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Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

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National Museum of the United States Army Symposium

October 8-10, 2020 National Museum of the United States Army History Symposium Join leading...
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2019 2020 Program Year

September 25, 2019

Topic: Confederate Defense of the Sunken Road

Speaker: Kevin Pawlak

Kevin seeks to answer questions about the Confederates in Antietam's Sunken Road, such as: was it actually a good defensive position?; why did the Confederate position fall?; did its fall mark a missed opportunity for the Army of the Potomac?; and what did the Confederates do to seal the hole in their line? In order to answer these questions, he looks at the topic from the perspectives of terrain, tactics, and the commanders and their personalities. Kevin also urges people to remember that this fight did not happen in a vacuum, and the field of action for the Sunken Road extends much farther beyond the road itself.

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for Prince William County's Historic Preservation Division and serves as a Certified Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He graduated from Shepherd University in 2014, majoring in History with a concentration in Civil War and 19th Century America and minoring in Historic Preservation. Kevin previously worked at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He is on the Board of Directors for the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. He is also a regular contributor to the Emerging Civil War online blog. Kevin is currently working on a study of George B. McClellan and the Army of the Potomac in the Maryland Campaign. He is the author of three books, including To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862.

October 23, 2019

Topic: Memory of Self and Comrades Thomas Colley’s Recollections

Speaker: Michael K. Shaffer

Thomas W. Colley served in one of the most active and famous units in the Civil War, the 1st Virginia Cavalry, which fought in battles from First Manassas / Bull Run to the defense of Petersburg. In May 1861, along with the other members of the Washington Mounted Rifles, Colley left his home in Washington, Virginia and reported to camp in Richmond. During the war, he received wounds on three different occasions: first at Waterloo Bridge in 1862, again at Kelly’s Ford in 1863, and finally at Haw’s Shop in 1864. The wound received at Haw’s Shop resulted in the amputation of his left foot, thereby ending his wartime service.

Michael K. Shaffer is a Civil War Historian, instructor, lecturer, newspaper columnist, and author. He is a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, Georgia Association of Historians, and Georgia Writers Association. Shaffer teaches Civil War Courses at Kennesaw State University’s College of Professional Education and at Emory University. He frequently lectures to various groups across the country.

November 20, 2019

Topic: Becoming Lincoln

Speaker: Dr. William Freehling

Previous biographies of Abraham Lincoln―universally acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents―have typically focused on his experiences in the White House. In Becoming Lincoln, renowned historian Dr. William Freehling instead emphasizes the prewar years, revealing how Lincoln came to be the extraordinary leader who would guide the nation through its most bitter chapter.

Dr. Freehling focuses anew on Lincoln’s journey. He highlights Lincoln’s difficult family life, first with his father and later with his wife. We learn about the staggering number of setbacks and recoveries Lincoln experienced as well as his famous embodiment of the self-made man (although he sought and received critical help from others).

Dr. Freehling traces Lincoln from his tough childhood through incarnations as a bankrupt with few prospects, a superb lawyer, a canny two-party politician, a great orator, a failed state legislator, and a losing senatorial candidate, to a winning presidential contender and a besieged six weeks as a pre-war president. As Lincoln’s individual life unfolds, so does the American nineteenth century. Few great Americans have endured such pain but been rewarded with such success. Few lives have seen so much color and drama. Few mirror so uncannily the great themes of their own society. No one so well illustrates the emergence of our national economy and the causes of the Civil War.

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

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