Browsing All Posts filed under »Shenandoah Valley history«

A Southern Unionist goes home, pt. 2.

June 17, 2015 by

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Continuing with Porte Crayon’s “Home”… but first, as mentioned in the blog post on Tuesday, keep in mind that Crayon (David Hunter Strother) lays out a story that differs from his actual experiences of returning home to Martinsburg and then later, Berkeley Springs. Still, one has to wonder where reality might intersect with fiction. We […]

A Southern Unionist goes home.

June 16, 2015 by

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By far, one of my favorite blogging experiences of the Sesqui was posting David Hunter Strother’s accounts of the early war (before he joined the Union army), in real time. It should be no surprise, therefore, that I often find myself returning to Strother for the rich content he left behind. Interestingly, in addition to […]

With the end of the Sesqui, a return to meatier content?

June 11, 2015 by

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It’s been nearly two months since my last blog posts, and one might think, with the end of the Sesquicentennial (don’t split hairs with me… I know there’s more that can be considered “on the calendar”, this year… and one event of interest to me is on the horizon), so too came the end to this blog. Not […]

Present for the last gasps… on the 150th of Five Forks

April 1, 2015 by

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I thought about how this post might come together, and I think my reflections are on both the meaning of the day, and on the manner in which I’ve taken-in a lot of the Sesqui. So… … it was on this day, 150 years ago that the Army of Northern Virginia suffered a critical defeat […]

A different contribution to the “Sesqui landscape”, on the last days of the war

March 26, 2015 by

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It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine… I subscribe to a number of different Civil War-related blogs, sites, Facebook pages, etc., and over the last week or so, I’ve watched as many have focused on the closing fights… at places like Bentonville and Fort Stedman. While even I noted the anniversary of the attack on Stedman (not in […]

Connecting a signed book with an actor, the Alamo, the Shenandoah… and Lincoln

March 5, 2015 by

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With what has become an unintentional series of “every other year” posts (see here from 2011, and here, from 2013) about the Alamo, since 2011… the timing seemed right for this post… Just this past year, I was looking to add a book to my collection… one written by John Pendleton Kennedy (1795-1870) that might also […]

“Be Kind”

February 11, 2015 by

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I really need to get back to J.K. Paulding, and hope to do so soon, but in the meantime… Lacking in my knowledge of the Crusades (apart from the romantic efforts of antebellum Virginians to recapture a little of that), I spent some time recently (thanks to a recent event that made news), looking at a […]

James Kirke Paulding provides a window to the early nineteenth century Shenandoah

January 26, 2015 by

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In digging backwards from the Civil War, through the literature that mentions the Shenandoah Valley, I came upon a great work written by James Kirke Paulding. In 1816, Paulding ventured into the Valley and apparently stuck around a bit, providing some details as to what he encountered. So, what is the value of reading experiences […]

An Antebellum snapshot of “The Tuleyries”

January 3, 2015 by

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Note to the reader: Please, if visiting the Virginia Arboretum, remember… “The Tuleyries” is private property and the grounds are not open for visits. All of the photos you see in this post were taken from a distance. Thanks. Following up from my walk this past Sunday… For starters… let’s get the name issue cleared […]

A walk at “Tuleyries”

December 28, 2014 by

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Earlier today, circumstances were such that I had an opportunity to catch a glimpse at a sunrise. Granted, it was overcast, but watching the dawning of a new day can still be pleasant enough. My destination… the Virginia Arboretum (aka, Blandy Experimental Farm). Why? For one, it’s free… and open, literally, from dawn to dusk. […]

“Papers and books were scattered everywhere…”: A Day at The Briars

December 26, 2014 by

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In speaking with someone just the other day, I mentioned how I’ve had an incredibly enjoyable time working through the nineteenth century literature of the Shenandoah Valley… meaning, the literature generated by those who lived here, and by those from without who wrote about the Valley and its people. In fact, I’m still working through […]

Revisiting the movie,”Field of Lost Shoes”… and the portrayal of “Old Judge”

December 19, 2014 by

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It’s no mystery that I cared little for the movie the Field of Lost Shoes. Folks can go to Keith Harris’ online journal, The Americanist Independent (access is free now), to see the review that I wrote. In short, the story of the VMI cadets and their New Market experience deserves thoughtful consideration… and a film worthy of […]

Charles T. O’Ferrall remembers the trial of Southern Unionist, Col. John Strother

December 8, 2014 by

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Something I ran across again, just recently… and, a pleasant “revisit” of a couple of my favorite topics (Southern Unionism and David Hunter Strother). As some may recall, I have mentioned the incident relating to the capture and trial of Col. John Strother in a previous post… as remembered by his son, David Hunter Strother. No […]

Stonewall Jackson’s sister-in-law on… Thanksgiving.

November 27, 2014 by

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For a number of years I’ve posted different perspectives on Thanksgiving (here, here, and here, for example), and usually related to “Southern memory”. Ultimately, there seems to be a tug of war between traditional and historic firsts. Yet, while there are those who stand resistant to the tradition inspired by Massachusetts Bay’s Puritans, perhaps they shouldn’t […]

To find a cavalry battlefield… on the back roads of Frederick County, pt 3

November 15, 2014 by

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Alright… so where is the portion of the battlefield, of November 12, 1864, where the 7th Virginia saw their heaviest fighting of the day? As I mentioned yesterday… after coming to the aid of the 11th Virginia Cavalry, on the south bank of Cedar Creek, the 7th and the 12th moved to Middle Road to […]

To find a cavalry battlefield… on the back roads of Frederick County, part 2

November 13, 2014 by

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Continuing in my effort to figure out the site of the cavalry fight of November 12, I turned again to Pennington’s report… knowing he had provided estimated distances from Mount Zion to Cedar Creek, and beyond Lebanon Church. Pennington wrote: I moved out with the whole brigade and attacked the enemy… succeeded in driving him […]

To find a cavalry battlefield… on the back roads of Frederick County, pt. 1

November 12, 2014 by

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While I’ve known for many years that one of my great-great grandfathers was grievously wounded, on November 12, 1864, I’ve never given the location much thought. It just seemed that, given the information available in his service record, Pvt. James Harvey Mayes was wounded in a fight at the little village of Nineveh, just north […]

Happy 239th, Marines! Here’s to “Chesty”… and with a Civil War tie-in.

November 10, 2014 by

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Ask any Marine, and he/she will know the significance of Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller… period. Likewise, it should be no surprise that the legend of “Chesty” finds its way to the kids of Marines. And, so it goes with me. I don’t know when, exactly, but… it was probably before I was nine, when I thumbed my […]

Literary musings on the Valley… November

November 7, 2014 by

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When the chill winds of November admonished me to depart, I prepared to travel alone on horseback. My simple preparations being soon completed, I bade a sorrowful adieu to my friends and to the homestead of my youth, where every object was pleasant and dear to my soul. Never had I felt so melancholy. My previous […]

The other Jimmy Stewart and a “Shenandoah”/”It’s a Wonderful Life” twist

November 5, 2014 by

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In many ways, the dust is starting to settle on the Sesqui of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley. That’s not to say, however, that with the Battle of Cedar Creek, there’s nothing more worth noting. Just as an example, next week, I’ll be marking the anniversary of one engagement that won’t otherwise get […]

When Dr. Henry Ruffner gave his “bah, humbug” to German superstitions

October 30, 2014 by

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Since it’s Halloween Eve, I figured I would fall back on an article that I read in the past year, which was written by a Shenandoah Valley author. I’ve mentioned Henry Ruffner in this blog before, mostly because of the famous “Ruffner Pamphlet” and how it pertained to slavery in antebellum Virginia. Yet, as with all […]

Things old that are new again…

October 14, 2014 by

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I’ve come into some unusually good deals lately and have added significantly to the “old wing” of my library… hence old things are indeed new again. The majority of these (in fact, all but the two on the top) date prior to the Civil War. Essentially, all that you see here have connections to the […]

Thoughts on the opening days of “the Burning”

September 27, 2014 by

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In a rare opportunity (at least it’s been rather rare, for me, in these past two months) this morning, I had the chance to sit in my study… a window open… and enjoy a cup of coffee while I took in all that I could on this early Autumn day. The cool air (a brisk […]

Thinking about the Sesqui of Strother’s farewell from the army

August 9, 2014 by

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Around 1:30 p.m. (I’m almost to the very minute when posting this), 150 years ago on this day, David Hunter Strother boarded a train at Harper’s Ferry, bound for Baltimore. He was just taking 20 days leave of absence… but ultimately, it sure appears as if he had had his fill of war. Was it […]

Dissecting a battlefield: on the Sesquicentenial of the Battle of Cool Spring

July 19, 2014 by

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I attended the first half of the Sesqui commemorative tour at Cool Spring yesterday… and a well-attended event it was (see Craig’s post about it, here). While I enjoyed hearing about the battle that unfolded along the Shenandoah River, I have to say… the infatuation I have with the cultural (pre-war and wartime) settings of […]

One narrow vision… followed by a more remarkable set of 19th century observations by Brantz Mayer

July 11, 2014 by

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I read, somewhere recently, about how someone holds such low regard for Harper’s Ferry… because… as this person sees things… the site interprets John Brown as a hero. It’s actually odd, but John Brown only crosses my mind a couple of times when I visit (which, as regular readers know, is often) Harper’s Ferry, and when he […]

Valley men rush to the defense of… Washington?

July 8, 2014 by

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This past weekend, I spent a little time enjoying the “Invasion Stalled” program at Harper’s Ferry. While it did indeed stall… Gen. Jubal Early bypassed Harper’s Ferry, and continued his press toward Washington. Gen. Ulysses Grant, however, didn’t hesitate, and by July 6 had dispatched more troops to deal with Early’s advance. Those extra troops […]

D.H. Strother observes… “negro servants bearing arms”

June 29, 2014 by

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This afternoon, I spent some time revisiting Strother’s recollections of the early war. As always, “Porte Crayon” never disappoints… Still a civilian at the time, Strother made various notes regarding what he saw on Saturday, June 15, 1861 (153 years ago this month), as Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates marched through Charles Town, Virginia… Looking along […]