Don’t Miss Last Civil War Lecture in Batavia – Wed. April 1st

BATAVIA – The four-year long Civil War Lecture Series will host its last Civil War lecture in Batavia on  April 1st.  “Reconsidering the Civil War: GCC Historians Consider Historiography and American Memory,” will feature a panel of the college’s history professors including Garth Swanson, Charles Scruggs, Tim Palmer, Dan Hamner and Assoc. Dean Jim Simon.  The discussion will be moderated by Derek Maxfield, Coordinator of the Civil War Initiative.

This highly anticipated event will delve into the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, scholarship of the era, popular memory of the war, and the way that history has been written.  It is sure to be an enlightening and entertaining evening.

The event will be held in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building at 7:00 PM.  It is FREE and open to the public.

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Grant Accepts Lee’s Surrender Early

Lee Surrenders

Lee Surrenders

This scene unfolded a little north of Appomattox Court House last night at a Civil War ball sponsored by the Daughters of the Civil War and the GCC Civil War Initiative.  Lee is portrayed by Tom Schobert and Grant by Derek Maxfield.

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Warsaw Historical Society Volunteers Authentic 19th Century Garb

BATAVIA – With the Civil War Ball just days away, Beth Russell of the Warsaw Historical Society visited me to show me authentic Victorian clothing that they were willing to loan to students who would be helping with the Ball.

Victorian Attire From Warsaw Historical Society

Victorian Attire From Warsaw Historical Society

It is a pretty incredible thing to make such valuable artifacts available for use — lending a strong element of authenticity!  Some would insist on putting them in a museum never to be handled again.  Many thanks to the Warsaw Historical Society and Beth Russell!

Be sure to come out for the Civil War Ball on Saturday, March 21st at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.  Tickets are available at the door.

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GCC Civil War Encampment Just a Month Away

MEDINA – Genesee Community College will host its 4th annual Civil War Encampment and Living History Weekend next month, April 24-26, at its Medina Campus Center. Event coordinators Jim Simon, Associate Dean of Orleans County Campuses, and Assistant Professor of History Derek Maxfield, are deep into preparations for this special event. “Each year we have tried to add new elements to keep the event fresh.” Maxfield commented, “I am especially looking forward to this years event because it will be our last encampment and we have created a special downtown program that will feature a simulated surrender ceremony and a special dedication in front of the Bent’s Opera Hall.”

The weekend will include an Education Day on Friday for local school districts, educational activities throughout the weekend including a nationally recognized Frederick Douglass impressionist, reenactments of skirmishes, artillery and cavalry, a surrender ceremony at noon in downtown Medina on Saturday, and a panel discussion featuring distinguished guests from the popular online journal The Emerging Civil War.

The Emerging Civil War (ECW) was founded by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White with a goal of providing fresh perspectives and original scholarship related to the American Civil War (1861-1865). GCC Assistant History Professor Derek Maxfield is a contributor to ECW and will moderate a panel discussion at the Encampment featuring Dr. Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, and historian Kris White, who teaches at the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh and previously served as staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia where he continues to volunteer.

The discussion, “So What Have We Learned? The Sesquicentennial, The Civil War and American Memory” is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in the main tent at the Encampment. “The Civil War’s sesquicentennial has been a great opportunity to introduce people to America’s ‘great story,’” said Dr. Mackowski. “Even though the anniversary is wrapping up now, it’s the perfect time for people to ask ‘What did the Civil War mean? Why is it still relevant today, to me?’” “We love getting out on the front lines and talking with people about the war because it’s the best way to help nurture the public’s interest and help people understand it better,” said White.

“I am so pleased that historians from the Emerging Civil War will be joining us for our last Civil War Encampment,” said Prof. Maxfield. “I have been very impressed by the caliber of work on ECW and was honored to be invited to join their ranks. To borrow a phrase, I think having a panel of ECW experts part of the Encampment schedule kicks things up a notch.”

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Dignitaries at Civil War Lecture


David Armitage as Confederate General

BATAVIA — Braving the cold and crunchy snow Wednesday night, a lively audience turned out for GCC’s Civil War lecture featuring Genesee County historian Dr. Michael Eula, whose topic was “The Ideal of Freedom, the Civil War and Genesee County.”  As you can see above, even a Confederate general took the topic very seriously.

In the audience was a small group in 19th century period attire, who hoped to bring attention to the Civil War Ball fast approaching on March 21st, 7:00-10:00 PM, at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

Straight out of 1860

Straight out of 1860

The group included (from left to right): Ellen Bachorski, Mary Jo McConnell, Michael Eula, Dona Lavalle, and David Armitage.

Tickets are still available for the Ball, $25.00 each pre-sale or $30.00 at the door.  Tickets may be purchased online at:



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Tickets Still Available for Civil War Ball — March 21st

Civil War Ball

BATAVIA- With just three weeks to go, tickets are selling briskly for Batavia’s first Civil War Ball. Co-sponsored by the Daughters of the American Civil War and the GCC Civil War Initiative, the Ball will feature many in 19th century garb; women in their hoop skirts and crinoline and men in their frock coats and waistcoats. With the commemoration years winding down there is sure to be many men in uniform. The public is asked to come in formal wear, period dress is encouraged but not required.

Calling the turns will be dance master Jeri Brubaker backed by the incomparable City Fiddle Band. The public is invited to come early to the Clarion Hotel, site of the Ball, and participate in dance instruction from 1:00-3:00 PM at no additional charge.

Constituting a full day of related events, there will be two free public lectures in the Emerald Room at the Clarion. The first will be at 11:00 AM and feature Genesee County Historian Michael Eula. At 1:00 PM Tom Schobert will speak as Gen. Robert E. Lee “Four Days After Appomattox.” At the beginning of the Ball, which runs 7:00-10:00 PM, there will be a reenactment of the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox, featuring Schobert as Lee and GCC history professor Derek Maxfield as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Tickets are $25.00 each presale or $30.00 each at the door. For tickets, go to: fritz1992 or Dona Lavalle at donalavalle120.

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GCC Announces Civil War Lectures in Dansville

DANSVILLE – Today GCC announced that its popular Civil War Lecture Series will travel to its Dansville campus for two lectures. The most popular component of the college’s Civil War Initiative, the lecture series has drawn thousands of Civil War enthusiasts over the past three years. “I am delighted to bring the lecture series to the Southern Tier,” CWI coordinator and assistant professor Derek Maxfield commented. “There is strong interest in the war in the area. I believe they will really enjoy the two featured speakers, who are both well versed in the war and dynamic speakers.”

Mark your calendars:

March 25th – “The Civil War in Indian Country” with GCC Adjunct Instructor of History Dan Hamner.

April 15th – “Lincoln’s Other War” with Robert Yott, author, historian, and reenactor.

Both programs begin at 7:00 PM at the GCC Dansville campus and are FREE and open to the public.

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