On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, Brian Stuart Kesterson presented “Incidents of Morgan’s Raid with an Account of Stovepipe Johnson’s Retreat through West Virginia” in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Kesterson focused on the ill-fated 1863 raid of General John Hunt Morgan and Colonel Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson’s retreat through West Virginia. Several years ago, he traveled over roads and lanes that Col. Johnson and his 300 retreating Confederate cavalrymen traveled. The remoteness of the retreat route largely factored in the preservation of a substantial part of the route, according to Kesterson. “Some of these roads were little better than wagon paths and they have changed very little since the time of the Civil War. About 90% of Johnson’s original retreat route still exists, which is amazing to think about since he and his men retreated over eight counties in West Virginia and two counties in Virginia.”
A native of Wood County, Brian Kesterson received a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and his teaching certification and master’s degree in education from Ohio Valley College. He currently is a history teacher at Parkersburg High School. He also is a member of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which has provided living history, boot camp programs for the school children of West Virginia and Ohio since 1990, and serves as chief musician/bugler for the general staff of the United States Volunteer Infantry.
Kesterson appeared in the in the movie The Patriot (2000) as a special abilities re-enactor for the Revolutionary War time period and has appeared in documentaries on Civil War and other historical topics. He is the author of The Last Survivor: The Memoirs of George William Watson, A Horse Soldier in the 12th Virginia Cavalry (1993); Campaigning with the 17th Virginia Cavalry Night Hawks at Monocacy (2005); Dear Sir . . . Dear Miss . . .: The Letters of Granville B. Mann, Company A, 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters & Miss Lucinda Maria Virginia (Chandler) Mann (2007); and Incidents of Morgan’s Raid with an Account of Stovepipe Johnson’s Retreat through West Virginia (2013).
On May 6, 2014, Dr. Kenneth Bailey presented “Civil War Ceredo, A Northern Experiment” at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Cultural Center in Charleston.
Ceredo was part of New Englander Eli Thayer’s project to end slavery by demonstrating that free labor was more efficient and profitable than slave labor. When the town was established in the late 1850s, it was Thayer’s second effort (after a settlement in Kansas), and he and others had high hopes that it would succeed in eliminating slavery without resort to war. Bailey’s talk focused on Ceredo as seen by Charles B. Webb. Webb was one of the early settlers, a newspaper publisher, and eventually a Civil War soldier who wrote of his experiences before, during, and after his residence in the community.
Kenneth Bailey is a graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology, Marshall University, and The Ohio State University from which he received his PhD. He is author of four books and numerous articles on various aspects of West Virginia history. After serving in a number of faculty and administrative positions, he retired as Dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Sciences at WVU Tech.
On March 4, 2014, Rick Wolfe presented “From the Burning of Chambersburg to the Battle of Moorefield” at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
In the summer of 1864, General Jubal Early moved his Confederate army down the Shenandoah Valley and east to threaten Washington, DC. His mission was to create confusion and draw Union soldiers and resources away from General Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Early dispatched two cavalry brigades under the command of General John McCausland to burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, Union cavalry under the command of William W. Averell pursued the town burners. They caught up with the Confederates in Hardy County, resulting in the Battle of Moorefield.
A native of Morgantown, Richard A. Wolfe spent 26 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as a major in 1998. Since then, he has worked in the information technology field with the Department of Justice and in December 2013 retired from Lockheed Martin. Wolfe has been a long-time student of the American Civil War, especially as it relates to West Virginia. He is associated with the Clarksburg and Morgantown Civil War Roundtables, is president of Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, and is a volunteer on the Civil War Task Force for West Virginia’s Division of Tourism, which is responsible for West Virginia Civil War Trails. In June 2009, Wolfe was appointed by Governor Manchin to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. He is the author of a book in the Images of America series titled West Virginia in the Civil War.
On January 23, 2014, Dr. Michael Workman presented “Parkersburg: Guardian of the Union” at the Thursday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Workman discussed the Civil War history of Parkersburg and Little Kanawha region. He also discussed the historiography of statehood in West Virginia.
Michael Workman earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and his masters and Ph.D in history from West Virginia University. A historian for the Institute for the History of Technology & Industrial Archaeology at WVU for a number of years, he has been an assistant professor at West Virginia State University since 2010. Workman has written and published on labor, industrial, and West Virginia history. His latest manuscript is a study of the Civil War as it impacted Parkersburg and the Mid-Ohio Valley.
On November 5, 2013, author/historian Terry Lowry gave a presentation on the 1862 battle of Charleston and the Kanawha Valley Campaign at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. His upcoming book on the campaign will be released by 35th Star Publishing in 2014.
Lowry’s presentation on the campaign included details of the battles of Fayetteville, Cotton Hill, Montgomery’s Ferry, Charleston, and Buffalo, in addition to the Trans-Allegheny Raid of Gen. Albert G. Jenkins. He provided insight into the various personalities involved, such as Col. Samuel A. Gilbert, father of Cass Gilbert, who designed the current West Virginia State Capitol, and Col. Edward Siber, who held off more than 5,000 Confederate soldiers with only two under-strength regiments of infantry, at Fayetteville. To compliment his presentation, Lowry displayed a number of actual artifacts from the battle and campaign from his own personal collection, as well as of the State Archives collections, many never before seen by the public.
A native of South Charleston, Lowry received his BA in History in 1974 from West Virginia State College (now University) and studied Civil War History at Marshall University Graduate School. A professional musician for most of his life, he spent over twenty years as music critic at Charleston Newspapers, Inc., and one year with The Atlanta Journal. He published his first book, The Battle of Scary Creek; Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July, in 1982. Other books have included September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry (1985); two volumes of the Virginia Regimental Histories Series, 22nd Virginia Infantry (1988) and 26th (Edgar’s) Battalion Virginia Infantry (1991); and Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain, November 6, 1863 (1996). In 2000 he co-authored with Stan Cohen, Images of the Civil War in West Virginia. Lowry’s most recent book is Bastard Battalion: A History of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion in World War II (2009). His new book, The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, is tentatively scheduled for an early 2014 release. Lowry currently is a historian with West Virginia Archives and History, where he has been employed since 2001.
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.