Nineteenth Annual Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and

Longwood University

Free Civil War Seminar




SWEPT UP IN THE civil War:



Jarman Auditorium

Longwood University

Farmville, Virginia



Saturday February 3, 2018













Jarman Auditorium

Longwood University

Farmville, VA




Saturday, February 3


8:30 a.m.          Doors open


9:00 a.m.          Introduction by Dr. David Coles


9:10 a.m.          Gary W. Gallagher

 Robert E. Lee’s Generalship: Politics, Public Morale, and Confederate Prospects for Victory


10:15 a.m.        Ralph Peters

Leaders Known, Leaders Forgotten:  Command and Character in the Civil War


11:30 a.m.        Edwin C. Bearss

                         Recollections of Appomattox


12:30 p.m.                Lunch


1:45 p.m.        Judith Giesberg

Sex and the Civil War:  Soldiers, Pornography and the Making of American Morality 


2:45 p.m.        John W. Mountcastle

When War Came This Way: The Women’s War



No reservations necessary.  Signs will be posted on the Longwood University Campus.  For directions to the campus go to  For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434-395-2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434-352-8987, Ext. 232.




Now a spry 94-years-old, Edwin C. Bearss grew up near Hardin, Montana. After high school, he joined the Marines.  Seeing action in World War II, he was severely wounded on New Britain in January 1944 by machine-gun fire permanently disabled his left arm, and landed him in the hospital for 26 months. After the war, he received a B.S. degree from Georgetown University and a M.A. in history from Indiana University.

He is a renowned authority on the American Civil War, its battles and personalities. He has written numerous books on various Civil War subjects, and is a sought-after speaker and legendary battlefield tour guide.  Hired by the National Park Service, Bearss served as the Park Historian at Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1981, he became Chief Historian for the NPS until retiring 1995. He continues to participate in round-table discussions and lead groups on battlefield tours.  His three volume history of the siege of Vicksburg is a model campaign study.  His most recent book, Fields of Honor, is a Bearss-eye-view of the Civil War.  In 2015 legislation was introduced, “To award a Congressional Gold Medal to Edwin Cole ‘Ed’ Bearss, in recognition of his contributions to preservation of American Civil War history and continued efforts to bring our nation's history alive for new generations through his interpretive storytelling.”



            Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War and Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia. A native of Los Angeles, California, he is the author or editor of more than thirty-five books, including The American War: A History of the Civil War Era (co-authored with Joan Waugh, 2015), Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty (2013), and The Union War (2011). He has served as editor of two book series at the University of North Carolina Press ("Civil War America," with more than 110 titles to date, and “Military Campaigns of the Civil War,” with 10 titles) and participated in more than four dozen television projects in the field. Active in the field of historic preservation, he was president from 1987 to mid-1994 of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, twice served as a member of the Board of the Civil War Trust, and has given testimony about preservation before Congressional committees on several occasions.



Judith Giesberg is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History at Villanova University. Giesberg is the author of five books, Civil War Sisterhood: The United States Sanitary Commission and Women's Politics in Transition (Boston, MA:  Northeastern University Press, 2000),“Army at Home:” Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (Chapel Hill, NC:  University of North Carolina Press, 2009), Keystone State in Crisis:  Pennsylvania in the Civil War (Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2013), and Emilie Davis's Civil War:  The Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863-1865 (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.)  Judy’s latest book is Sex and the Civil War:  Soldiers, Pornography, and the Making of American Morality, University of North Carolina Press, 2017; it explores pornography and the sexual culture of the U.S. Army camps during the Civil War.  Judy is Editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era.

Currently, Judy is directing a digital project, Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery, that is collecting, digitizing, and transcribing information wanted ads taken out by former slaves looking for family members lost to the domestic slave trade. 



John W. (Jack) Mountcastle is from Richmond, Virginia.  Graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1965, he began serving as an Army officer in 1966.  He commanded tank units in the USA, Vietnam, and Germany. During the 1970s, Jack earned an MA and PhD from Duke University and taught Military History at West Point.  Promoted to Brigadier General in 1994, he assumed the duties of the Army Chief of Military History in Washington, D.C. Jack returned to Richmond upon retiring from the Army in 1998. Currently, he teaches Civil War history courses at the University of Richmond, lectures at the Virginia Historical Society, and leads historical tours of Civil War sites.



Ralph Peters is the author of a cycle of prize-winning Civil War novels (which he prefers to call “dramatized history”) covering the war in the eastern theater from Gettysburg to Appomattox.  Under the pen-name “Owen Parry,” he previously wrote six award-winning Civil War mysteries covering the first two years of the war.  A retired U.S. Army officer and former enlisted man, Ralph also has written numerous works on strategy and security.  A highly regarded journalist, he is currently a Fox News Strategic Analyst and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Military History Working Group at Stanford University.


This annual seminar is sponsored by:

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Eastern National Bookstore,

The Department of History, Political Science, & Philosophy, and the Center for Southside Virginia History at Longwood University


This seminar is FREE and open to the public.


Parking available on Longwood University campus except in 24 hour reserved spaces, handicapped, or tow-away zones. 


Lunch is available at the Longwood University Dining Hall


Robert E. Lee’s Generalship: Politics, Public Morale, and Confederate Prospects for Victory:  The quality of Robert E. Lee’s generalship has prompted considerable debate since the 1970s. This lecture will assess critiques of Lee as a parochial Virginian who failed to see the larger strategic picture, waged too many costly battles, never came to terms with the impact of recent military technology, and might have shortened, rather than lengthened, the life of the Confederacy.


Leaders Known, Leaders Forgotten:  Command and Character in the Civil War:

Explores the various styles of leadership on the battlefield and in high command, with special attention to the interactions of character, personal background, generational issues and talent.  What are the consistencies and contradictions of successful battlefield leadership?  What were the primary challenges leaders faced?  How often did personal relationships determine outcomes?  Are there lessons for today, or is leadership different now?  Discussion will focus on commanders from Grant and Lee to Jackson, Hooker, Sheridan, Gordon, Stuart, O. O. Howard and Carl Schurz, with various “honorable mentions.”


Recollections of Appomattox: Reflections that delve into not only some historical aspects of Appomattox, but also personal reflections on attending the 100th, 125th, and 150th Anniversary events.


Sex and the Civil War:  Soldiers, Pornography and the Making of American Morality:  This talk will explore the Civil War origins of the anti-pornography legislation by taking a look at the impetus behind a February 1865 law.  Making use of the wartime letters and diaries of a number of Union soldiers, the lecture considers soldiers’ own experiences with period erotica.  What did they have access to, read, circulate?  And, what did these materials mean to them?  The Civil War was a turning point for the influential rise of postwar anti-vice campaigns.  These also included laws against contraceptives and abortion, newly entrenched legal regulations of marriage, and ever broader social purity initiatives around sexuality. 


When War Came This Way: The Women’s War:  The Civil War in Virginia brought women untold challenges, crushing hardships, and great pain.  But the conflict which often dashed their hopes for the future also spurred women to step into roles previously denied them. Then, they made significant contributions to their families, their communities, and their state.  When war came this way, women achieved a reputation for sacrifice, selfless service, and leadership that inspires us still.