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Civil War Seminar



8:30 a.m.   Jarman Auditorium doors open 
9:00 a.m.   Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Professor & Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University
9:10 a.m.   Eric Wittenberg
    Cavalry Operations in the Overland Campaign
10:15 a.m.   Gordon Rhea
    Grant and Lee in the Overland Campaign
11:15 p.m.   Stephen Engel
    Revisiting the New Market Campaign
12:30 p.m.   Lunch
1:45 p.m.   Kevin Levin

Confederates Assess the Battle of the Crater

2:45 p.m.   Brian Wills
    Thomas dashes Hood’s Hopes at Nashville




Engle is professor of history at Florida Atlantic University. He is a past Fulbright Scholar, is currently a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and a frequent lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution’s Associates Program. He is the author of Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel (1993); Don Carlos Buell: Most Promising of All (1999); Struggle for the Heartland (2000); The American Civil War in the West (2001), and together with Gary Gallagher, Bob Krick, and Joseph Glatthaar, a text entitled This Mighty Scourge of War (2003). He has served as secretary-treasurer of the Society of Civil War Historians since 1992. He has just finished a work entitled Gathering to Save a Nation: Abraham Lincoln, War Governors, and Preserving the Union, under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press. 


Levin, formerly a teacher of American history at the St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, now teaches history at Gann Academy near Boston. He is the author of Remembering the Battle of the Crater:  War as Murder (2012) and is currently writing a book about the myth of the black Confederate soldier.  He can be found online at his blog, Civil War Memory [http://cwmemory.com/].  Over the past fifteen years he has taught a wide range of courses, including the Civil War, Civil War Memory, Lincoln, Race and Gender, and Women’s History. His research focuses on the Civil War era and historical memory.  Levin’s essays have appeared online in The New York Times and The Atlantic as well as popular magazines and academic journals. He has appeared as a guest on The Takeaway, National Public Radio, and Studio 360. Levin has also contributed to outreach endeavors aimed at k-12 history teachers, including programs sponsored by Teaching American History, The Civil War Trust, Organization of American Historians and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.  Levin has been blogging at Civil War Memory since November 2005. In 2007 Civil War Memory was awarded a Cliopatria for "Best Individual Blog" by the History News Network. 


Rhea graduated summa cum laude from Indiana University with a B.A. in History, and received his Masters in history from Harvard University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.  Rhea earned his law degree from Stanford University and later served as Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel of a Senate investigating committee and as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C.   Gordon Rhea is considered a leading authority on Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign.  He has authored six award-wining books about the Overland Campaign, many of which were history Book club Main Selections.  His works include The Battle of the Wilderness: May 5-6, 1864, To The North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864 and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864, among others. A frequent lecturer throughout the country on military history, he has appeared on the History, A&E, and Discovery networks and has written numerous articles in scholarly and popular publications.  He is the recipient of numerous historical and literary awards including the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award.  Rhea currently works with the firm of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook and Brickman, and tries complex criminal and civil cases to juries. 


An attorney in Columbus, Ohio, Eric Wittenberg has long been a student of Civil War cavalry operations.  Wittenberg has published seventeen books on Civil War history, most of them centering on Virginia.  Additionally, his articles have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, America's Civil War, and Civil War Times Illustrated.  He is very active in battlefield preservation, and serves as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and also serves on the Governor of Ohio Commission on Ohio’s Civil War Sesquicentennial.  He is also active with the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation.  He is a graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 


Brian Steel Wills is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, after a long tenure at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War, including a new biography—Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory. His other titles include: A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest (Reprinted as: The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest). This work was chosen as both a History Book Club selection and a Book of the Month Club selection. He also authored, The War in Southeastern Virginia, released in October 2001, and No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, (2004), both by the University Press of Virginia. Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema appeared in 2006. An updated edition of the James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., Civil War Sites in Virginia (Virginia, 2011) arrived just in time for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and in 2012, Brian authored George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel, which was the recipient of the 2013 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War topic for the year 2012 presented by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.  In 2000, Dr. Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of eleven recipients from all faculty members at public and private institutions across the state. He was named Kenneth Asbury Professor of History and won both the Teaching award and the Research and Publication award from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. 


This Annual Conference is Sponsored by:

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Eastern National Bookstore
  • The Department of History, Political Science, & Philosophy at Longwood University


This seminar is free and open to the public.


Lunch is Available at the Longwood University's Dorrill Dining Hall. 


PARKING is available in the Wheeler and Cox Lots on Griffin Blvd.  To reach the Wheeler Lot:  From downtown Main Street, turn onto High Street at the traffic light in front of the Farmville Town Hall.  Travel approximately four blocks to the next traffic light.  Turn left onto Griffin Boulevard.  Proceed for about one block.  Turn right onto Chambers Street, then turn right into the Wheeler Lot.  If the Wheeler Lot is full, turn left off of Chambers Street into the Cox Lot.  Additional parking will be available in the Randolph Street Lot (behind the Farmville United Methodist Church).  Do not park in 24-hour reserved spaces, handicapped spaces (without proper tag), or tow-away zones. 

Signs will be posted on the Longwood University Campus.  For directions to the campus go to www.longwood.edu.  For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434.395.2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434.352.8987, Ext. 32.