Since 2008, I have accepted very few speaking invitations. After 2006 (the release of my last book), 2007 (the release of the documentary based on the book and Lee's 200th birthday), I was simply burned out and had lost interest in speaking at history related functions. The only two I recall doing since 2007 was one for the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation and one for the Stonewall Ruritan club in McDowell, Virginia. I chose to do both of those because of their local nature and the request of friends in those organizations. But last month, I decided to accept another invitation - one to speak at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of McDowell. That one would be difficult to pass up! Considered by some historians to be the beginning of Jackson's Valley Campaign (others prefer to begin with Kernstown), the 150th anniversary of the Battle of McDowell event is one I've longed looked forward to; even if only as a spectator. I am very fond of Highland County, have quite a few acquaintances and friends there, and have had the privilege of doing some relic hunting on the perimeter of the battlefield (on private land) where I found a few relics and a couple of Minie balls - one with two of my grandsons. I live only about 45 minutes from McDowell, so I consider the area "home."
I will be discussing some aspect of Jackson's life before the war, most likely his time in Lexington and his Sunday school for slaves and free blacks. I'll provide more details as the date approaches. In the meantime, please take the time to enjoy the promotional video for the event: