Tag Archives: Civil War history

11065888_353044138234338_6030558191895193304_n

Ed Bearss Award Applications

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours is now accepting applications for the 2017 Edwin C. Bearss Award. This award is given annually to support the study of the American Civil War era by reimbursing the awardee with up to $1,000 for scholarly research.

Named in honor of Edwin “Ed” C. Bearss, the Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, the award will be given to a deserving author working on a non-fiction book about the Civil War. The publication should be focused on Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley. Once chosen, the awardee will receive up to $1,000 to cover expenses related to researching their book.

“Ed Bearss has played an essential role in the study of the Civil War throughout his career and regularly educates others about it across the country,” Ted Alexander, facilitator and co-founder of Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours, said. “His long term commitment to the field is astounding, and this is one way for us to show our appreciation for his diligence working with our organization and educating the public at large.”

This award is supported by both Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours as well as its program attendees throughout the year. Funds are raised through donations, raffles and auction proceeds.

Applications are being accepted now through April 1, 2017. Submissions will be reviewed by the Edwin C. Bearss Award Committee. The awardee will be announced at the “On to Richmond” Civil War tour scheduled for July 26-30, 2017 in Richmond, Va.

Interested individuals should contact Lark Plessinger at lplessinger@chambersburg.org or call 717-264-7101 ext. 206 for more information or to receive an application. The awardee will be notified by May 1, 2017.

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours is a division of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and held in partnership with historian Ted Alexander. Tours planned for 2017 will be held in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia during April, May, July and September. These programs will be led by expert historians including Edwin C. Bearss, Dr. Richard Sommers, Wayne Motts, Christopher Kolakowski, Tim Smith, Tom Parson and others.

img_669312

Early Bird Pricing

We’re rewarding our participants with $30 off each Generals or Complete Weekend Package when you register early! Use code EARLY30 when registering online or call Lark at 717-264-7101 to apply the discount. (Cannot be combined with any other discounts).

Register by Feb. 1, 2017 for the Ed Bearss Symposium to receive $30 OFF a Complete Weekend Package.

Register by March 1, 2017 for the Shiloh Civil War Tour to receive $30 OFF a Generals or Complete Weekend Package.

Register by May 1, 2017 for the On to Richmond Civil War Tour to receive $30 OFF a Generals or Complete Weekend Package.

Questions? Contact Lark at lplessinger@chambersburg.org or 717-264-7101.

Student Scholarship July 2016

The Scott Hosier Scholarship is offered during our July 27-31, 2016 seminar, “Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond” and is a full scholarship covering the non-membeReed scholarshipr complete weekend package ($675 value). A $100 stipend for expenses is also offered if the awardee lives outside of a 50 mile radius from Chambersburg, Pa. The scholarship will be awarded to one student this year. The student must be at least 16 years old and must provide proof of student status whether at a high school, university or graduate level.

To apply, please send a letter stating why you would like to attend Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours’ “Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond” weekend, why you should receive the scholarship, and what your interest is in Civil War history. Applicants must provide proof of student status such as a copy of a student identification card. Application deadline is July 15, 2016. Send applications to lplessinger@chambersburg.org or mail to Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours; 100 Lincoln Way E. Suite A; Chambersburg, Pa 17201.

Recipient of Ed Bearss Award

We are pleased to announce Dennis Frye as the 2016 recipient of the Ed Bearss Award! Given annually, the award encourages the study of the American Civil War era by reimbursing the awardee with up to $1,000 for scholarly research.

Named in honor of the esteemed, nationally-known historian, Edwin “Ed” C. Bearss, the award was presented to Frye at the Stonewall Jackson in the Valley Civil War conference last month. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Park and is the author of more than 77 articles and seven books.

“We are pleased to announce Dennis as the recipient of this prestigious award,” said Ted Alexander, facilitator and co-founder of Chambersburg Civil War Seminars. “His project, Searching for Stories: New Discoveries of the First Invasion of the North from Newspapers and the National Archives will gather primary source material for two of his upcoming books. We are honored that such a distinguished scholar will inaugurate this program to promote the study and understanding of the Civil War.”

The award is given to a deserving author working on a non-fiction book about the Civil War in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley. Applications are being accepted now through March 1, 2017. The awardee will receive up to $1,000 to cover expenses related to researching their book.

Submissions for the award are reviewed by the Ed Bearss Award Committee with Dr. Richard Sommers of the U.S. Army War College as chair. Dr. Sommers and his committee of distinguished scholars will review applications in 2017.

Funds raised for the award originate from donations, silent auction proceeds and raffles. The award is supported by both Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and attendees at tours held throughout the year.

Interested individuals should contact Lark Plessinger at lplessinger@chambersburg.org or call 717-264-7101 ext. 206 for more information or to receive an application.

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours is a division of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and held in partnership with historian Ted Alexander. Tours planned for 2016 include Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond in July as well as Lincoln at Gettysburg in September. Ed Bearss, Jeffry Wert, Joe Mieczkowski, John Schildt and more than 20 other speakers/guides will lead the Civil War tours.

 

Col. Keith Gibson gives our group a tour of VMI

Stonewall Jackson in the Valley

This May we traveled to Harrisonburg, Va in pursuit of the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The tour was excellent! Here’s our recap via pictures:

Group photo at Washington & Lee on our way to the Lee Chapel

Group photo at Washington & Lee on our way to the Lee Chapel

Thursday, May 19 we followed the footsteps of Lee and Jackson on a tour of Historic Lexington led by Keven Walker and Edwin Bearss. Visits included the Stonewall Jackson House, Lee Chapel, Traveler’s grave, VMI Museum and Jackson’s Grave.

Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington

Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington

 

Friday featured all day sessions at Massanetta Springs Conference Center with talks by Jerry Holsworth, Steve French, Gary Ecelbarger, John Schildt, Daniel Toomey and Jeff Wert.

Traveler grave


Saturday, May 21 we ventured on Jackson’s Valley Campaign to Camp Alleghany, Port Republic, Cross Keys, the Widow Pence Farm and Kernstown Battlefield led by Jeffry Wert and Edwin Bearss.

Port Republic

Sunday we continued our trek of Jackson’s Campaign to Front Royal, Kernstown Battlefield and Stonewall Jackson Headquarters with Jeff Wert and Ed Bearss.

Widow Pence Farm presentation.

Widow Pence Farm presentation.

Thank you to all of our participants – we had a fantastic trip! Hope to see many of you at our July “Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond” seminar or September’s “Lincoln at Gettysburg.”

 

Best wishes,

Lark Plessinger, program coordinator

Ted Alexander, co-founder & facilitator

After Action Report

Report by Harry Smeltzer, author of Bull Runnings

Coverage of  our Weekend with Lance Herdegen & The Iron Brigade 

This past weekend I attended the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours event, On the Trail of Those Damn Black Hats: Weekend with Lance Herdegen & The Iron Brigade. I did so as the guest of friend and facilitator Ted Alexander, in return for coverage of the event on my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hopefully you are all followers and were kept up to date of all the happenings – if not, you can subscribe here. Below is a recap of the event.

Friday featured presentations at seminar HQ the Hampton Inn by Lance Herdegen (see an interview with him here) on The Iron Brigade at Gainesville; Tom Clemens (see an interview with him here) on the Black Hats’ Memories of Antietam; and Dan Welch (with the Gettysburg Foundation) on Beyond the Sobriquet: The Men of the Iron Brigade. After a break for dinner, the evening concluded with Lance and “Forward! Forward! Charge! Align on the Colors!”: The Unfinished Railroad Cut at Gettysburg.

Bright and early Saturday the 40 or so attendees boarded a bus bound for South Mountain (where we stopped on the National Road at Mt. Tabor and Bolivar Roads where Lance described the brigade’s move on Turner’s Gap.) Then it was on to Antietam, and discussions at the Visitor’s Center and the Miller Farm. Finally we arrived at Gettysburg, and after lunch at the Dobbin House Lance held court near the Reynolds Wounding marker and covered the brigade’s actions in Herbst Woods and the Railroad Cut. Of course, time in the bus was spent talking about the brigade’s actions on other parts of the field, and Lance unleashed a small portion of his vast knowledge of the men and events of the Iron Brigade as well.

I decided to stay over Saturday night for a slate of talks on Sunday morning, and I’m glad I did. Lance kicked off with a more complete history of the Iron Brigade (by the way, Lance is one of the most upbeat, happy guys I’ve ever seen on tour, and it wasn’t just this time – a hail fellow well met); fellow Save Historic Antietam Foundation board member and founder of the National Civil War Medical Museum Dr. Gordon Dammann gave a delightful presentation on Civil War Medicine Hollywood Style: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly; and Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides President Joseph Mieczkowski concluded the formal talks with a really interesting talk on Rufus Dawes & the 6th Wisconsin at Gettysburg and Beyond. Joe is apparently a “thread puller” like me and shared some fascinating tidbits.

The seminar and tour were well-organized. Raffles and auctions held Friday and Sunday raised about $500 for battlefield preservation, which will go toward purchasing available land at Antietam (see Civil War Trust info here.) And to top it off, I got to spend some time with a couple of fellows whom I had not seen in ten years, friends from prior battlefield stomps.

Next up for Civil War Seminars & Tours is The End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg, & Appomattox, July 22-26 (see brochure here.) Speakers feature Ed Bearss (see interview here) and friend and blogger Jimmy Price (see interview here), among others (like Bud Robertson, Richard Sommers, R. E. L. Krick, John Coski, Chris Calkins, the list goes on.) Sounds like a great event – register soon if you agree!

Ed Bearss Symposium After-Action Report

Ed Bearss bellows to the group at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Ed Bearss bellows to the group at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Our Ed Bearss Symposium in April had a great turnout with nearly 50 members from all over the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for coming! Please click here to see more photos from our Ed Bearss Symposium.

We enjoyed hearing from Wayne Motts of the National Civil War Museum speak about leadership at Gettysburg as well as insights from Perry Jamieson regarding Bentonville and learning more about Falling Waters and the end of the Gettysburg Campaign.

The speakers are introduced during our Ed Bearss Symposium featuring Ted Alexander, Dennis Frye, Ed Bearss, Richard Sommers, and John Priest.

The speakers are introduced during our Ed Bearss Symposium featuring Ted Alexander, Dennis Frye, Ed Bearss, Richard Sommers, and John Priest.

Sessions at the Hampton Inn in Chambersburg also included talks by John Priest, Dr. Richard Sommers, Tom Huntington, and Dennis Frye. George Wunderlich spoke about Civil War Ballistics and the type of wound damage expected of Civil War weaponry. A lively discussion with these historians, Ed Bearss, and Ted Alexander proved insightful as they reflected on the leadership attributes of Civil War Commanders.

The view of the valley from Little Round Top.

The view of the valley from Little Round Top.

Our seminar concluded with an energetic and interesting tour of Little Round Top and Devil’s Den led by Ed Bearss. We are looking forward to visiting Gettysburg again in May as one of the stops on our tour with Lance Herdegen following the footsteps of the Iron Brigade! Please click here for more information about our 2015 Civil War Seminars & Tours.

The 150th in Richmond

July Brochure Cover

Click to view the brochure.

Hi Folks,

Welcome to our July 2015 seminar, “The End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg, and Appomattox.” This is one of our must unique seminars ever. We kick it off with a tour of Civil War sites in Richmond. This includes landmarks such as the Lee Monument on Monument Avenue, the exquisite murals at the “Battle Abbey” and a special tour at the Museum of the Confederacy featuring a look at some of the collection that is not on public display.

The official opening of the seminar features an after dinner talk by the “Dean” of Civil War Historians, the great Dr. James “Bud” Robertson. This will be followed by one of our traditional “Insomniacs” sessions with Catherine Wright of the Museum of the Confederacy.

Our bus tours on Thursday and Saturday will be some of the most detailed ever given. Master battlefield trampers Ed Bearss and Robert E. L. Krick will take us to Cold Harbor, where thousands fell in minutes. Dr. Richard Sommers will share with us the years of scholarship that went into his book Richmond Redeemed, as we trek the various sites associated with Grant’s Fifth Offensive on Thursday and Saturday afternoon. On Saturday morning, Ed Bearss will take us to Petersburg with a look at the legendary “Crater” as well as other sites.

Friday is devoted to talks. This includes speakers such as Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, Dr. Richard Sommers, Brig. Gen. John Mountcastle and many others. Friday evening is our annual Preservation Auction, of which many of the proceeds will be donated to preservation projects around the Richmond area.

Our grand event will conclude on Sunday with an optional tour of the Appomattox Campaign. This bus trip will be led by none other than Chris Calkins. He is the leading authority on the Appomattox Campaign, and he has the awards to prove it.

Oh, did I mention all of the good Southern cookin’ that will be served? This includes a barbecue buffet Friday night!

We are looking forward to seeing you for four to five days of education, good fellowship, great food, and fun. Click here to see the complete details of our trip.

Best wishes,

Ted Alexander
Co-founder and Facilitator
Chambersburg Civil War Seminars

Dear Editor,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I am writing this letter to you regarding the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours, an affiliate of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. I was awarded the Scott Hosier Scholarship in late July, which allowed me to attend the “Terror on the Border: Summer of 1864” weekend. As a college student with many expenses, this scholarship gave me an opportunity that may have otherwise been impossible.

I am currently a sophomore at Lycoming College, where I double major in History and American Studies. Although I cover a wide variety of topics in my studies, learning about the Civil War is my passion. I spent my summer interning at Antietam Battlefield and the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum to supplement my studies. Although these were both very enriching experiences, they cannot compare to the knowledge I acquired during my time spent at the “Terror on the Border” weekend. Touring battlefields with Civil War experts and listening to them speak on their topic at Wilson College not only provided me with new perspectives, it also gave me a new found motivation to push even harder in my studies.

As a lifelong resident of Waynesboro, the seminar was especially valuable. Learning how the area that I have grown up in was affected by the Civil War enriched how I view the heritage of our area. I believe that residents of this area would greatly benefit from the information I learned during my time at the “Terror on the Border” weekend. Personally, it helped me connect our local heritage to a larger scale.

In closing, my time spent with the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours at the “Terror on the Border” weekend stemming from the generous Scott Hosier scholarship was invaluable, and for that, I am extremely appreciative.

Thank you for your time.

Best,

Rebecca Reed

Lycoming College

With Bearss in the Woods

Greg Bayne has kindly allowed us to publish this article he wrote about attending our 2012 seminar – “The Battles of South Mountain.” Greg is from the UK and is a member of the American Civil War Roundtable: www.acwrt.org.uk.

Enjoy! – Lark Plessinger, Program Coordinator

“We have all made that list. You know, the 100 things to do before you go up to Valhalla to talk to Massa Robert about what really happened at Gettysburg. I won’t detail my complete list out, but number 86 was recently fulfilled in an unexpected manner.

This tale also involves the “life sometimes throws up a surprise or two” trick. I had to make an unplanned trip to Virginia in October. My schedule was all over the place so I emailed all my US Contacts to say I was coming and I just might (emphasise might) be in their neck of the woods. Tom Clemens, who obviously hadn’t heard about my nocturnal snoring habit, insisted that I break my journey to Clifton Forge and stay with him and Angela and their dog Bomber. Plus if I could stay the next day, he had a very pleasant surprise for me.

That weekend the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars had organised a conference around the battles of the gaps during the Antietam campaign. A variety of speakers were on show including Ed Bearss. Ed was on the main coach and I was on the mini bus with Tom as we pulled into our first stop. It was the Schaffer House where the Union 9th Corps stopped for breakfast and lunch and I think if Franklin could have had his way, high tea as well, just below the mountain ridge. Ed skipped out of the bus and I immediately went over to say hi. “Ed,” I felt I could call him Ed, “I don’t suppose you recall the last time we met?” There was a slight twitch of his moustache as he was trying to decipher first the audacity of the approach and then the strange accent. Sensing a complete loss of face I blurted, “Oxford 2003″. An awkward moment of silence then “Ah, yes”. With a slight twinkle in his eye he was off.

Slightly crestfallen I went back to my place with the troops. The general idea of the tour was to have the whole South Mountain campaign explained by the Antietam experts, John Hoptak on most things, Joe Stahl on Fox’s Gap and Tom Clemens on Turners Gap. I say general idea because you could see Ed bubbling and bursting minute by minute until he could barely restrain himself with an impromptu running narrative. Whenever a speaker paused for breath, he was in there. We just stood and listened in awe.

We demolished the rebs on the extreme right then pursued them up to Crampton’s gap. At Crampton’s, Ed had a few moments berating some (but not all) of the previous Antietam park commissioners. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about most of time, but it was highly amusing all the same. Then his gaze focused on me. I was completely alone having wandered off to take a few photos. He marched over on an intercept course. Catching me at the War Correspondent monument (note the irony here folks) he said, “You know, I had a very good time in England with your Round Table. Very knowledgeable group, good questions, nice people. Give my regards to them.” I smiled and mumbled “Thanks”. Before I could get my next comment in, he was off, explaining the sighting of the Confederate guns at the top of the road junction to another member of the group. Wonderful, just wonderful.

After a church hall lunch of roast chicken and Burkittsville cole slaw (a very secret recipe) went up to the Old Mountain Inn at Turners gap.  We hiked across part of the Appalachian Trail to Fox’s Gap, shadowing the Confederate defence line. Most of us trod carefully, mindful of the mud, deadfall, ticks and the odd slithery thing. Not our Ed, he was off yomping at the front. Thankfully he wore a red cap so we could keep him in sight. A short way in was a modern toilet block. Ed stopped “If any of you need to use the head, this is your last chance.” Seconds later he was off. At one point I thought I heard a voice behind me whisper. “For goodness sake tell him to slow down.” At Fox’s gap he was in good form then decided to route march to an undetermined place deeper in the forest where Haye’s was wounded. Thankfully a no trespass sign plus a large fallen tree barred our way or else he may have got there on his own, such was the rate of stragglers. Undeterred we bushwhacked back to the new North Carolina monument. I am pretty certain that we left no one behind but I couldn’t be 100% sure.

Back at the Reno monument we were treated to one of Ed’s favourite games where the participants were press ganged into Union and Confederate Regiments, “You sir,” he gravelled, “are the 3rd SC, and you are the 50th. You will oblique right and then be surprised by the Union forces in the road and take more than 50% casualties in less than five minutes.” You could almost smell the smoke as Drayton’s Brigade was destroyed piece by piece. Thankfully I was left guarding the supply train.

A traipse back to Turners gap and we had Tom Clemens wrap things up with a view of the evening assault. As darkness fell both sides lay down where they were amongst the rocks and trees. No campfires were lit such was the fear of being shot at from the darkness. Lee ordered a retreat. The Confederates slipped away quietly. The Battle of South Mountain was over.

So number 86 “Go on a Civil War tour with Ed Bearss” has been ticked off. There are three more CW related items still to tick off but let’s leave those for now. Many thanks to Tom Clemens and the Antietam team for what was a brilliant and totally unexpected day. If you ever get the chance to do number 86 for yourself, please make sure you take it.”