Embedded with the Troops - Follow James Taylor as He Sketches the Lower Shenanodah Valley in 1864 ~ October 19 - 22
In August 1864, artist James E. Taylor was sent by Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine to follow and record the fortunes of Union General Philip Sheridan’s army in the Shenandoah Valley. His sketches appeared in that publication but then languished for decades at Ohio's Western Reserve Historical Society. In 1989, Bob Younger and his Morningside Press collected these drawings and released them as the James E. Taylor Sketchbook: With Sheridan Up the Shenandoah Valley in 1864: Leaves from a Special Artist's Sketchbook and Diary.
More recently, researcher/photographer Dana MacBean has retraced Taylor's steps from all those years ago and matched up his modern photographs to the original drawings that Taylor made. To date, he has documented 95 percent of the illustrations in the Sketchbook, creating in essence a "then and now" book. Taylor's sketches and MacBean’s photos will be presented side-by-side in a new book soon to be published.
In October, using the original sketchbook as the model, MacBean will lead a field and walking tour that will be a visual and interpretive guide to the Sketchbook sites found in the Lower Shenandoah Valley of Frederick and Clarke counties in Virginia. Referencing the topographical features and man-made structures, we will see where Taylor’s drawings remain true to form and where he used artistic license to fit the scene to the story line. And because Taylor was as much a story teller as an artist, we will explore his insights into events taken from mundane day-to-day encounters with people and places to complex battles and strategies. In so doing, we will find that many of the sites have changed very little over the years and look very similar to the artist’s sketches.
Our program will begin on Thursday evening, October 19 with an overview and An Introduction to the James E. Taylor Sketchbook. Then on Friday morning, we will set forth to Harpers Ferry, Summit Point, Berryville, Old Chapel, Boyce, Double Toll Gate, Nineveh Church, Cedarville, Reliance, Middletown, Newtown (Stephens City) and Bartonville. We will unfold the historical narrative of the 1864 Valley Campaign as it plays out from stop to stop – and Dana will reveal Taylor’s particular slant on the events and sites as we study and visit them.
On Saturday, we will tour the Second Battle of Kernstown, including a visit inside the Pritchard House, and we’ll tour sites south, east and north of Winchester pertinent to the Taylor Sketchbook and to the October 19, 1864 Battle of Third Winchester.
On Sunday morning, we’ll walk through Old Town Winchester, again comparing Taylor’s exquisite sketches with the old buildings and churches as they stand today.
What an artistic and historical tour-de-force this will be! During prime autumn weather when the leaves have begun to turn, we will:
- visit important Civil War sites that are not often seen even by afficionados
- more fully appreciate the enduring art of the legendary James E. Taylor
- enjoy the idyllic beauty of old roads, villages, bridges, churches and historic homes that have changed little since 1864
We hope you’ll come aboard with Dana MacBean and embed with the troops as did James E. Taylor when he rode with Philip Sheridan in 1864!
Full Program Regular Rate: $395
If You Must Cancel we will refund 100% of your fees paid within 30 days of your notice.
What is Included in your Registration:
- the services of expert historians chosen for their knowledge and experience
- transportation to the sites as described
- Friday and Saturday lunches
- refreshments and snacks during the tour
- substantial information package
Base Location & Lodging: We will be based at a hotel in Charles Town, West Virginia soon to be announced. Soon, we will post hotel information on www.cwea.net – and such lodging information will be sent to all registrants.
Thursday, October 19
7:30 PM-9:00 PM Introduction to the James E. Taylor Sketchbook
– at a hotel in Charles Town, WV soon TBA
Friday, October 20
8:15 AM Depart on Tour from base hotel
5:00 PM Arrive Back at base hotel
Saturday, October 21
8:15 AM Depart on Tour from base hotel
4:30 PM Arrive Back at base hotel
Sunday, October 22
8:30 AM Depart on Tour of Old Town Winchester
11:30 AM Arrive Back at base hotel