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Civil War Seminar




Friday, March 13

5:30 p.m.   Jarman Auditorium doors open 
5:50 p.m.   Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Professor & Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University
6:00 p.m.   Tracy Chernault
    The Fall of Petersburg

7:00 p.m.

  Michael Gorman
    Photo Forensics:  Richmond, 1865
8:00 p.m.   Chris Calkins
    The Appomattox Campaign:  Nine April Days

 Saturday, March 14

8:30 a.m.   Jarman Auditorium doors open 
9:00 a.m.   Introduction by Dr. David Coles
9:10 a.m.   Chris Calkins
    Black Thursday:  The Battles of Sailor’s Creek, April 6, 1865
10:15 a.m.   Patrick Schroeder 
    The Battles of Appomattox:  Final Fury and the Last to Die  
11:15 p.m.   Ron Wilson 
    Surrender at Appomattox  
12:30 p.m.   Lunch
1:45 p.m.   Elizabeth Varon

Legacies of Appomattox:  Lee’s Surrender in History and Memory 

2:45 p.m.   Mark Bradley

Fort Fisher to the Bennett Place:  Closing Operations in North Carolina


Sailor’s Creek State Historical Park Special on Site with Chris Calkins and Park Staff

Sunday, March 15

8:30 a.m.   Jarman Auditorium doors open 
9:00 a.m.   Introduction by Dr. David Coles
9:10 a.m.   Bert Dunkerly
    The Forgotten Surrenders: Alabama, the Trans-Mississippi, and Indian Territory 
10:15 a.m.   Casey Clabough
11:15 p.m.   John Hennessy
    Freedom, the Civil War and its Legacies




Bradley is a professional historian who works at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC, where he is researching and writing a monograph on the Vietnam War.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in History from North Carolina State University, obtained his MA and Ph. D. in History from the University of North Carolina.  Bradley has received numerous honors, awards, fellowships and grants.  He has written numerous book and articles including:  Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina; "‘I Rely upon Your Good Judgment and Skill’: The Command Partnership of Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston in 1865," in Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee, edited by Peter S. Carmichael, Louisiana State University Press, 2004; This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place; Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville.  Bradley writes book reviews for Civil War History, the Journal of Southern History, Army History, the North Carolina Historical Review, and H-Net


Calkins, a native of Detroit and a Longwood College (University) graduate, worked for the National Park Service for 34 years being posted at Appomattox Court House, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania, and ending his career as historian and Chief of Interpretation at Petersburg.  In 2008 he accepted the position of first full-time Park Manager of Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park.  He has authored twelve books, numerous articles, and spoken nationally to many Civil War and preservation groups.  Calkins is the author of the highly acclaimed "Lee’s Retreat" driving tour.  Active in battlefield preservation efforts, he served on the board of directors with the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, Inc. (which merged with the Civil War Trust) and helped broker the preservation of seven sites around Petersburg and Appomattox—Five Forks, White Oak Road, Hatchers Run, Reams Station, The Sixth Corps Breakthrough (now Pamplin Park), Sailor’s Creek, Lee’s rearguard at Appomattox and Appomattox Station.  He is responsible for developing the battlefield preservation plan of Petersburg National Battlefield  for the expansion of 7,238 acres to include twelve major battlefields around the city.  Calkins received a 2014 Award of Merit by the Leadership in History Awards committee "for his dedication to preserving the Civil War battlefield landscape of Virginia" by the American Association for State and Local History.  He is married to Sarah Brown of Appomattox.  They live in a restored National Register listed 18th century Georgian mansion in Petersburg’s Old Town Historic District. 


Chernault was born and raised in Appomattox, VA.  He graduated with a BA in history from Averett College in Danville.  While in college, Chernault began working summers as a park ranger at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  His full time National Park Service career began in 1991 at Appomattox Court House and he transferred to Petersburg National Battlefield in 1997.  Chernault has co-authored The 18th and 20th Battalions of Heavy Artillery in the Virginia Regimental History series, and has had several Civil war related articles published.  He is the past president of the Lynchburg Civil War Round Table and the Appomattox County Historical Society.  Chernault resides in Colonial Heights, VA, near General Lee’s Violet Bank headquarters with his wife, Courtney, and two sons, Jesse and Kyle. 


Clabough is a writer and a professor at Lynchburg College, where he also serves as editor of the James Dickey Review and as English Graduate Director.  Born in Richmond, VA, Clabough was raised on a farm in Appomattox County. He owns a farm in Appomattox and performs editorial work as series editor of the multi-volume "Best Creative Nonfiction of the South" (Texas Review Press), and is the literature section editor of the Encyclopedia Virginia.  Clabough’s awards include fellowships from the Institute for Southern Studies, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the Harrison Institute at the University of Virginia. He is also the recipient of an Artists’ Grant from the Brazilian government as well as the Bangladesh International Literary Award.  He has published over a hundred works in anthologies and periodicals, including the Sewanee Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Creative Nonfiction.  His Civil War related titles are Confederado:  A Novel of the Americas and Woman of War:  Selected Memoirs, Poems, and Fiction by Virginia Women Who Lived Through the Civil War


"Bert" Dunkerly is a historian, award-winning author, and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research.  He holds a degree in History from St. Vincent College and a Masters in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University.  He has worked at nine historic sites, written seven books and over twenty articles.  His research includes archaeology, colonial life, military history, and historic commemoration.  Dunkerly is currently a Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park.  He has visited over 400 battlefields and over 700 historic sites worldwide.  When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking, camping, and photography. 


Mike Gorman grew up in Richmond, VA, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Military Institute. He began working for the National Park Service as a seasonal ranger in 1999. Gorman was heavily involved in the creation of both the Civil War Visitor Center at the Tredegar Iron Works, as well as the Chimborazo Medical Museum. Since 2003, he has been a permanent ranger and historian for the Richmond National Battlefield Park. He is also recognized as an expert on Civil War Photography. Gorman created and operates, a website called Civil War Richmond (www.mdgorman.com), which is an online research project that documents the various sites and personalities within Richmond during the war.  He has authored numerous articles about the war, and continues to research a book on Richmond’s Civil War photography.  In 2011, Gorman served as an historical advisor on the set of Steven Spielberg’s "Lincoln."  He lives in Richmond with his wife, Tina, and two children, Julian and Maggie. 


John Hennessy is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany. He has worked for the New York State Historic Preservation Office and for the National Park Service at Manassas, Harpers Ferry, and at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Hennessy served as Assistant Superintendent at the latter park from 1995-2002 and is currently Chief Historian/Chief of interpretation. He is the author of several books, including First Battle of Manassas: An End to Innocence, July 18-21, 1861, and Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Manassas.  


Schroeder graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Historical Park Administration from Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV.  He has an M.A. in Civil War History from Virginia Tech.  From 1986-1993, and 1998-2001, Patrick worked as a seasonal living history interpreter at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  In 1993, he wrote Thirty Myths About Lee’s Surrender.   From 1994–1999, he worked at Red Hill, the Patrick Henry National Memorial.  He has been the Historian at Appomattox since 2002.  Schroeder has written, edited and/or contributed to more than 25 Civil War titles and articles, including More Myths About Lee’s Surrender; The Confederate Cemetery at Appomattox; Images of America: Appomattox County; Pennsylvania Bucktails; and We Came To Fight:  A History of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, Duryee’s Zouaves, 1863-1865.  In an effort to protect sites relevant to the Appomattox Campaign, Schroeder has set up the "Appomattox Fund" with the Civil War Preservation Trust, to save land important to the climactic events of April 1865. 


Varon is Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia.  Varon grew up in northern Virginia. She received her MA from Swarthmore College and PhD from Yale, and has held teaching positions at Wellesley College and Temple University.  A specialist in the Civil War era and 19th-century South, Varon is the author of We Mean to be Counted:  White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (1998); Southern Lady, Yankee Spy:  The True Story of  Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent  in the Heart of the Confederacy (2003), which won the Lillian Smith Prize of the Southern Regional Council, the People’s Choice Award of the Library of Virginia, and the Richard Slatten Biography Prize of the Virginia Historical Society; Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 (2008) and Appomattox:  Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War (2013).  Appomattox won the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction, and the 2014 Dan and Marilyn Laney Prize for Civil War History (Austin Civil War Roundtable), and was finalist for the 2014 Jefferson Davis Award (Museum of the Confederacy). Varon’s public presentations include book talks at the Lincoln Bicentennial in Springfield; and at Gettysburg’s Civil War Institute; and on C-Span’s Book TV. She is also a featured speaker in the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship program.  


Wilson retired from the National Park Service in 2000 after 35 years of service—at Gettysburg twice, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, and the Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park for 25 years.  He co-compiled the book, The Appomattox Paroles April 9-15, 1865.  Ron and his wife now live at Lake Monticello, VA.


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.