mike smith retirement july31 2016

[L-R]: Terry Lowry, Hunter Lesser, Billy Joe Peyton, Mike Smith, Steve Cunningham, Rick Wolfe

After 34 years of faithful service to the state of West Virginia, Droop Mountain Battlefield Superintendent Mike Smith has retired.  Smith was also responsible for nearby Beartown State Park.

To honor his many contributions to preserving and interpreting the Droop Mountain Battlefield, West Virginia historians honored Mike with a surprise lunch party on his last day at the park.

More info on Droop Mountain Battlefield….

Read a article on Mike Smith by Rick Steelhammer of the Charleston Gazette…

 

Six West Virginia State University students, working with two history professors and an archaeologist, have spent the past two weeks on a hilltop overlooking downtown Charleston.

They’re digging into the task of learning more about one of West Virginia’s best-preserved yet least-known Civil War forts — despite the fact that two men who would later be U.S. presidents served together there.

Built in May 1863 by men from three Union regiments under the command of Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, who would go on to become the nation’s 19th president, Fort Scammon was named in honor of Hayes’ predecessor as commanding officer of the 23d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Col. Eliakim Parker Scammon, who left the regiment in October 1862 after being promoted to brigadier general.

Read the entire article from the Charleston Gazette….

Historic Preservation Lecture: Investigating Fort Scammon, Charleston’s forgotten citadel by Dr. Billy Joe Peyton

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is continuing its lecture series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Dr. Billy Joe Peyton will present the talk, “Investigating Fort Scammon: Charleston’s forgotten citadel” at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 23, 2016, at the Culture Center, located on the state capitol grounds, in the Museum Education Media Room. The lecture series is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact John Adamik, education and planning coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office, at 304-558-0240.

 

Steven C. French

Steven C. French

The Hagerstown Civil War Round Table presented Steven C. French with its 2016 Henry Kyd Douglas Award. French, a former middle-school teacher, is the author of “Imboden’s Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign” (2008), which was recognized with three prestigious awards; “Rebel Chronicles: Raiders, Scouts, and Train Robbers of the Upper Potomac” (2012); and a monograph, “The Jones-Imboden Raid against the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg, Virginia” (2001).

Read the full article here…

Dr. Jonathan W. White

Dr. Jonathan W. White

The next offering of the Amicus Curiae Lecture Series at Marshall University is “Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties during the Civil War” by historian Jonathan W. White of Christopher Newport University.  The program begins at 7:00pm on February 25, 2016, in Foundation Hall of the Erickson Alumni Center.

Dr. White will lecture on Lincoln’s record of suspending habeas corpus and imprisoning disloyal citizens during the Civil War.  Dr. White will discuss several key cases from the Civil War, shedding light on a number of perennially controversial legal and constitutional issues in American history, including the nature and extent of presidential war powers, the development of national policies for dealing with disloyalty and treason, and the protection of civil liberties in wartime.  All these issues resonate in the national security climate of today.

Jonathan White is an historian of the American Civil War with a particular interest in Abraham Lincoln, American politics and the U.S. Constitution.  He is an assistant professor of American Studies and a Fellow in the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University.  He is also the author of several books and articles about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  His book, Emancipation, the Union Army and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (Louisiana State University Press, 2014), was selected by the Civil War Monitor as one of the best books of 2014.  He is the author of two additional books, including Lincoln on Law, Leadership and Life (Cumberland House, March, 2015) and Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman (Louisiana State University Press, 2011).He is a frequent contributor to blogs including the New York Times Civil War “Disunion” and the Civil War Monitor.He earned his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

wvulibrariesWest Virginia History: An Open Access Reader
West Virginia University Libraries

Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University) and Ken Fones-Wolf (West Virginia University) assembled this collection of essays, mostly from the journal they edit, West Virginia History, to serve as a reader for courses on the Mountain State’s history. In selecting essays, they emphasized pieces that addressed themes from differing perspectives. For example, the first two essays examine the eighteenth-century frontier and Indian-white relations, one from the perspective of Europeans seeking to destroy Native Americans and the other from the vantage of the Cherokee hoping for some security. Among the other topics highlighted in these essays are: the coming of the Civil War, the efforts of women and blacks to negotiate citizenship during Reconstruction, the struggles of immigrants and African Americans during industrialization, the impact of the Cold War, and episodes that might be grouped as part of the culture wars. As such, they offer multiple opportunities for students to compare and contrast the experiences of varying groups of West Virginians throughout the state’s history.

Some of the featured articles include:

Caught between Revolutions: Wheeling Germans in the Civil War Era by Ken Fones-Wolf

The Slaveholders’ War: The Secession Crisis in Kanawha County, Western Virginia, 1860-1861 by Scott A. MacKenzie

“This Bastard New Virginia”: Slavery, West Virginia Exceptionalism, and the Secession Crisis by William A. Link

Test Oaths, Belligerent Rights, and Confederate Money: Civil War Lawsuits Before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals by Kenneth R. Bailey

 

 

reader_frontcover_sep27_2015_14135th Star Publishing of Charleston, West Virginia, has released a modern reprint of the History of the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry.

Originally published in 1890 by the Civil War veterans of the regiment, this new modern version includes the entire original text, 58 images, and an index. The author, Frank S. Reader, a member of Company I, was a newspaper editor and proprietor. His wartime experience as a clerk to both generals Averell and Sigel, as well as his newspaper background, served him well when he was asked by his regimental comrades to write and publish the history of their unit.

The book’s online availability includes www.35thstar.com, West Virginia Book Company, and Amazon.com.

 

James Henry Bolyard served in the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War.  This Youtube video includes the audio of an interview with his son, Jim Bolyard, age 90, in the mid-1980s.  In it, he recounts some of the stories that his father related to him as a child.

 

ShepherdstownWe need your help. We have been advised that in order for Senator Manchin to sponsor legislation to expand the boundaries of the Antietam National Park to include the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown, his office needs to hear from many WV residents. If you reside in WV please send an email to Senator Manchin urging him to introduce the necessary legislation at: http://www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

Also, cc his representative in the eastern panhandle at: mary_jo_brown@manchin.senate.gov

In addition, if you are a resident of Jefferson County, it would help our cause by contacting the Jefferson County Commissioners urging them to support the legislation by contacting Senator Manchin’s office. Their email addresses are: commissionerpnoland@gmail.com , dmanuel@frontiernet.net , Vinemont@frontiernet.net , walterpellish@mac.com , ebell@jeffersoncountywv.org .

This is important; please make every effort to email our elected officials.

More info on the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association….

Dr. Thomas Clemens

Dr. Thomas G. Clemens

Charleston, W.Va. – Thomas G. Clemens, Ph.D., is one of America’s leading historians on the 1862 Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam and is the world’s foremost expert on Gen. Ezra A. Carman, the campaign’s first historian.  Clemens’ will present “The 1862 Maryland Campaign and Battle of Antietam: Gen. Ezra A. Carman and Its First History,” on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m.  The program will be held at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston.  It is free and open to the public.  A reception and book signing will follow the program.

Clemens’ lecture is the featured program for the 2015 Civil War Scholars Lecture Series, a program of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable.

“The Antietam Campaign is one of the most important of the entire Civil War.  It marked the first time that the Confederacy invaded the north—and it was done at a time when the South was in the best position to gain its independence.  The Union victory at Antietam not only ended that possibility, but it also provided President Lincoln with the opportunity he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.  The campaign is also important to West Virginia since its opening battle was fought at Harpers Ferry and its closing battle at Shepherdstown,” said Beth White, director of the Civil War Scholars Lecture Series.

“This is an incredible opportunity for area residents to learn about the Antietam Campaign and Gen. Ezra A. Carman, its first historian, from one of America’s leading historians on the subject.”

A veteran of the battle and civil servant after the war, General Carman was appointed historic advisor to the Antietam National Battlefield board in 1894.  Carman’s work resulted in the first narrative history of the campaign, maps and the initial interpretation of the battlefield for visitors.  Clemens has researched and studied Carman’s work for more than 20 years.

“For decades, scholars who have written about the Maryland Campaign and Battle of Antietam have cited Carman’s manuscript, but little was known about the sources that he used.  I wanted to make Carman’s work a more reliable, useful resource,” said Clemens.

One of the most important aspects of Clemens’ work was the discovery of hundreds of firsthand accounts that provided new information about the soldiers’ experiences.

“While Carman was a veteran of the battle himself, the truth is that in the 1890s, he was very much a government employee doing a government job.  He was looking for the facts—where were the soldiers positioned and whom were they fighting.  He didn’t look beyond that.  Yet, when I reviewed the original letters I found powerful, personal narratives that he ignored.  They provide a very human side to the battle that did not exist in the original narrative.  Those narratives make it come alive,” said Clemens.

Dr. Clemens has edited and annotated two volumes of the Ezra Carman papers that have been published—The Maryland Campaign of 1862: Volume 1, South Mountain and The Maryland Campaign of 1862: Volume 2, Antietam.  The third volume, covering the retreat and Battle of Shepherdstown, will be released later this year.  Volume One received the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Book Award.

Dr. Clemens is the author of numerous journal and history magazine articles on the campaign and has been a licensed battlefield guide at Antietam for more than 30 years.  He is a founding member of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation and has served as its president since 1989.  He is a professor emeritus from Hagerstown Community College and has taught as an adjunct professor for several colleges. He earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University.

The Civil War Scholars Lecture Series is provided with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Additional support is provided by the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Founded in 1983 by local historian Noble K. Wyatt, the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable promotes the study of Civil War history in West Virginia and its lasting effects on society and the preservation of our state’s Civil War sites and artifacts for future generations.  Membership is open to anyone interested in learning more about the Civil War, its place in American history and West Virginia’s unique role in the Civil War era.  There is no membership fee.

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