A West Virginia University history professor and author of several Civil War books is spearheading a project aimed at preserving a historic Civil War battlefield in West Virginias Eastern Panhandle.
Peter Carmichael, Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies, will also join a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and another Civil War expert Tuesday (Jan. 20) in New York to discuss the military strategy of Americas deadliest conflict.
The Civil War was a decisive moment in our history,said Carmichael, whose books on the subject includeThe Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and ReunionandAudacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee.
It was Americas first revolution, as the destruction of slavery and supremacy of the national government was achieved on the sacred ground of our battlefields,he added.
Preserving some of that sacred ground is the goal behind a project the Civil War buff and students in his graduate class are working on.
In collaboration with the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, they will prepare a historic resource study of the Battle of Shepherdstown and record a podcast walking tour of the battlefield. The 1862 battle came at the close of the Antietam campaign, the first major battle to take place on northern soil.
This battle was important because it was the end to the Army of Northern Virginias Antietam campaign, one of the pivotal moments during the Civil War,Carmichael said.Not enough has been done to document the battle and help give more access to Civil War historians and the thousands of tourists who flock to Antietam every year.
Many want to see where the campaign was concluded, but there is little in the way of interpretive signs or trails to assist them,Carmichael added.Hopefully, our study and podcast will help.”
The battle, fought Sept. 19-20, 1862, involved about 9,000 troops and ended with 677 casualties. The battlefield is about a mile east of Shepherdstown.
The boards of directors of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and Morgantown Civil War Roundtable are providing funding for the study and podcast. In addition, the Preservation Association has agreed to provide signage on the battlefield that will coordinate with the walking tour podcast.
The members of the Preservation Association are appreciative of the effort that Professor Carmichael and his students are making to produce the study and podcast,said Ed Dunleavy, president.Despite last years publication of the first full-length account of the Battle of Shepherdstown, there remains some skepticism regarding the battles location and relevance. Im sure that the study and podcast will finally eliminate any doubts.
On another front, Carmichael will lend his voice to a discussion on the military tactics of Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 20) at the New York Historical Society in Manhattan. The discussion is part of the Historical Societys Grant and Lee in War and Peace Exhibition.
Joining him will be Josiah Bunting III , president of the Lehrman American Studies Center at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Del., and author ofUlysses S. Grant,and James McPherson, George Henry Davis86 Professor of American History emeritus at Princeton University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winningBattle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.
The talk will explore how the North proposed to win the war, whether the course of the war changed its mission and its expectation, and how the South defended itself.
Carmichael joined the history faculty in WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 2007.
He earned a bachelors degree in history from Indiana University at Indianapolis and masters and doctoral degrees from The Pennsylvania State University.
He was named a Mellon Research Fellow at the Virginia Historical Society in 2002 and formerly served as a scholar-in-residence at Gettysburg (Pa.) National Military Park.