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CVBT Newsletter, January 2024

Updated: Feb 12

Photo credit: Terry Rensel


Preservation Updates and News

From the President's Desk

It is a new year and a fresh start. I am reminded of a quote, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I would like to apply this to CVBT. Our past successes are to be celebrated but they are not the end of our work. Those goals we sought and have yet to reach are not halting us in any way. It is the intestinal fortitude, “sand”  or "grit," as they used to say, to redouble our efforts for the new year that counts.


2023 was personally an incredibly challenging year for me. I lost my father, several other family members, and three good friends. I also had a stroke leaving me deaf in my left ear, contracted COVID just before CVBT’s 2023 Annual Conference, which prevented my participation, and I endured a knee surgery.


These events have been challenging. To say I have not changed, just a little, would not be honest. But to reflect back on the above quote, “it is the courage to continue that counts,” and continue I will.

We all have our life challenges; I know I am certainly not alone. Those who fought in the Civil War most definitely faced uncertainties and upheaval. As I have conveyed in my short story of 2023, we need to continue with our mission and preserve our battlefields so their stories, their many many stories, may be told.


So, I, and CVBT, vow to push forward and accomplish even more in 2024. Hey, that sounds good, “CVBT-More in '24”. I think we will use that.


Several real threats to the battlefields in the Wilderness and Chancellorsville began in 2023 and need to be resolved. Legal proceedings continue in the massive Wilderness Crossing development in Orange County. In addition, the gas station and convenience store threat next to the Chancellor House ruins, along with other housing subdivision projects, are vivid evidence of the relentlessness of development to our battlefields. CVBT is in the thick of all these fights, and others.

These are our immediate challenges. I challenge all of you, our members, our partners, to spread the word, recruit new CVBT members, continue to dig deep and continue to support our combined mission.

We have a great opportunity to meet and mingle at CVBT’s inaugural March 9, 2024 Spring Seminar, “War in the Balance”, and a great new 2024 Annual Conference in September, “Seventy Square Miles of Hell!"

So, to all, let's have a great and productive New Year. I look forward to seeing you all.


Tom Van Winkle


2024 Spring Seminar Tickets Now on Sale!

The 2024 CVBT Spring Seminar features the following historians and topics: 


Dan Davis - "All Were Conspicuous: The Reserve Brigade at Brandy Station"

Kevin Pawlak - “A Campaign of Cat and Mouse: The Bristoe Station Campaign, October 9-19, 1863”

Mike Block - "'Only One Shout, Then a Terrible Silence:' The Fighting at Rappahannock Station and Kelly's Ford"

Ted Savas - "Saving the Payne's Farm Battlefield: the Gem of the Mine Run Campaign"

John Hennessy - "Ready to 'Make Richmond Howl': The Army of the Potomac on the Eve of the Overland Campaign"


CVBT Board Member Paul Scott will also bring items from his personal collection to display and talk about throughout the day.


Box lunch will be provided as part of the day.


Learn more at our website.


Tickets are $40 per person and are available here.


Save the Date!

The 2024 CVBT Annual Conference will take place September 13-15, 2024.


Look for additional information, as well as registration in early 2024.


Friends of CVBT Volunteer Group

As you know, CVBT is a land trust. We focus primarily on purchasing endangered battlefield properties. However, we also host a large three-day annual conference, standalone events, and we interpret and maintain our lands. We need help in all of these areas.

In the past, CVBT has often relied on individuals from organizations to assist us, and for their help, we are extremely grateful. But now we are in the process of recruiting CVBT's own official volunteer corps.

We have created “The Friends of CVBT." The purpose of this all-volunteer group is to be the “on-call” corps of CVBT’s volunteers, serving the organization by assisting with events and battlefield-related needs. Active volunteer members will have the unique opportunity to be involved with events hosted by nationally acclaimed historians, assist in tours, and work on preserved battlefields. Participating volunteers will also be enrolled in the membership ranks of CVBT every year that they contribute.


CVBT will provide each Friend of CVBT with an official volunteer staff shirt and CVBT cap to wear at events, or wherever wanted. We will be limiting this new group to 18 volunteers.

CVBT is now beginning its 27th year of preserving our local battlefields; the very battlefields that you study and trek across. We would be honored to have you join the ranks of CVBT volunteers and help us further our mission of preserving our nation’s history.


If you are interested in being a part of our volunteer corps, please email


Historic Quote

"The 26th Wisconsin, which was camped just behind us and cramped us greatly as to space, moved a couple of days since, giving us room to extend our camp to double its original space. So we staked out the whole space into company streets, and set the men to moving and building huts. We may move any day, or we may stop here a month; but huts are greatly needed by the men at this season of the year, as they have only common shelter tents. So trees are being felled in every direction to furnish material of building; pine logs with the crevices filled with clay make the best log house." 


Adj. Theodore Dodge, 119th Pennsylvania, excerpt from his journal entry on January 12, 1863.

Photo credit: Chris Mackowski


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