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December 2019

Michael K. Shaffer- In Memory of Self and Comrades

Thomas Wallace Colley's Recollections of Civil War Service in the 1st Virginia Cavalry

This month, as we close out the 16th year of the PCWRT, we welcome Civil War historian, instructor, lecturer, newspaper columnist, and author, Michael K. Shafferto discuss his newest book, In Memory of Self and Comrades, Thomas Wallace Colley's Recollections of Civil War Service in the 1st Virginia Cavalry.

University of Tennessee Press says of our speaker’s book, “Thomas W. Colley served in one of the most active and famous units in the Civil War, the 1st Virginia Cavalry, which fought in battles in the Eastern Theater, from First Manassas/Bull Run to the defense of Petersburg. Colley was born November 11, 1837, outside Abingdon, Virginia, and grew up knowing the daily demands of life on a farm. In May 1861, along with the other members of the Washington Mounted Rifles, he left his home in Washington County and reported to camp in Richmond. During the war, Colley received wounds on three different occasions: first at Waterloo Bridge in 1862, again at Kelly’s Ford in 1863, and finally at Haw’s Shop in 1864. The engagement at Haw’s Shop resulted in the amputation of his left foot, thereby ending his wartime service.

The first modern scholarly edition of Colley’s writings,In Memory of Self and Comradesdramatizes Colley’s fate as a wounded soldier mustered out before the war’s conclusion. Colley’s postwar reflections on the war reveal his struggle to earn a living and maintain his integrity while remaining somewhat un-reconciled to his condition. He found much of his solace through writing and sought to advance his education after the war. As one of an estimated 20,000 soldiers who underwent amputation during the Civil War, his memoirs reveal the challenges of living with what many might recognize today as post-traumatic stress disorder. Annotations from editor Michael K. Shaffer provide further context to Colley’s colorful and insightful writings on both his own condition and the condition of other veterans also dealing with amputations.”

Michael K. Shafferis amember of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, and the Georgia Association of Historians. He teaches Civil War Courses at Kennesaw State University's College of Professional Education, and at Emory University, andfrequently speaks to various groups across the country.

We hope you will join us, and bring a guest at the County Seat the third Thursday of this month!


The County Seat offers our members and guests a main course, or the soup and salad bar.  This month’s Main Course: tossed salad, Italian samplerand dessert.  Please specify your dining preference when you submit your pre-paid reservation, which is due the Tuesday prior to each meeting. 


Thursday, January 16, 2020 – Speaker and Topic TBA


A Christmas Past

December 7 @ 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Experience the holidays in 19th century style. Families will enjoy the opportunity for children to meet a ‘Thomas Nast’ Santa Claus including photo opportunities and the chance to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate. Thomas Nast is considered to be the “Father of the American Cartoon” and among his most notable works is his creation of the modern version of Santa Claus.

Children will have the opportunity to participate in a craft making activity where the finished holiday craft can be taken home or presented as a gift to a friend. Guests are invited to sign a holiday card for mailing to active duty soldiers serving abroad away from home and family for the holidays.

Everyone can step into the past with holiday trimmings and décor as the historic Tudor Hall is transformed into a mid-1800’s home for the holidays. Costumed interpreters will provide holiday specific programming throughout the day for this full immersion experience. As former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge said, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

Soldiers throughout time spent some holidays away from friends and family and Civil War soldiers did as well. Visitors will have the opportunity to see how soldiers decorated their quarters for the holidays and celebrated Christmas in the field while on campaign. Costumed interpreters will portray these soldiers and bring this special experience to life.

All activities are included with regular park admission and children ages 5 and under receive free admission.

Date: December 7, Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Venue: Pamplin Historical Park

6125 Boydton Plank Road


Phone: 804-861-2408

Website: pamplinpark.org

33rd Annual Court End Christmas

Location:ACWM–White House of the Confederacy

Co-sponsors and Partners:The Valentine Museum

The 33rd annual Court End Christmas will take place Sunday, December 8, from noon- 4 p.m. This community tradition also includes free admission and shuttle transportation to the following historic sites:

  • The Valentine
  • The Valentine First Freedom Center
  • The Governor's Mansion
  • The Virginia State Capitol
  • Monumental Church
  • The John Marshall House
  • Historic St. John's Church
  • Masons' Hall
  • The American Civil War Museum's White House of the Confederacy

Court End Christmas attendees can also enjoy children’s activities, performances, refreshments, gift shops, music, entertainment, tours and much more. Ardent Craft Ales and 103.7 Play will be on-site at the Valentine.

Cost: FREE

Program Date:Sunday, December 8, 2019 - 12:00pm

History Happy Hour RVA: Plenty of Blame to Share

Location:Triple Crossing Beer–Fulton | 5203 Hatcher St, Richmond, VA 23231

Ambrose Burnside is remembered for some doozies, but nothing quite stacks up to his ill-fated leadership during the battle of Fredericksburg. While he does deserve some of the blame, the U.S. Army’s loss there wasn't entirely his fault.

Speaker:Chris Mackowski, EmergingCivilWar.com


Program Date:Monday, December 9, 2019 - 6:30pm




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