Civil War revisited

Liberty University plans to welcome students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community to its 17th annual Civil War Seminar, “1863 — The Conflagration Continues,” as part of the celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the
Civil War.

SEMINAR — “Breechloaders and Greencoats,” courtesy or Gallon Historical Art. Photo provided

SEMINAR — “Breechloaders and Greencoats,” courtesy or Gallon Historical Art. Photo provided

According to its Web page, the event will begin with a kickoff banquet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 in DeMoss Hall. Saturday’s festivities will begin at 8:50 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m., during which participants will hear from nationally acclaimed speakers, be presented with papers by scholars from across the nation, and have the opportunity to view artifacts and memorabilia that will be on display throughout the day.

The event will conclude Sunday, Sept. 15, with a period church service at 9 a.m. at the Whorley Prayer Chapel, led by Dr. John H. Brinsfield, who served for many years as a chaplain at the Army Chaplaincy School in Fort Jackson, S.C., according to a Web page at

The Civil War Chaplain’s Museum, located next to Doc’s Diner, will also be
open Saturday. This museum is the only one of its kind in the country, and was brought to life with the help of Kenny Rowlette, the director of the National Civil War Chaplains Museum, former Liberty history professor Dr. Cline Hall and Chaplain Alan Farley of Reenactor’s Mission for Jesus Christ, Rowlette said.

“What we decided to do this year (for the seminar) is highlight things that most people do not usually think about when it comes to the Civil War,” Rowlette said. “For example, Gettysburg is the battle that we have to talk about, but since the battle was over the course of three days, we are not going to look at it like one big battle …We are going to take eyewitness accounts to give you glimpses in to the different moments of each day.”

According to Rowlette, seminar speakers, such as Maj. John Plaster and Michael Leavy, will cover topics as diverse as sharpshooters of the war, the weapons used at Gettysburg, the chaplains’ involvement in the Battle of Gettysburg, and the impact of the railroads during the war.

In addition to the presentations, there will be academic papers, exhibits, and venders, said Rowlette.

“It’s also an opportunity to learn about various topics that you wouldn’t necessarily learn about in the classroom,”senior Lindsay Poling said.
According to Discover Lynchburg, the seminar was organized with the hope that students and the surrounding community would realize the historical significance of the area.

Lynchburg is home to 12 stops along the Civil War Trails.

“Here in Lynchburg, we are so close to Richmond … and 65-70 percent of the battles took place in Virginia,” Rowlette said. “We are six hours from Gettysburg and near Appomattox, where the surrender took place. You go here because this is where the Civil War was fought. We are saturated here in a way that you won’t be anywhere else.”

Encyclopedia Virginia states that Lynchburg’s location during the war, which was near battles but safe from harm, made it a perfect place to set up hospitals and store supplies. The Ladies’ Relief Hospital stationed in Lynchburg grew to become “one of the largest women-run hospitals in the Confederacy.”

However, the city did play host to a battle June 17, 1864, when Confederate Gen. Early gave the Confederate Army a victory and control over the Shenandoah Valley in the Battle of Lynchburg, according to Encyclopedia Virginia.

Admission for the kickoff banquet Friday night is $25. Saturday’s lecture is $25 per person or $35 per family. Admission for Liberty students, both residential and online, is free.

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