What's New


    Conference & Tour arrangements for July 12-14 will soon be finalized and posted. We’re working through some thorny complications that seem to present themselves in that locality. Stay tuned, please

  • Chickamauga/Chattanooga Tour is SET & READY for you to ENROLL!

    It LOOKS to be a REAL GOOD ONE! CLICK HERE for details and enrollment.


    At the charming, affordable, comfortable Spring Mill Inn! And what a FACULTY!!! Don’t miss this one. CALL 800-298-1861 to REGISTER.

  • MIKE BUNN Hits Home Run on Gulf Coast Tour: Mobile After-Action Report

      On March 22, 23 & 24, twelve CWEA attendees, hailing from six states, and from a base in Daphne, Alabama, teamed up for a fascinating tour of the Civil War Along the Alabama Gulf Coast led by Mike Bunn, director of Historic Blakeley State Park, and managed by Norman Dasinger, Jr. On our first day, we traveled by ferry to Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, massive structures which wore bore witness to Admiral David Farragut's capture of Mobile Bay in August of 1864 when he uttered those famous words "Damn the Torpedoes Full Speed Ahead."  Then, after a tangy seafood lunch at a beach shack called Tacky Jacks, we drove the Spring 1865 route of Union General E.R.S Canby and his men as they marched up the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay with the anticipated capture of the city of Mobile.


    On our second day we boarded a 50-passenger pontoon boat and pushed off from the historic Ft Blakeley docks into the Tensaw River to view two rare CSA forts - Huger and Tracy. There are very few Civil War buffs that can say that they have seen these!  Then we viewed the battlefields of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley from this unique river perspective.  After a picnic lunch at the park topped off with homemade chocolate pound cake, we visited the Spanish Fort battlefield. Most of this site is now in a housing subdivision but with Mike's guidance we were able to make good sense of it as we walked through the backyards and the woods still standing. This contrasted sharply with our next walk - of the Fort Blakeley battlefield protected by a 2,100-acre state park.  Mike and his staff have done a tremendous job of clearing the battlefield for ever-better viewing and interpreting the clash that took place there in 1865. This significant battle featured a 16,000-man Federal charge against 3 miles of Confederate works.


    On our third day, we visited sites within the city of Mobile, including Oakleigh House/Plantation, Magnolia Cemetery (and Braxton Bragg's grave) and the Mobile Museum and its CSS Alabama artifacts.

    Here we must rave about Mike Bunn – what a wealth of knowledge he possesses - and what an impressive performance he served up (and Norman, too!), as indicated by this e-mail from one of the attendees that came to us during the tour:”Mike and Norman’s depth of knowledge is only matched by their passion for the regional history.  They are aware of the group's capabilities and are great with logistics. We are having a thoroughly rewarding time.”

    Thanks to all who so enthusiastically participated. This was a tour that demands to be repeated. Stay tuned for Version Two of this tour, to be announced in a year or so.


    Every once in a while, we receive a tour proposal that jumps right off the page – because its theme is so good, its history often overlooked, with plenty of off-the-beaten path tour stops in pristine countryside -  and because those proposing it are both TOP-SHELF HISTORIANS – in this case SCOTT PATCHAN and ERIC WITTENBERG – both of whom are wildly enthusiastic about presenting such tour!

    And so we announce:

    Thunder in the Valley: U. S. Grant’s 1864 Campaign in Western Virginia

    and His War on the Virginia Railroads – A Field & Walking Tour of New Market, Piedmont, Staunton, Trevilian Station. Sheridan’s Raid on the Virginia Central Railroad, Lexington, Buchanan, the Peaks of Otter, Hunter’s Retreat, the Battle of Hanging Rock and the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain,

    August 1-5 – based in Staunton, Virginia

    Read over the tour description HERE! That should be enough to ensure that you strongly consider enrolling for this likely TOUR OF THE YEAR!


    Our March tour, through the stunningly beautiful Mobile Bay region, will explore the sites on land and water where the Civil War’s last major campaign—the Campaign for Mobile—occurred. We’ll visit the site where Admiral Farragut famously exhorted his men to “Damn the Torpedoes”, walk over portions of one of the nation’s best-preserved battlefields at Fort Blakeley, venture by pontoon boat into the tranquil waters of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, and visit remote locations where Confederate and Union army and navy forces battled for control of the last major city to remain in Confederate hands. We also will visit an antebellum plantation, a historic cemetery, And, OH YES, during our three-day adventure together, we will dine at some of the Gulf Coast’s best eateries!

    A Deep South tour not to be missed! Get the Details here and enroll NOW!

  • VICKSBURG: After-Action Report

    We closed out our 2017 season with a Bang – with The Vicksburg Campaign: A Field & Walking Tour, November 1-4, led by,Terry Winschel recently retired Chief Historian of Vicksburg National Military Park and Timothy B. Smith, author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg.

    After an orientation on Wednesday evening, we set forth on Thursday morning on our three-day tour, during which we traveled the back roads around Vicksburg with stops at Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Willow Creek, Grant's Canal, Chickasaw Bayou, Big Black River, the Coker House, Wintergreen Cemetery and Raymond. On Friday we visited Champion Hill where Terry and Tim guided us up the hill as we recalled the bloody conflict that resulted in CSA General Pemberton deciding to retreat into the works of Vicksburg.

    Saturday’s tour visited the Vicksburg National Battlefield Park during which Terry captivated us with stories about the grueling days endured by soldiers of both sides during the long siege.  We visited the site of the Federal breakthrough attempt along the Jackson Road near the Shirley House, and stopped at Stockade Redan, the Railroad Redoubt, the Iowa Monument and other important sites.

    Our visit to the USS Cairo and its museum was a special highlight as Terry narrated a detailed description of the working of this gunboat, its sinking and its recovery. We ended our adventure at the site of Pemberton's headquarters in downtown Vicksburg.

    We dined in the field on the first two days on delicious boxed lunches and, on Saturday, we enjoyed a hearty buffet lunch at Goldie’s Barbecue restaurant.

    Terry Winschel’s knowledge of the campaign is staggering. His flawless presentations were augmented by large color maps which he used at each stop to help us comprehend this complicated campaign. Tim Smith, too, was a bundle of knowledge and a joy. In every way, this was a great tour and a wonderful way for the CWEA to cap off our 2017 season.


    97 enthusiastic men and women from 15 states gathered at the rustic Spring Mill Lodge at the Spring Mill State Historic Park in Mitchell, Indiana from August 17-19 to study and share their love of Civil War history. Historians Kent Masterson Brown, Stephen Davis, David L. Mowery, Michael B. Murphy, Dale K. Phillips, Stephen Lee Ritchie, James I. “Bud” Robertson, Darryl Smith, Jeffry D. Wert and Brian Steel Wills offered thought-provoking, and in some cases dazzling, talks on a variety of Civil War topics. The sessions were artfully moderated by program director Stephen Lee Ritchie.


    Attendees enjoyed the quaintness of the Lodge and remarked favorably on the bountiful and tasty buffet meals. The level of exuberance throughout was extraordinary with many being quite pleased that a major annual conference on the Civil War has now come to the Midwest. A flock of folks signed up on the spot to attend next year’s program, August 16-18, 2018, again at the Spring Mill Lodge. Faculty have been set to included Bruce Allardice, Kent Brown, Stephen Davis, Gary Ecelbarger, Leslie Goddard, Scott  Patchan, Dale Phillips, Steve Ritchie, Bud Robertson and Brian Wills. And already we have some of the talk titles:

    • The Rail-Splitter and the Wigwam: The Nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 – by Gary Ecelbarger
    • Philip Sheridan – by Scott Patchan
    • Clara Barton – Civil War Nurse – by Leslie Goddard
    • Lee’s Retreat from Gettysburg – Kent Brown

    Soon we will announce the rest of the talk titles.

    Our nightly room rate for sleeping rooms at the Spring Mill Inn will remain $80.99.

    We hope you will join us at Spring Mill!


    History Background: As part of Sherman's Campaign to capture Atlanta, in July, 1864, these two sites, now situated within the urban sprawl of Atlanta, were the scenes of two bloody battles between William T Sherman and John B Hood. After taking control of the CSA Army of Tennessee just a few days before the fight at Peach Tree Creek, Hood ordered an assault by parts of two of his three corps in hopes of destroying a part of Sherman's combined army group. His target was George Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland.  Despite a spirited effort by General A.P. Stewart and his corps, Hood was not successful.

    Following the battle of Atlanta, Hood decided on a bold maneuver to flank Sherman as the Union general ordered General O.O. Howard and the Army of the Tennessee to march west of Atlanta with the hope of breaking the last rail line into the besieged city. Hood's plan was solid but new corps commander General S. D. Lee failed to accurately execute it. The Confederates charged into a 'meat-grinder' as 'Black Jack' Logan and the15th Army Corps withheld six assaults by the Confederates.

    Our tour leader Robert Jenkins wrote an excellent book on Peach Tree Creek based on exhaustive research, and this tour was as in-depth as any ever presented by the CWEA.

    After an informative overview on Thursday evening in Marietta, we set forth on Friday morning. Our hardy band of troopers marched down Peachtree Street in Buckhead to see where the battle began, past the fine homes, restaurants and medical center that now sit on the Collier 1864 farm. We closely followed CSA General Winfield Featherston's Mississippi's Brigade as its soldiers charged across Tanyard Branch sustaining 50% casualties.  On tour with us that day was Stephen Davis, a premier Atlanta Campaign expert in his own right, whose pithy contributions, especially about various Civil War personalities involved, further enhanced the rich commentary by Robert Jenkins.

    The next day, Robert led us onto the Ezra Church battlefield, one of the least visited, and now part of Westview Cemetery, Mosley Park, Stanton Elementary School and the grounds of various subdivisions and businesses.  The complex story of the battle was artfully unfolded by Robert and we were able to make sense of the movements of both sides as CSA General S.D. Lee fed his troops into a series of assaults that practically destroyed, for the remainder of the War, A.P. Stewart's Corps. Robert read from several first-hand accounts by soldiers – these dramatically conveyed the destructive nature of this battle. 

    The lunches were good, the snacks plentiful – Norman Dasinger skillfully managed the adventure, and all seemed to come away well-pleased. Buoyed by how well things went, we are already planning another Atlanta Campaign outing in 2018, to be led again by Robert Jenkins, Stephen Davis and Norman Dasinger.

    In the meantime we heartily recommend Robert’s book on Peach Tree Creek, as well as that of Gary Ecelbarger on Ezra Church.