Upcoming Events! Speaking on the Civil War and War of 1812

Here are a couple of programs history buffs may be interested in, and which I happen to be leading or participating in …

The first is the Book Discussion and Program “Crossroads of Freedom” at the Elkton Library on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. 

Antietam: Crossroads of Freedom While Gettysburg gets more attention as the decisive battle of the Civil War, for Marylanders the biggest clash came at Antietam in September 1862. In his book CROSSROADS OF FREEDOM, James M. McPherson examines the politics and personalities leading to the battle near the western Maryland town of Sharpsburg. During this discussion of the book and battle, we’ll also look at Antietam’s impact on the homefront here in Cecil County, where residents waited expectantly for word about husbands, fathers and brothers who were among the more than 26,000 dead and wounded.

The second is an Opsail Virginia 2012 lecture on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 7-8 p.m. at the Virginia Arts Festival Theater in Norfolk, Va. I’ll be speaking on the topic “Heroes and Villains of 1812.” This promises to be a great event!

They’ve provided this press release:

NORFOLK, VA — From November 2011 to May 2012, OpSail 2012 Virginia will host world renowned authors for a series of lectures on the War of 1812. In partnership with the U.S. Navy, OpSail 2012 Virginia is a bicentennial commemoration event for the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. The lectures will kick off OpSail 2012 Virginia activities, culminating in June 2012 when the Port of Virginia will once again host an impressive fleet of tall ships, navy and military war ships representing the world.

The OpSail 2012 Virginia 1812 Bicentennial Speaker Series will host seven acclaimed historians who will discuss Virginia’s role during the War of 1812 as well as major themes of the conflict.

Ian Toll, “Six Frigates and the Founding of the U.S. Navy” Spencer Tucker and David Healey, “Chesapeake-Leopard Affair” and “Heroes and Villains of the War of 1812”

Brian Lavery, “In Nelson’s Shadow: The Royal Navy in 1812”

Donald R. Hickey, “Myths of the War of 1812”

Catherine Allgor, “Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation”

Walter R. Borneman, “Forging a Nation: Why the War of 1812 Matters”

Each lecture will begin with a 45 minute discussion by the author followed by 15-20 minutes for questions and audience participation. Following the lecture, there will be a reception and the opportunity to meet the authors. There will also be a drawing at each event for a one-of-a-kind gift set of autographed books from all seven featured historians. Interested parties can reserve their place for any of the six lectures at or email opsail2012virginia@festevents.org a minimum of one week before the lecture.

All events are free and open to the public; however, space is limited and reservations are required. OpSail 2012 Virginia is partnering with six community organizations to offer lectures at a variety of venues. Preceding the lecture, each venue will offer a preview of their 2011-2012 programs as well as information about OpSail 2012 Virginia.

Partners include the Chrysler Museum, Hampton Roads Naval Museum, NAUTICUS, Norfolk Botanical Garden, Tidewater Community College’s Roper Theater, and the Virginia Arts Festival. During the War of 1812, Virginia saw hundreds of small skirmishes and several important battles.

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