Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era
MCWI publishes Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War Era annually. Essays examine a wide array of topics related to the Civil War era, broadly defined, in the Shenandoah Valley. The Journal is available for sale at a variety of bookstores, museums, and historic sites throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, it may be purchased online. All proceeds from the sale of Journals directly supports MCWI’s various programs, interpretive efforts at the University’s River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield, and unique educational opportunities for our students.
Submit an Essay for the Journal
MCWI is always looking for essay submissions or original scholarship. Submissions can be sent here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words in length (including footnotes).
The Picket Post
The quarterly newsletter of the McCormick Civil War Institute
Check out the latest news in the McCormick Civil War Institute’s quarterly issue of “The Picket Post.” This newsletter keeps you updated on all of the exciting things happening at the Civil War Institute, keeps you informed of various events sponsored by CWI, and lets you know about various ways you can support the Civil War Institute. “The Picket Post”contains two regular historical features — “Publication of Note” and “Artifact of the Quarter.”
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“So Much to Say”: The Civil War Letters of Corporal Robert Bradbury, Battery D, First Pennsylvania Light Artillery
When Robert Bradbury enlisted in the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery in August 1862 he held strong convictions to do whatever he could to support the Union war effort. This series of twenty-nine letters chronicles not only Bradbury’s wartime experience from the Virginia Peninsula to the Shenandoah Valley, but presents his thoughts on the war, politics, and the home front.
The book is edited by Jonathan Noyalas, ’01 M.A., director of the McCormick Civil War Institute, and Charles Givens, a World War II veteran who began the original transcription and organization of the letters years ago. Givens, who died in 2001, is the father of Harriet Johnston, a Pennsylvania resident who donated Bradbury’s letters to the institute in spring of 2019. Bradbury was the grandfather of Johnston’s aunt by marriage.
Noyalas, who has read thousands of letters from Civil War soldiers, called Bradbury’s collection unique and one of the richest he’s seen. Not only does Bradbury document the happenings of the battlefield, but he also chronicles current events and the politics of the time, such as President Lincoln’s assassination and Jefferson Davis’ capture.
“Bradbury’s Letters reveal the uncensored thoughts and impressions of a young soldier in wartime Virginia… Noyalas’ thorough annotations masterfully place Bradbury’s experiences in the broader Civil War narrative… a powerful compilation and an opportunity to see the Civil War through the eyes of the men who fought it.”–Jennifer M. Murray, Oklahoma State University, author of On a Great Battlefield
“Spiced with his pungent political commentary, candid assessments of military leaders, and the latest pickings from the grapevine telegraph, Bradbury’s remarkable letters ply modern historians with important insights into soldier life in the Virginia theater.”–Brian Matthew Jordan, Sam Houston State University, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Marching Home and co-editor of The War Went On.
“Capably edited and valuably annotated… “So Much to Say” eloquently demonstrates the emotional and material ties that bound the front lines to the home front. Full of unvarnished opinions about political and military life, Bradbury’s clear-eyed pragmatism illustrates how the common soldier navigated the vicissitudes of war… readers of the volume will be especially intrigued by Bradbury’s experiences of war in the lower Shenandoah Valley.”–James J. Broomall, Shepherd University, author of Private Confederacies
“A valuable contribution to the growing literature on the experience of the common soldier in camp, on the battlefield, and in the political sphere of the Federal army and the United States.”–Kevin R. Pawlak, Historic Site Manager for Prince William County Historic Preservation Division, author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War
“A Good Cause”: Letters from the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery
The 9th New York Heavy Artillery, originally organized as the 138th New York Infantry in the summer of 1862, spent its first twenty months of service in the defenses of Washington, D.C., but in the spring of 1864 was assigned to General James Ricketts’ division of the Army of the Potomac’s Sixth Corps. From that moment until the Civil War’s end in the spring of 1865 the regiment found itself in some of the fiercest engagements in Virginia and Maryland–Cold Harbor, Monocacy, Third Battle of Winchester, Cedar Creek, and Petersburg. This collection of sixty letters, written between March 1863-June 1865, provides much insight into the defense of the national capital, combat during the Civil War’s final year, perspectives on politics, evolving attitudes toward war, the difficulties United States soldiers, and their families, confronted during our nation’s most tumultuous moment, and how they coped and adjusted.
“After spending twenty toilsome months manning the fortifications encircling Washington, D.C., the men of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery sprang to the front in the bloody summer of 1864, packing an astounding degree of marching, entrenching, and hard fighting into the space of a year. Presenting nearly sixty previously unpublished letters from a handful of the regiment’s enlisted men, “A Good Cause” supplies a unique, welcome, and multi-vocal perspective on our nation’s defining episode. Ably edited, annotated, and assembled by the historian Jonathan A. Noyalas, these letters yield valuable insights into how men navigated the war’s extremes, toggled between various forms of duty, and adjusted to the conflict’s changing cadences. From the defenses of Washington to the horrors of Cold Harbor, from the tedium of trench life to the exhilaration of victory in the Shenandoah Valley, this gem of a collection illustrates the diversity and demands of soldiering in the Civil War.”–Brian Matthew Jordan, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War and Chair, Department of History, Sam Houston State University
“The compilation of letters in A Good Cause offers an opportunity to experience the Civil War through the eyes of a dozen soldiers in the 9th New York Heavy Artillery. Readers interested in the defenses of Washington, D.C., the Overland Campaign, or the 1864 Valley Campaign, will find much of value in these fifty-nine letters, assembled in a smartly and thoroughly annotated collection.”–Jennifer M. Murray, Oklahoma State University, author of On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park)