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Central Virginia Battlefields Trust

2024 Annual Conference

Seventy Square Miles of Hell!

The Mine Run Campaign and the Wilderness

September 13-15, 2024


Less Than 10 Full Weekend Tickets Left!

CVBT 2024 Annual Conference

Tours Focusing on The Battle at Mine Run and Expanded tour of the Wilderness
Mine Run set the stage for the Overland Campaign beginning in 1864

Friday Tour - Exploration of Mine Run's Payne's Farm - Ted Savas
Tour Change   Saturday Feature - Expanded Tour of Wilderness as it Relates to 1863-1864 Battles - Greg Mertz

Myths surrounding the Civil War and the Recounting of Battles in the Memoirs of their Commanders play an important role in our current day perception of the War. We present two programs delving into these subjects.

Saturday Banquet Keynote Speaker - Jack Davis "Civil War Mythology Then and Today"
Sunday Brunch Keynote Speaker - Stephen Cushman The Generals' Civil War "What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today".

Join Us for Three Days of Fun, Food, Tours, History and Comradery!

Details Below

Fredricksburg Jepson Center
Jepson Center Ball Room

Conference to be held at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center's Grand Ball Room


1119 Hanover Street, Fredericksburg, VA  22401

The Jepson Alumni Executive Center is located at the top of Trench Hill in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. Built as a private home in the 1920s and acquired by the University in 1948, Trench Hill is named to commemorate the Civil War trenches found on the property

CVBT Block - Hotel Rooms
on Inn and Suites by Hilton - At Celebrate Virginia
Booking Cut Off Date - 8/12/2024


Another way guests can book their reservations is by calling Hilton Reservations toll-free number at 1-800-HILTONS, mention the CENTRAL VIRGINIA BATTLEFIELDS TRUST Group Block or the unique code CVBT to receive your group rate.







Believing that published articles and books had long incorrectly located the fighting area, Ted was determined to test his theory. Armed with extensive primary sources and battle reports, he and colleague Paul Sacra located what they believed was the battlefield and, with the permission from several landowners, used metal detectors to prove it.


Within days Savas and Sacra had unearthed hundreds of artifacts, including bullets, a ramrod, bayonet socket, a partial harmonica, belt buckles, buttons, and much more. Savas drew maps of the field and the general location of the artifacts and delivered them to The Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (or APCWS), and its director, A. Wilson Greene, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Greene, who had no idea the field was in such pristine condition, was excited by the find and affirmed its importance. Today, The American Battlefield Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 690 acres of the battlefield. The battlefield features a wooded, 1.5-mile interpretive trail with historical wayside markers.

  Saturday Tour (Lunch Included)
Expanded Tour of Wilderness as it Relates to 1863-1864 Battles
Greg Mertz


On the Western Edge of the Wilderness, key sites of the Wilderness, Chancellorsville, Mine Run Campaigns reside in Orange and Culpeper Counties. Several points in the counties west of Spotsylvania were significant during all three of the campaigns fought in the Wilderness. We plan to stop at Robinson’s Tavern in Locust Grove to discuss why Federal plans to concentrate there during the precursor to the Wilderness battle, the Mine Run Campaign, fell apart. Next, we will continue with that campaign with a stop at the site of the Catlett Rhodes house to hear of Lee encouraging the young men of his army to exert themselves. We will see the site of Lee’s headquarters during the winter of 1863-64 and base of Clark’s Mountain, from which Confederates saw the flickering of campfires in the Federal camps as blue-clad troops marched past, alerting Lee that Grant’s forces were on the move. 


In the town of Orange we will receive a tour of A.P. Hill’s winter headquarters at Mayhurst, learning of the christening of one of Hill’s daughters with her famous godfather attending – Robert E. Lee. Next, we will stop in the community of Rapidan, where during the Chancellorsville Campaign, the Federal cavalry division of William W. Averell was stopped cold. After lunch we will visit the Graffiti House in Brandy Station, focusing on inscriptions pertaining to the three “Wilderness Campaigns”. While in Brandy Station we will stop at Fleetwood Hill where Confederate guerilla John S. Mosby raided the abandoned Federal camps after the army marched off for the Mine Run Campaign. We will stop at Madden’s Tavern and the U.S. Colored Troops monument to discuss aspects of both the Chancellorsville and the Wilderness campaigns. We will likely end at Germanna Ford, where Federal troops crossed the Rapidan River during all three campaigns, but with three dramatically different experiences each time.

















Sunday Brunch at Historic Stevenson Ridge

Stephen Cushman 

Author and historian Professor Stephen Cushman will speak on the topic of his book The Generals' Civil War "What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today".





Some hewed more closely to Grant’s model than others, and their points of similarity and divergence left readers increasingly fascinated with the history and meaning of the nation’s great conflict. The writings also dovetailed with a rising desire to see the full sweep of American history chronicled, as its citizens looked to the start of a new century. Professional historians engaged with the memoirs as an important foundation for this work.


In this insightful book, Stephen Cushman considers Civil War generals’ memoirs as both historical and literary works, revealing how they remain vital to understanding the interaction of memory, imagination, and the writing of American history. Cushman shows how market forces shaped the production of the memoirs and, therefore, memories of the war itself; how audiences have engaged with the works to create ideas of history that fit with time and circumstance; and what these texts tell us about current conflicts over the history and meanings of the Civil War.


This will be an opportunity to explore the fierce fighting at the start of the Mine Run Campaign before it fizzled into a watchful wait with a few skirmishes before Union General Meade called off the attacks and campaign. It will also be an exploration with an expert since Savas accurately located the battlefield in the early 1990’s.

Although the Seventy Square Miles of Hell, known as the “Wilderness” is most known for the May 1864 “Battle of the Wilderness”, it had an effect on several overlapping conflicts in 1863 and 1864, both in planning and execution. The grounds surrounding the Wilderness itself played as great an obstacle as the armies did to each other.

   Friday Morning Tour

Ted Savas (Exploration of Payne's Farm - Mine Run)

Saturday Evening Dinner Banquet Keynote Speaker
William "Jack" Davis
"Civil War Mythology Then and Today"

William C."Jack" Davis, retired Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and professor of history at Virginia Tech, formerly spent 31 years in editorial and marketing management in the book and magazine publishing industry.  He has consulted for numerous film and television productions, and was senior advisor for the A&E and History Channel series “Civil War Journal.” 

Davis is the author or editor of more than 50 books in Civil War and Southern history, and most recently co-edited with Sue Heth Bell, The Whartons’ War:  The Civil War Correspondence of General Gabriel C. Wharton  & Anne Radford Wharton, 1863-1865.  He is currently working with Ron Maxwell, director of the epic films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals,” on two docudrama series for television.

"Mythology is perennial, and universal.  It is all around us, and we create--and believe in--myths for a host of reasons, often unconsciously.  The Civil War era was no different, and in the generations following the close of the fighting the myth-making only grew in volume.  This talk will look at some myths that are amusing and silly.  More profound ones illuminate how our ancestors coped with the war's results.  And a thriving mythology today tells us about ourselves and how we want to perceive our past and present."


In December 1885, under the watchful eye of Mark Twain, the publishing firm of Charles L. Webster and Company released the first volume of the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. With a second volume published in March 1886, Grant’s memoirs became a popular sensation. Seeking to capitalize on Grant’s success and interest in earlier reminiscences by Joseph E. Johnston, William T. Sherman, and Richard Taylor, other Civil War generals such as George B. McClellan and Philip H. Sheridan soon followed suit.

Event Schedule

Thursday September 12, 2024

"CVBT Generals Only" Special tour Brandy Station

Guide: Chris Army

Depart CVBT Office 8:30 am to Brandy Station

Tour Brandy Station - Return to CVBT Office for provided lunch and round table discussion

Friday September 13, 2024

Tour: Exploration of Payne's Farm - Mine Run

Guide: Ted Savas

Depart CVBT Office 9:00 am

Tour Payne's Farm

Return CVBT Office

Afternoon free

Saturday September 14, 2024

Tour: Expanded tour of Wilderness

Guide: Greg Mertz

Depart CVBT Office 9:00am begin bus tour

Lunch 12:00 (Provided)

Conclude 2nd half of tour

Return to CVBT Office 4:00pm

Saturday Evening September 14 ,2024

CVBT Banquet/Meeting and Keynote Speaker

Social Hour begins: 6:00pm

Dinner 6:45pm

Introduction and meeting 7:30pm CVBT President Tom Van Winkle

Keynote Speaker: Jack Davis 8:00pm

(Silent Auction/Raffle throughout evening)

Sunday Morning Brunch

Stevenson Ridge\Doors open 9:00 am

Brunch severed 9:30am

Introductions/ Acknowledgements President Tom Van Winkle

Morning Keynote Speaker: Stephen Cushman

Weekend Concludes

Stephen Cushman.JPG
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