Thursday, September 6, 2012

LCWRT to open 2012-13 Meeting Season

The first speaker of the 21012 - 13 year  will be outgoing LCWRT President Chris Kolakowski. He will be speaking on  “The Fall of 1862: The Union in Crisis”.  Chris is the The last 4 months of 1862 (August-December) proved to be one of the great turning points in United States history. During this period the Confederacy mounted major offensives East and West, and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation forever changed the Civil War's objectives. Winter campaigns in December produced nearly uniform Federal reverses, prompting President Lincoln to state "if there is hell, I am in it." Hindsight has diminished appreciation for the low ebb of Union fortunes in December 1862, especially with the failures outside Vicksburg and Fredericksburg. In the wake of several electoral reverses for Lincoln that fall and with emancipation set for January 1, 1863, serious political fissures had opened in the North. What turned this situation around was the victory at Stones River over the year's turn. The talk will examine this period and the various events that influenced the outcome of this first great test of Union resolve.

Christopher L. Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. He received his BA in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his MA in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany. Chris has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Trust, and the Army Reserve. From 2005-2008 Chris was Executive Director of the Perryville Enhancement Project; during his tenure he added 152 acres of critical battlefield land and increased Perryville's national profile. He has written and spoken on the Civil War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars. In 2009 the History Press published his first book, "The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass", and, in 2011, its sequel "The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaigns: This Army Does Not Retreat." Kolakowski currently serves as Director of the General George Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Ky. In 2012 the U.S. Army will publish his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War.  Chris has been a member of our Round Table for a number of years and has served as tour guide, Board of Directors member, and President.