December 2018
 Volume No. 2, Issue No. 4
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A Note from Our Director

It is hard to believe that another year is almost at its end. As I take this opportunity to reflect on 2018, I feel thankful and blessed for the support you have offered the McCormick Civil War Institute (MCWI) throughout the year. As I take stock of our various tours, programs, lectures and seminars, I am amazed at how many folks we reached in 2018. Taking all of our events together, MCWI reached more than 1,500 people. As you will see from this newsletter we are not satisfied to rest on the laurels of past success, but are forging ahead with new initiatives, perhaps most notably a certificate in Civil War Era Studies and the development of an augmented-reality experience for the university’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. The work that we are doing is not only helping to advance a deeper and more nuanced understanding of our nation’s defining moment, but also positioning our undergraduate students for future success in the field. None of what MCWI has achieved would have been possible without your unflinching support. I am hopeful that as 2018 comes to a close you will see the value that the McCormick Civil War Institute brings to Civil War-era education and consider making a donation (tax-deductible) to assist the McCormick Civil War Institute in maintaining momentum for our myriad efforts. Donations can be sent online or mailed to McCormick Civil War Institute, Attn: Prof. Jonathan A. Noyalas, Director, Davis Hall 115, 1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA 22601. Checks should be made payable to “Shenandoah University” with “McCormickCWI” in the memo line. Wishing everyone a peaceful end to 2018 and a great start to 2019.

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

Headlines from the Quarter

Registration for Spring 2019 Conference, “A House Divided…,” Now Open!
MCWI is now accepting registrations for our spring 2019 conference, “'A House Divided…': Dissent, Disagreement, and Subversion During the Civil War Era." The conference will be held on the campus of Shenandoah University, in Henkel Hall, Hester Auditorium, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, and feature 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 will cover 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 will include 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 will also be 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. Space is limited for this conference, so register early to make certain your spot is reserved. To register, go to or contact Stephanie Swaim at 540/545-7293.

Volume Two of the Journal of Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era Released

Volume two of the Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era was released in November. It features essays by Allen Guelzo, Barton Myers, Jonathan Noyalas, Harrison and Margaretta Colt, Scott Patchan, Dennis Kellison, Jeff Felton and Andre Pazik. Copies are available for purchase throughout the Shenandoah Valley at the Winchester Book Gallery, Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park, Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum and Kernstown Battlefield. The journal can also be purchased online.

October Seminar a Success

On Saturday, Oct. 27, MCWI conducted its annual fall semester seminar and tour, “'A Peculiarly Undesirable Place': Martinsburg’s Civil War." The event, which sold out in August, attracted participants from Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. MCWI staff is already planning and narrowing down topics for our fall 2019 seminar and tour, which is slated for Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. More information will be forthcoming.

Augmented Reality Coming to Cool Spring

MCWI is teaming up with Shenandoah University’s Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL) to create an augmented-reality experience for visitors to the university’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. The experience will allow visitors to follow 30 soldiers (15 Union and 15 Confederate) who fought at the Battle of Cool Spring. Through the augmented experience visitors will have a chance to hear the words of soldiers and learn more about the fates of these men. MCWI is investing $10,000 in this interpretive effort. While this will be MCWI’s first augmented-reality experience at Cool Spring, it will not be the last. MCWI and SCiL are planning other immersive opportunities at the site in the coming years, but they can only happen with financial support from you, our friends and supporters. Anyone interested in making financial contributions to support this effort can reach out to MCWI director Jonathan Noyalas via email, at, or phone, at 540/665-4501.

Editor of Civil War Times Delivers Compelling Presentation

MCWI’s annual fall semester “Perspectives” lecture was delivered by historian Dana Shoaf, editor of Civil War Times magazine. Shoaf’s presentation focused on the Grand Review of Union armies in May 1865. Prior to the well-attended lecture, Shoaf dined with some of Shenandoah University’s history majors, sharing stories and wisdom about careers in history. He even treated the majors in attendance with some free copies of Civil War Times. Our fall 2019 “Perspectives” lecture, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 14, will be delivered by Caroline Janney, Ph.D., director of the Nau Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia.

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: Warren R. Hofstra, Ph.D.; Geraldine Kiefer, Ph.D.; Dr. Ed & Mrs. Prue Yelinek; and Ms. Kim Uhl.

The McCormick Civil War Institute Always Needs Your Help!

None of what we are able to do, particularly our efforts at Cool Spring, would be possible without outside financial support. Looking ahead to next year, MCWI aims to continue and build its various programs, but it cannot happen without your help. We are in the early stages of planning a variety of additional interpretive enhancements to Cool Spring, including development of an interpretive video and a virtual-reality experience. Additionally, we are looking into the possibility of further study at the site, not to mention providing unique learning opportunities for our students and the community.

If you would like to make a contribution 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 – a significant part of which is  is making certain that younger generations understand the Civil War's importance and its complexities.

Quarterly Features

Publication of Note

Angela M. Zombek, Ph.D., “Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons: Familiar Responses to an Extraordinary Crisis during the American Civil War” (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2018). $45 hardcover,

The study of Civil War prisons has always been fertile ground for scholars. While much has been written about such notable places as Andersonville, Johnson’s Island and Elmira, studies of prison camps such as these have focused largely on the unquantifiable suffering endured by prisoners of war.

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Artifact of the Quarter

Wood printing block: “Reinforcements for General McClellan Arriving at Harrison’s Landing, on the James River.”

One of the ways the Civil War became tangible for those who experienced it from the home front was through newspapers and illustrations that appeared in those papers. Among the items housed in the McCormick Civil War Institute’s collection is a portion of a wood block used to print A. Lumley’s “Reinforcements for General McClellan Arriving at Harrison’s Landing, on the James River.” The image appeared in the July 26, 1862, issue of the New York Illustrated News.

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Coming Events

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019:: “A Joyous Daybreak”: MLK, Civil Rights, & Emancipation at 100. Free public lecture with MCWI Director Jonathan A. Noyalas, 7 p.m., Stimpson Auditorium, Halpin-Harrison Hall, Shenandoah University.  

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. Space is limited, so register early!  

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