Internship Journal: Week 6

Outside of my regular research during the week, I worked at the Visitor Contact Station in our park on Saturday February 22nd. During my shift here at the park I delivered new brochures on information regarding the parks upcoming sesquicentennial events. I dropped them off at Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park in Strasburg, the Front Royal Visitor Center and the Winchester Frederick County Visitor Center in Winchester.  This will outline the tentative 150th events at the park come October 17th, 18th and 19th. I also helped visitors entering the park get oriented to the resources available to them.

150th Anniversary rack card

150th Anniversary rack card

On Thursday, I attended a lecture by my former professor, Jonathan Noyalas regarding letters of Civil War soldiers. He examined their letters for their content, but more importantly their context. He explored different themes found in the letters such as sentiments towards slavery, reluctance and motives to enlist, reports of battles and of course affection for distant loved ones. This got me thinking about letters regarding the Second Battle of Kernstown, where they are, and where I could get a copy of them. I have emailed Scott Patchan about possible primary sources and am waiting to hear back from him.

Prof. Jonathan Noyalas presenting a lecture on Civil War letter

Prof. Jonathan Noyalas presenting a lecture on Civil War letter

During my day at the park, I started to brainstorm some “big” ideas I want visitors of my program to take away and understand when I am done. I think by doing this, it will help me narrow down and refine my research. Since there is such a plethora of information out there on the battle, I think it is important to begin to synthesize some of these thoughts.

  • Realize the significance of a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on a battlefield exactly 150 years after the battle
  • Learn about the preservation efforts of the Kernstown Battlefield Association and the NPS
  • Understand the main factors that led up the battle and how battles occur for a specific reason of certain land for a particular reason. They do not happen out of the blue.
  • Early’s plan of attack and why he chose it the way he did
  • Crooks response (or lack thereof) to the advance and reasons why he did what he did
  • Major phases of the battle
    • Confederate approach
    • Crook sending lines forward
    • The flank march by Breckenridge and subsequent fighting
    • Ramseur of the Confederate left
    • The stand of Mulligans Brigade and his death
    • Know the main commanders and rough make up the Confederate force under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early and Union Gen. George Crook.
      • Have an appreciation for the rank and file of each army and how the Union army was made up of local “western” Virginians. Vice versa, how Early’s Second Corps was attempting to repeat the glory that was the 1862 Valley Campaign
      • The major consequences of the battle
        • Appointment of Phil Sheridan
        • Burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
        • Civilian story

These points, now on paper, will help me organize my thoughts as I go forward. With midterms coming up this week, I hope to still dedicate some time to my research of this program.

Hours Completed this week: 10

Total Hours: 53

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