Published on October 6, 2017

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Antietam.  Gettysburg.  Monocacy.
Three Campaigns.  One Conference.

Avenue of Invasion: The Shenandoah Valley and the Road to Antietam, Gettysburg, and Washington

A Civil War Conference
April 25 – 28, 2018
Martinsburg, West Virginia

During the Civil War, the Confederacy used the Shenandoah Valley as a highway into the soft underbelly of the North.  From Stonewall Jackson’s early threats, to Robert E. Lee’s major invasions that were turned back at Antietam and Gettysburg, and Jubal Early’s advance to the gates of Washington, southerners used the Valley’s corridor – and the protection of the mountain ridges – to strike north in bold bids to change the military and political balance of the war.

From April 25-28, 2018, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation will look back at those dramatic events and the colorful personalities who took part in them with our National Conference, “Avenue of Invasion.” Headquartered at the Holiday Inn Martinsburg, the conference will include tours, talks, and special events featuring the finest historians in the nation.

Guides and speakers will include Ted Alexander, Gary Ecelbarger, Steve French, Dennis Frye, Marc Leepson, Scott Mingus, Craig Morin, Jonathan A. Noyalas, Scott Patchan, Stephen Recker, Keven M. Walker, and Jeffry D. Wert.
(For more information on the speakers and guides, click here.)


Tuesday, April 24 2018

  • 6pm-9pm – Early Conference Check-In at Hotel

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 (The 1862 Antietam Campaign)
(One day cost: $115.  Includes lunch during the tour.)

  • 6am-7:30am – Buffet Breakfast at Hotel
  • 7:30am-6:30pm – Bus Tour:  “The Road to Antietam: The Valley and the 1862 Antietam Campaign.”  Tour of battlefields and historic sites related to Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the north.  Guides:  Stephen Recker and Ted AlexanderLunch and refreshments included.
  • 7pm-9pm – Hospitality Reception at Hotel

Thursday, April 26, 2018 (The 1863 Gettysburg Campaign)
(One day cost: $115.   Includes buffet breakfast at hotel and lunch during the tour.)

  • 6am-7:30am – Buffet Breakfast at Hotel
  • 7:30am-5:30pm – Bus Tour:  “The Road to Gettysburg:  The Valley and the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign.”  Journey “Off the Beaten Path on the Roads to and From Gettysburg” with this in-depth tour led by Ted Alexander and Steve French, who share approximately 70 years of experience studying this region. Join us as we travel in the paths of Lee, Imboden, Custer, Kilpatrick and others. Stops will include Martinsburg, Monterey Pass, Falling Waters, and more. Lunch and refreshments included.  Guides:  Ted Alexander and Steve French.

Friday, April 27, 2018 (Speaker’s Programs and Gala Dinner)
(One day cost: $115.  Includes breakfast, lunch, snacks during breaks, and dinner.)

  • 7am-9am – Buffet Breakfast at Hotel
  • 9am-5pm – Speaker Programs about the three Confederate invasions that used the Shenandoah Valley as an “avenue of invasion” into the heart of the north.  Presentations include:
    • Dennis Frye: Did McClellan Out-think Lee During the 1st Invasion?
    • Stephen Recker: Alexandria to Winchester: Exploring Lee and McClellan’s Routes in the 1862 Maryland Campaign
    • Scott MingusThe Second Battle of Winchester: The Confederate Victory That Opened the Door to Gettysburg
    • Craig Morin: “The Tip of Lee’s Spear”: Rodes’ Division in the Valley May-June 1863
    • Ted Alexander:  The Retreat From Gettysburg
    • Marc LeepsonFive Days in July 1864: The Battle of Monocacy and Jubal Early’s Attack on Washington, D.C.
    • Jonathan A. Noyalas“Nothing Was Left to Do but Fight”: From Cool Spring to Kernstown
  • 6:30pm-9pm – Gala Dinner with Featured Speaker Jeffry D. Wert “A Glorious Army”: Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia During the Invasions of 1862-1864

Saturday, April 28, 2018 (Early’s 1864 Maryland Campaign)
(One day cost: $125.  Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

  • 6am-7:30am – Buffet Breakfast at Hotel
  • 7:30am-6pm – Bus Tour:  “The Road to Washington, D.C.:  The Valley and Early’s 1864 Maryland Campaign.”  Tour of battlefield sites and historic sites related to Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early’s bold advance to the gates of Washington.  Guides:  Gary Ecelbarger and Scott PatchanLunch and refreshments included.
  • 7pm-9pm – Closing Banquet at hotel hosted by Keven Walker.


Full Conference (April 25-28, 2018)
SVBF Members: $395
Non-Members: $445*
* If you would like to become a member to receive a discount on the conference, and many other perks, CLICK HERE to view our membership program.

Per Day Options:
Wednesday (April 25, 2018) – $115.00
Thursday (April 26, 2018) – $115.00
Friday (April 27, 2018) – $115.00
Saturday (April 28, 2018) – $125.00


Register Here

Host Site and Lodging:

The conference will be headquartered at the Holiday Inn Martinsburg, located at 301 Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  The phone number for the hotel is (304) 267-5500.  To reach the hotel website, click here.

Conference Room Block:  A block of rooms has been reserved for conference guests.  To reserve a room in the conference block, use the group code “SVB” and say that you’re with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation conference.

Visiting the Area:

For information about places to eat and stay in Martinsburg, and the host of other things to do, see the Visit Martinsburg website here.  A travel guide to the area can be seen here.  A free mobile app about visiting the area is also available for iOS and Android.


Register Here