Monday, August 10, 2009

Symposium update

As many of you know I am involved (my wife would say heavily involved) in the Rocky Mountain Civil War symposium. I've been doing a bunch of stuff for that event lately and I hate to jinx myself but things seem to be going good, I think we're ahead of where we were when we did our first one in May 2008.

Its about 8 weeks away and I'm excited for the event to come now. I mean that in the sense that I think we are on schedule to have everything done in time. There might by glitches and problems that arise but I think we're better able to handle them now than we were our first time around. This time I'm not worried about finishing everything in only 8 weeks, I'm anxious for us to get down to 8 days to go. I have projects to do for the event but nothing too horribly difficult or time consuming.

In fact things are progressing so well that about a month ago I felt like I had enough free time to start lining up speakers for 2010, and we have three commitments (I don't want to reveal names quite yet but I am excited for another great event).

I'm also excited for the event to come in the sense that I think its going to be a great day of presentations. I'm anxious to see all our hard work come off but I'm also anxious to sit in the crowd and hear five great speakers.

Russel H. Beatie will provide an overview of the two campaigns. Specifically he will focus on the corps commanders and how they performed in both campaigns. Beatie is working on a multi volume history of the Army of the Potomac. I regret to say I don't own any of the books but I'm skimmed through them at the library and its a truly impressive series. The third book takes us up to May 1862, I can only imagine how long the series will be to cover the army's entire existence.

Stephen Recker will talk about the final phase of fighting at Antietam. He has titled his talk "IX Corps Final Attack: The Pickett's Charge of Antietam." Recker is the founder of the Antietam guide association, similar to the Gettysburg guides. He is also the creator of Virtual Gettysburg, a critically acclaimed interactive Civil War battlefield tour, and its follow-up, Virtual Antietam, which will be released next year.

Bradley M. Gottfried will discuss the other invasion by Lee that culminated at the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. I became a fan of Gottfried's work with his Brigades of Gettysburg book. I also love the map book series he has started, with volumes on Gettysburg and First Bull Run.

I had a relative in the Iron Brigade, plus with all my family from Wisconsin its natural to have an affinity for the brigade. One of the foremost authorities on the Iron Brigade is Lance J. Herdegen and he will explain its activities in the two campaigns in a program titled, "From The Cornfield to McPherson's Woods: The Iron Brigade at Antietam and Gettysburg." Unfortunately my relative was not in the brigade in time for either fight, he was drafted into the 6th Wisconsin in time for the '64 Overland Campaign. I have all of Herdegen's books because they are all Iron Brigade related.

The final presenter, Timothy B. Smith, is a repeat from last year. He was well liked and when it came time to find a presenter to talk about battlefield preservation his name came up since he is one of the leading historians on this subject. He has done two books already in this theme and has a third coming out very soon (maybe even in time for the symposium.)

The Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable will hold its annual symposium on October 2-3, 2009 at the Community College of Aurora, Colorado. On Friday October 2 we are having a social hour event. Admission is limited to 25 to keep it informal and comfortable for all. Saturday, October 3rd, is our main event. Tickets for Saturday only are $50, while tickets for both events are $57. To order tickets, please visit You can also reach the Round Table for tickets at 303-249-4336.

I've also included a link to our flyer and our program. The program has fuller presenter biographies.

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