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Lessons in History Presentation with Judkin Browning & Timothy Silver

April 23, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Our 2022 Lessons in History Speaker Series continues on April 23, 2022, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm with speakers Judkin Browning & Timothy Silver “Slogging to Richmond: Environmental Influences on the Union Failed Peninsula Campaign, 1862.” Scholars have long tried to explain why Union general George McClellan’s campaign to capture Richmond, Virginia, in the summer of 1862 failed. With the exception of some limited attention to weather and terrain, Civil War historians have essentially ignored the complex natural world in which McClellan made his critical decisions. Looking at the campaign through an environmental lens provides new insights into the actions of both Union and Confederate armies. Weather, geology, disease, and nutrition all played significant roles. The environment McClellan encountered brought out the worst in the general, magnifying the personal traits and quirks that led to some of his most baffling command decisions. Simultaneously, Confederate forces used nature to their advantage, employing strategies that allowed their armies to stave off a potentially devastating conquest of Richmond. Understanding the role that the environment plays in this campaign helps illuminate the many ways that natural forces shaped the larger war.

The 2022 Lessons in History program is free to the public. Regular museum admission applies for entrance to the museum galleries. The National Civil War Museum will follow CDC and OSHA/HHS guidance as well as orders and recommendations from federal/state/local governments and our state and local health officials.

About the Speakers:

Judkin Browning is Professor of Military History and Director of the History Graduate Program at Appalachian State University, in Boone, N.C.  He is co-author of An Environmental History of the Civil War (2020), and author of The Seven Days’ Battles: The War Begins Anew (2012) and Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina (2011).

Timothy Silver is a recently retired Professor of Environmental History at Appalachian State University.  He is co-author of An Environmental History of the Civil War, and author of Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America (2007) and A New Face on the Countryside: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in South Atlantic Forests, 1500-1800 (1990).


April 23, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


The National Civil War Museum
1 Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, PA 17103 United States
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