2021 History Talks

Meade: The Price of Victory

Recorded live April 5, 2021

John Selby of Roanoke College examines Union general George Meade. Meade’s performance during his two-year tenure as commander of the Army of the Potomac was overshadowed by his successor: Ulysses S. Grant. Selby characterizes Meade as a more active, thoughtful, and enterprising commander than has been assumed, bringing him into focus as one of the war’s more effective Union generals. A member of the faculty of Roanoke College since 1986, Selby is well-known in the Roanoke Valley for the history tours he leads for students and adults. Originally aired as part of the Museum’s 2021 Civil War Week.

U.S. Grant at Appomattox: Ending the Union’s War of Deliverance

Recorded live April 6, 2021

Elizabeth Varon of the University of Virginia discusses the Civil War’s last eastern campaign. Varon argues that the theme of deliverance was essential in mobilizing a Unionist coalition of Northerners and anti-Confederate Southerners. Interweaving military and social history, she offers a new perspective on a major battle. Varon is the author of several books including “Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War” (2013), which received several awards and was named one of “Civil War Monitor’s” Best Books of 2014. Originally aired as part of the Museum’s 2021 Civil War Week.

Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate Strategy in the East, 1862-1863

Recorded live April 7, 2021

Christian B. Keller, author of “The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Fate of the Confederacy,” examines the Confederate leadership in the bloody conflict’s eastern theater with a discussion of the world-renowned, audacious generals Lee and Jackson, and their aggressive campaigns in Virginia and Maryland. Keller’s current research focuses on Confederate strategies and examining why the Confederacy failed. Keller is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Chair of National Security and a professor of history in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Originally aired as part of the Museum’s 2021 Civil War Week.

The Military Career of Ambrose Burnside

Recorded live April 8, 2021

National Park Service historian Frank O’Reilly of the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Military Parks looks at Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, the Union commander at the Battle of Fredericksburg. As a Union Army general in the American Civil War, Burnside conducted successful campaigns in North Carolina and East Tennessee but suffered defeats at the Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of the Crater. O’Reilly examines an officer who’s fair and trusting nature set him up to be a scapegoat for military disaster. O’Reilly is the author of “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock,” which received a 2003 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters. Originally aired as part of the Museum’s 2021 Civil War Week.