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Farewell to Civil Warriors

On September 28, 2006, I did my initial post here on Civil Warriors. I expressed then a great sense of honor and appreciation at having been invited by Mark to participate and still feel that today. I have, however, come to the conclusion that the time has arrived to end my participation on Civil Warriors. In light of the decline in the quantity of my postings here, I can’t imagine this will come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been following the blog recently.

This has not been an easy decision and it is one I have wrestled with, and signaled my interest in making to folks from whom I have sought advice on professional matters for a while now. A number of factors have stayed my hand, though. One is that I hate the thought of quitting anything. Another is the fact that the nearly seven years since I joined Civil Warriors have been very good ones for me professionally and the blog undoubtedly played a role in that. Consequently, there is some anxiety that Civil Warriors could, going forward, be the nail that for want of my kingdom could be in serious trouble. Another factor has been the difficulty of figuring out how to go out on the right note. I did not want to just stop blogging and leave it others to figure out that I had. I also wanted to make a clear break from blogging, both for myself and the audience (though mainly on behalf of the former), and it has taken a while to find the time to put together a farewell post that does that properly and provides something close to what I consider an adequate explanation for my decision.

One of the factors in my leaving is a sense that over the past few years, the medium of blogging has been in decline. I know that my interest in it certainly has. Five years ago, I followed, along with this blog, Eric Wittenberg’s, Kevin Levin’s and two or three others pretty much daily. Now, if I look at another blog besides Brooks’s more than once a month it feels like a lot. The decline in interest in blogging is, at least for me, also a consequence of the emergence of Facebook. I know joining Facebook in late 2009 removed one of the motives I cited for joining Civil Warriors; namely, to facilitate the efforts of those who wish to contact me. I will also say that my decline in interest in blogging preceded Gary Gallagher’s much-discussed critique of blogging a year or so ago, though I have to say it reinforced it, for there was much in it that I agreed with.

It has been suggested by some with whom I have discussed this move that I could recharge my interest in blogging by breaking away from Civil Warriors and starting my own blog, one more personalized that might engage with folks on matters of interest to me other than the Civil War. I considered it, but in the end, have simply decided I just do not want the obligation of blogging anymore. (I do hope Mark would be open to my returning if I should wish to do so at some point; indeed, I shall be very surprised if I don’t.) Mark stated in a post a while back that he never wanted to feel obligated to blog for the sake of blogging, but my experience is that feeling is unavoidable as long as the blog is there and you are affiliated with it.

The ramifications of the ongoing budget problems my employer is experiencing also unavoidably figured into my decision. In the past year or so, my department has lost seven of the forty-three members of the faculty and staff, with no prospect of replacement. (Perhaps most regrettable, as anyone who works in the military or academic setting—or a place that combines the bureaucratic processes of both like this one does—will appreciate, is that our department secretary was one of those who departed.) Consequently, the workload of just about everyone in my department has increased significantly in the past year. For me personally, the last academic year saw a 25% increase in my teaching load during the core course and a doubling of the number of elective courses I taught. The increase in my workload was partly offset by the staff ride program for the other campuses of the Command and General Staff School falling victim to the budget axe earlier this year. That of course was hardly a positive thing from my perspective, as I believe strongly in the importance of the properly directed study of historic battlefields in officer education. (It also provided some good material for posts.) But this was a development that was far beyond my power to prevent.

Above all, though, I just want to spend my time in other ways than blogging. I have a number of projects that I am currently trying to bring to completion and personal interests that I would like to spend more time on. Moreover, my daughter’s turning ten recently has impressed on me that her childhood is running short (and teen years are approaching too fast for comfort). While I can’t say I think this is the case at this point, I don’t want to look back and lament I missed something because I was worrying about a blog. I know that the period a year or so ago when there were technical glitches here were a great relief to me, for during that time the obligation to blog was lifted and I could do other things without feeling guilty that I was neglecting the blog. After the glitches were resolved, obviously, I resumed posting. But I do not think it is hard to see a decline in both the quality and quantity of the posts I have been producing since then to a level where I am justified in being skeptical as to what value my continuing here has anyway.

I would like to express my appreciation to Mark for extending the invitation to me back in 2006 to participate in Civil Warriors, and to the other folks who participated in the blog during my time with it. I also thank the friends and colleagues who participated with me in this blog, especially those who served as sources of material, commentators on posts, or guest bloggers.

Thanks as well to those of you who have followed this blog over the past seven years. If I don’t see you in Gettysburg next week, I do hope our paths will cross somewhere else up the road.



Gettysburg in Kansas, 20 June

Dole Institute to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg’s 150th anniversary

Gettysburg Dole

LAWRENCE — July will mark 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas will honor the event with a full day of programming on Thursday, June 20.

The afternoon will be a conference-style event in which military historians and Civil War experts will focus on the three individual days of battle:

Day 1, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Day 2, 2:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
Day 3, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

The evening program at 7:30 p.m. will focus on the seven critical decisions made during the battle. Each afternoon session and the evening program can be enjoyed as a whole or individually. All programs are free and open to the public.

“This epic battle was a crucial moment in the Civil War that really set our nation on course for today. In order to create interaction and get a real dialogue going among our experts, we’ll be utilizing the same discussion format as our Post-Election Conference,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “The quality of the conversation will be excellent.”

The expert panelists include: Steve Lauer, professor at the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies; Ethan Rafuse, professor of history at the Command and General Staff College; Terry Beckenbaugh, professor of history at the Command and General Staff College; Jennifer Weber, associate professor of history at KU; Debra Sheffer, associate professor of history at Park University; and Kevin Benson, professor at U.S. Army University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies.

Gettysburg remains the most significant battle fought on American soil. More men fought and died during the Battle of Gettysburg than in any other battle before or since 1863. Today Gettysburg sees more than 1 million visitors each year, and efforts are still being made by the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation to preserve the monuments, memorials and grounds of this historic site.

For more information on the Gettysburg event and other summer programming, please visit the Dole Institute website.

Gettysburg, 30 June 2013

Sacred Trust Talks and Book Signings: 150 Years of History

Gettysburg Foundation

The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park present 1-hour talks by Civil War literary giants followed by question and answer sessions and book signings. All lectures are free and take place outside under the Museum and Visitor Center tent; book signings follow inside the Visitor Center lobby.

George Gordon Meade and the Gettysburg Campaign
Kent Masterson Brown
Time: 9:30 a.m.

Deju vu All Over Again: Memory, Experience and Generalship at Gettysburg
Brooks Simpson
Time: 10:30 a.m.

Fighting Joe and the Snapping Turtle: Commanding the Army of the Potomac in 1863
Ethan Rafuse
Time: 11:30 a.m.

Lincoln and Freedom in Film and Fact: A Look at History and the Movies, Spielberg and the Civil War
Harold Holzer
Time: 12:30 p.m.

Gettysburg’s Missing Battle: The Case of the Missing Civilians
Margaret Creighton
Time: 1:30 p.m.

We Had Only to Close our Fingers: George Meade at Williamsport, July 14, 1863
Allen Guelzo
Time: 2:30 p.m.

General Lee’s Army and the Declining Margin for Error
Joseph Glatthaar
Time: 3:30 p.m.

The Joshua Chamberlin You Didn’t Know
Tom Desjardin
Time: 4:30 p.m.

“Civil War literary giants”? Wow! (And, of course, everyone knows that you always put your best hitter third in the line-up; ahem, right before lunch.)

In light of George G. Meade’s evidently burgeoning popularity, the focus of my talk is actually going to be on Hooker, with “the Snapping Turtle” figuring marginally.

The entire The Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Commemorative Events Guide can be found here.

Brandy Station 150th Event

Here is something to do, if you find yourself in Culpeper County in a few months:

June 9, 1863
Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Bud Hall, the nation’s leading expert on the Battle of Brandy Station, will be conducting a uniquely rare walking tour of remote battlefield sites that have never before been visited by any tour group. Priceless anti-bellum homes and bucolic river fords are just a few of the historically significant and scenic sites that will be visited on this special tour. This is an exceptional Sesquicentennial event that you will not want to miss! All tour materials including maps and handouts will be provided. A bag lunch, hat, sunscreen, bug spray and walking shoes are suggested for this tour which will take place rain or shine. Come join us as we commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Brandy Station!

To sign up for this special FREE tour of the largest cavalry engagement of the Civil War, accompanied by the leading authority on Brandy Station, click here and follow the registration instructions shown thereon.

For further details contact: Loudoun County Civil War Round Table.

Call for Papers: 2013 Mid-America Conference

Call for Papers

Transnationalism and Minority Cultures: The Mid-America Conference at the University of Oklahoma

Submissions for papers in the humanities, arts, and social sciences are invited for the 35th annual meeting of the Mid-America conference, dedicated to the interdisciplinary topic of “Transnationalism and Minority Cultures,” to be held at the University of Oklahoma, September 26th-28th, 2013.

Transnationalism transcends national boundaries and highlights the interconnectedness of people and places, of local communities and the global processes that link them. We welcome paper and panel submissions that respond to the conference theme, such as in the following approaches:

• Exile, Migration, and Diaspora Studies: transnational migration history; (trans)migrant and refugee experiences; histories of border-crossings; comparative diaspora studies

• Transnational Cultures: transnational print and digital production; world literature; Native American intercultural transfer; transnationalism in music, sound, and dance cultures; film; visual culture in transnational settings

• Theory; New Praxis: the transnational public sphere; transnational genocide/memory studies; transnationalism in educational studies; transnational geography

• Transnational Citizenship: transnationalism’s impact on indigenous and minority cultures; creative agency; subaltern cosmopolitanism; citizenship debates

• Critiques of Transnationalism: access to the cosmopolitan class; transnational history “versus” comparative history

• Transnational Communities: multinational / multiracial border communities; micro-histories of urban borderlands; “translocal” urban spaces; walls, borders, and boundaries

• Transnational Activism: Native American studies and social justice; transnationalism; sexuality; globalized queer activism; transnational social movements and religion; feminism & human rights discourses.

Faculty and graduate student abstracts on the conference theme are welcomed. Abstracts for individual papers should be 250 words. Panel proposals should contain a 250-word session description as well as three paper proposals and a moderator/commentator. All submissions should include a 1-page c.v. and audio-visual needs.

Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2013, via email to the conference organizer: Janet Ward, Professor of History, University of Oklahoma: Further information on the conference can be found on the conference website.

Call for Papers – 2014 Society for Military History Annual Meeting

81st Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History
“Transformational Conflicts: War and its Legacy through History”
April 3-7, 2014
Kansas City, Missouri

The Society for Military History is pleased to call for papers for its 81st Annual Meeting, hosted by the Command and General Staff College Foundation, Inc., Liberty Memorial – National World War I Museum, Harry S Truman Presidential Museum and Library, and the Department of History, University of Kansas.

The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. It is also the 150th anniversary of the third year of the American Civil War, 200th anniversary of seminal events in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, and 300th anniversary of the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. The Society for Military History invites papers that examine these and other pivotal conflicts in terms of how they were conducted, their effects on the evolution of war, culture, and society and how historians and societies at large have remembered them. The program committee will consider paper and panel proposals on all aspects of military history, while especially encouraging submissions that reflect on this important theme.

Panel proposals must include a panel title, a one-page abstract summarizing the theme of the panel , one-page abstracts for each paper proposed, and one-page curricula vitae for each panelist (including the chair and commentator, with email addresses provided for all participants), as well as panelist contact information. Submissions of pre-organized panels are strongly encouraged and will be given preference in the selection process. Individual paper proposals are also welcome and must include a one-page abstract of the paper, one-page vita, and contact information, including email. If accepted, individual papers will be assigned by the program committee to an appropriate panel with a chair and a commentator.

Participants may present one paper, serve on a roundtable, chair a panel, or provide panel comments. They may not fill more than one of these roles during the conference, nor should they propose to do so to the Program Committee. Members who act as panel chairs only for a session may deliver a paper, serve on a roundtable, or offer comments in a different session. Members who serve as chair and commentator of a session may not present in another session.

All proposals must be submitted electronically to the program committee by October 1, 2013. The address is: All presenters, chairs, and commentators must be members of the Society for Military History by December 31, 2013.

The meeting will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. It is located right next to the Liberty Memorial-National World War I Museum and accessible to the many sites in the greater Kansas City area that are of importance to the military history of the United States. Participants can reach the meeting site via hotel shuttle and cab from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI).

The Future of Civil War History–Some Questions

On 14-15 March, I will be in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, participating in a three-day conference on “The Future of Civil War History: Looking Beyond the 150th”. (The program can be found here.) My former comrade in Chancellorsville staff riding Christian Keller and I will be leading a few dozen participants around the Gettysburg Battlefield for about two-and-a-half hours in what is billed as “Rethinking the Staff Ride Model” before I high-tail it down to DC to catch a flight to New Orleans so I can participate in the Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History.

A look through the program for the Gettysburg conference, though, has raised a couple of questions in my mind. The session of the program on the evening of 14 March is billed as “Popular Misconceptions about Civil War Military History”. Other sessions are dedicated to such questions/issues as How Can Civil War Sites Offer a Usable Past during a Time of War? Strategies in Educational Programming, Exploring Violence in the Classroom and in a Museum Setting, and Building a Dialogue among Museum Professionals, Academics, and Civil War Re-enactors. These matters and others addressed at the conference are naturally of interest to those of us who work in the professional military education system, teaching today’s makers of military history–who also happen to be perhaps the Civil War’s most committed audiences of scholars and students. Thus, one would think that our perspectives would as a matter of course be considered of value and interest to anyone else wrestling with these issues.

And yet, of all the participants in the program, only Chris (who teaches at the Army War College in Carlisle) and myself, are members of the professional military education system, which invariably raises the following questions:

1. What place do those of us who work in professional military education, our perspectives, and our real and potential contributions as educators and scholars have in the “future of Civil War history”?

2. Why, if this program is any indication of where the thinking of those who presume to be determining the “future of Civil War history” rests, does the answer to the first question appear to be “rather marginal”?

The floor is open. If you do not have answers to these questions now, perhaps someone at the opening session on Thursday afternoon (which I expect to attend) will.

Society for Military History Annual Meeting

The program for the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, which is being held on 14-16 March 2013, in New Orleans, LA, and sponsored by the Center for the Study of War and Society at The University of Southern Mississippi, with the National World War II Museum and Southeastern Louisiana University, has recently been posted.

Not much this year, unfortunately, to interest the Civil War enthusiast. I saw only one session dedicated to the subject, which is definitely odd considering this is the 150th anniversary of not a few events of note in the military history of the Civil War. No doubt this is in large part due to a program on the 150th at Gettysburg College that is running the same weekend. Still, there will once again be a decent contingent of Civil War historians in attendance, including George Rable, Susannah Ural, and Carol Reardon. As for me, I will be chairing a panel on “Alcohol and Drugs in Three Wars: The Great War, Korea , and Vietnam”.

Further information about the meeting, including the program and logistics, can be found here.

Get thee to the Kansas City Public Library–again (and again and again)!

This event is co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation. The other talks in the Kansas City Public Library’s Sesquicentennial Series this year will be:

Presented by Dr. Gregory Hospodor
Thursday, April 18

Presented by Dr. Terry L. Beckenbaugh
Thursday, July 18

Presented by Dr. Randy Mullis
Wednesday, August 21

Featuring a roundtable of historians
Tuesday, November 19

And, hey, if you live on the West Coast and just can’t make it to Kansas City next week, I will be in Seattle next month speaking to the Puget Sound Civil War Round Table.

West Point Summer Seminar

The Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has posted its call for applications for the 2013 Summer Seminar on Military History. This three-week program brings together approximately two dozen junior scholars of military history (graduate students who have completed all but their dissertation are also eligible) at West Point to participate in a terrific program of seminars, lectures, and staff rides. In 2013, it is scheduled to run 3-22 June.

From the website:

The West Point Department of History will host the 2013 Summer Seminar from June 3-June 22. The Department of History has designed this intensive 20-day program to further develop scholars’ understanding of the study of war and military history.

The West Point Summer Seminar in Military History seeks to broaden its participants’ knowledge of military history, preparing them to develop or enhance studies in this critical field at the collegiate level. The Summer Seminar brings together a select group of historians for a series of seminars and lectures, as well as staff rides to Revolutionary War and Civil War sites, and a visit to the Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Led by members of the West Point faculty and a variety of noted military historians, these activities facilitate detailed discussions of historiography and pedagogy within the field of military history.

Due to the generosity of our donor, fellows attend the Summer Seminar without cost. Fellowships support lodging, meals, per diem expenses, and most travel costs. The Seminar also provides books and materials applicable to the program.

Fellowships for the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History are open to junior faculty and advanced graduate students in the field of history who desire to enhance their ability to study and teach military history. At a minimum, applicants must have completed all requirements for the doctorate other than submission of the dissertation (ABD). Applicants must have the ability to traverse difficult terrain of up to five miles on battlefields such as Saratoga and Gettysburg. We welcome applications from English-speaking students and faculty worldwide.

The deadline for application packets for the 2013 Summer Seminar is 18 January 2013. Application packets consist of a completed application form, curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing, and a letter of recommendation. Click here for application information and materials.

If you have other questions about the program, please contact the Program Director Major William Nance 845-938-4395 or Major Richard Anderson 845-938-5592.

Gettysburg Semester

Recently received the message below from Dr. Jason M. Frawley, who did his Ph.D. at Texas Christian under Civil Warrriors alumnus Steven Woodworth. Dr. Frawley is currently serving as the Thomas W. Smith Post-Doctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

One of my responsibilities is helping the program’s director, Dr. Allen C. Guelzo, recruit undergraduate students for The Gettysburg Semester.

Each fall semester, the Civil War Era Studies program brings a group of undergraduate students to Gettysburg College, where they are immersed in the study of the American Civil War. From living in a 19th-century mansion to treading the battlefields where America’s fate was decided, The Gettysburg Semester students enjoy a unique experience.

As part of the program, they generally take four courses: Interpretation of the Civil War, Field Experience in Civil War Era Studies, and two courses of their choosing. Many students elect to forgo a fourth course and substitute it with a public history internship. In the past, we have had students intern at Gettysburg National Military Park, Antietam National Battlefield, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Adams County Historical Society, and the Shriver House Museum. Such hands-on internships and interdisciplinary study help to reveal a multifaceted history and shed light on the men and women who lived it.

More inforation is available by The Gettysburg Semester website.

If you are, or know of any possibly interested undergraduate students, please bring this to their attention. Application information is located on the website above.

If you should have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at the addresses and phone numbers below my signature. Thank you.

Jason M. Frawley, Ph.D.
Thomas W. Smith Post Doctoral Fellow & Visiting Assistant Professor
Gettysburg College, Civil War Era Studies
Weidensall Hall 403
300 North Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400

In case you missed it . . .

PBS’s superb American Experience episode, Death in the Civil War, which aired last week, is available on DVD. You can purchase it directly from PBS here, or order it here on


It was with great delight that I opened a letter from the University of Missouri Press (publisher of the fine–ahem–work of scholarship on the right) notifying me that it will remain in operation.

From the 29 August Kansas City Star:

University of Missouri Press will remain open

The University of Missouri will take over responsibility for an academic press, printing books and digital publications, administrators said Tuesday.

The announcement comes after recent controversy about the future of the University of Missouri Press. University officials said control of the press will be shifted from the four-campus university system to the Columbia campus.

The press will remain at its location in Columbia.

Full story is here.

According to another report (available here) the press is looking for manuscripts to replace those that went elsewhere when it appeared the press was going to close. Looks like a great opportunity to do some shopping–for both authors and readers of Civil War history!

Get Thee to the Kansas City Public Library!

The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 is the bloodiest day in American military history. Now, exactly 150 years later, a panel of historians discusses the events of that day.

Leading his Confederate troops into Maryland for their first fight on Union soil, Robert E. Lee was met at Antietam Creek by George McClellan’s federals. The battle claimed 23,000 casualties and resulted in a standoff. But after that the Union believed it could win, giving President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to issue his Emancipation Proclamation.

Antietam Lecture Series

If you did not get enough Antietam at Ted Alexander’s Antietam-fest last month at Chambersburg, or were unfortunate not to be able to attend, here is another opportunity to learn about the great campaign whose 150th anniversary will be celebrated next month.

Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. is pleased to announce a special lecture series in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Antietam. The lectures will take place in the Mumma Farm barn at Antietam National Battlefield on Saturday September 8, starting at 9:00.

This event will also feature presentations from the recipients of two special scholarships funded by SHAF. Daniel Vermilya has received the first Joseph L. Harsh Scholar Award and will share his research on the Union Army at Antietam. Susan Rosenwald was awarded the special Sesquicentennial Award and she will share her research about the role and actions of Clara Barton at Sharpsburg.

Other speakers will include Dennis Frye, Chief Historian of Harpers Ferry National Park, Dr. Mark Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for Study of the Civil War, and local columnist and writer Tim Rowland. The event is free and open to the public. No reservations will be required.

Donations to SHAF will be accepted and there will be book signing by the authors and other items for sale.

9:00-9:30 – Coffee and Danish
9:30-9:45 – Opening Remarks, Tom Clemens, President, SHAF
9:45-10:30 – Session I, Dr. Mark Snell, “Causes of the Civil War”
10:30-10:45 – Break
10:45-11:30 – Session II, Dan Vermilya, Harsh Scholar recipient, “Perceptions, Not Realities: The Strength, Experience, and Condition of the Army of the Potomac at Antietam”
11:30-12:00 – Awards
12:00-1:00 – Lunch, Box Lunch available, by pre-order only $10.00 each*
1:00-1:45 – Session III, Susan Rosenwald, Sesquicentennial Award recipient, “Clara Barton at Antietam”
1:45-2:00 – Break
2:00-2:45 – Session IV, Dennis Frye, “September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril”
2:45-3:00 – Break “Behind the Battles: Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War
3:00-3:45 – Session V, Tim Rowland, “Odd Incidents of Maryland Campaign”
3:45 – Closing Remarks
* Preorder on-line at, choices will be available on the website.

For more information call Tom Clemens 301-331-3877 or visit SHAF’s website.