This week I spent some time talking with my supervisor, Eric Campbell about my upcoming program. We chatted about some problems I have been running into during my research. Primarily, my search for a good map on the Battle of Second Kernstown. I brought this to his attention, and he suggested I check the work of famed cartographer, Jeddiah Hotchkiss. I told Eric that I checked his work earlier with no avail. However, he was adamant that Hotchkiss had produced a map. So, after about 15 minutes of us scouring his work through the Library of Congress, we came to the conclusion that he did not have a map of the battle. However, I then checked the Official Atlas of the Civil War that accompanied the Official Records. The only map I could find was labeled to come from Hotchkiss’s notes in his journal.
Another thing we discussed was how in depth this program should be. Recently, I have found myself entrenched with details of regimental movements and the fine points of the battle. But, after talking to Eric, I was reassured about what my job is going to be. He clarified that I only have 90 minutes to get across the causes, the battle itself and its consequences. Therefore, I will not have the time to go into the nitty gritty of the action. Rather, my program should be an overview battlefield tour with the emphasis placed on certain aspects of the battle rather than details on the whole battle. Also, I have to take into consideration that visitors will have to walk from each stop, taking time away from the program logistically. Overall, Eric made me feel more confident and comfortable in the material and organization of my research so far.
Lastly, I was fortunate to attend a sesquicentennial conference today. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation hosts annual sesquicentennial conferences commemorating the Civil War in the Valley. The first of two this year was held in New Market, at the Hall of Valor. The speakers were a diverse group contacting my supervisor Eric Campbell and my former professor (who was the head of the conference) Jonathan Noyalas. The theme of the conference was “War Returns the Valley.” Therefore, the speakers focused on the spring and summer Valley campaigns before Philip Sheridan arrived in August. Topics included, David Hunter’s role in the lower valley and effects on the civilians, Early’s Raid to Washington D.C. and Hunter’s Lynchburg Campaign. The latter was conducted by author Scott Patchan. After the conference, I was able to talk to him briefly about sources regarding Second Kernstown and bounced some ideas off him concerning the role of Union commander George Crook. All in all it was a fun filled day.
Next week I will be on spring break visiting my folks in Florida, so, inherently not so much work will be done regarding my research. However, starting March 21st, I will start my regular duties at the park as a ranger. I will be working Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of my semester. I will be giving programs, as well as finishing up my program for July 24th.
Hours completed this week: 10
Total hours: 68