Seminar Schedule


The Brandy Station Foundation 2017 Sunday lecture series begins in April and is held on the last Sunday of each month from April through September and begin at 2:00 PM. Everyone is welcome, the lectures are free (although donations are welcome), and free refreshments are provided by BSF board members and friends. 



Sunday, April 30, 2017. "Matthew Fontaine Maury" by John Grady.

John Grady, a managing editor of Navy Times for more than eight years and retired communications director of the Association of the United States Army after 17 years, is the author of Matthew Fontaine Maury: Father of Oceanography. It was nominated for the Library of Virginia’s 2016 non-fiction award. He also has contributed to Sea History, Naval History, the New York Times “Disunion” series, Civil War Monitor and is a blogger for the Navy’s Sesquicentennial of the Civil War site.


Grady has spoken as part of the Banner Lecture Series of the Virginia Historical Society and the Great Lives series at Mary Washington University. He also has spoken at the Navy Museum, Navy Memorial, Museum of the Confederacy, Mariners Museum and the Fredericksburg Area Cultural Center and to a number of organizations interested in naval and Civil War history.


During the earliest days of the Civil War, Matthew Fontaine Maury, former head of the National Observatory, saw himself as the man best equipped to create an almost impenetrable defense of ports, inlets, and waterways. As a member of the governor’s advisory council, he had positioned Virginia’s defenses to his liking—mines and obstructions to secure ports and waterways; well-placed coastal artillery, the heaviest guns with the longest range; and fast, maneuverable gunboats to sting invaders. Now as head of Confederate coastal defense, he intended to build the nation’s layered defense.


He was building the Confederacy's expertise in naval guerrilla warfare.


At the time, President Jefferson Davis paid scant attention to Maury’s plans, but Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory saw the value in repositioning the guns seized at Gosport. Deploying mines could be done cheaply, although he and Maury’s protégé John Mercer Brooke doubted their effectiveness and small gunboats’ effectiveness. Even so the secretary approved the mining. While Mallory thought “small,” in Maury’s words, about coastal defense, ignoring the secretary’s commitment to ironclad floating batteries, the commander dreamed large.


Sunday,  May 28, 2017, 2 PM. "'The Most Magnificent Battle-Field in the World': Gettysburg Visitation in the Postwar Era" by Codie Eash. At the conclusion of the Civil War in the spring of 1865, the United States turned its attention toward a future void of old institutions and alive with the potential of a unified people. Yet even as they looked forward, many citizens could not help but peer rearward toward the events which took place in July 1863 on the bloodstained fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Thousands of Americans trekked to the site of the war’s costliest engagement, and became, in a sense, the first modern modern battlefield visitors. Join Codie Eash as he discusses the timeline and legacy of the earliest preservation efforts, the first guides, the first monument dedications, visits by some of the war era’s most influential military and civic figures, and the first attempt at a Blue-Gray reunion—all of which are contained in an epoch which set the stage, more than any other, for the Gettysburg we know today. 


Codie Eash graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2014, with a degree in communication/journalism. He is currently the Lead Visitor Services Assistant at the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, where he has been involved in some capacity since the fall of 2012, and frequently lectures for historical societies, Civil War roundtables, college classes, and school groups. In addition to having written for several publications, including the York Daily RecordYork Sunday NewsGettysburg Times, and The Society of Civil War Historians, he maintains the historical blog “Ramblings from the Ridges” at Codie lives in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Mary.


Sunday, June 25, 2017, 2 PM"Raised from Obscurity": The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville on the Road to Gettysburg" by Kevin Pawlak..  The Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, fought in Loudoun and Fauquier counties from June 17-21, 1863, were sandwiched between the larger and better known Battle of Brandy Station and Battle of Gettysburg.  Despite their obscurity, they played a critical role in shaping the Gettysburg Campaign.  This talk will look at the bigger picture of the AMU cavalry battles, and will also put the human face on these incredibly well-preserved battlefields.

Kevin Pawlak is the Director of Education at the Mosby Heritage Area Association and is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.  Pawlak is the author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital, published by The History Press in 2015.


July 30, 2017. "The life of Jacob Dolson Cox, Ohio Citizen-General" by Eugene D (Gene) Schmiel.  The wrenching events of the Civil War transformed not only the United States, but also the men unexpectedly called to lead fellow citizens in this first modern example of “total war.”  Jacob Dolson Cox of Ohio was among those who rose to the challenge and he is recognized as one of the Union's best “citizen generals.”  He did so well that General Sherman offered him a brigadier generalship in the regular army at war's end.


Mr. Schmiel is a retired U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer, who now works part-time at the Department of State.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was an Assistant Professor of History at St. Francis University (PA) before joining the Foreign Service. Schmiel has a Ph.D. degree in History from The Ohio State University, and he coauthored with his wife Kathryn a book about life in the foreign service. Mr. Schmiel’s book, "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," was published in 2014 by Ohio University Press.  It is the first biography of this highly-respected Union general whose accomplishments



Sunday, August 27, 2017, 2 PM."I Am A Good Old Rebel" by  Robert Houghtalen. Warrenton's W.H.F. Payne will be the subject of his talk.


Sunday, September 24, 2017, 2 PM. Harry Smeltzer, who writes the blog "Bull Runnings" will present the genealogy of Judson Kilpatrick.  While the talk begins and ends with the Civil War, the speaker does want to stress that it's widespread - including descendants Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper.