Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

High Bridge (Farmville, Va)

High Bridge (over the Appomattox River)

Thanks to Patrick Schroeder of the National Park Service and David Coles of Longwood University for inviting me to take part in their Civil War seminar this weekend in Farmville, Virginia. I had a wonderful time. I stayed at the Spring Grove Bed and Breakfast near Appomattox, where I enjoyed the hospitality of Emily and Joe. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day yesterday. The temperatures were in the high 60s.

My fellow speakers did a great job and the audience remained engaged throughout the entire day. It was nice having a chance to catch up with Gordon Rhea, who I think is one of the nicest guys around. Invitations to speak almost always offer a chance to make new connections. This time I got to meet Brian Steel Wills, Stephen Engle, and Eric Wittenberg in person. It’s always nice to see Al Mackey and Mike Rodgers, who are long time blog readers. I also enjoyed meeting Boston native, John Buchanan, who managed to listen to my talk and keep track of the Bruins game. After the conference a bunch of us took a walk along the new footpath over High Bridge. Thanks Craig Swain who showed us some fairly complex Confederate earthworks on the east side of the bridge. The views are spectacular and I highly recommend it if you are in the area.

Good luck to my friends in Virginia today and tomorrow, who will hopefully be shoveling for the last time this winter. Looking forward to returning to Virginia this summer for the 150th anniversary of the Crater

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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15 comments… add one
  • Buck Buchanan Mar 19, 2014 @ 7:02


    Yup, that was me!

    I’ll introduce myself next time.

  • Buck Buchanan Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:33

    Al Mackey,

    I’ll have to look you up next year!

    Mike Rogers,

    Where were you sitting? I was back left about 5 rows from the back a couple seats in off the aisle.

    • Mike Rogers Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:24

      I think I was in the same area. Did you speak to Gordon Rhea after Kevin’s talk? If so, I was guy at the end of the row listening in.

  • Mike Rogers Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:04

    On a side note, on Route 460 just outside of Appomattox is the “Lee-Grant Estates” trailer/mobile home park. Now, I can see Grant living there (his Hardscrabble days come to mind), but R E Lee in a double-wide?? Just not seeing it.

  • R E Watson Mar 16, 2014 @ 14:54

    WOW ! Kevin, you have become one big NAME DROPPER !! Gordon, Eric, Al, Mike and John. All my favorites ! Of course, You’re still #1 !! See you on Wed !

  • Mike Rogers Mar 16, 2014 @ 13:42

    Speaking of the “question”….I really couldn’t hear all of it from my seat in the back of the room…do I remember correctly some kind of rambling involving the Bible??

    • Kevin Levin Mar 16, 2014 @ 13:49

      Yes. He was curious whether you could compare the type of racial massacres that occurred in the Civil War with stories found in the Bible. I suppose you can, but I am ill-equipped to do so.

  • Meg Thompson Mar 16, 2014 @ 13:29

    I would like to personally invite you to the first Emerging Civil War Conference at Spotsylvania the third weekend in August, 2014. We have a nice group of speakers, but I am . . . the only female speaking. Formally, that is! So–please come!

    • Kevin Levin Mar 16, 2014 @ 13:48

      Wish I could be there, Meg. Best of luck on what promises to be a wonderful event.

  • Buck Buchanan Mar 16, 2014 @ 12:12


    You and your fellow speakers were great!

    I really started to rethink some of my preconceptions on the ride home.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW nice job on that first question! Talk about from out of left field!!!

    • Kevin Levin Mar 16, 2014 @ 12:38

      Yeah, I didn’t know what to do with that one.

  • Mike Rogers Mar 16, 2014 @ 11:46

    Kevin – Good to see you yesterday also. I did spot Al Mackey in his usual Virginia Tech regalia, but didn’t get a chance to speak with him. I too, enjoyed listening to the speakers. Hope your travels home were safe & uneventful. See you in June at CWI 2014

    • Kevin Levin Mar 16, 2014 @ 12:05

      Al didn’t ask any questions yesterday. Very surprising. I think he’s saving his energy for the CWI. 🙂

      • Al Mackey Mar 16, 2014 @ 15:20

        No C-SPAN. 😉

        Actually, I didn’t really have any good questions to ask. It happens every now and then. 🙂

        • Kevin Levin Mar 16, 2014 @ 15:47


          C-SPAN should honor you with your own segment that collects all of your questions over the years.

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