ECW Weekender: 4th Annual Collector’s Showcase at Kennesaw State University

In Georgia and looking for something to do tomorrow? Head over to The Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University and check out their annual collector’s showcase.

You’ll be able to view rare and highly collectible items from the 1860’s and meet some the country’s top collectors who will be presenting some of their most unique items! Need a list of what you’ll get to see? Rare carbines, images, shells, revolvers, rifles, cartridge boxes, buttons, buckles, uniforms, sheet music, prints, rifles, diaries, letters, flags…and more.

Looking for all the event details? Here’s the official press release:

The Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University is excited to announce our Fourth Annual Collector’s Showcase!

This year’s Showcase promises to be as special as the earlier versions and involve many of the same collectors that you have come to enjoy, as well as some new faces that will be traveling to Kennesaw for the first time. Each of these individuals is always ready to share the expertise they have gained and the items that have come to have special meaning to them. Doors for this enjoyable event will open on Saturday, July 21, from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., at KSU’s Continuing Education Center.  The featured presenters this year are Stan Jones and Nicholas Picerno. Although Stan is a perennial favorite at the Showcase, Nick is a newcomer to the event. A retired chief of security at Bridgewater College in Virginia, he serves as an Honorary Member of the Center’s Advisory Board, as well as one of the leading figures involved in Commonwealth’s historic Shenandoah Valley through the Battlefield Foundation there.

Be sure to plan to come see and hear these dynamic individuals and expect to spend time enthralled by each exhibitor as you and your guests make their way from table to table. Those who attend will have the unique opportunity to see these items closely that are normally contained behind glass in museums or held in private collections. It will be an experience not to be missed!

Support from the Georgia Civil War Commission has made this year’s event possible and the organization will have displays and information available concerning their myriad activities. Adult visitors will have the opportunity to donate $5.00 for admission, while members of the Center’s annual Kennesaw Corps, KSU personnel, and students and young people are welcomed with free admission. There is ample free parking and you can drop in and leave as your schedule permits. Please plan to join us for this tremendous experience and bring friends and family members so that they can witness the enthusiasm and excitement for themselves. Their presence at this event may be the spark that ignites their interest for the rest of their lifetimes. We look forward to seeing you on July 21 and at all future Civil War Center events!

July 21, 2018

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

KSU Center
RM. 400
3333 Busbee Drive
Kennesaw, GA 30144

$5 Donation at Door (Kennesaw Corps members, KSU personnel, students and children are welcomed with free admission!)


KSU Fourth Annual Collector’s Showcase

ECW Weekender: Camels at Vicksburg National Military Park!

Come on out and join the Texas Camel Corps on July 21, 2018! This special event is being held at Vicksburg National Military Park once again, highlighting a unique aspect of the western theater of the Civil War: camels!

Confederate President Jefferson Davis had – first as a United States senator, then as Secretary of War – advocated for the usage of camels as pack animals in the southwestern territories before the Civil War. United States Naval Lieutenant David Dixon Porter was ordered to the Mediterranean Sea as part of the procurement and transportation of these experimental animals. Even Robert E. Lee, as the command of the Department of Texas prior to the war, had been involved in ordering reconnaissance by camels against Apache tribes.

Finding his way to Mississippi, “Old Douglas” was a gift to Colonel William M. Moore of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry. Used to carry the regimental bands instruments and baggage, Douglas the camel was also know to spook horses otherwise not used to seeing such animals. Just prior to the Second Battle of Corinth, Mississippi, “Old Douglas” caused a stampede with quickly escalated into a full on panic with the brigade near Iuka. All of these stories and other fascinating history will be shared at this upcoming event!

Camels at Vicksburg (Photo from VNMP Facebook Event Page)

This wonderful opportunity will be available as a free program on July 21, 2018, at 10AM and 2PM located at the old superintendent’s quarters within the park boundaries. Visitors looking for directional information can stop inside the park’s visitor center for details and procure a park brochure with map. Normal entrance fees apply at $20 per vehicle (valid for 7 days). Vicksburg National Military Park gates open at 8:00AM and close at 5:00PM CST.

Facebook Event Page

Vicksburg National Military Park

ECW Weekender: Gettysburg Sites (Off The Beaten Path)

Going to Gettysburg this weekend or at some other time this summer? We’ve got a list of sites you might want to explore.

In 2016, Kristopher White wrote a series called Gettysburg: Off The Beaten Path, and these historic locations are great places to visit on a weekend battlefield adventure.

Check out the full list of blog posts here in our archives: Off The Beaten Path!

If you visit a site this weekend, we’d love to hear about it in a comment.

Sickles wounding site monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Photo by Kristopher D. White

ECW Weekender: The Historic Artillery Battery at Virginia Military Institute

There are many battlefields and historic sites to visit to study the creation, use, and preservation of artillery pieces. For today’s Weekender post (keeping with the artillery series theme), we’ll journey away from the battlefields to a location where young men learned the use of cannon and where artillery became part of a military school’s heritage and tradition.

Photograph by S.K. Bierle.

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) crowns the hill, overlooking the town of Lexington, Virginia, and the Maury River. There are several cannons located on the Institute grounds, but most visitors are attracted to the line of four, red-wheeled cannons at the north end of the parade field, watched over by the sculpted figure of “Stonewall” Jackson.

These cannons – named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and originally used by VMI cadets for drill – briefly formed part of the Rockbridge Artillery during the early days Civil War. Why were they named after the four gospels in the Christian Bible? Well, the first commander of the Rockbridge Artillery – William Nelson Pendleton, from Lexington – served as an Episcopalian minister prior to and during the conflict. He theorized that his artillery pieces would “preach the gospel” by striking fear into the enemy hearts and prompting many battlefield conversions. Eventually, full-size cannons arrived for the Rockbridge Artillery. The guns finally returned “home” for the last time in 1875 by the federal government which had disarmed the school during the early Reconstruction Period.

The artillery pieces, cast specially built for VMI by Cyrus Alger Foundry in Boston in 1848, were purposely created smaller than standard cannon sizes for easier handing and since the cadets typically moved them by muscle-power around the drilling field. The cannon tubes weigh over 550 pounds each, and the artillery carriages, which have been replaced many times through the years – are now constructed on cast aluminum carriages, crafted to the original dimensions and appearance from a more durable material than the traditional wood.

With these cannons, Major Jackson – the grim, stoic professor of natural philosophy and instructor of artillery – taught teens the principles of artillery during the 1850’s; many of his students became Confederate artillerymen or commanders during the Civil War. Fittingly, a statue of “Stonewall”, sculpted by Moses J. Ezekiel, a former VMI cadet, stands guard over the battery. On the statue’s pedestal the inscription reads: “The Virginia Military Institute will be heard from today,” one of Jackson’s quotes prior to the flank attack at Chancellorsville.

Photograph by author

If you visited Virginia Military Institute with artillery in mind, be sure to take a look at the other historic cannons. Across from the Washington Arch Barracks, you’ll find eight cannon. Six of them – French bronze guns – are original from the 17th Century. The other two – cast at Richmond’s Tredegar Foundry – were created from bronze salvaged from French cannons left behind during the Revolutionary War and used by the Letcher Artillery.

For more information about visiting Virginia Military Institute and exploring their museums, please visit:

Civil War Medical History at Ellwood

Check out this exciting opportunity at Ellwood on the Wilderness battlefield by our friends at the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield this weekend.

Civil War Medical History at Ellwood
(Note: This event is in conjunction with our dinner at the Generals Quarters on June 15. There are a few tickets left so hurry and make your reservation if you have not already done so! You may RSVP on our website below.)
Saturday, June 16, 2018 
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, June 17, 2018
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Special presentation at 1:00 P.M.Saturday, June 16.
(Please bring a lawn chair!)
Guided Walking Tours on Saturday, June 16, at 11:30 A.M. and 2:30 P.M.
Civil War Medical History Event at Ellwood Manor!
Please join us on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 – 17, 2018, for demonstrations by Living Historians regarding medical practices during the American Civil War.  Medicine and surgery methods are a captivating – and often misunderstood – aspect of the Civil War. Living Historians representing the 2nd Corps Hospital Unit (CSA) will be on site all day Saturday, and until 3:00 PM on Sunday, to talk with visitors about various facets of the Civil War medical and hospital procedures and address some of the common misconceptions of the care and treatment of Civil War soldiers.
Special programs will also be offered on Saturday, June 16.  Join us at 1:00 P.M. for a presentation discussing the wounding of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Civil War Medicine in general, and Ellwood as a Confederate Convalescent Hospital following the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863.  Jackson was the most famous of the thousands of wounded Confederate soldiers treated at the Wilderness Tavern and Ellwood hospital complex during and immediately after the fighting at Chancellorsville. After the vast majority of the casualties were evacuated to points further south days after the battle ended, those so badly injured that they might not survive the trip remained at Ellwood for up to several months. Please bring a comfortable lawn chair and a bottle of water to ensure your comfort at the presentation.
Guided walking tours to the Wilderness Tavern hospital site and the Wilderness Crossroads will also be offered on Saturday at 11:30 A.M. and approximately 2:30 P.M., following the 1:00 P.M. program. General Jackson’s left arm was amputated near the tavern after his wounding at Chancellorsville. The tour takes approximately an hour and fifteen minutes and begins at the small fence just behind the house.  It is approximately 1.5 miles in length over unpaved terrain. Visitors will see parts of historic road traces of the Orange Turnpike, Germanna Plank Road, and the Ellwood Carriage Road, as well as crossing over the Wilderness Run on a solid wooden footbridge.  Sturdy walking shoes and appropriate hiking clothes are recommended, as well as using sunscreen, insect repellent, and bringing along a bottle of water.
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will be available to assist visitors with possible ancestral connections with the Battle of the Wilderness or to Ellwood, in the Heritage Program Tent on the grounds.
The historic structure Ellwood will be open from 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. and FoWB interpreters will be available to talk with visitors and answer questions.
All programs are free and open to the public.
Ellwood Manor is a circa 1790 house within Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  The cemetery contains the grave of Confederate General  “Stonewall” Jackson’s amputated arm from the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the house was a Federal headquarters during the Battle of the Wilderness.  Ellwood Manor is owned by the National Park Service. Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is pleased to steward the property in partnership with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. For more information or directions, please visit us at the following link:

ECW Weekender: Cold Harbor Battlefield Park

(Hanover County Parks & Recreation)

Many visitors to the Cold Harbor battlefield expect to see the infamous ground of the failed Union assault on June 3, 1864. Unfortunately much of that land is publicly inaccessibly, though the National Park Service interprets a portion where the Eighteenth Corps attacked and the American Battlefield Trust is actively working to preserve additional battlefield parcels further to the south. The story of Cold Harbor is more than just that one bloody morning. Richmond National Battlefield Park does preserve much of the land where portions of the Union and Confederate armies battled on June 1st, setting the stage for the failed assaults less than thirty-six hours later. The soldier experience in the trenches for nearly two weeks is also featured, particularly at Cold Harbor Battlefield Park–a county park on Cold Harbor Road just half a mile further east from the NPS Visitor Center.

Hanover County owns fifty acres of mostly forested land south of Cold Harbor Road, Highway 156. The county parcel surrounds the NPS-preserved Garthright House on three sides. (Cold Harbor National Cemetery, operated by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, is just to the north across Route 156). In partnership with Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Cold Harbor Ruritans, the county designed and maintains a paved mile-long interpretive walking trail.

Fifteen wayside exhibits dot the trail in addition to several on the grounds of the Garthright House. The structure’s interior is not open to the public. The exhibits focus primarily on the staging of the June 3rd attack, the close proximity of the front lines, and the development of a complicated trench network. A very well preserved artillery redoubt is the highlight along the trail. The site also offers the only picnic tables in the area for battlefield tourists.

Visitors to Cold Harbor, whether on the 154th anniversary this weekend or another time, would be wise to visit the NPS Visitor Center first and then extend their tour of the battlefield at Hanover County’s Cold Harbor Battlefield Park, 6005 Cold Harbor Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

Cold Harbor Battlefield Park Hiking Trail Guide (map by author)