Civil War lecture series set for Sept. 28 in Charleston

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Member of the Twelfth Ohio Regiment cross Gauley Mountain near Charleston, W.Va. Illustration: Harpers Illustrated.

West Virginia Archives and History will present a series of four hour-long lectures regarding West Virginia during the Civil War on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Charleston, West Virginia.

During an hour-long break between the morning and afternoon sessions, attendees will have an opportunity to inspect Civil War artifacts from the personal collections of presenters and the Archives and History holdings.

Richard A. Wolfe, author of West Virginia in the Civil War, will exhibit his award-winning Civil War photographs, and Steve Cunningham will present books from his publishing company, 35th Star Publishing.

The schedule includes lectures on slavery, women’s history, the Kanawha Valley, and the Battle of Lewisburg.


10-11 a.m. – Richard L. Armstrong: “The Battle of Lewisburg”

The early morning hours of May 23, 1862, brought the horror of war to the residents of the small mountain town of Lewisburg, which felt the fury of a battle waged in her streets. Armstrong, a native of Bath County, Virginia, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, worked for the Bath County Sherriff’s Office for 33 years. As a teenager, he developed a strong love of Civil War history, particularly action in the western portion of Virginia. He has written 14 books and articles.

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11 a.m.-noon – Hunter Lesser: “The Crooked Road to Freedom: Strange Tales of Slavery and Emancipation”

Slavery is a sordid and often misunderstood chapter of America’s past. This fresh look at the peculiar institution explores old myths and reveals the surprising role of slaves, soldiers and army commanders in the tortuous quest for freedom. Lesser, who’s an author, interpreter, and preservationist, enjoys sharing forgotten tales from history that offer lessons for the digital age. He is the author of “Rebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided” and co-author of “Cambridge History of the American Civil War,” soon to be released by Cambridge University Press.’


1-2 p.m. – Dr. Katharine Antolini: “Herstory of the Civil War”

This presentation explores the roles that women of western Virginia served during the Civil War, both on the home front and the war front. Dr. Antolini is an associate professor of American history and gender studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She specializes in Women’s History, which includes teaching and research focused on women during times of war.


2-3 p.m. – Terry Lowry: “Hold the Kanawha at All Costs: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, 1861-1865”

At the outbreak of hostilities between the North and South in 1861, the Kanawha Valley became prime real estate for both the Union and Confederate armies. The battles, campaigns, and many of the soldiers and events of note in the valley will be discussed. Lowry, who’s a musician, historian, and author, has written numerous books and articles about the Civil War, many covering action in present-day West Virginia, among them “The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign.”


The symposium will begin at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex.

For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at 304-558-0230.

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