Photograph of a cannon under a blooming tree

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas, Va.

Rob Shenk

History Talk Descriptions

The schedule of events is tentative and subject to change
American Battlefield Trust Event

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Capital Crisis: The Civil War Defenses of Washington, July-September 1862 with Steve Phan

NPS Historian Steve T. Phan will present a lecture on the evolution of the Defenses of Washington in response to the military situation pressing the Federal high command, War Department, and the Lincoln Administration during summer 1862.

The Confederate army launched an audacious offensive in July, bringing the war into Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the outskirts of Washington D.C. As a battered Federal army retreated to the capital following the Battle of Second Manassas, the focus turned to the Defenses of Washington. Designed to protect the city and Federal government from enemy attacks, Union commanders and engineers feared they earthworks were not strong enough to hold back an enemy attack.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee maneuvered his army around the Washington and advanced north into Maryland. In the capital,  disorganization and panic ensued. This chaotic atmosphere inspired a major evolution of the Defenses of Washington—one that made Washington one of the most heavily fortified cities in the world.

For the Use of the Public: An Introduction to the Records of the Williamsburg Public Store, 1775-1780 with Kate Egner Gruber

The Williamsburg Public Store operated in Virginia’s colonial capital from 1775 until 1780, supporting Virginia’s efforts to secure American independence.  The activities of the store are preserved in the journals, ledgers, and day books which enumerate both the day-to-day functions and long-term goals of Virginia’s war effort. This presentation will cover a basic introduction to the Public Store through the lens of the documents it left behind, from the inner-workings of the store itself to its impact on Williamsburg’s civilian occupation, and how the store changed the landscape of the colonial capital as the Revolution came to Virginia. 

The Burning of Washington with Robert "Bert" Dunkerly 

In 1814 British forces captured the nation's capital. We will discuss the inadequate American defense and British destruction in the only time that Washington, DC has been captured by foreign troops.

The Chaos and Carnage of the Medical Field During Civil War with Paige Gibbons Backus 

Talk description coming soon. 

The Charge of the VMI Cadets at New Market with Sarah Kay Bierle 

Talk description coming soon. 

The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War with Jim Morgan 

Talk description coming soon.

The Potomac River Blockade with Rob Orrison 

Talk description coming soon.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

A Vigorous Defense: The Department of the Monongahela During the Gettysburg Campaign with Rich Condon

As Robert E. Lee was preparing his invasion of the north in June 1863, citizens across Pennsylvania were in a state of panic. With news spreading of the impending Confederate advance, towns and cities across the Keystone State mirrored a sense of fear and uncertainty. These communities prepared for the worst, and began constructing defensive fortifications to check what seemed to be a very real threat. The newly created Department of the Monongahela, which encompassed all of Western Pennsylvania as well as parts of Ohio and West Virginia, oversaw the enlistment of emergency militia and the construction of over 40 earthen defenses - some of which are still visible today.

Civil War Stories: Understanding Your Ancestors’ Place in Civil War History with Anne Gillespie Mitchell 

Gettysburg. Antietam.  Appomattox.  You know the places the Civil War was fought.  And you may even know you have ancestors who fought.  But do you know their personal story?  What battles they fought and who they fought with?  We’ve done a lot of the work for you.  We will show you how to discover your civil war ancestors and what their personal history was during the Civil War.

Mapping the American Wars with Steven Stanley

Curious about what goes into the creation of the maps that you receive from the American Battlefield Trust each month, Steven Stanley will shed some light on the map creation process and answer some of your questions. Mr. Stanley will walk you through his process of producing the maps of the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and other American Wars in a brief 45 min talk.

The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson with Dr. Chris Mackowski (Keynote Session)

Jackson’s loss has been called one of the major turning points of the war. Follow his last days, from his flank attack at Chancellorsville and his accidental wounding by his own men, to the amputation of his arm and his final journey over the river to rest under the shade of the trees.

The Road to Revolution with Phillip S. Greenwalt

Everyone knows the "shot heard around the world" fired on April 19, 1775, in Massachusetts. But, that was the end of the road toward rebellion and revolution. With every major event; Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, there were numerous smaller events that taken as a whole, helped created the revolutionary spirit that would see thirteen colonies break away from the largest empire in the world at that time. 

The War of 1812 with Shannon McLucas 

Talk description coming soon.

Victory or Death: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton with Mark Maloy 

Just six months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington and the new American Army sit on the verge of utter destruction by the banks of the Delaware River. The despondent and demoralized group of men had endured repeated defeats and now were on the edge of giving up hope. Washington feared “the game is pretty near up.”  Rather than submit to defeat, Washington and his small band of soldiers launched one of the most storied military campaigns in American history and breathed life into the dying cause of liberty. Author and historian Mark Maloy will not only recount these epic events, he will show you the places where they occurred and where his brave soldiers grasped victory from the jaws of defeat.