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.

JamesBroomall2Shepherd University has named Dr. James L. Broomall as director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.

Click here to read the entire press release as well as listen to an interview with Dr. Broomall…

More information on the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War…



Battle of Scary Creek Monument Rededication, July 18, 2015

On July 18, 2015, the United Daughters of the Confederacy held a rededication ceremony for the Battle of Scary Creek monument, located along the Kanawha River near St. Albans, West Virginia.  The monument was relocated to a more accessible location on the opposite side of Scary Creek.  Author/historian Terry Lowry, author of The Battle of Scary Creek, was the featured speaker.

A new wayside marker with detailed information on the Battle of Scary Creek has also been installed by the Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail.

Click here for more information on the new Scary Creek wayside marker…



On This Day in West Virginia Civil War HistoryArcadia Publishing has released a new title, On This Day in West Virginia Civil War History.

West Virginia is the only state formed by seceding from a Confederate state. And its connections to the Civil War run deep. One day at a time, award-winning historian Michael Graham presents intriguing, event-driven anecdotes and history related to the state. On July 11, 1861, a Union force attacked 1,300 Confederate troops camped at Rich Mountain in a renowned battle. Confederate guerrillas raided Hacker’s Creek on June 12, 1864. Find little-known facts about the Battles of Droop Mountain, Carnifex Ferry, Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown and a whole host of others. Read a story one day or month at a time. Celebrate an entire year of Civil War history in the Mountain State.

ShepherdstownFor Immediate Release – July 27, 2015
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

In early July, The Department of Interior released the final study documents of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Special Resource Study (SRS) of the Shepherdstown Battlefield. The Battle of Shepherdstown occurred on September 19 and 20, 1862 involving approximately 8,000 to 10,000 troops and resulted in 677 casualties.

The SRS concluded that the 510 acre site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown would be preferably included within the Antietam National Battlefield Park. The SRS studied various options and possible boundary adjustments including an assessment of including the Shepherdstown site within the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. “As such, each of these boundary adjustment options is included in the study alternatives, with Antietam National Battlefield being the preferable option due to its historical and geographical connections to the Battle of Shepherdstown.”

The 1862 Maryland Campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia included battles of South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, Antietam and a battle ending near Shepherdstown in what is now West Virginia. The SRS concluded that: “The inclusion of the Shepherdstown battlefield into Antietam National Battlefield would provide visitors the opportunity to have an expanded understanding of the events directly following the Battle of Antietam and the culmination of the Maryland Campaign. The SRS further concludes it “would propose to adjust the existing boundary of Antietam National Battlefield to include areas of the Shepherdstown battlefield that contribute to an understanding of the significance of the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign.”

In early 2012, the NPS held two scoping meetings seeking public comments regarding the proposed SRS. “In total, approximately 136 people attended the scoping meetings. … Public response received by the National Park Service was predominately supportive of the study and enthusiastic concerning the interpretation and protection of the Shepherdstown battlefield.” The preliminary SRS was released in August 2014 and a public review period was conducted for two months. During this period, 334 individuals corresponded with the NPS. Two public meetings were held in September attended by approximately 93 individuals. “ Commenters expressed overwhelming support for” … the management option that the…“Antietam National Boundary Adjustment as the most effective and efficient way to preserve the    Shepherdstown battlefield.”

“If Congress were to authorize a legislative boundary that would encompass the Shepherdstown battlefield as part of … Antietam National Battlefield, there would be no change to existing landownership…” “Any change to land ownership or use would be in the future as the National Park Service is able to acquire battlefield land from willing sellers and donors.”

The effort to involve the Federal government in helping to save and preserve the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown has been the result of the work of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association     Inc (SBPA) and its individual members. SBPA is a non-profit corporation, organized in 2004 dedicated to saving and preserving the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown. Approximately 105 acres have been saved through conservation easements and land purchases. Aproximately $1.1 million has been raised to save battlefield land through grants and membership contributions during the last ten years. If you would like to help save more of the battlefield and learn more about SBPA, please go to: www.battleofshepherdstown.org.



On Thursday, August 20, 2015, Dr. Michael Woods will discuss the “Emancipation and Statehood in West Virginia” in the Archives and History Library of the Culture Center in Charleston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In the fall and winter of 1862-63, President Abraham Lincoln transformed the Civil War into a revolution by issuing the preliminary and final versions of his Emancipation Proclamation. Professor Michael Woods of Marshall University discusses the origins, development, and effects of the two-part proclamation, paying special attention to West Virginia—then in the process of statehood—in the broader story. Shrouded in myths and half-truths, the Emancipation Proclamation’s true significance and limitations become clearer by considering the relationship of the Mountain State to the politics of slavery and war.

Michael Woods is assistant professor of history at Marshall University. He completed his BA at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and his MA and PhD at the University of South Carolina. His book, Emotional and Sectional Conflict in the Antebellum United States, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. He has also published articles in the Journal of Social History and the Journal of American History. Woods teaches courses on U.S. history, the Civil War era, and the U.S. South.

For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

West Virginia Archives and History Library web site….


ClioClio not only directs users to historical sites using global positioning system on smartphones, it also provides a brief explanation and includes photos, links and other artifacts to expand knowledge of each site.

Read the entire article in the Charleston Gazette….

Visit the web site for more information….

General George Crook

General George Crook

General B.F. Kelley

General B.F. Kelley

Last Days of the War Civil War Symposium – Saturday June 6, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
The Davis Center, Potomac State College, Keyser, West Virginia.

As the days of the Southern Confederacy grew numbered, Rebel fighters scattered through the Potomac Highlands kept up their struggle against Union forces guarding the B&O Railroad. The symposium will focus on these often-overlooked military actions.


Welcome – Joe Gratto
Invocation – Pastor Sally Battling
National Anthem – Ellen McDaniel-Weissler
Living Historian – Gary Carter
Introduction of Speaker – Joe Gratto

Talk: Rick Wolfe – “The Kidnapping of Generals(Crook & Kelley)


Civil War Songs – Ellen McDaniel-Weissler
Introduction of Speaker – Joe Gratto

Captain Jesse McNeill

Captain Jesse McNeill

Talk: Steve French – “Last Gasps of the Highland Rebels

And more… including period music and local artifacts displays. Free & open to the public.

For more information, contact Steve French: sfrench52@yahoo.com.



Each lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. at #1 Valley Park Drive, Hurricane WV 25526. The speaker will talk for approximately an hour followed by Q&A and light refreshments. Authors may be selling and signing books, and additional local titles will be available as well. The event will conclude at 9:00 p.m each night.

Monday March 23, 2015: Terry Lowry – “Blueprint for War: The Battle of Scary Creek”

Mr. Lowry is the author of The Battle of Scary Creek and three additional books on the Civil War in West Virginia. A professional musician, he served as the music editor for The Charleston Gazette and as the historian/curator for the Craik-Patton House. Since 2001, Mr. Lowry has been a historian at the West Virginia Archives.

Tuesday March 24, 2015: Wayne Motts – “Fighting the Civil War: Historical Treasures of the Conflict in the Collection of the National Civil War Museum”

Mr. Motts has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park for 27 years. He has worked in historical societies as a curator, artifact collections manager, and executive director. Since 2012, Mr. Motts has been the CEO of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. He will be speaking on artifacts from that collection including Jackson’s gauntlet and Lee’s Bible.

Wednesday March 25, 2015: Steve Cunningham – “Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia Cavalry in the U.S. Civil War”

Mr. Cunningham has been researching the 7th West Virginia Cavalry, including four of his ancestors, for more than 20 years. He also maintains a website on the unit and hosts events for their descendants. The owner of 35th Star Publishing, Mr. Cunningham is a past president of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable and co-author of Their Deeds Are Their Monuments: West Virginia at Gettysburg.

Thursday March 26, 2015: Greg Carroll – “Freedom or Slavery and the Kanawha Valley during the Civil War”

Mr. Greg Carroll worked as a historian with West Virginia Archives 23 years where he handled research inquiries the Civil War, Native American, and African American research as well as overseeing the West Virginia Union Civil War Medal Program. He serves on the boards of West Virginia Citizen Action Group, the West Virginia Environmental Council, and the West Virginia International Film Festival.

For more information, visit Putnam County Civil War Days…

A Thomas Nast illustration celebrates the 13th Amendment in 1865, 150 years ago. [click to zoom]

by John E. Stealey III, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, of History at Shepherd University

When the West Virginia Bill was introduced into the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, statehood supporters soon discovered that passage was improbable without adequate provisions affecting slavery.

Read the full article from the Charleston Gazette…

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