Ordinary men, thrust into the epicenter of war, were faced with surviving as best they could. Wrestling with violence, loneliness, fear, death and racism, what means did they find for coping and how did their experiences impact their postwar lives? 

February 18, 2022 @ 5:30 pm – February 19, 2022 @ 5:00 pm

About this Special Event

The American Civil War Museum 2022 Symposium,
The Soldier’s Civil War, will be held at Historic Tredegar for the first time ever. We’re utilizing the Foundry building on the ACWM Tredegar campus as the lecture hall for this in-person but socially distanced event. The Museum is just a few feet away and special guided tours will be available during Symposium weekend. This is our 17th annual Symposium and we intend to make it memorable.
Symposium registration includes boxed lunch. Tours and reception require additional registrations.
COVID Update: Safety of attendees and staff are of the utmost importance to us. We adhere to the latest recommendations from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health. At present, the event will require masks and social distancing. Additional protocols will be added as needed.

The event, moderated by Caroline E. Janney, Ph.D., Director of the Nau Civil War Center and John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, is presented in partnership with the Nau Civil War Center at the University of Virginia, and is sponsored by Americana Corner.

At a Glance…

Day One: Friday, February 18

2:30 pm – 5:15 pm

Collections Tour

Tour Times: 2:30​pm, 3:30pm, and 4:30pm

($25 per person, add-on event)

The American Civil War Museum has over 120,000 unique artifacts, pamphlets, photographs, prints, sketches and manuscripts in its care, over half of which are non-military. These artifacts tell the stories of countless individuals and their experiences during the Civil War- both on the battlefield as well as on the home-front.

5:30 PM – 7:00 pm

Reception with the event speakers in the Museum

($35 per person, add-on event)

The evening before the Symposium, we will be holding our reception with the event speakers in the Museum.

Day Two: Saturday, February 19

8:30 aM – 5:00 pm

Symposium 2022: The Soldier’s Civil War

Examine how ordinary men, faced with violence, loneliness, fear, death, and for Black men racism; coped during the War; and how the impact of war affected their postwar lives. (Descriptions and detailed agenda below)

The impressive slate of speakers will examine how ordinary men, faced with violence, loneliness, fear of death, and for Black men racism, coped during the War and how the impact of war affected their postwar lives.

17th Annual Symposium

February 19, 2022

8:30 Am – 9:15 am Registration 

9:30 am – 9:45 am Opening Remarks

Dr. Rob Havers, President and CEO, American Civil War Museum

Dr. Caroline Janney, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War; Director,  John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History

9:45 am – 10:45 am “To Say or not to Say:  What Can We Learn from the Confederate Soldiers Who ‘Spoke’ Their Letters?” 

Peter Carmichael, Ph.D., Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College

The diverse ways in which Southern soldiers with minimal education experienced, perceived, and wrote about military service reveals a distinct cultural outlook from the ranks of Confederate armies. Like all men in the ranks, they struggled to make sense of war, but their letters, written as if spoken around a   family table, reveal a condemnation of organized warfare as well as a radicalism unique to such letters.                     

10:45 am – 11:00 am Break

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM A Badge of Conspicuous Gallantry”: A Texas Regiment and Allegations of Cowardice in Combat

Lesley J. Gordon, Ph.D., Charles G. Summersell Chair of Southern History, University of Alabama

Allegations of cowardice were serious and nearly impossible to clear; but few historians, until very recently, have thoroughly explored this topic. The story of the 2nd Texas, and more broadly the study of cowardice, helps us to better understand the experience of war and its aftermath. 

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm Lunch

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm “Union Soldiers on the Loose in the Confederacy” 

Lorien Foote, Ph.D., Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor of History, Texas A&M University

In the winter of 1864, nearly 3,000 Union POWs escaped from Confederate prisons in the Carolinas.  Their journey not only revels Union soldier’s experiences in the final months of the war but also the transformation of the home front to a battle front inside the Confederacy.

1:45 pm –  2:00 pm Break

2:00 pm –  3:00 pm “The Families’ Cause” 

Holly A. Pinheiro, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History, Furman University

Counter to the narrative which championed the patriotic manhood of soldiering, research reveals that African American veterans and their families’ military experiences introduced economic and social instability which resonated for years and even generations after soldiers left the battlefield.

3:00 pm –  3:15 pm Break

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM “Civil War Veterans and Opioid Addiction in the Postwar Decades” 

Jonathan Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History, Virginia Military Institute

In the Civil War’s wake, many veterans turned to opioids, and tens of thousands became addicted to the drugs. The opioid addiction crisis sparked by the Civil War affected veterans’ lives and reveals much about the war’s traumatic aftershocks in the postwar decades.

4:15 pm –  4:30 pm closing remarks

Purchase tickets below

We are now pleased to offer a livestream option!