Crossroads of History Conference

Atlanta, the Valley, and the Crossroads of History:
The Battles and Leaders That Influenced Lincoln’s Reelection in 1864

In August 1864, the outcome of the Civil War hung in the balance, and Abraham Lincoln’s chances for reelection looked doubtful – until a series of pivotal battles around Atlanta and in the Shenandoah Valley helped propel Lincoln to victory. Led by historians Gary Ecelbarger and Scott Patchan, this conference will examine those events – and the fights and personalities that changed the course of history.

8am: Check-In Desk Opens
9am: Lincoln’s Jeopardized Election Status in Summer 1864 – Gary Ecelbarger
10am: The Battle of Atlanta – Unheralded Turning Point – Gary Ecelbarger
11am: The Battle of Jonesboro and Sherman’s Capture of Atlanta – Scott Patchan
Noon: Lunch (On your own)
1:15 pm: Black Jack Logan’s 6 Months of Unprecedented Political Generalship – Gary Ecelbarger
2:15 pm: Phil Sheridan’s Leadership at the Battle of Cedar Creek: From Union Disaster to Icing on the Cake – Scott Patchan
3:15 pm: Final Actions of the Third Battle of Winchester – Tour in Old Town Winchester – Scott Patchan

The cost will be $27 for SVBF members; $30 for non-members. Lunch will be on your own. Space will be limited, and pre-registration is required.

Register Online

For more information, call the SVBF at 540-740-4545.


History at Sunset

“…there burst upon our view the appalling spectacle of a panic-stricken army…”
The William Dinges Farm (Rienzi Knoll) at Cedar Creek

Known variously as the William H. Dinges Farm, Ripple Farm or Rienzi Knoll, this historic property witnessed one of the most dramatic episodes of the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864); the arrival of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan following his non-stop ride from Winchester. Finding his army broken and demoralized, Sheridan rallied his troops and launched a devastating counterattack that afternoon which “snatched victory from the jaws of defeat,” turning Cedar Creek into a stunning Union triumph.

Join Park Ranger Jeff Driscoll for a special program that will allow the general public access to this property and explore its Battle of Cedar Creek history, Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA 22645). Visitors will then car-pool to the site.

Star Fort Kids Camp

This “mini-camp” is perfect for veteran campers or for youngsters trying it for the first time. Campers will “enlist” in a unit alongside living historians and learn about camp life, soldiers’ drills, and life in a Civil War fort, witness a musket demonstration by living historians, and take part in manning the fort’s defenses.

Open to children ages 6 to 14 on a first-come, first-served basis. The camp is FREE but pre-registration is required. To register, click the link below or call 540-740-4545. For more information, call 540-740-4545 or email

Author Talk: Private Confederacies

Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers

Author James J. Broomall will show the crisis of the war and a forced a reconfiguration of the emotional worlds of the men who took up arms for the South. The talk will also focus on returning to civilian life and how Southern veterans questioned themselves as never before, sometimes suffering from terrible self-doubt. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, Broomall argues that the crisis of defeat ultimately necessitated new forms of expression between veterans and among men and women. The talk is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase by The Winchester Book Gallery.

Fridays at the Front Battlefield Tour

Fridays at the Front – “Bullets…Like a Hail Storm”: The Battle of Rutherford’s Farm

Car caravan tour of sites related to the July 20, 1864, battle where Confederates under Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur were overwhelmed and routed by Union cavalry – a rare Federal victory amidst a series of Federal humiliations at the hands of Jubal Early. The least-known of Winchester’s six major battles, the battlefield itself has been largely overwhelmed by development, but this rare tour will allow visitors to understand the battle and learn the stories of the soldiers who fought there.

Tour is FREE, but preregistration is required. Call (540) 740-4545, or register online at:

Tour led by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation CEO Keven Walker.

Shenandoah University McCormick Civil War Institute’s Annual Spring Conference

“A House Divided…”: Dissent, Disagreement & Subversion During the Civil War Era

The Civil War era’s events–John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, the secession crisis, and four years of brutal conflict–divided more than North and South. In the spring of 2019 Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute and an all-star faculty of nationally recognized Civil War historians (Dennis Frye; recently retired chief historian from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park; Jonathan Noyalas, director of Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute; Paul Quigley, director of Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech; and Jennifer Weber, associate professor of history at University of Kansas) will examine the ways the Civil War era’s events strained relations among political officials of the same government, soldiers of the same army, communities, and friends.

Schedule of Day’s Activities

8:30-9:15 a.m. Check-in at Hester Auditorium, Henkel Hall, Shenandoah University (1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA)

9:30-10:30 a.m. Jonathan A. Noyalas, “Take Off Your Badges of Disunion”: Dissent in the Shenandoah Valley

10:30-10:45 a.m. Break

10:45-11:45 a.m. Dennis Frye, John Brown: The Spark that Ignited the Fuse

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch in Allen Dining Hall

12:45-1:45 p.m. Jennifer Weber, Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North

1:45-2:00 p.m. Break

2-3:00 p.m. Paul Quigley, Fire in the Rear: Jefferson Davis’s Confederate Adversaries

3-3:10 p.m. Break

3:10-4:00 p.m. Concluding panel and book-signing with speakers

Registration fee of $50 covers the cost of all presentations and lunch.

More information and registration

First Battle of Kernstown Tour

Kernstown Battlefield’s own expert tour guides, Mike Cannane and Larry Turner will give a tour of the First Battle of Kernstown.

The morning tour will start at the Visitors’ Center at 10 am. The morning tour is a walking tour around the Kernstown property, so dress appropriately. Shaffer’s BBQ is providing a box lunch menu. Lunches can be ordered in the morning before the tour and will be ready for the lunch break. After the lunch break, the tour will reconvene at 1 pm at the Kernstown Battlefield Visitors’ Center.

The afternoon tour is partly a driving tour, with stops at Milltown, the Opequon Presbyterian Church, Jackson’s Lookout on Apple Valley Road, Rose Hill Park and Sandy Ridge.

Other activities, including tours of the Battlefield, the 1854 Pritchard House, the Museum and the Artillery Annex, will continue throughout the day. The Gift Shop also will be open.

The battlefield property will be open from 9:30 am-4 pm.

Civil War Winchester – Pen In Hand

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, at 6:00 PM on the 157th anniversary of the First Battle of Kernstown, the public is invited to join us at the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum in Winchester for a free viewing and discussion of the movie, Winchester – Pen in Hand.

The film provides a unique look at Winchester, Virginia’s inhabitants during the Civil War from the viewpoint of their letters, diaries and journals. The Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum is located at the Old Courthouse at 20 N. Loudoun Street in Winchester. If you have any questions please email:

Exploring Your Civil War Roots

Join Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation Chairman Nicholas Picerno, Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum Staff, and volunteers in an opportunity to explore your Civil War Ancestry.

The public is invited to join us at the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum at 20 N. Loudoun Street in Winchester, Virginia, from 1-4 PM. We will conduct free, live research while you wait. Any questions please email:

Cost: Free