On May 2, 1863, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson led his Second Corps around the unsuspecting Army of the Potomac on one of the most daring flank marches in history. His surprise flank attack-launched with the five simple words “You can go forward, then” – collapsed a Union corps in one of the most stunning accomplishments of the war. Flushed with victory, Jackson decided to continue attacking into the night. He and members of his staff rode beyond the lines to scout the ground while his units reorganized. However, Southern soldiers mistook the riders for Union cavalry and opened fire, mortally wounding Jackson at the apogee of his military career. One of the rounds broke Jackson’s left arm, which required amputation. A week later Old Jack was dead.
Calamity at Chancellorsville: The Wounding and Death of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson is the first full-length examination of Jackson’s final days. Contrary to popular belief, eyewitnesses often disagreed regarding key facts relating to the events surrounding Jackson’s reconnaissance, wounding, harrowing journey out of harm’s way, medical care, and death. These accounts, for example, conflict regarding where Jackson was fatally wounded and even the road he was on when struck. If he wasn’t wounded where history has recorded, then who delivered the fatal volley? How many times did he fall from the stretcher? What medical treatment did he receive? What type of amputation did Dr. Hunter McGuire perform? Did Jackson really utter his famous last words, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees?” What was the cause of his death?
Author Mathew W. Lively utilizes extensive primary source material and a firm understanding of the area to re-examine the gripping story of the final days of one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals, and how Southerners came to view Jackson’s death during and after the conflict. Dr. Lively begins his compelling narrative with a visit from Jackson’s family prior to the battle of Chancellorsville, then follows his course through the conflict to its fatal outcome.
Instead of revising history, Dr. Lively offers up a fresh new perspective. Calamity at Chancellorsville will stand as the definitive account of one of the most important and surprisingly misunderstood events of the American Civil War.
About the Author: Mathew W. Lively is a West Virginia native and practicing physician. He currently serves as a Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. The recipient of two master’s degrees in addition to his medical degree, he has been an active teacher of medical students and resident physicians for the past fifteen years. He is the author of numerous scientific articles in the medical literature, several of which focus on medical history topics. A life-long student of Civil War history, he has combined his interests and medical knowledge in a book on the death of Stonewall Jackson.
Jon Averill has recently released a new documentary film, Averell’s Raiders and the 35th Star. The film features several prominent historians, including Eric J. Wittenberg, Scott C. Patchan, Dr. David Bard, and Howard R. McManus. It will be available on DVD in July 2013. Watch the trailer below, and visit www.averellsraiders.com for more information.
Eric Wittenberg, one of the nation’s leading experts on Civil War cavalry, is the guest speaker for the May meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable. Wittenberg is the author of The Battle of White Sulphur Springs: Averell Fails to Secure West Virginia. The book is the focus of Wittenberg’s lecture at the May meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable. The meeting will be Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the South Charleston Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public.
The Battle of White Sulphur Springs is one of the first in 1863 to involve Gen. William Woods Averell’s 4th Separate Brigade. Averell, a West Point graduate who had risen to command a division in the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps, assumed command of the brigade in May 1863. It was comprised of infantry, mounted infantry, cavalry and artillery batteries. The mounted infantry regiments were the 2nd, 3rd and 8th West Virginia, regiments which began the war as infantry, became mounted infantry in 1863 and finished the war as the 5th, 6th and 7th West Virginia Cavalry regiments respectively.
“There is a misperception that Averell was afraid to fight. That he was too cautious. The truth is that he was a bold gambler who did what he needed to do. This was a brutal slugging match, and Averell and his troops were up to the task,” Wittenberg said.
Eric Wittenberg is an attorney in Columbus, Ohio. His other books include The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station; The Battle of Brandy Station; Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions; Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkeroff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field; One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia;Lil Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Generalship of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan; and Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign. His new books include one on Gen. John Buford’s division in the Gettysburg Campaign and Buckeyes Forward, a book on Ohio troops in the Antietam Campaign.
Copies of The Battle of White Sulphur Springs will be available for purchase at the meeting. For more information, phone (304)389-8587.
Quarrier Press has released a reprint of Stan Cohen’s classic book, A Pictorial Guide to West Virginia’s Civil War Sites.
Over 400 photographs, maps, and drawings. Includes 230 sites connected to the Civil War such as battlefields, cemeteries, buildings, and houses. The book divides the sites by county, giving the significance of and directions to each site. This guidebook provides an opportunity for a hands on approach to learning about the Civil War.
The book can be ordered online at The West Virginia Book Company.
West Virginia celebrates its Sesquicentennial on June 20, 2013.
Greg Carroll presented the talk “Slavery in Virginia: 1619-1860” on Thursday, April 11, 2013, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.
Carroll addressed the development and spread of slavery from Virginia’s early years to the Civil War. He discussed how the slavery system in Virginia differed from the types of slavery practiced in South Carolina, the Caribbean, South America, and even the serfdom techniques used in Russia. Carroll explained the main aspects of slavery in economic and social terms. He also explained the contradictions that the system fostered, especially in Virginia, and how the reliance on a slave economy in the southern states split the U.S. in 1860 and brought about the Civil War.
Carroll is a graduate of Marshall University. He was a staff historian for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s Archives and History Section for 23 years until his retirement in October 2012. His primary focus was on Native Americans, African Americans and Civil War history.
Author/historian Terry Lowry will be speaking on his upcoming book, The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, on Tuesday, March 19, at 7pm at the Dunbar Public Library. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Mr. Lowry is one of West Virginia’s leading historians, a member of the staff at the West Virginia State Archives, and is the author of several books and articles on West Virginia and the Civil War.
A House Divided: The Civil War in West Virginia
The Mason-Dixon Civil War Round Table’s annual Civil War Symposium will be held at the Erickson Alumni Center located on the West Virginia University Evansdale Campus, on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The Symposium registration cost is $25.00. Registration includes lunch and breakfast pastries. Registration starts at 8:30 AM and the presentations begin at 9:00 AM.
The day-long symposium will include several presentations:
- West Virginia Statehood, by Joe Geiger
- The Jones and Imboden Raid, by Steve French
- The Battle of White Sulphur Springs, by Eric J. Wittenberg
- Lincoln’s Statemanship, by Dr. Joseph Fornieri
More information: West Virginia Mason-Dixon Civil War Roundtable
It is with sadness that we honor the memory of William D. Wintz, who passed away on February 13th. Bill was a World War II veteran and well known as a local historian in the Kanawha Valley. His many articles and books included Civil War history titles such as Civil War Memoirs of Two Rebel Sisters and Bullets and Steel.
For the past nine years, the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc (SBPA) has worked to save and preserve the site of the September 19-20, 1862, Battle of Shepherdstown. Its goal has been to save 300 acres in the core of the battlefield and so far SBPA has helped preserve 102 acres. In late 2011, SBPA aided the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission in purchasing 18 acres of core battlefield land on the Potomac River. In addition, with the aid of the late Senator Robert Byrd, SBPA began the process whereby the Shepherdstown site could become a part of an existing National Park.
The members of SBPA have expended about $165,000 in legal costs challenging a real estate developer who is attempting to build 152 houses on 123 acres in the core of the battlefield. A recent Circuit Court decision ruled in favor of a SBPA petition that the Jefferson County’s Planning Commission violated the WV Open Government Proceedings Act by granting the developer a 3 year extension to build the proposed development. In saving the 102 acres, SBPA has raised more that $800,000 through grants and funds provided by the West Virginia state government, the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, the Civil War Trust, the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Program, and the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle. In December 2012, another battlefield property has been placed on the market and SBPA has pledged to donate $10,000 to aid the Civil War Trust in its purchase.