homepage logo

Symposium on Civil War to be held

By Staff | Jun 3, 2011

The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War will host a symposium this weekend featuring Shepherd University graduates and experts on the war in the local region.

According to Mark Snell, the center’s director, a two-day symposium has never been attempted.

He said that this year the center originally planned to do a longer seminar off-site at Davis And Elkins University, but those plans fell through.

“People are interested in big bloody battles. Rich Mountain and Philippi are significant, but not bloody,” he said.

The center decided to instead do a shorter summer program that features Shepherd University graduates who are doing actual work in the Civil War and history field as well as other experts.

The program will feature lectures by these “Civil Warriors” and will focus on the year 1861 in this region. It will cover subjects like the illegal capture of Harpers Ferry by the Virginia militia, as well as the skirmish at Falling Waters and the capture of the Round House in Martinsburg by Thomas Jackson, who later became known as “Stonewall” Jackson.

The symposium will include a half-day tour of both Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg.

According to Denise Messinger, program coordinator, the center has been in its current location at the corner of German and Church Streets since 1996.

Messinger described it as less of a museum and more of an educational resource and large Civil War library.

Its stacks are stocked with war records, historical society records, war rosters and a few primary historic documents, like letters.

The center is open to anyone doing any kind of research about the Civil War, including students, genealogists and local writers.

Every year the center plans some sort of summer seminar dedicated to a topic related to Civil War culture or specific battles.

Last year the group visited what Messinger described as a “Civil War amusement park,” called Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg,Va.

Messinger said that every year the center works hard to find a new topic to cover, with many of the seminars’ guests returning each year for a new program.

“Most of these people are regulars. They come every year,” she said.

This year Messinger said she expects around 40 visitors of all ages, many returning, though she said the seminars gains new fans each year.

Next year the center plans to return to Pamplin Park in Petersburg. Messigner and the seminar organizers are already looking forward to that. Messigner said that trip will include well-known speakers and tours of the “Seven Days Battles” battlefields.

For more information about the George Tyler More Center and its summer seminar series visit www.shepherd.edu/GTMCWEB/.