March 2019
 Volume No. 3, Issue No. 1
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A Note from Our Director

With our spring conference now less than one month away, things are simply buzzing at MCWI as we prepare to welcome attendees at what promises to be our largest and best spring conference to date. Beyond getting ready to welcome everyone to Shenandoah University on Saturday, April 6, MCWI is forging ahead on various projects—perhaps most notably an augmented reality experience at Cool Spring. As this newsletter attests, MCWI is going strong, continuing established efforts and pushing forward with new initiatives. As I enter my third year as director of the McCormick Civil War Institute, please know that your passion for Civil War era history, unflinching support, and continued generosity continue to fuel me each and every day. For those of you who are able to attend our spring conference, I look forward to seeing you. To those of you who are unable to attend the conference, I look forward to seeing you at the other various events we have scheduled throughout the course of 2019.

Jonathan Noyalas '01, M.A. 
Director, McCormick Civil War Institute 

Headlines from the Quarter

It’s Not Too Late to Register for MCWI’s Spring 2019 Conference, ‘A House Divided…’
Although our spring conference “A House Divided…”: Dissent, Disagreement, and Subversion During the Civil War Era, is near capacity, some spots still remain. The conference, being held on the campus of Shenandoah University, in Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, features presentations by Dennis Frye (Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, retired), Dr. Jennifer Weber (University of Kansas), Dr. Paul Quigley (Virginia Tech), and our director. The conference covers such topics as Copperheads, reactions to John Brown’s raid, issues in Jefferson Davis’ cabinet, and Unionists in the Shenandoah Valley. In addition to the four presentations, the day includes a panel with all four historians and an opportunity to experience “Igniting the Fuse,” a virtual reality recreation of John Brown’s trial. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park’s bookstore is also on site that day selling a wide array of books related to the speakers’ topics. The registration fee of $50 ($25 for students with a valid ID) covers the cost of the conference, refreshments and lunch. To register, go to or contact Stephanie Swaim at 540/545-7293.

Director’s Next Book Under Contract with University Press of Florida

In January 2019 the University Press of Florida offered MCWI’s director, Jonathan A. Noyalas, ’01 M.A., a contract for his next book, "'To Be Free Some Day’: Slavery, Race, and Emancipation in the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era.” Noyalas anticipates completing the manuscript by the end of 2019. The book is part of the University Press of Florida’s “Dissent in the South” series edited by Dr. Randall Miller (St. Joseph’s University) and Dr. Stanley Harrold (South Carolina State University).

Director’s Work on Augmented Reality at Cool Spring Progressing

Over the winter, MCWI has made steady progress with the university’s Center for Immersive Learning on creating an augmented reality experience at Cool Spring. The experience will be based on the experiences of 30 soldiers (15 Union and 15 Confederate) who fought at the Battle of Cool Spring. Research on the backgrounds of these soldiers is being conducted by students in our director’s HIST 305 class (Civil War & Reconstruction). The initial unveiling of the experience takes place on Saturday, July 20, as part of MCWI’s 155th anniversary commemoration of the battle.

Director Discusses Civil War’s Lessons with Delegation from Bosnia and Malaysia

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, our director met with a delegation from Bosnia and Malaysia to discuss the lessons of the American Civil War. The contingent from Bosnia was particularly interested in the reunification of the United States after the conflict and how they might learn from that as they deal with the aftermath of civil war in Bosnia. Each member of the delegation received a copy of volume two of the Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era.

Summer Schedule Set for Cool Spring

For the second consecutive summer, MCWI and a staff of dedicated volunteers are staffing the exhibition in the Lodge at Cool Spring and offering tours regarding the battle. In addition to the 155th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Cool Spring, scheduled for Saturday, July 20, the Lodge is being staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays this summer: June 29, July 6, July 13, July 27 and Aug. 3. On most of those Saturdays, guided tours of the battlefield are offered. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. on the porch of the Lodge.

155th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Cool Spring

On Saturday, July 20, MCWI commemorates the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring. The day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) consists of special walking tours and presentations with not only MCWI’s director, but also Jennifer Murray (Oklahoma State University) and Jonathan White (Christopher Newport University). More details about the commemoration will be made available via special email announcements, MCWI’s website and social media. This event is free and open to the public.

MCWI to Team Up with Clarke County Department of Parks & Recreation for Children’s Program at Cool Spring

For the second year in a row, MCWI is joining forces with the Clarke County Department of Parks & Recreation for a special children’s program focusing on the life of Civil War soldiers and the Battle of Cool Spring. The joint program is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional details about registration will be distributed via special email announcements and social media.

Save the Date—Fall Semester Seminar and Tour—'Defeat… Could Be Ill Afforded': Clashes of Arms Around Berryville, August-September 1864

MCWI’s fall seminar and tour, led by MCWI’s director, will focus on the incessant activity that took place in the vicinity of Berryville in August and September 1864. The tour examines the Battle of Berryville, as well as actions associated with John Mosby’s operations in the vicinity, and the efforts of Thomas Laws, who aided in intelligence gathering for Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan. Registration opens during MCWI’s spring conference. Online registration information is available after April 10. The day includes a morning lecture at Shenandoah University, lunch on campus and an afternoon caravan tour of sites. The $25 registration fee covers morning presentation, lunch, and afternoon caravan tour.

Many Thanks to Generous Donors

MCWI wishes to thank all of those who have made contributions to support the McCormick Civil War Institute. Since the publication of our last newsletter, the following individuals have made generous contributions which will support MCWI’s myriad efforts: Mr. Robert Aitcheson, Mr. John Grady, Mr. James Heaton, Mr. Randy Helmick, Warren R. Hofstra, Ph.D., Dr. Ken Rutherford and Mr. Phil Spaugy.

The McCormick Civil War Institute Always Needs Your Help!

None of what we are able to do, particularly our myriad efforts at Cool Spring, would be possible without outside financial support. MCWI aims to continue and build its programs, but this cannot happen without your help. If you would like to make a contribution (tax-deductible) to the McCormick Civil War Institute to support its various efforts, we would be most appreciative. Any amount, however big or small, will go a long way to support the McCormick Civil War Institute’s vision, which includes making certain that younger generations understand the Civil War's importance and its complexities.

Quarterly Features

Publication of Note

John Quincy Adams, “Narrative of the Life of John Quincy Adams, When in Slavery, and Now as a Freeman” (Harrisburg, PA: Sieg, Printer and Stationer, 1872). Available free via Google Books.

In the first eight issues of this newsletter MCWI has taken the opportunity to highlight some of the most recent scholarship on Civil War era history. In 2019, MCWI has decided to highlight older, lesser-known publications which offer tremendous insight into the era in the Shenandoah Valley.

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Artifact of the Quarter

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation Graffiti

Built in 1840, the Frederick County Courthouse in Winchester, Virginia (now the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum operated by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation), is not only a place that houses many valuable artifacts, but is itself an important artifact connecting to Winchester’s wartime experiences. It was from the steps of that building that individuals delivered speeches condemning or advocating Virginia’s secession. During the conflict’s four years, the building served as both a hospital and prison for soldiers of both armies.

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Coming Events

Saturday, April 6: Annual MCWI Spring Conference. “'A House Divided…': Dissent, Disagreement & Subversion During the Civil War Era." $50 registration fee, includes lunch, held on campus of Shenandoah University. Limited spaces remain!  

Saturdays at Cool Spring: The exhibition in the Lodge is staffed the following Saturdays during the summer: June 29, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27 and Aug. 3.

Saturday, July 20: 155th anniversary commemoration of Cool Spring, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 26:26: MCWI’s Fall Semester Seminar and Tour, “Defeat… Could be Ill Afforded”: Clashes of Arms Around Berryville, August-September 1864.

Thursday, Nov. 14: Fall Perspectives in Civil War Era lecture featuring Dr. Caroline Janney (University of Virginia), “Lee’s Army After Appomattox,” 7 p.m. Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium.

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