July 2022 Newsletter

From the Editor

Symposium season is upon us at Emerging Civil War, which is always a great time of year to get together with members of the extended ECW family and enjoy the fellowship that comes from our shared love of history. YOU are a part of that extended family, and I’m grateful to have you with us—and hopefully you’ll be able to join us in person some day.

At this year’s event, we’re asking “What If,” which is a fun chance to do some arm-chair generaling while also asking some serious questions about what we know, what we think we know, and what we assume. Along with a line-up of great Symposium talks, we’ll also be supplementing that with a What-If series on the blog, some What-If videos on the ECW YouTube page, and a forthcoming second hardcover volume of What-If essays.

But I want to take a moment to turn the question around on ourselves for a moment.

What if people stopped paying attention to history? What if people stopped paying attention to the Civil War? What if people refused to heed the lessons and advice our own past offers us?

These aren't hypothetical questions, aren’t they? In fact, if you really think about them, there’s even a sense of urgency to them. The stakes underlying such questions are high.

On a more personal level, I sometimes wonder, What if Kris White, Jake Struhelka, and I hadn’t come up with the idea for Emerging Civil War eleven summers ago? Where would I be? How would my life be different? (And we can take that even further: If Stonewall Jackson hadn't been shot, would there be an Emerging Civil War? It's a legit question!)

Those are all unanswerable questions, of course, but asking them helps me better appreciate what I do know. That’s a valuable reason for asking “What if?” It’s a question that can be fun, it can lead to insight, and surprisingly, it can invite gratitude. A life of gratitude is a full life, indeed.

Thank you for being a valued part of ours.

— Chris Mackowski, Ph.D.


The Eighth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge

Alas, we received the unfortunate news that, for the first time in seven years, C-SPAN won’t be able to join us this year at the Symposium. So, if you decided not to buy a ticket to come in person because you’d be able to catch the action on TV, you’re going to miss out. At press time, we still have just a couple tickets left if you want in on the action, though!

Join us August 5-7, 2022, at Stevenson Ridge on the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield for “The Great What Ifs of the Civil War.” Tickets are only $225 each. You can see our full line up of speakers, read more details about the weekend, and order tickets on our Symposium page.

ECW News and Notes

Our historians keep busy! We’re pleased to share their adventures, and we hope it inspires you to track down their publications and attend their presentations.

Sheritta Bitikofer and her husband are just inches away from finishing up their new home, but she took time out of her crazy schedule to serve as staff for the American Battlefield Trust's Teacher Institute in Mobile, Alabama. It was a welcome break from the chaos.


Neil Chatelain just got back from a European trip. He started in England and hit most of Scandinavia, the Baltic States, and Switzerland. Besides the plentiful castles, palaces, city walls, and churches, Neil also checked out the hulks of medieval ships, German coastal artillery bunkers from WW2 in Denmark, a Soviet nuclear missile silo in Lithuania, and got a chance to explore the Swedish island of Gotland, where NATO naval forces worked this summer with Swedish military forces as part of Sweden's application to join NATO. He also just published the article "New Orleans' Floating Battery Duo" in the Summer 2022 issue of Civil War Navy–The Magazine. (Right: “Attached is an obligatory picture of me with an old cannon at the old city walls of Tallin, Estonia,” Neil says.)

From Meg Groeling: “Just sitting on the porch, enjoying my cider (iced!) and reading Robert Tonsetic's Special Operations During the American Revolution. No triple-digit temps, no one dying on the lawn delivering for Amazon, staying away from the mall so as not to get shot—just the usual. I swear I am going to learn about special ops and then plug in Elmer Ellsworth's Zouave drill. It is all there—I just have to get it teased out and organized. I will miss everyone at the Symposium, but airlines have become impossible to book unless you want to get in at 1:00 in the morning.”


Steward Henderson has a talk at the Chancellors Village retirement community on July 28. His presentation will be on the USCT and the Buffalo Soldiers. He will also be the speaker at the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table September meeting where he will talk about New Market Heights and Fort Harrison. 


Dwight Hughes presented a paper in June at the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) Annual Conference in Wilmington, SC, “Rebels and Aliens: Confederates on the Far Side of the World” about culture clash when the CSS Shenandoah visited the Pacific island of Pohnpei in April 1865. On Gettysburg anniversary weekend, he gave at talk at the Gettysburg Heritage Center, “The Sailor and The Soldier at Vicksburg: Unprecedented Joint Operations” discussing Admiral David Porter’s Navy partnership with Grant. This month, he has a one-day twofer in Williamsburg, VA, at the Brass Cannon Brewing Monthly Lecture Series and the James City Cavalry SCV Camp on the battle of Hampton Roads based on the ECW Series book “Unlike Anything That Ever Floated.” And (hooray!) the ECW 10th Anniversary volume The Civil War on the Water: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War, which Dwight was lead editor on, will be on its way to the printer soon.


In the Autumn 2022 issue of America’s Civil War, Frank Jastrzembski shared Shrouded Veterans’ effort to place a veteran headstone on Brevet Brigadier General Herman H. Heath’s unmarked grave in Lima, Peru. Heath flirted with the idea of serving the Confederacy but later joined the Union war effort. He relocated to South America after the war and died in Lima in 1874. Heath is the first Civil War general to have a government-issued veteran headstone installed in South America.


From Brian Matthew Jordan: “It has been an exceptionally busy month—from participating in two panels at the Society of Civil War Historians biennial meeting to leading a four-day tour of Antietam and Gettysburg for the Yale Club of Washington, D.C. I also delivered talks at the Seminary Ridge Museum and Gettysburg National Military Park for the 159th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. En route to these events, I crossed off a major bucket list item—Fort Donelson—and visited the marker commemorating Island No. 10 in New Madrid, Missouri. I'm looking forward to the ECW symposium next month and an invited talk at Pamplin Historical Park.”


ECW’s newest regular contributor, Patrick Kelly-Fischer, is headed to New York and Vermont for the rest of July—first for a wedding and some time home in the Hudson Valley, and then off to New York City, where he’s looking forward to visiting some Civil War-related sites for the first time, including Grant's Tomb. “When I'm back in Denver in August,” he says, “I'll be spending some quality time with the Silas Soule papers in the Denver Public Library.”


Derek Maxfield presented on his book Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp – Elmira, NY on Saturday, July 23 at then Genesee Country Village and Museum’s annual Civil War weekend in Mumford, NY. On August 15, Derek will present “Ancestors in Peace and in Pieces”—about his six great grandfathers who served in the Union army during the Civil War—at the Genesee County Genealogical Society meeting at the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, NY.


Terry Rensel spoke about the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust to the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg and attended the 36th Annual Reunion of the Descendants of the 154th NY Volunteer Regiment, in Machias, NY, to speak to them about the preservation of the Dowdall's Tavern site at Chancellorsville, where the 154th saw significant action. In non-Civil War history, Terry also travelled to Put-In-Bay, Ohio, and visited the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, and he made a stop at the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site in central PA.

Five Questions . . .

with Cecily Nelson Zander

In recent newsletters, we’ve been highlighting some of ECW’s volunteers who handle our multitude of behind-the-scenes efforts. Cecily Nelson Zander is part of our social media team. You can read her full ECW bio here.

How do you define social media?


That is a tricky question to start. Social media, at its best, brings together those who share common interests or passions and allows them to connect beyond the constraints of time and geography. At its worst, it allows those friendships based on shared passions to devolve into factions that carp at one another in ultimately futile exchanges. One of the great joys of ECW’s social media is that those who make our content and those who engage with it tend to avoid this kind of negativity almost entirely—which sets the blog apart and makes a very fun project to be a part of.


What do you do as part of ECW's social media team?


I often feel like I am the third wheel to Paige and Eric, who really make the whole machine run smoothly. I cover our channels on Monday and Thursday, and since I’m in Texas, that’s why the posts come at funny times of day. Pesky time zones!


Do you have a particular social media channel that's your favorite to use?


On a personal level I really like Instagram—I have one for myself and a separate one for my dog (classic millennial move), though for ECW, Facebook really seems to be where the action is, and I love how engaged our audience is there. And it only seems to be expanding!


What got you involved in social media in the first place?


I was recently notified by Twitter that I have had my account there for 14 years, which I will note is half my life. Initially it was to engage with pop culture in the way many young people tend to do—and as I grew up, it transitioned into more of an academic and networking tool. I have made many friends via social media, both in the Civil War world and beyond. When people stay positive and lift one another up—as the ECW community tends to do—it makes me want to stick around.


What advice would you give to someone who might feel a little intimidated by "social media"?


First, I would say, we have all felt that way—and it is really no different than standing at a reception where you might not know anyone. I would say, the best move is to find the people who seem engaged and who strike you as positive and begin to interact with them. There are people in any realm who like to use their platform to tear others down, and they are not worth wasting your mental energy on. Again, I think the ECW community can be a great place to begin, especially Facebook, because Chris and the team encourage and welcome dialogue grounded in evidence and knowledge—and then let conversations happen. So, reply to a comment, share a post with your friends, start telling us what our content means to you!


Bonus question: If a roundtable or historical society wanted to invite you to speak to them, what areas of specialty do you focus on?


I often joke that in my Civil War historian life, I have tended to work on a set of buckaroos that could best be characterized as difficult: Braxton Bragg on the Confederate side and John Pope for the Union—I’m always eager to talk about either of them. I also work a great deal in my scholarly life on the Regular Army in the Civil War era and the Indian Wars and love sharing my work on the relationships between the Civil War and the American West.

ECW Multimedia

On the Emerging Civil War Podcast in July:


  • Chris Mackowski spoke with Gary Gallagher about Gary’s recent co-edited collection about iconic primary sources.
  • Chris also spoke with ECW historian Sean Michael Chick about Sean’s recent biography Dreams of Victory: P. G. T. Beauregard in the Civil War.

Check out the Emerging Civil War podcast on places like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


You can also subscribe to our podcast through Patreon, where we are now also offering exclusive bonus content for subscribers. That’s just $3.99/month, and proceeds go toward defraying the production costs of the podcast. In July, we included a special interview with historian Joe Owen as part of our “Civil War to Civil Rights” Series; Joe talked about President LBJ and the Civil Rights Act of 1864. Check us out!

On the ECW YouTube page, July took us to

  • Franklin, Tennessee, for a look at the recently installed monument to the USCT from the area who served in the Civil War
  • Spring Hill, Tennessee, with Greg Wade of the Franklin Civil War Roundtable for some stories from the Spring Hill town cemetery

The ECW YouTube page also featured video versions of our recent “Tale of Two Stonewalls” podcast with Chris, Sarah Kay Bierle, and Doug Crenshaw and our Gary Gallagher interview on iconic works.

Please don’t forget to like and subscribe! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emerging Revolutionary War News

First, we’d like to take a minute and welcome historian and author Dan Welch aboard as the new series editor for the Emerging Revolutionary War Series. If you've been around a while now, you might recognize Dan for his many contributions at Emerging Civil War over the years, most recently as a staunch defender and reputation rebuilder of Civil War General John Pope. He has spent considerable time over the last 18 months on the “other” side of the pen as an editor and co-editor, so we could not be more excited to have him come aboard with the ERWS.


So why a Civil War historian at ERW? Dan explains: “I will always be a Civil War historian first. It was this era and topic that was my first big spark into the field of history at a tender age, and it will always hold a special place when researching, writing, and working in the field of public history. But, over the years, as I have really grasped a much larger understanding of the war, searched out new subtopics within in the field to research and learn, and checked off battlefield after battlefield from my 'to visit' list, I realized it was time to now place this moment in American history into an even broader context of our short, yet complicated past. ERW co-founders Rob Orrison and Phill Greenwalt opened my eyes—or brought me to the Dark Side if you ask Chris Mackowski or Jon-Erik Gilot—to how much more the Revolutionary War era has to offer than just the major stories and players one gets familiar with during school. Well, for me, I was hooked. Over the last year or so, I have had to buy more bookshelves and make room for a new ‘Rev War Wing’ in my personal library. My wife is thrilled by this addition (ahem). My subfloor and floor joists are equally excited. Anyway, my growing editorial experience and journey into the Rev War came together at the right place and right time. ERWS’s previous series editor, Phill Greenwalt, has given me the opportunity to learn the ropes (and cigars!) over at ERW and dig into this period even deeper his successor. There is no way, simply no way I would have been able to get on board and up to speed without Phill's hard work over the years and the immense foundations he has laid. I thank him for that. I look forward to upholding ERWS's high standards as series editor and bringing many more engaging books to print.”


Speaking of books, we have some great ones in the works. Look for more information coming soon on books about New Jersey and Charleston during the war, the battle of Camden, and George Rogers Clark. In the meantime, don't miss out on the few remaining seats for our November bus tour to Valley Forge and Monmouth with ERW historians Billy Griffith and Phill Greenwalt. Head on over to the ERW blog for more information and registration: www.emergingrevolutionarywar.org. Even that new guy, Dan, will be there!

Upcoming Presentations


15: Derek Maxfield, “Ancestors in Peace and in Pieces” (about his six great grandfathers who served in the Union army during the Civil War), Genesee County Genealogical Society, Holland Land Office Museum, Batavia, NY.

27: Chris Mackowski, “The Myth of Grant’s Silence,” the inaugural Literary Landmark Authors Series speaker, Grant Cottage, Wilton, NY


9: Chris Mackowski, Capital District Civil War Roundtable, Albany, NY

13: Chris Mackowski, First Defenders Civil War Roundtable, Berks County, PA

14: Phill Greenwalt, “If This Valley Is Lost…” The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, Cleveland Civil War Round Table

15: Chris Mackowski, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” Houston (TX) Civil War Roundtable

17: Jon-Erik Gilot, “Dangerfield Newby’s Fight for Freedom,” Underground Railroad Museum Foundation, Flushing, OH

22: Chris Mackowski, Buffalo (NY) Civil War Roundtable

21-23: Sarah Kay Bierle, “Splendid Genius”: John Pelham & Confederate Artillery at Antietam, Antietam Institute, Antietam Institute Fall Conference


13: Chris Mackowski, Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

13: Jon-Erik Gilot, “Jenkins’s 1862 Trans-Allegheny Raid,” Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, VA

You Can Help Support ECW

Emerging Civil War is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. If you’re interested in supporting “emerging voices” by making a tax-deductible donation, you can do so by you can do so by visiting our website: www.emergingcivilwar.com. Or, you can mail us a check at the address below; make checks payable to "Emerging Civil War."

Thank you!

Emerging Civil War | www.emergingcivilwar.com

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram