History buffs will gather at West Virginia University Saturday, April 19, to discuss the Civil War and West Virginias early statehood.
The sixth annual Civil War Symposium, organized by the West Virginia Mason-Dixon Civil War Round Table, a group of history enthusiasts based in Morgantown, will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the College of Law on WVU s Evansdale Campus.
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, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This years program will showcase the following speakers and subjects:
- Peter Carmichael , Eberly Professor of Civil War History at WVU , will present the keynote address on the Battle of Shepherdstown, fought in the course of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lees withdrawal across the Potomac following the Battle of Antietam. Decisive action by commanders Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill saved the Confederate Army from potentially disastrous consequences.
- W. Hunter Lesser , author of the widely acclaimedRebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided,will present a lecture,Art in the First Year of the Civil War.He will cover howflatlandersoldiers from places like Indiana depicted West Virginias terrain as even more rugged and difficult to traverse than it actually was.
- William Link , the Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida, will speak onThe Secession Crisis and West Virginia Exceptionalism.He will explain how West Virginia came into being.
- Dr. Mathew Lively , a faculty member in WVU s School of Medicine, will tell the story ofThe Death of Stonewall Jackson.He will explain what wounded and ill soldiers faced in the way of medical care before germ theory was fully understood and accepted and when anesthesia was, at best, a crude undertaking.
- Patty Cooper , a Parkersburg native, will present a living history portrayal,Belle Boyd: Girl Spy in the Shenandoah Valley.She will explain how a 17-year-old girl from Martinsburg found herself in the midst of the bloodiest war in U.S. historyin a border area where the war was truly brother against brotherand how she turned her wartime experiences into a postwar career.
The symposium will also feature exhibits of Civil War memorabilia; vendors of books relating to the period; and Civil War reenactors, including Lee Miller of Morgantown, who will bring a Civil War reproduction mountain howitzer, the most common type of artillery piece used in West Virginia during the conflict. The program will include a demonstration of Civil War-era military drill.
In addition, the WVU LibrariesWest Virginia and Regional History Collection, located on the sixth floor of the Downtown Campus Library, will be exhibiting rare and important historical artifacts from the Civil War period. Among the items on display will be artifacts that belonged to Jackson, arms and documents of Union and Confederate soldiers from West Virginia, telegrams between Gens. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant negotiating the Confederate surrender at Appomattox and many other historical items, said John Cuthbert, curator of the collection. The exhibit at the Downtown Library is free and open to the public.
The Civil War Symposium is open to the public for a registration fee of $50, which includes lunch and snacks. The cost for students and members of sponsoring organizations is $30. Those interested in attending should contact George Trapp at 1377 Braewick Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505 or 304-599-1175. People can also register at the door April 19 at 8:30 a.m.