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Hunter Lesser, the premier expert on the 1861 Western Virginia Campaign, will present “Robert E. Lee’s Feuding Generals: Wise v. Floyd” at the April meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable.  The program will be Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Dunbar Public Library.  It is free and open to the public.

In the initial months of the Civil War in 1861, two former Virginia governors were named generals in the Confederate army and led Confederate troops in western Virginia–Gen. Henry Wise and Gen. John B. Floyd.  Despite pressures from Robert E. Lee in Richmond and the approach of Union troops, their old political rivalry would lead to Confederate losses in western Virginia.

“This is a riotous tale of two former Virginia governors and old political rivals who upend Confederate efforts to reclaim the western counties for the Confederacy,” said Lesser.  “General Wise and General Floyd squabble like school boys–even after they learned that Union troops are on the march to destroy them.  Robert E. Lee was no match for their antics.  It led to the loss of western Virginia and created a scandal that stretched all the way to Richmond.”

Hunter Lesser is the author of Rebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Lines of a Nation Divided, a comprehensive history of the 1861 Western Virginia Campaign, and The Battle at Corricks Ford.  He is also the author of the guidebook The First Campaign: A Guide to the Civil War in the Mountains of West Virginia, 1861 which features three driving tours.  He is the co-author of the soon to be released Cambridge History of the American Civil War, which is being published by Cambridge University Press.  For more than 20 years, he has worked with the Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation and other historic preservation organizations to preserve battlefields and other historic sites from the 1861 campaign.

For more information, call 304-389-8587.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018:


Noon-12:50 ……. Registration – I.O.O.F. Hall
12:50-1:00 ……. Welcome and Overview of RMBF – Rick Wolfe
1:00-1:50 ………. Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital – Kevin Pawlak
1:50-2:40 ………. The McNeill Rangers in the Gettysburg Campaign – Steve French
3:00-3:50 ………. The Battle of Lewisburg – Richard Armstrong
3:50-4:40 ………. The Crooked Road to Freedom: Strange Tales of Slavery and Emancipation – Hunter Lesser

For more information, email: – phone: 304-637-7424


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Medal of Honor Recipient, Lt. Col. Charles E. Capehart, 1st West Virginia Cavalry

Antietam Camp #3, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) will hold its Ninth Annual Medal of Honor Ceremony on the National Medal of Honor Day, on Saturday, March 25th, 2017 at 10:00 AM at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park.

This year’s honoree will be LTC Charles E. Capehart, of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry, who earned his Medal of Honor during the Battle of Monterey Pass on July 4th, 1863 following the Battle of Gettysburg.

The guest speaker will be Mr. John A. Miller, Washington Township Historian, and Operations Director of Monterey Pass Battlefield Park, who will give an overview of LTC Capehart and of the action that day leading to his Medal of Honor. The program will conclude with a wreath-laying ceremony honoring LTC Capehart, featuring a Civil War Color Guard and Bugler, who will play “Taps.”

Following the ceremony, an informal lunch will be held at “The Keystone Family Restaurant,” 10530 Buchannan Trail East, Waynesboro, PA 17268.

The ceremony is open to the general public.

For more information, please contact Stuart D. Younkin, Camp Commander, at (540) 931-4679; or George Tommy Chapman, Senior Vice-Commander at 540-454-5560.

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Symposium to be held at Beverly

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Greg Carroll

Greg Carroll

The boom-and-bust cycle that to this day marks West Virginia’s economy was set in motion not too many years after the Mountain State’s emergence as a state in 1863, said historian Greg Carroll.

Carroll will present a portrait of the tangled and influential political and social history of the state’s early years in the free lecture “Reconstruction in West Virginia, 1865-1875: A Failure that Led to Future Mistakes,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 15, 2016, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in the state Capitol Complex.

Read the full article from the Charleston Gazette….

Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5 p.m. for the lecture and enter the building at the back loading dock area. There also is limited handicapped parking available in the new bus turnaround. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building. For more information on the Archives and History lecture series, call 304-558-0230.


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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.


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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.

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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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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…



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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….


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