Conference: Turning Points in the Civil War

Conference: Turning Points in the Civil War
Sept 14 - 15 , 2018

Friday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Civil War witnessed a number of critical turning points. Major battles, the Emancipation Proclamation, the election of 1864, and the New York City draft riots represent the kinds of military, political, and social events that could signal a profound shift in the conflict’s direction or momentum. Speakers at this conference will address the range, and potential for disagreement, inherent in any search for historical turning points. $25. Register online. Rothenberg Hall


Conference Schedule



8:15 a.m. - Registration & Coffee


9:15 a.m. - Welcome: Steve Hindle (The Huntington)


Remarks: Gary W. Gallagher (University of Virginia)
Joan Waugh (University of California, Los Angeles)


9:30 a.m. - Session 1: The Pivotal Political Event
Moderator: Joan Waugh


Richard Carwardine (University of Oxford)
“The Second Birth of Our Nation: The 1864 Presidential Election as a Turning Point for Democracy”


J. Matthew Gallman (University of Florida)
“The General Makes a Political Blunder: George B. McClellan Endorses George W. Woodward”


David W. Blight (Yale University)
“Frederick Douglass and the Republican Victory in 1864”


12:30 p.m. - Lunch


1:30 p.m. - Session 2: Looking West and East
Moderator: Gary W. Gallagher


Ari Kelman (University of California, Davis)
“From Manassas to Mankato: How the Civil War Became an Indian War”


Joan Waugh
“The Confederacy Totters to Its Destruction: Vicksburg as a Turning Point”


Harold Holzer (Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College)
“The 1863 New York City Draft Riots: How the Press Reported, and Survived, an Assault on Freedom”




9 a.m. - Registration & Coffee


9:30 a.m. - Session 3: Great Military Campaigns
Moderator: Joan Waugh


Gary W. Gallagher
“The Seven Days as a Military and Political Watershed”


Stephen Cushman (University of Virginia)
“George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign and the Rules of War”


Ronald C. White, Jr. (Historian and Lecturer)
“The Battle of the Wilderness: An Eastern Army Gives a Western General Command”


12:30 p.m. - Lunch


1:30 p.m. - Session 4: Postwar Echoes and the Most “Important” Turning Point
Moderator: Gary W. Gallagher


Caroline E. Janney (Purdue University)
“Deciding to Honor the Dead: Montgomery Meigs, Arlington, and the Origins of the National Cemetery System”


Elizabeth R. Varon (University of Virginia)
“Old Pete at a Crossroads: James Longstreet and Southern Reactions to the Reconstruction Acts of 1867”


Gary W. Gallagher and Joan Waugh
“What about Gettysburg?”

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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