In June 2010, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) to attend their annual conference, held this year in Lexington, Kentucky. The first day of the conference was devoted to a welcome lunch and panel discussion about Kentucky’s unique role in the Civil War. Panelists Ed Bearrs, Kent Masterson Brown, Richard McMurry, and Garry Adelman debated Kentucky’s role in shaping Union and Confederate military strategy, and Lincoln’s role in the treatment of Confederate partisans operating in Kentucky and Kentucky civilians came under particularly heavy scrutiny. Following the lecture panel, I decided to use some of my free time to walk around downtown Lexington, and visited Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home, the Lexington Historical Society, and the campus of the University of Kentucky.
The remaining two days of the conference were devoted to battlefield tours, and I chose to see the Richmond and Perryville battlefields. I have recently expanded my own research interests to the Western Theater, and both battlefield tours were prefect springboards for further research. Furthermore, the CWPT has been instrumental in preserving vital land on both battlefields, and both tour guides were careful to point out to our tours all the land that the CWPT had helped to preserve. It was truly a moving experience to attach a battle narrative to the newly preserved land, and it gave the tours quite a personal touch.
For more information on how you can get involved with the Civil War Preservation Trust, visit their website at: http://www.civilwar.org/