June 17
 Volume No. 1, Issue No. 2
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A Note from Our Director

Greetings from Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute (CWI). Since the inaugural newsletter was released in March, CWI has been working on a variety of projects, networking with supporters, and planning future events. This issue of "The Picket Post” will highlight all of those efforts and the significant progress CWI has made on numerous fronts. Since the release of CWI’s first newsletter, I have been overwhelmed with notes of encouragement, interest in CWI’s various efforts, and individuals reaching out to me offering to lend a helping hand to make certain that CWI realizes its ambition of becoming the scholarly leader in the study of the Civil War era in the Shenandoah Valley. I hope you enjoy this issue of “The Picket Post” and hope to see you at some, if not all, of the various events CWI has scheduled in the coming months. As always I thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at

Jonathan Noyalas, M.A. 
Director, McCormick Civil War Institute 

Headlines from the Quarter

Spring Conference a Success

On Saturday, April 1, CWI held its annual spring conference at the university’s Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. The sold-out conference “A Dangerous Game”: Espionage & Irregular Operations during the Civil War, featured four excellent presentations by Jonathan Berkey, Brian McKnight, Barton Myers, and CWI Director Jonathan Noyalas ’01, M.A. Planning is already underway for next year’s spring conference so please stay tuned for more details.

CWI Adopts New Vision Statement

CWI’s advisory board has been hard at work since its first meeting. One of its initial projects was drafting a new vision statement for CWI. The new vision statement better exemplifies CWI’s broad reach and ambitious agenda. Many thanks to advisory board members Blane Clark, Patrick Farris and Shelby Shrader for their work on crafting the statement. This new vision statement will aid CWI as it plans for the future. 
» Continuing Reading

CWI Teams Up With SU’s Environmental Studies Program 

On Earth Day CWI teamed up with Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology Woodward Bousquet, Ph.D. and his environmental studies students for a special program at the university’s River Campus at the Cool Spring Battlefield—“The Soil is Sacred Now”: Preserving, Managing, and Interpreting the Cool Spring Battlefield.


Many Thanks to Generous Donors

CWI wishes to thank all of those who responded to the initial appeal for financial contributions in the inaugural newsletter. That initial request for financial support raised nearly $1,500. The generous contributions that CWI has received over the past few months will go to support a variety of endeavors, including CWI’s many interpretive and educational efforts at the university’s Cool Spring Battlefield Campus, student attendance at conferences, and the establishment of a distinguished lecture series. CWI would very much like to express its appreciation to its donors— Col. Blane Clark, Geraldine Kiefer, Alexander MacLeod, Ken Rutherford, Casey Turben, and Ed and Prue Yelinek.  

Dr. David C. and Mrs. Melanie A. Miles CWI Summer Fellowship Established

Thanks to the generosity of Dr. David and Mrs. Melanie Miles, the Civil War Institute will be able to offer two fellowships, for the first time in its history, to support the work of two Shenandoah University history majors. The two fellows—Shelby Shrader and Zachary Thompson—will work closely with CWI’s director this summer on the design, research, writing and implementation of an exhibit in “The Lodge” at the Cool Spring Battlefield. Funding for the construction of exhibition is being funded in large part through the generosity of Dr. Robert F. Boxley’s Donor Advised Fund.

The exhibit is the first significant step in creating a true visitor’s center-like experience for those who visit the site to learn about the largest and bloodiest Civil War battle fought in Clarke County. 

CWI Releases Eight-Page Guide to the Battle of Cool Spring

On April 1, CWI officially released a tour guide for the Battle of Cool Spring. The guide consists of nine stops that cover nearly two miles of walking trails. The full-color guide includes 11 historic images, three maps and a suggested reading list. The guide is available for free at the kiosk at the River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. An electronic version of the guide is also available for download. Keeping the tour guide in print and available at the site is a costly endeavor, so if anyone is interested in making a financial contribution to support the printing of the guide so that it can continue to be made available to visitors to the site, please contact CWI’s director at to learn more about supporting this important effort.


Registration Open for 2017 Fall Semester Seminar and Tour

Join CWI for its inaugural fall semester seminar and tour on Saturday, Oct. 28—“Love Not, the One You Love May Die”: The Battle of Milford (Overall’s Run) and the Front Royal Executions, September 1864. The registration fee of $25 covers cost of the morning lecture, handouts and afternoon guided tour. 

Participants provide their own lunch and carpooling is required for the tour portion as mass transportation prohibits access to certain sites. 

Schedule ~

10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.: Check in at Samuels Library (330 E. Criser Road, Front Royal, VA)

10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Welcome and lecture by Prof. Jonathan A. Noyalas –“It Would Take More Than a Hundred Days”: Mosby’s Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the Final Month of Summer 1864

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Lunch on your own

12:45 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: Tour of sites associated with the Battle of Milford and Front Royal executions with Noyalas. Carpool caravan leaves from Samuels Library parking lot.
To register for the event, contact Colleen Pfiester in the College of Arts & Sciences at or 540/665-5432.  A downloadable registration form can also be found on CWI’s website.

153rd Anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring to be Commemorated on Saturday, July 15

This year CWI will begin what its director and advisory board hopes will be an annual tradition—commemorating the Battle of Cool Spring. Please bring family and friends to the free public event on Saturday, July 15. The site will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The living history area with the 116th Ohio Infantry will be open throughout the day and walking trails will be open for self-guided tours.


The day will include a host of presentations, talks, tours and living history demonstrations. Below is a full slate of activities.

Schedule ~

10 a.m.-10:45 a.m.: 1864 Shenandoah Campaign, Battlefield in a Box Program (Shannon Moeck, National Park Service)
11 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Living History Demonstration (116th Ohio Infantry)
12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: “Nothing Was Left to Do but Fight”: The Battle of Cool Spring Guided Tour (Jonathan A. Noyalas, Shenandoah University)
1:45 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: The Life & Death of Col. Daniel Frost (Nicholas Picerno, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation)
3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: “The Shenandoah Chanting Its Endless Requiem”: The Aftermath of Cool Spring Guided Tour (Jonathan A. Noyalas, Shenandoah University)
3:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.: Closing Commemorative Remarks and Wreath Laying with 116th Ohio Infantry

CWI to Participate in Winchester Civil War Weekend

During the weekend of Aug. 19, CWI will participate for the first time in Winchester’s Civil War weekend. On Saturday, Aug. 19, CWI will host a free public tour—“A Gleam of Anxious Speculation”: The African Americans’ Civil War in Winchester. The car caravan tour will begin at 9 a.m. at the Winchester-Frederick County Visitor Center located at 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Road. The tour will conclude by 11 a.m.


CWI to Kick Off New Free Public Lecture Series on Wednesday, Nov. 8

Each semester, beginning with the fall 2017 semester, CWI will host one free public lecture. On Wednesday, Nov. 8, CWI’s director will kick off the new series with his presentation “Pursuing an Honest Life in Our Relations to the Past and the Present”: World War I in the Shadow of the American Civil War. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. and be held in Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium.


The McCormick Civil War Institute Always Needs Your Help!

One of the reasons the McCormick Civil War Institute is able to offer more public programming and opportunities for students than ever before is due to the generosity of those who responded to the initial call for contributions three months ago. While those contributions are much appreciated and will allow CWI to do a great deal in the short-term, CWI appeals to your generosity, kindness, and love of Civil War era history and graciously asks for your continued support. If you would like to make a contribution to the Civil War Institute to support its various efforts—free public programming, offering unique learning opportunities for Shenandoah University’s history majors focused on Civil War-era studies, and various interpretive efforts at Cool Spring—we would be most appreciative. Any amount, however big or small, will go a long way to support the Civil War Institute’s vision; one of the most significant of which is making certain that younger generations understand the Civil War's importance in the history of our great nation.

Quarterly Features

Publication of Note

James I. Robertson, Jr. “Civil War Echoes: Voices from Virginia, 1860-1891” (Richmond: Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, 2016). $19.95.  ISBN: 978-0-9834012-6-1.

Through the letters of civilians and soldiers, Union and Confederate, this book provides a glimpse of our nation’s most pivotal and tragic period through the lens of those who endured our American Iliad.
» Continue Reading 

Artifact of the Quarter

Rienzi: Sheridan’s War Horse

In the autumn of 1864, Gen. Philip H. Sheridan launched his campaign to do what no other Union commander had been able to achieve in the Shenandoah Valley—wrest it from a firm Confederate grip. During the first several weeks of Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Campaign Union forces stacked up an impressive string of battlefield victories—Third Battle of Winchester (Sept. 19), Fisher’s Hill (Sept. 22), and Tom’s Brook (Oct. 9).
» Continue Reading 

Coming Events

Saturday, July 15 
McCormick Civil War Institute commemorates the 153rd anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring. 
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tours, talks and living history. Free and open to the public. 1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont, Virginia

Saturday, Aug. 19
Winchester Civil War weekend—free public car caravan tour led by CWI’s director—“A Gleam of Anxious Speculation”: The African Americans’ Civil War in Winchester.
9-11 a.m. Tour caravan departs from Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Road.

Saturday, Oct. 28 
CWI’s annual fall semester seminar and tour –“Love Not, the One You Love May Die”: The Battle of Milford and the Front Royal Executions.
$25 pre-registration required. Space is limited. 

Wednesday, Nov. 8:
Free public lecture with CWI’s director “Pursuing an Honest Life in Our Relations to the Past and the Present”: World War I in the Shadow of the American Civil War. Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium, Shenandoah University.

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