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Roundtable: The Man Who Lost the Civil War Twice

March 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Speaker Dr. Matthew C. Hulbert will discuss, “The Man Who Lost the Civil War Twice: The Life and Legend of Major John Newman Edwards.”

John Newman Edwards was a soldier, a father, a husband, and a noted author. He was also a virulent alcoholic, a duelist, a culture warrior, and a man perpetually at war with the modernizing world around him. From the sectional crisis of his boyhood and the battlefields of the western borderlands to the final days of the Second Mexican Empire and then back to a United States profoundly changed by the Civil War, Oracle of Lost Causes chronicles Edwards’s lifelong quest to preserve a mythical version of the Old World—replete with aristocrats, knights, damsels, and slaves—in North America.

This odyssey through nineteenth-century American politics and culture involved the likes of guerrilla chieftains William Clarke Quantrill and “Bloody Bill” Anderson, notorious outlaws Frank and Jesse James, Confederate general Joseph Orville Shelby, and even Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Charlotte of Mexico. It is the story of a man who experienced Confederate defeat not once but twice, and how he sought to shape and weaponize the memory of those grievous losses. Historian Matthew Christopher Hulbert ultimately reveals how the Civil War determined not only the future of the vast West but also the extent to which the conflict was part of a broader, international sequence of sociopolitical uprisings.

Dr. Matthew C. Hulbert is an assistant professor of history at Hampden-Sydney College. Winner of the Wiley-Silver Prize for The Ghosts of Guerrilla Memory: How Civil War Bushwhackers became Gunslingers in the American West (Georgia), Hulbert is also coeditor of Writing History With Lightning: Cinematic Representations of Nineteenth-Century America and The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth.

The Petersburg Civil War Roundtable (PCWRT) will meet the first Thursday of each month at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier from 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Annual membership is $40.00. Individuals who are already members of Pamplin Historical Park can become members of PCWRT for $20.00. Non-members can attend for $5.00 each meeting. Call (804) 861-2408 for more information or visit .https://petersburgcwrt.com.