Home Battlefields Foundation presents conference on 1864 Shenandoah Campaign

Battlefields Foundation presents conference on 1864 Shenandoah Campaign


newspaperIn late 1864, the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley came to its thunderous climax.  From May to July of that year, Confederate forces under Gen. Jubal A. Early had continued to make the region a “Valley of humiliation” for the Union.

Frustrated Federal leaders, determined to end rebel control, reinforced and unified Federal troops in the region under a new commander: Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.  From August to October 1864, the war in the Valley reached a crescendo, with levels of combat, casualties, destruction, and heartbreak not seen before, including battles such as Third Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, Tom’s Brook, and Cedar Creek – and the systematic destruction of the Valley’s agriculture in the Burning, when “the world was set on fire.”

On Saturday, August 2, 2014, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of those events with a 1864-2014 Sesquicentennial conference: “Is the World Being Set on Fire?” The 1864 Shenandoah Campaign and the Burning.  Covering the period from August-October 1864, the conference will feature eminent Civil War historians and authors Jonathan Berkey, Eric Campbell, Jonathan Noyalas, Scott Patchan, Nancy Sorrells, and Jeffry Wert.

“The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 ended for all time the Confederate army’s hold on the Valley, and marked – with burnt ruins and scorched earth – the receding tide of the Confederacy,” said Keven Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Battlefields Foundation.  “Sheridan’s success helped assure Lincoln’s reelection and forever changed the course of American history.”

Topics during the conference will include:

  • Jonathan Berkey – “I Do Not See How These Poor People Are To Live”: The Old and New Challenges Faced by Civilians During Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign
  • Eric Campbell – “I have never attributed the result to a want of courage on their part”: Early’s Army in the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign
  • Jonathan Noyalas – “Its Thrill Will Never Die”: Sheridan’s Ride in War and Memory
  • Scott Patchan – Phil Sheridan and the Road to Opequon Creek
  • nancy sorrells – “Little in it for man or beast”: The Effects of the Civil War on Shenandoah Valley Agriculture
  • Jeffry Wert – Closing the Back Door:  The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864

Jonathan Berkey is an associate professor of history at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, and the author of several essays on the experience of civilians in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

Eric Campbell, the Chief of Interpretation at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, worked as a Park Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park for more than 20 years, and has authored over two dozen articles and essays and the book, “`A Grand Terrible Dramma’: From Gettysburg to Petersburg, The Civil War Letters of Charles Wellington Reed.”

Jonathan A. Noyalas is assistant professor of history and director of the Center for Civil War History at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown and the Hugh and Virginia McCormick Visiting Chair in Civil War History at Shenandoah University, and the author of books such as The Battle of Cedar Creek: Victory From the Jaws of Defeat and The Battle of Fisher’s Hill: Breaking the Valley’s Gibraltar.

Scott C. Patchan is the author of books such as Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley CampaignSecond Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn RidgeThe Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton, andThe Last Battle of Winchester, Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early and the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Nancy Sorrells is an independent historian, freelance writer, and museum consultant specializing in themes associated with the Upper Shenandoah Valley, African Americans, church history, and agricultural development, .and the author, co-author, or editor of numerous books and essays.

Jeffry D. Wert is the author of books such as A Brotherhood of Valor: The Common Soldiers of the Stonewall Brigade, C. S. A. and the Iron Brigade, U. S. A.A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863Mosby’s Rangers, and his pioneering study, From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864.

Event details include:

  • Date: Saturday, August 2, 2014
  • Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm.  (Doors open at 9 am.)
  • Location: Lord Fairfax Community College, 173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown
  • Fee: $20
  • Lunch: Attendees will lunch on their own, but will have the option to take advantage of the college’s cafeteria.
  • To register:  Visit www.ShenandoahAtWar.org or call the SVBF at 540-740-4545.

Pre-registration is required.  Those interested in attending can register through the SVBF website atwww.ShenandoahAtWar.org or by calling the SVBF offices at 540-740-4545.

Books by the featured speakers and other Civil War authors will be available for sale during the day, and attendees will have the opportunity to have purchased books signed by the featured authors.  And the SVBF’s celebrated private label battlefield coffees will be served throughout the day.

The conference is the first in a series of programs commemorating the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign, including major commemorative programs for the battles of Third Winchester and Cedar Creek.  For more on those and other 1864-2014 programs, go to www.ShenandoahAtWar.org.

“Programs such as this conference are a critical part of the Battlefields Foundation’s mission,” added Walker.  “By telling the stories, great and small, of this tumultuous campaign, we help people understand why preserving and interpreting the Valley’s Civil War battlefields and other sites is so important.”



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

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