment of the battle of the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania will take place at 11:00 a.m. Trench battles demonstrating the changing face of war will also be held each day along with behind the scenes tours of the trenches during breaks in the fighting.

Military camps, a field hospital, displays on the US Sanitary Commission, Victorian parlor past times, children’s games, and a recruitment center will be among the offerings held daily.  Lectures, a Victorian fashion show and period music will be offered at the Lyceum.  The event closes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

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Admission is free for spectators.  Food is available.  Donations to benefit Civil War battlefield preservation will be accepted.  On Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. a period dance and concert will be held.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Weather permitting; a rifle firing demonstration is planned after the concert.

Please do not wear period attire or bring weapons to the event unless you are a registered participant.

For information and directions, please visit their website at
www.friendsofcampgeiger.webs.com
or call Neil Coddington at (610) 837-7403

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May
14
7:00 PM19:00

U.S. Grant: The Vicksburg Campaign at Southern Lehigh Public Library

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U.S. GRANT: THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN

MONDAY, MAY 14 AT 7 PM

Co-sponsored by SLPL and Civil War Roundtable of Eastern PA

SLPL and Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania are proud to present Kenneth J. Serfass, a USMC Veteran and long time Civil War reenactor, as General U.S. Grant. Ken has been a student of Grant all his life. He has appeared nationally on television and film and has been featured at numerous speaking engagements.
Use this link to register

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May
1
6:30 PM18:30

Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War Presented by Carleton Young

Voices from the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War Presented by Carleton Young

Imagine clearing out your family attic and discovering an enormous collection of letters written by two soldiers during the Civil War, but not knowing why the letters were there.

Faced with that situation, Carleton Young spent more than a decade visiting battlefields and researching the two Vermont soldiers. In Voices From the Attic: The Williamstown Boys in the Civil War, he tells the story of two brothers who witnessed and made history by fighting in the Peninsula Campaign, then at South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cedar Creek. They then preserved that history through their surprisingly detailed and insightful letters.

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Carleton Young has undergraduate degrees in economics and English from Westminster College and Point Park University, an MA in history from Ohio University, and his PhD in the history of education from the University of Pittsburgh. For 37 years he taught AP American history at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He has also taught classes as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Gateway Community College, and in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Voices From the Attic is a substantial contribution to the genre of first-person Civil War accounts becoming so popular today … (and) would make a worthwhile addition to any Civil War student’s bookshelf.”  Civil War News

 “More than another good narrative, the book is an adventure of historical research and discovery.”   Vermont History Journal

“Offers a deeply interesting look into two detailed experiences of the war which explore the battles as well as life in between … Unlike other soldiers who may have skipped over tough details when writing home to families, the brothers did not shy away from describing the horror of battles, their hardships in camp, and what they saw as they marched through the South … More than merely satisfying an interest in the war, the author demonstrates our surprising connections to each other both past and present.”  Western Pennsylvania History Journal

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Apr
21
7:00 AM07:00

Gettysburg NMP - Annual Brush Cutting Event

Annual Gettysburg Conservation Day Saturday, April 21st, 2018

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Annual Gettysburg Conservation Day Saturday, April 21st, 2018
(For trip details see post under Brigade News)

     As you probably know our Round Table was one of the first organizations to volunteer for “Brush Cutting” at Gettysburg NMP. We’ve been doing this for well over 20 years. For most of that time we have been a “Fire Brigade” going wherever the need was the greatest. This year will be no exception.

     On November 4th Chuck Cannon, Jeff Gates and I met with NPS Site Co-Ordinator Alyce Evans at the Henry Spangler Farm located on the right side Emmititsburg Road as you head south from town. (the entrance is a dirt road which will be marked) The property is about 300 yards west of the road and consists of a house, smoke house and barn. Kemper’s Brigade of Pickett’s Division organized near here for the assault on July 3, 1863. As in previous years we have something for all ages and abilities. There will be brush cutting around fence lines, some fences will need rebuilding and for the artistic there is a picket fence that needs painting. We’ll also need drivers if none of the above fits your job description capabilities.

     We’ll work from about 9AM until 12:30 or so. Bring your lunch and eat on the job or wait until everything is done and go into town. As a reward for your service one of the NPS staff will give a history of the property and fighting there when we complete our tasks.

     There will be sign-up sheets starting at the December meeting. We have a wonderful tradition of service at Gettysburg NMP. Be part of our continuing work to maintain and preserve this national treasure.

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Apr
14
12:00 PM12:00

“The Historic Funeral of Abraham Lincoln” Saturday, April 14, NOON and 1:15 p.m.

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“The Historic Funeral of Abraham Lincoln” 
 

Slide/Lecture held at J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home - Saturday, April 14, 12:00 NOON and 1:15 p.m.


This slideshow & lecture takes you on an amazing journey in time as you travel with the Lincoln Funeral Train.  This program will be held at the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, 1601 Hamilton Street in Allentown.  It will be presented twice—once at 12:00 NOON and a second time at 1:15 p.m. 

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Apr
14
11:00 AM11:00

Living History with the Blue and Gray Hospital Association April 14-15

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Living History with the Blue and Gray Hospital Association

Join us this weekend on April 14-15, 2018 for a special living history event at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine featuring the Blue and Gray Hospital Association.

Members of the Blue and Gray will be in the Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room describing the medical history of America’s bloodiest conflict. Dressed as members of the Union Army’s medical department and armed with period medical equipment, the unit brings a unique perspective to understanding the conflict which helps bring Civil War medical care to life. The living history presentations are included with museum admission and FREE for Museum members.

The Blue and Gray Hospital Association are a Civil War living history organization that includes members from PA, MD, VA, & WV. Founded January 1, 2012, the Blue and Gray participate in a variety of different educational activities which include living histories, historical workshops, field trips, lectures and presentations. The association includes a medical staff, a chaplain, privates, nurses, laundress, seamstresses, and cooks.

Visit civilwarmed.org or contact Jake Wynn at jake.wynn@civilwarmed.org for more information.

Saturday - Sunday April 14 - 15 | 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Delaplaine Randall Conference Room

48 E Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701

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Apr
3
6:30 PM18:30

Grant's Canal: The Union Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg Presented by Dave Bastian

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Our speaker tonight is Dave Bastian, the author of Grant's Canal; the Union's Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg (now out of print). He has given his presentations to over 90 CWRTs. Tonight’s presentation, based upon his book, is about the two Union campaigns against Vicksburg. It focuses on the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging a canal across the narrow bend opposite the town. Had the Union succeeded, they would have had immediate and complete control of the river (definitely in the summer of 1862 and possibly in the winter of 1863). The presentation explores Vicksburg's geographical importance and the topographical characteristics that made it so defensible.

Most books are a new twist on a battle, campaign or leader. His book and presentation are about a totally new topic; one that historians have really not understood to date. As a civil engineer who lived in Vicksburg, he understands the river and how close the Union came in succeeding. Had they succeeded, Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target.

This was an engineering project - diverting the Mighty Mississippi! - an engineering solution to a military problem.

Dave has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters in river engineering from Delft University in the Netherlands.  Of interest, he was a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal that produced the feasibility study for the Canal’s current enlargement. More recently he worked on the post-Katrina levee rebuild in New Orleans and co-authored a book that came out in 2014, New Orleans, Hurricanes from the Start.

His book, Grant's Canal, the Union's Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg is out of print but available on Amazon & Ebay.

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Mar
6
6:30 PM18:30

Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered by Michael Gray

THE MARCH 6th DINNER MEETING WILL BE HELD TONIGHT!
IT APPEARS THE WEATHER WILL HOLD OFF UNTIL AFTER THE EVENT - COME JOIN US!
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Crossing the Deadlines:
Civil War Prisons Reconsidered by Michael Gray

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The presentation will focus on my new book, Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered, which fills a void in the scholarship of Civil War prison historiography into the new century. I attempted to assemble some of the most promising and established scholars in the field shed light on recent trends and original research. Due to its eclectic mix of contributors—from academic and public historians to anthropologists currently excavating at specific stockade sites—the collection appeals to a variety of scholarly and popular audiences.  Readers will discover how the Civil War incarceration narrative has advanced to include environmental, cultural, social, religious, retaliatory, racial, archaeological, and memory approaches. My own contribution will also be a main focus, how Civil War prisons became a dark tourist destination during the Civil War.

As the historiography of Civil War captivity continues to evolve, readers of Crossing the Deadlines will discover elaboration on themes that emerged in William Hesseltine’s classic collection, Civil War Prisons, as well as interconnections with more recent interdisciplinary scholarship. Rather than being dominated by policy analysis, this collection examines the latest trends, methodologies, and multidisciplinary approaches in Civil War carceral studies.   Unlike its predecessor, which took a micro approach on individual prisons and personal accounts, Crossing the Deadlines is a compilation of important themes that are interwoven on broader scale by investigating many prisons North and South.

Although race played a major role in the war, its study has not been widely integrated into the prison narrative; a portion of this collection is dedicated to the role of African Americans as both prisoners and guards and to the slave culture and perceptions of race that perpetuated in prisons.  Trends in environmental, societal and cultural implications related to prisons are investigated as well as the latest finds at prison excavation sites, including the challenges and triumphs in awakening Civil War prisons’ memory at historical sites.
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Michael P. Gray is Professor of History at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he teaches courses on U.S. History to 1877, the Civil War, Interpreting Civil War Sites & Memory, U.S. Military History, and War and Society-he is currently developing a "special topics" course on Civil War prisons and the home front.  His first book, The Business of Captivity: Elmira and its Civil War Prison (Kent State University Press, 2001), was a finalist for the Seaborg Award, and a chapter of that work, first published in Civil War History, earned "Honorable Mention" for the Eastern National Award. In 2011, he wrote the new introduction to Ovid L. Futch's classic History of Andersonville Prison, and in 2013, "Captivating Captives: An Excursion to Johnson's Island Prison" in Union Heartland: The Midwestern Home Front During the Civil War.  Gray's latest work is an edited volume entitled Crossing the Deadlines: Civil War Prisons Reconsidered, available in October 2018. He has won internal and external grants relating to the prisons, including "Civil War Prison Archeology: Team Teaching Public History on Johnson's Island" (2011) as well as the "National Prisoner of War Grant," Andersonville, Georgia (2014).  Gray also serves as the series editor to Voices of the Civil War with the University of Tennessee Press, which has produced more than 50 primary source volumes related to the conflict. In 2013 he was presented with the "ESU Student Senate Award for Outstanding University Faculty Member," and in 2014, he was the recipient of the ESyoU Employee of the Year Award for "exceptional service to the university and success of students." In 2015 Gray's expertise on Civil War prisons resulted in him being interviewed by CNN.  In the past year, Gray was also featured on the Learning Channel's "Who Do You Think You Are" with Jessica Biel, which dealt with finding the history of a lost ancestor incarcerated at a Civil War Prison..

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Feb
25
3:00 PM15:00

Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County - a Presentation

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Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County - a Presentation
     The Citizens for the Restoration of Historical LaMott (Cheltenham Twp outside Philadelphia) invite you to attend a presentation by Dr Cheryl Gooch on "Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County." See photo below or click here for a pdf copy. 
     To be held Sunday February 25th at 3pm at 7420 Sycamore Ave in LaMott PA

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Feb
24
1:00 PM13:00

"The Wounded Soon Began To Pour In...: The George Spangler Farm and the Union 11th Corps Hospital at Gettysburg," with Wayne E. Motts

Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
At the National Civil War Museum
1 Lincoln Circle, at Reservoir Park, Harrisburg, PA 17103

The George Spangler Farm Field Hospital with Wayne E. Motts

"The Wounded Soon Began To Pour In...: The George Spangler Farm and the Union 11th Corps Hospital at Gettysburg," with Wayne E. Motts on Saturday, February 24, 2018, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm.

Wayne Motts will take you back 155 years to the scene of Gettysburg's best preserved and documented field hospital. His presentation will include unpublished, rare, and seldom scene material associated with the farm and its history.

This is the second of twelve presentations in the 2018 Lessons in History Speaker Series, held in the education gallery, first floor of The National Civil War Museum.
 
This program is free to the public. Regular museum admission applies for entrance to the museum galleries.

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Feb
17
10:00 AM10:00

The National Civil War Museum- February 17: Community Free Day

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The National Civil War Museum
1 Lincoln Circle in Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, PA 17103

Saturday, February 17, 2018
10:00 am- 4:00 pm

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PLUS on Sunday, February 18, 2018   1:00 pm - 2:00 pm as an added feature to the weekend...

"Remembering Mr.Lincoln"  with Myra Reichart  

Please join Myra Reichart as she presents: Remembering Mr. Lincoln - More than four months had passed since the armies had marched away from Gettysburg. The very fabric of the little community had been rent asunder-the lives of its citizens changed forever. November 1863 would bring a time for remembering and reflecting, for rededication and yes, even for celebrating. The President was coming to town! Join the citizens of Gettysburg as, amid their struggle to rebuild their shattered community and survive the coming winter, they pause to welcome the President and dedicate a cemetery to their fallen heroes.

This special program is included in the cost of regular Museum admission and is Free to Museum members.

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Feb
6
6:30 PM18:30

“Embattled Freedom: Chronicle of a Fugitive-Slave Haven in the Wary North” Presented by Jim Remsen

     Embattled Freedom takes readers into the 1800s, to a dramatic period of interracial history in northeastern Pennsylvania. The focus is the village of Waverly, Pa. Being a native of Waverly, Jim is especially honored to bring its remarkable black and abolitionist era to light.  In learning about Waverly’s runaway slaves and their white allies, Jim came to see how much animosity they faced on the home front, particularly as the Civil War bore down on them.
     His Embattled Freedom chronicles a tumultuous world in which ideals collided, politics was thunderous, and national destiny was at stake. You’re invited to enter that world and, as Jim states at the outset of the book, “consider its people, and ponder where you might have positioned yourself had it been your world.”
      Jim is a journalist and author of three published books: The Intermarriage Handbook (HarperCollins, 1988), Visions of Teaoga (Sunbury Press, 2014) and, now, Embattled Freedom (Sunbury Press, 2017). Since retiring as Religion Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, he has pursued his keen interest in history, with a focus on under-appreciated aspects of our nation’s local histories.
     Embattled Freedom is the result of Jim’s three years of research into local, county and state records, military documents, period newspapers, county and church histories, memoirs, and more. In learning about Waverly’s runaway slaves and their white allies, Jim came to see how much animosity they faced on the home front, particularly as the Civil War bore down on them. His book chronicles a tumultuous world in which ideals collided, politics was thunderous, and national destiny was at stake.
     Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus, Director of the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton, praised Embattled Freedom as “a fascinating history that needs to be shared.” Sherman Wooden, head of the Center for Anti-Slavery Studies in Montrose, called it “a research gem.”

 

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Jan
2
6:30 PM18:30

“The American Civil War on the Homefront” Presented by Mike Jesberger

“The American Civil War on the Homefront”

Presented by Mike Jesberger  - Historical Lecturer, Tour Guide and Reenactor

Join re-enactor and historian Mike Jesberger for a discussion of what it was like for civilians during the American Civil War on the home front and the places in our region that made significant contributions to the war effort. The home front and the battlefront were intimately connected during the Civil War.

North and South families sent loved ones off to fight. While sons, fathers, husbands and brothers were gone, family members waited anxiously for word of their whereabouts and safety. However, during the war, women for the first time in American history turned their attention to the outside world and made significant contributions to the war effort.

Mr. Jesberger is an independent military historian who specializes in the American Revolution and Civil War time periods. He is renowned for his depth and breadth of knowledge , as well as his engaging and passionate presentation style, whether providing formal lectures, living history presentations or tours of historic sites in the Tri-state area.

A member of numerous history based organizations and active in the reenactment community, he participates in numerous battle reenactments, living history programs and ceremonies to honor our first and current veterans.  A lifelong resident of the Philadelphia region, Mr. Jesberger is a native of Northeast Philadelphia and has relocated to Bucks and Montgomery County, PA and currently resides in Lansdale, PA with his wife, Amy, Son, Erik and two daughters, Erin and Emma.

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Dec
5
6:30 PM18:30

Early Photography of the Gettysburg Battlefield Presented by Tim Smith

Timothy H. Smith is a native of Baltimore and a lifelong student of the American Civil War. He is employed as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park and as a research historian at the Adams County Historical Society. He is an instructor for the Gettysburg Elderhostel and teaches classes on the battle and local history at the Gettysburg Campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College. Tim has written numerous articles and authored or co-authored ten books on Gettysburg related topics, including John Burns: The Hero of Gettysburg (2000) . He has lectured extensively at Civil War Round Tables and Seminars and has appeared on several television documentaries, including the Unknown Civil War and the popular PCN Gettysburg Battle Walk series.  

About Tim Smith’s Topic, Photography at Gettysburg
In the aftermath of the great battle, sightseers, reporters and photographers descended on the town of Gettysburg.  In 1863 alone, seven different photography firms or individual recorded scenes at Gettysburg.  In 1867 two local firms recorded a vast number of stereo views, increasing the total number of views recorded in Gettysburg during the 1860s to over 300.  During the decades that followed, thousands more photographs were recorded by local and national firms.  Join Timothy H. Smith as we examine some of these views and discus the photographic coverage of the battlefield.
 

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