Published on April 24, 2019

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The Forgotten Valley:
Lesser-Known Stories of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley

Saturday, August 3, 2019
George Washington Hotel
Winchester, Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s 2019 Valley Conference will focus on fascinating but overlooked stories that deserve more attention, from lesser-known stories of the famous to moving accounts of everyday people caught up in the four years of fury.  This one-day conference will feature eminent Civil War historians Eric Buckland, Gary Ecelbarger, Dennis Frye, Catherine Mägi, Jonathan A. Noyalas, Scott C. Patchan, Keven M. Walker, and Eric J. Wittenberg.

The cost will be $27 for members; $30 per non-members.  Lunch will be on your own.  Space will be limited, and pre-registration is required.


THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT.  To be added to the waiting list, email or call 540-740-4545.

Schedule for the day:

8am:  Check-In Desk Opens
9am:  Dennis Frye and Catherine Mägi – Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny
10am:  Gary L. Ecelbarger – Stonewalling Jackson: The Unheralded Counter Campaign of Winter 1862
11am:  Eric J. Wittenberg – The Battle of Wapping Heights: Lost Opportunity, July 23, 1863
Noon:  Lunch (On your own)
1:00 pm:  Scott C. Patchan – Germans in the Valley: Col. Augustus Moor and the 28th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Piedmont
2:00 pm:  Eric Buckland – Mosby’s Rangers: Playing Outside of the Box
3:00 pm:  Keven M. Walker – “We shall never be the same”: The Soldiers Who Gave Their Last Full Measure and the Ones They Left Behind
4:00 pm:  Event Closes

Summary of Talks

Dennis Frye and Catherine Mägi
“Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny”
No one in Harpers Ferry expected John Brown. No one anticipated the Teutonic quake that emanated from the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. No one could predict the disaster of civil war upon Harpers Ferry. Nearly 3,000 inhabitants called Harpers Ferry home when John Brown struck. One year into the Civil War, only 100 residents remained. Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny is personal. Stories derived from dozens of unpublished letters, journals and diaries bring to life the past people of a charmed but tormented town.

Gary L. Ecelbarger
“Stonewalling Jackson: The Unheralded Counter Campaign of Winter 1862”
The first 3 months of 1862 were the bleakest of Stonewall Jackson’s military career.  Although many Civil Way anthologies describe the hardships he faced that winter from mass illness, back-biting subordinates and inclement weather, hardly any have even touched upon the active Union campaign against him which kept him miserable from January through March. Gary Ecelbarger will discuss the penetration of Federal forces into Jackson’s Valley district throughout the winter of 1862 with a focus on Jackson’s chief nemesis during this campaign — Brigadier General Frederic W. Lander — who was one of the most-name recognized Americans at this stage of the Civil War, but has since fallen into an abyss of obscurity.

Eric J. Wittenberg
“The Battle of Wapping Heights: Lost Opportunity, July 23, 1863”
On July 23, 1863, while the armies made their back to their starting points along the Rappahannock River after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Wapping Heights occurred. That day, the Army of the Potomac’s Third Corps, now commanded by Maj. Gen. William H. French, squandered a prime opportunity to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia’s Second Corps in detail. Union troops caught up to Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s force, acting as the Army of Northern Virginia’s rearguard, and attacked it near Manassas Gap through the Blue Ridge. After a day of intense fighting, Ewell’s command escaped, and a prime opportunity to defeat the Army of Northern Virginia in detail was lost. Eric J. Wittenberg will describe this forgotten action in detail in this talk.

Scott C. Patchan
“Germans in the Valley: Col. Augustus Moor and the 28th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Piedmont
German American troops served in the United States Army throughout the Civil War. The interpretation of their service has been unduly influenced by the nativist sentiment of the times. This talk will examine the development of the role in the war and historical interpretation of German Americans through the lens of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley and focus in on the service of Col. Moor and the 28th Ohio Infantry and the culmination of their service at the battle of Piedmont where the regiment lost 130 men killed and wounded.

Eric Buckland
“Mosby’s Rangers: Playing Outside of the Box”
The area commonly referred to as “Mosby’s Confederacy” was roughly bounded by the Potomac River on the north and east, the Rappahannock River on the south and the Shenandoah Valley on the west. The majority of activities conducted by Mosby’s Rangers did occur within that designated box, but not all. As spring changed to summer and then to fall in 1864, the Rangers expanded their area of operations westward. It was there, in the “Valley of Virginia”, that the Rangers met with both success and tragedy. This presentation will provide insight into some of those events.

Keven M. Walker
“‘We Shall Never Be the Same’: The Soldiers Who Gave Their Last Full Measure and the Ones They Left Behind”
The Civil War turned the world upside down, and forever changed the lives of the people who lived through it.  This talk will look at the smaller, often overlooked human stories related to the war in the Valley, including individual soldiers who fought and died on the battlefield, such as Joseph Chenoweth and Benjamin Freeland; loved ones consumed by fear and uncertainty back at home; and Valley residents who saw their front yards consumed by four long years of fire and battle.

Speaker Bios

For bios of our speakers, click here

Host Site

The conference will be hosted at the George Washington Hotel at 103 E Piccadilly Street in historic downtown Winchester.  For more information, see the hotel’s website here.


Lunch will be on your own.  You can dine at the hotel’s restaurant, George’s Food & Spirits (see the menu here), or one of the many other outstanding options located a short walking distance from the hotel.  A list of nearby restaurants will be available at check-in.

Book Sales

The Harpers Ferry Bookshop will be with us during the conference, offering books by the featured speakers and other Civil War authors.

Visitor Information

For information about historic sites, attractions, lodging, and dining opportunities in the Winchester-Frederick County area, see the Discover Winchester website here.  For more information, call 540-542-1326.  And while you’re in town, visit the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center (1400 S. Pleasant Valley Road), which also hosts the Civil War Orientation Center for the Winchester-Frederick County area.

Questions or Need More Information?

Call the SVBF at 540-740-4545 or email