History buffs will gather at West Virginia University this month to discuss West Virginias early statehood and other issues surrounding the Civil War.

The fifth annual Civil War Symposium sponsored by the Mason-Dixon Civil War Round table of Morgantown will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at WVU s Erickson Alumni Center.

Co-sponsors of the event are WVU s Department of History in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Stonewall Jackson Civil War Round table of Bridgeport, with funding from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The symposium is being held in conjunction with the Department of Historys 2007 U.S. Senator Rush D. Holt History Conference April 12-14 and with an exhibit on Abraham Lincoln and West Virginia history in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection (WVRHC) on the sixth floor of the Wise Library on the Downtown Campus.

Kenneth W. Noe, Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University and a frequent speaker on the Civil War, will give the symposiums keynote speech,West Virginias Guerrilla War: The First Year,at 1:15 p.m. Noes presentation is free and open to the public.

Other speakers and topics are:

  • Mark A. Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War and research professor of history at Shepherd University, will discuss the experiences of civilians in what is now West Virginias eastern panhandle as they found themselves overwhelmed by soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies before and after the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg.
  • Don Rigone, a lawyer from Greensburg, Pa., and frequent speaker on Civil War subjects, will speak about the 39th New York Garibaldi Guards, a unit stationed at Harpers Ferry during the Antietam Campaign, their role in the war and their involvement at Harpers Ferry.
  • Kenneth L. Carvell, emeritus professor of forestry at WVU , will discuss Fort Mulligan, located at Petersburg, in Grant County. Fort Mulligan is the finest set of Civil War trenches extant in West Virginia today. Carvell will also explain the impact of the troop movements in the valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River on the wars outcome, as well as the importance of the Union presence in the valley to West Virginias statehood.
  • Lee Miller, a resident of northern West Virginia and Civil War reenactor, will be on hand with his mountain howitzer. Miller will explain and demonstrate how Civil War artillery was transported, unlimbered for battle, loaded, aimed and fired.

In addition, there will be demonstrations of Civil War drill, rifle firing and cannon firing beginning at 3:15 p.m.

The Mason-Dixon Civil War Round table of Morgantown is a club that meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month in the Great Room at Heritage Village in Morgantown. The club was organized about seven years ago to discuss Civil War history and share books and information.

The symposium was started shortly thereafter to promote the study of history in the community. The event has drawn as many as 70 people in the past, said member Paul Stevenson.

We have pretty good local support,Stevenson said.The symposium is great for people interested in the history of West Virginia. It produces a lot of background on the formation of the state. Its perfect for all those interested in the Civil War, including reenactors and historians.

The cost of the symposium is $50. The cost for students and members of co-sponsoring organizations is $30. Registration cost includes lunch, refreshments and program notebook.

Advance registration can be obtained by mailing a check or money order (made payable to Mason-Dixon Civil War Round table) to George Trapp, 1377 Braewick Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505 . People can also register at the door April 14 at 8:30 a.m.

The symposium is made possible by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this symposium or related publications do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For further information, contact Jack Bowman at 304-599-5537 or fjbowman@comcast.net .