Sesquicentennial News Briefs
(as printed in the)
July 2011 Issue
Civil War News

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July 2011

First Campaign

ELKINS, W. Va. — Commemorative tours of “The First Campaign of the Civil War” will be given July 6-8 in Elkins. The action in western Virginia included Philippi, Laurel Hill, Rich Mountain and Corrick’s Ford.

Hunter Lesser and Richard A. Wolfe will be the guides. Will Greene will speak one night. Members of Loomis’ Battery of Michigan Light Artillery, whose original unit received six of the first Parrott Rifles at Rich Mountain, will bring an original gun to Camp Elkwater.

Among the “firsts” of the war’s first campaign were the first death of a U.S. enlisted man and a general, first tactical use of the railroad, first surgical amputation and first use of the telegraph and telegraphic cipher.

Frankfort Music

FRANKFORT, Ky. — From Sept. 1-4 Frankfort will host the Cornets and Cannons Festival, a free celebration of Civil War period music.

Performers will include the Wildcat Band, Federal City Brass, Olde Towne Brass, Saxton’s Cornet Band, Camp Chase Fifes and Drums, as well as pianist Helen Beedle and string music.

Their concerts will be at several downtown venues, including the Thomas Clark Center for Kentucky History, Capitol Plaza Hotel, Old State Capitol lawn, Liberty Hall and the Grand Theater.

For information contact (502) 696-0607, or


Arkansas Passports

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is offering prizes through its Civil War Sesquicentennial Passport Program.

Visitors can get passports stamped at 23 of the state’s Civil War-related sites. People who turn in a passport’s back covered with all 23 stamps will receive a sesquicentennial coin or patch.

Passports can be gotten at state welcome centers, the participating sites and from the commission at


Franklin Co. Plans

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. — Franklin County will host Civil War Days Sept. 16-18 during which the county’s celebration of its 225th anniversary. Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early and Booker T. Washington were county natives.

The Booker T. Washington National Monument, Early’s birthplace, artisan centers and museums will be open for weekend special events in addition to the main programs at Franklin County Recreational Park in Rocky Mount.

On Friday 10 stations related to the Civil War will host elementary and middle school students. Saturday programs include an encampment, battle, wedding, polo, family dinner (nominal fee), dance and music from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday’s program, with a focus on family fun, will be from 9 to 3, with Sunday services, encampment, polo and battle.

Local cavalry, artillery and infantry reenactors will participate. Civilians and military reenactors are invited.

For information contact Debra Weir, (540) 483-9293 ext. 5, or Philip Sheridan, (540) 721-4106,


Alexandria iPhone App 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Office of Historic Alexandria is offering a free iPhone app, “Civil War Alexandria.”

It has historic images, a stop guide and GPS map to lead visitors in person and virtually to more than two dozen sites in Alexandria, which was occupied by Union troops for four years.

Union soldiers took Robert E. Lee’s hometown on May 24, 1861, the day Col. Elmer Ellsworth was killed by the innkeeper as he carried a Confederate flag he had cut down from the Marshall House.

Alexandria became a major operations center for Union forces and a sanctuary for thousands of blacks seeking freedom and security behind Union lines. The city’s diversity is represented on the tour by a Union fort, Confederate memorial and museums of black history.


Tennessee Event

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Sesquicentennial Commission will host the second Sesquicentennial Signature Event Sept. 6 and 7 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. The theme for the free public event is “Civil War in the Borderland.”

Historical discussions, musical performances, stories and living history demonstrations are planned. The university, Sesquicentennial Commission, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Tennessee Historical Society and the Upper Cumberland Civil War Round Table will sponsor a series of distinguished speakers and other events.

Dr. Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia will give the keynote address on Sept. 6. Four speakers have been lined up for a symposium Sept. 7: Dr. Charles Bryan of the Virginia Historical Society, Dr. Connie Lester of the University of Central Florida, Dr. Brian McKnight of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Dr. Larry Whiteaker of TTU.

Tennessee State Library and Archives will host Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee as part of the Sesquicentennial Signature Event on Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cookeville History Museum.

The Looking Back project allows people to digitally preserve Civil War photos and memorabilia to create a permanent, public archive online.

For more information, visit


Missouri Stories

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Missouri History Museum is collecting stories related to the Civil War in Missouri for its new Web site,

Stories that include the date, place, names of the people involved, outcome and any additional information may be emailed to or mailed to Missouri History Museum, Attn: Tami Goldman, P.O. Box 11940, St. Louis, MO. 63112


Connecticut Troops

Connecticut reenactors are invited to join, as they did for the 135th anniversary, to portray Connecticut units for the Gettysburg 150th. Fifty men from five units joined to portray the 14th Connecticut Infantry.

Anyone interested can contact Jeff H. Grzelak at (407) 497-5486 or


Baltimore Pass

BALTIMORE, Md. — Baltimore is offering visitors a three-day Baltimore Civil War Experience Pass.

The pass gives 25 percent off the regular admission price to the B&O Railroad Museum, Sports Legends Museum at Historic Camden Station, the Maryland Historical Society and Mount Clare House Museum.

The pass is valid for three consecutive days and provides admission for one person to each of the four museums.

For information about Baltimore’s Civil War history, visit For more information or to purchase a pass, go to


Tree Planting

PURCELLVILLE, Va. — Students at the Blue Ridge Middle School were the first to contribute funds to The Journey Through Hallowed Ground’s (JTHG) Plant a Tree Program.

Their $100 will go to the program which envisions planting one tree for each of the war dead along the 180-mile National Heritage Area between Monticello and Gettysburg.

JTHG founder and President Cate Magennis Wyatt joined the school’s Memorial Day service to accept the donation and discuss the program’s importance.

By planting trees in stands, groves and regiments along The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, which is Route 15 through Loudoun, the organization hopes to encourage students throughout the country to identify a member of their community who fought in the Civil War, learn their story, then plant a tree in their name.


Boston Programs

BOSTON, Mass. — Boston Public Library is commemorating the 150th anniversary with special exhibits and programs this year.

The “Winslow Homer’s Illustrations” and “Photo by Brady” exhibits will run through September. Through December the exhibits “Torn in Two: The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center” and “Home Front: Boston” are open.

The library is hosting a local and family history lecture series, the 2011-2012 Lowell Lecture Series: “Remembering the Civil War,” a summer film series and first-person programs on Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Louisa May Alcott, and a 2nd South Carolina String Band concert.

In addition to offering related books and films for all ages, the library has put its anti-slavery manuscripts on Flickr, its anti-slavery pamphlets on an Internet archive, and digitized maps on its site at

For information visit


Newspaper Special

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Through August the Kansas City Star will publish special sections on the Civil War. The first issue highlighted the Kansas-Missouri border tensions.

For information go to


Shiloh 150th

The Armies of Tennessee has been named the official host of the 150th Anniversary Battle of Shiloh on March 30–April 1 next year.

The mayoral offices of the City of Savannah and Hardin County, the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and its Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the State Legislature made the designation.

The national event will take place at the same location of the 140th and 145th anniversary battles approximately six miles south of Shiloh National Military Park in Southside.

For information go to


Maryland Accounts

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The Western Maryland Regional Library is covering the Civil War in real time, putting weekly accounts from Hagerstown newspapers online 150 years after they were published.

The papers covered South Mountain and Antietam action, as well as news from around the country. Editorials and letters came from both sides of the conflict.

On May 16, 1861, for example, the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light reported: “VIRGINIA TROOPS - Eight hundred Virginia troops are quartered in the vicinity of JOHN BROWN’S late abode in Washington County. It is said that they have fortified the heights opposite Harper’s Ferry, and have set the mountain on fire, and burnt the undergrowth and leaves and other obstructions to an extensive view of the surrounding country.

“It is also reported that there are about seven thousand troops at Harper’s Ferry, and a number on the Virginia side of the Potomac for a considerable distance up that river, about one hundred and fifty of whom are reported to be opposite Williamsport.”

The stories are available at and the Washington County Free Library System’s Web site under “Regional History.”

The Whilbr site also features images of documents from public libraries, historical societies and individuals in Western Maryland and images, audio and video.


Texans’ Roles

DENTON, Texas — While few significant battles were fought in Texas, more than 70,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army and about 2,000 Texans joining the Union Army.

Waul’s Texas Legion, which was formed near present-day Brenham, played a key role in the defense of Vicksburg before most of the Legion’s companies were captured in July 1863.

A detailed account of the Texans’ roles in the Battle of Vicksburg and other documents will be preserved online thanks to the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries’ Digital Projects Unit.

The UNT Libraries received a $30,509 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the funding branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, to digitize and place eight archival collections on the Portal to Texas History (

The portal offers more than 250,000 pages of material from archives, historical societies, libraries, museums and private collections. The new collections will be placed on the portal during the next year to be available by May 2012.

In addition to a Vicksburg memorandum book, the uploaded collections will include the diary of a Union sympathizer, memoirs of a woman who experienced the Civil War in Kansas when she was a child and ledger books from Cooke County.

Cooke was one of 18 counties whose residents voted against secession in a statewide referendum. In October 1862 more than 40 suspected Unionists were convicted by a vigilante court and hanged.


Arkansas Exhibit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The exhibit “An Enduring Union: Arkansas in the Civil War” will run to March 11 at the Old State House Museum. It is the first of five sesquicentennial exhibits.

The Old State House building was the seat of both the Union and Confederate governments during the war. The exhibit, which examines why Arkansas commemorates its Civil War veterans, features artifacts documenting the postwar Confederate and Union veteran reunions.

In addition to veteran memorabilia from both sides, the exhibit includes photographs, medals and uniforms.

For information about this and exhibits to follow contact (501) 324-9685 or