Browsing All Posts filed under »Shenandoah Valley in the Civil War«

A placemarker in my considerations of the American Colonization Society

August 12, 2015 by


For those who have continued to follow my ramblings through old annual reports of the American Colonization Society, I’ve got a little more to follow. I’ve skipped around a bit between the 1820s and the 1850s, and looking at a few other resources at my disposal, I found something worthwhile from the 1850s regarding the […]

In the wake of Nat Turner – further encouragement to the American Colonization Society?

August 1, 2015 by


I find what follows to be worthy of introduction into the discussion about the American Colonization Society. How did the Nat Turner Rebellion impact the efforts of the ACS? Perhaps more importantly, what did the discussions of 1831/32 mean to Virginians by 1861? You’ll note that I link freely to Encyclopedia Virginia… a rich resource […]

“That slavery is an evil no one can deny”

July 8, 2015 by


As we look to the past, we might be familiar with wording similar to what follows: Africa, the pride of antiquity, and the original seat of the arts and sciences, has for three hundred years been visited with every act of oppression which could be devised by the tyranny or injustice of mankind. After improving […]

A Southern Unionist goes home, pt. 2.

June 17, 2015 by


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


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 […]

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

April 1, 2015 by


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


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 […]

“Be Kind”

February 11, 2015 by


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 […]

An Antebellum snapshot of “The Tuleyries”

January 3, 2015 by


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


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. […]

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

December 19, 2014 by


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


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


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


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


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


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 […]

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

November 5, 2014 by


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 […]

Thoughts on the opening days of “the Burning”

September 27, 2014 by


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


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


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


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


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


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 […]

A follow-up on Faulkner and his thoughts on slavery

June 22, 2014 by


I happened to be passing through Hagerstown yesterday, and had the chance to slip in to the public library for about 2 hours, to browse through older editions of the newspapers. One of my objectives… to look-up articles about Faulkner. What I found didn’t disappoint, including one particular piece that gave a hint as to […]

What might we learn from C.J. Faulkner’s speech of Jan. 1832?

June 19, 2014 by


For years, I’ve thought an argument was extremely weak. Descendants defending Confederate ancestors…. that they did not fight for slavery. A lot of folks base it simply on the fact that an ancestor did not own slaves. It’s a poor foundation for an argument, and I don’t recommend it. On the other hand, we have […]

A Father’s Day story with a Sesqui tie-in

June 15, 2014 by


It’s ironic, but today is the 150th anniversary of an event that is unique… it’s about fathers… and it happens to fall on Father’s Day. That said, I wish I could say it will leave you with a warm feeling, but… June 15, 1864 was a Wednesday. Of that day, David Hunter Strother remembered Early […]

Strother and the 1st New York Cavalry on African-American Conscripts in Winchester

June 14, 2014 by


I’ve been enjoying myself much this morning by reading through David Hunter Strother’s coverage of events from March to June 1864. Whenever I read Strother, I’m never disappointed at his observations and what he is thinking. That said, I’m pretty sure if I actually had the opportunity, this guy would be at the top of […]

“Porte Crayon” in Harrisonburg, June 2, 1864

June 2, 2014 by


It’s been an extraordinarily busy past few months, and postings here have suffered mightily for it. That said, last night I happened to “catch-up” with David Hunter Strother, as the Federal army advanced up the Shenandoah Valley toward Staunton. As of June 2, Strother awoke (near New Market) to find his “fine bay horse” gone… […]

A Valley man returns to the Wilderness

May 6, 2014 by


Thinking still of the fighting in the Wilderness this week, I recall a passage in a book of mine (Ups and Downs of a Confederate Soldier) in which a Valley man (James Huffman) reflected on his youth and one of his passages through the Wilderness, around 1854. When I was about fourteen, I began to […]

Confederates by choice… or by circumstance?

May 3, 2014 by


Here were are again… on the eve of a major period of Sesqui events. Just to the east, there is the Overland Campaign… and closer to home, here in the Shenandoah Valley… there is Sigel’s advance up the Valley. Yet, to me, there are more than troop movements and battles, especially when May of 1864 […]


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