Published on July 15, 2019

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Please Note:  Due to the continuing effects of the coronavirus, this event has been cancelled.


National Conference: “Our Hour Had Come”:
New Market, Piedmont, and the Fall of Staunton

April 22-24, 2021

Staunton, Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s 2021 National Civil War Conference will focus on the 1864 Lynchburg Campaign, which included the dramatic battles of New Market, Piedmont, and Lynchburg, the fall of Staunton, and the systematic destruction of Hunter’s Raid, including the burning of VMI.  The conference will include talks, special events, and tours of New Market, Piedmont, and sites in Augusta County – all featuring the finest historians in the nation.

Guides and speakers will include Gary Ecelbarger, Charles R. Knight, William J. Miller, Scott C. Patchan, David Powell, Greg Starbuck, and Keven M. Walker.


Thursday (April 22, 2021) – Bus Tour and Open Evening

  • 7am: Buffet Breakfast
  • 8am-6pm: Bus Tour – “May God Forgive Me for the Order”: The Battle of New Market – Tour of sites related to the famed May 15, 1864, battle, including the pivotal pre-battle fighting around New Market on May 13 and 14, the critical role of the VMI Cadets, and an in-depth look at the battle itself that will cover the entire battle and battlefield.  Guides: Scott Patchan, Gary Ecelbarger, and Charles Knight.
  • Open Evening

Friday (April 23, 2021) – Speaker’s Programs and Awards Banquet

  • 8am: Buffet Breakfast
  • 9am-5pm: Speaker’s Programs – Presentations on both famed and little-known aspects of the campaign.  Programs will include:
    • Prelude to New Market (May 13-14, 1864)Charles R. Knight.  In early May 1864, the Shenandoah Valley was all but wide open to Union invasion, with only Brig. Gen. John Imboden’s cavalry – fewer than 2,000 troopers – to defend the vast and important region. Yet despite outnumbering Imboden better than 5:1, Union Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel squandered this opportunity to move through the Valley, occupy Staunton and sever the railroad link to Richmond and the Army of Northern Virginia. Imboden’s delaying actions in the days leading up to the Battle of New Market bought the Confederates invaluable time to shift forces from southwest Virginia under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge to meet the threat in the Shenandoah.
    • Sigel at New Market: The Union PerspectiveDavid A. Powell.  Franz Sigel’s advance up the Shenandoah Valley in the spring of 1864 was part of a larger series of coordinated operations aimed at disrupting Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s supply line. Even though Sigel’s part of that campaign ended in ignominious defeat, he largely accomplished his objectives; failures by other commanders largely led to the debacle at New Market on May 15, 1864.
    • The Forgotten Fury:  The Battle of Piedmont in History and Memory – Scott C. Patchan.  This furious battle fought in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the rolling farms of eastern Augusta County saw more men killed and wounded than any single battle of Stonewall Jackson’s legendary 1862 Valley Campaign. Yet it has long languished in a void of historical obscurity. Scott Patchan will discuss the importance of this battle to the war effort in 1864, analyze the reasons for its obscurity and discuss why Piedmont is an important event of the American Civil War worthy of remembrance and preservation for generations to come.
    • A Battleground of a Different Sort: Staunton’s General HospitalWilliam J. Miller.  History loudly declares the names and the deeds of those who fought on the battlefields of Virginia, but the men and women who waged daily battles in Civil War hospitals remain anonymous. Through four years of war, the medical staff at General Hospital Staunton fought to help tens of thousands of critically ill or injured men struggle for life. Based on new research, this talk will reveal the hospital’s role in the 1864 Valley Campaign, especially in the wake of the Battle of Piedmont, a crisis point for the town, the medical staff and the hundreds of wounded men, Union and Confederate, who filled the hospital to overflowing.
    • “A Grand Picture”: The Burning of VMI.  It was not until June 1864 that war came to Lexington, Virginia, but it came with a vengeance. As the location of Virginia Military Institute and Washington College, General David Hunter’s 18,000 troops made the most of their four-day visit. When they left, the Institute was a smoldering ruin, Washington College was intact, but ravaged; the towns people shocked at their first personal view of war.
    • “Get possession of Lynchburg for a single day”: The Battle of LynchburgGreg Starbuck. This presentation will examine the significance of the June 1864 Battle of Lynchburg, what the conditions were that led to it, and effect on the war and postwar memory.
  • 7pm-9pm: Awards Banquet

Saturday (April 24, 2021) – Bus Tour and Closing Dinner

  • 7am: Buffet Breakfast
  • 8am-5pm: Bus Tour – “The Horror of the Feelings”: The Battle of Piedmont and Civil War Staunton – Tour of sites related to the June 5, 1864, battle – and its aftermath – including seldom-seen portions of the battlefield and sites around Staunton and Augusta County that bore witness to Hunter’s Raid.  Guides: Scott Patchan, Gary Ecelbarger, and William Miller.
  • 7pm-9pm – Closing Dinner – featuring special program: “Blue-Grey Sweets: The Unexplored World of Civil War Sweets”

Registration Options:

Full Conference Rate

  • Members – $395*
  • Non-Members – $425

* If you’re not a member and would like more information, click here or call Kirsten Kauling at 540-740-4545. 

Per Day Options

We would love to have you present for the entire conference, but if you cannot make it to all of the events we have per day options:

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – {$125}

  • Breakfast Buffet at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel
  • New Market Bus Tour with Scott Patchan, Gary Ecelbarger, and Charles Knight.  Box lunch, snacks, and refreshments included.
  • Open Evening

Friday, April 23, 2021 – {$150}

  • Breakfast Buffet at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel
  • Speaker Programs.
    • Speakers include Col. Keith Gibson, Charles R. Knight, Scott C. Patchan, David A. Powell, Greg Starbuck, and Keven M. Walker
  • Dinner at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel

Saturday, April 24, 2021 – {$150}

  • Breakfast Buffet at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel
  • Piedmont, Staunton, and Augusta County Bus Tour with Scott Patchan and Gary Ecelbarger.  Sit-down lunch, snacks, and refreshments included.
  • Dinner at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel

Host Site and Lodging:

The conference will be headquartered at Hotel 24 South (formerly the Stonewall Jackson Hotel), located at 124 South Market St, Staunton, VA, Virginia.

A block of rooms has been set aside for conference guests for the evenings of April 21-24.  The cost for rooms in this block is $109 per night for the nights of April 21 (Wednesday) and April 22 (Thursday), and $155 per night for April 23 (Friday) and April 24(Saturday).

The phone number for the hotel is (540) 885-4848.  To reach the hotel website, click here.

Questions or Need More Information?

Call the SVBF at 540-740-4545 or email