A Recap of our Facebook LIVE Interviews from the 2018 Symposium

RobChrisDan 2018 Symposium FB LiveIf you missed out on our Facebook LIVE broadcasts from the Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, here’s a chance for you to catch up. Hosted by ECW’s Chris Mackowski and filmed by Paige Gibbons-Backus, our segments offered interviews with some of our speakers, insights from some of ECW’s historians, previews and recaps of different aspects of the Symposium, and more. (You don’t need to be a Facebook member to watch, either!)

A preview with Symposium coordinators Rob Orrison and Dan Welch.

Rob and Dan’s stunt doubles, Bert Dunkerly and Steven Phan, step in for a minute.

Bert Dunkerly offers a preview of his kick-off address, “Turning Points.”

Kevin Pawlak talks about Antietam as a turning point of the war.

A post-panel powwow with Drew Gruber, Steven Phan, Kevin Pawlak, Bert Dunkerly, and Paige Gibbons-Backus.

A Saturday-morning kick-off with Dan Welch and a look around the event hall.

Legendary Park Service historian Scott Hartwig talks about his keynote address and his current writing projects.

Greg Mertz talks about the wounding of Albert Sydney Johnston at Shiloh.

Jim Morgan talks about the battle of Ball’s Bluff and the creation of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

ECW’s chief historian, Chris Kolakowski, talks about his take-aways so far about “turning points of the Civil War.”

Spotlighting a pair of ECW’s friends, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield

Talking Emerging Revolutionary War with Mark Malloy, Rob Orrison, and Phill Greenwalt

Joking around with one of the great one-man comedy shows in history, Matt Atkinson

Chris Kolakowski and Dan Davis talk about Ulysses S. Grant

Wrapping up at the “afterparty” at the 1781 Brewery/Wilderness Run Winery, with guest appearances by a whole bunch of folks!

Plus, watch ECW’s 2018 Awards Presentation


The ECW Symposium on Facebook LIVE

Facebook at 2018 SymposiumThe Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge has been roaring along with a sold-out crowd, but even if you’re at home, you can join in on some of the fun. We’re offering a slew of Facebook LIVE broadcasts on our Facebook page. You can join along here.

On our Facebook page, we have exclusive interviews with a number of our speakers, including our keynote speaker, legendary Park Service historian Scott Hartwig. There’s lots of great stuff to check out. AND, we want you to join in the conversation with your own comments and observations. 

We’ll be posting more interviews throughout the day, so keep watching.

C-SPAN was here last night, and they’ll be here again this afternoon. The episodes they record will appear beginning this fall. We’ll keep you posted as they let us know when the episodes get scheduled.

Symposium Time is Nearly Here!

SR Before 2018 SymposiumAnticipation is building as we prepare for the kick-off of our Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge later today!

While we’re sold out, there’s room for you to follow along some of the action on our Facebook page. We’ll post live interviews all afternoon/evening starting this afternoon, and again all day tomorrow. We also have a cool announcement to share.

It’s our way to give those of you at home a little taste of the fun we’re having here! 

At 7:00 this evening, we’ll also broadcast live our annual awards presentations. The program will run about 15 minutes and will include our ECW Book Award and the Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History.

C-SPAN is joining us again this year. While they won’t be live, they will be taping programs this evening and on Saturday afternoon. (Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough crew to cover Saturday morning, too–sorry!) We’ll keep you posted here at ECW about when the segments will eventually air this fall.

Get ready for some excitement–it promises to be a fun few days!

ECW Symposium Traffic Alert

If you’re traveling to our Symposium…

The Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium is being held in Northern Virginia. Traffic in this area of the I-95 corridor can be EXTREMELY heavy on Friday afternoons/evenings, especially if you are traveling in from the north. Please note this as you plan your trip.

There are numerous routes to get to Stevenson Ridge, although many attendees will use the I-95 corridor.

If approaching Fredericksburg from I-95 South, Exit 126A is the most direct exit, but if there is heavy traffic, consider using Exit 118.

If approaching Fredericksburg from the I-95 North-Exit 126A is the most direct exit, but if there is heavy traffic, consider using Exit 130A or 133A.

Click here to use Map Quest. Or if you prefer Google Maps, click here. 

The address of Stevenson Ridge is:
6901 Meeting Street
Spotsylvania, VA 22553

Please visit the Symposium Event Page and use the drop down menus on our header bar for more information.

Symposium Spotlight: McClellen’s Defeat Before Richmond


by ECW Correspondent Jenna Cosentino

Doug Crenshaw likes to help people discover the Civil War the way his uncle helped him. Every year on Crenshaw’s birthday, his uncle would send him books about the Civil War. “He probably sent me about 8 books, including the classic American Heritage Civil War,” Crenshaw said. “I completely wore that one out and had to get another copy years later.”

Crenshaw’s uncle passed away in 1968, when Crenshaw was 14. Even afterwards, though, Crenshaw continued learning more and more about the war.

Crenshaw is now an author of Civil War books, with three currently under his belt and two more under contract. He’s also a volunteer at the Richmond National Battlefield Park, a member of the Richmond Civil War Roundtable, and a master when it comes to the Civil War around the former Confederate capital. 

Crenshaw attended Randolph-Macon College, where he studied history, and did graduate work at the University of Richmond. “I had incredible professors who encouraged me to think, dig deeper, and instilled a deep love for learning and writing,” Crenshaw said.

As he grew older, he became more and more involved with the Richmond National Battlefield, which led to becoming a volunteer for 10 years. Crenshaw loves being a tour guide for people who visit the battlefield because he gets to share his knowledge, and he has so much fun doing it. “My training in history was a great background for this. In history, you learn to research, write, speak in public, and more,” Crenshaw said.

During Crenshaw’s career, he has written Fort Harrison and The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm: To Surprise and Capture Richmond, which was nominated in the nonfiction category for a Library of Virginia Literary award; The Battle of Glendale: Robert E. Lee’s Lost Opportunity; and Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up: The Seven Days’ Battles, June 25-July 1, 1862. Crenshaw is currently working on a book with Drew Gruber on the Peninsula Campaign for the Emerging Civil War series and another on Richmond during the war with Bert Dunkerly.

“People hated history but said they liked it after reading my books,” Crenshaw said. “Most people who I run into don’t know anything about the Civil War, so I get to help introduce them.” He is passionate about his writing because he gets to tell the stories of the people who were in the Civil War so they are not forgotten.

Crenshaw will be bringing his expertise to this summer’s Fifth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge.

“When General Lee took over the Army of Northern Virginia on June 1, 1862, things were going very badly for the Confederacy, and it was possible that the war would soon be lost,” Crenshaw said. “George McClellan’s massive army was at the very doorstep of Richmond, only about five miles out. McClellan’s goal was only to put down the rebellion, and he had no interest in freeing the slaves.”

But then came the turning point that Crenshaw will discuss at this year’s symposium. “Lee’s daring attacks drove McClellan from Richmond and was a turning point of the war in the east,” he said.

Crenshaw said there was another turning point as well: “With McClellan’s defeat, Lincoln would soon be moved to draft the Emancipation Proclamation.” Although McClellan had no interest in freeing the slave, Lincoln’s proclamation turned the war into a war for emancipation.

Crenshaw owes all of his interest to his uncle. “I doubt that I would have the interest in the Civil War that I do without his support,” Crenshaw said. “I probably would have drifted into 20th Century American history.”


Only a limited number of tickets remain for this year’s symposium! Tickets are $155 each and cover all three days, Aug. 3-5. Click here for more information or to order tickets.


2018 Symposium Schedule Released

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve released the schedule for Emerging Civil War’s 5th Annual Symposium! Keep in mind it’s a tentative schedule – subject to minor changes – but here’s the timing and the plan…

If you’re planning to attend, get your tickets soon. Seating is limited. More information on the Symposium Page.

Friday, August 3, 2018

4:00pm: Registration

5:00pm: Bert Dunkerly, Turning Points, An Overview 

6:00pm: Scott Hartwig (Keynote Speaker), Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation

7:00pm: Historians Panel – Steve Phan, Paige Gibbons, Kevin Pawlak, Bert Dunkerly, Drew Gruber, Chris Mackowski (emcee)

8:00pm: Chris Mackowski, Closing Remarks                    

Saturday, August 4, 2018

8am:  Registration begins, coffee service

8:45am: Chris Mackowski, Welcome

9:00am: Gregory A. Mertz, Defeated Victory: Albert Sidney Johnston’s Death at Shiloh 

10:00am: James A. Morgan, Unintended Consequences: Ball’s Bluff and the Rise of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War

11:00am: Doug Crenshaw, The Rise of Lee: Richmond 1862

12:00: Lunch

1:30pm: Matthew Atkinson, Gettysburg vs. Vicksburg: What’s the Bigger Turning Point? 

2:30pm: Andrew Redd, The Election of 1864, The Point of No Return: Turning Points within the 1864 Presidential Election and the Doom of the Confederacy

3:30pm: Chris Kolakowski, Grant Takes Command

4:30pm: Edward Alexander, Grant Crosses the James

 5:30pm: Conclusion/Wrap Up

7:00pm: Evening Event at 1781 Brewery (more information at the Symposium)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

8:30am  Tour Begins – Jackson at Chancellorsville (led by Chris Mackowski)