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What's New • January 2009
Greetings, Regulars and Other Friends


Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley

CopyrightLet HistoryAmerica TOURS and historian Frank O'Reilly take you on The Shenandoah Valley at War: The Center of the Struggle, June 7–16. As you travel through this beautiful valley, you will relive in detail General "Stonewall" Jackson's brilliant valley campaign of 1862 and General Sheridan's elimination of the Valley as a Confederate bread basket in 1864. You will walk in the footsteps of the men involved in the valley campaigns: such men as "Stonewall" Jackson, Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, John Mosby, and George Armstrong Custer.

In 1862 "Stonewall" Jackson said, "If this valley is lost, Virginia is lost." He then entered the Valley and administered a series of sharp lessons to three Union armies (nearly 60,000 troops). One of military history's most brilliant campaigns, it helped save Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, from capture. Those words proved prophetic when two years later, after Jackson's death, General Phillip Sheridan destroyed the economy and infrastructure of the valley. It was a blow from which the Confederacy would not recover.

Photo: Copyright CivilWarTraveler.com. Used with permission.


Frank O'Reilly to Lead HAT Tour

Ft Jackson

Frank O'Reilly graduated from Washington & Lee University in 1987 and joined the National Park Service at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. After a brief stint at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, he returned to Fredericksburg in 1990 as the permanent historian for the "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine.

An outstanding speaker, Frank has lectured extensively on military history in the United States and abroad. An opportunity to travel with this man is a rare event. HistoryAmerica is thrilled that he is leading the tour The Shenandoah Valley at War this June.

In addition to his speaking, Frank is a noted author. His latest book, The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock, received a 2003 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters. The publication also won the 2002 Capital District (Albany, NY) Book Award, the 2003 James I. Robertson Jr. Book Award, the 2004 Daniel Laney Book Award, and the 2004 Richard Barksdale Harwell Book Award.


November 2009 — HAT'S Last Tour

The troubled economy has taken its toll on HistoryAmerica TOURS, and the company will close at the end of 2009. However, in the meantime, the tours that fill will proceed with the same emphasis on careful planning, detailed scouting, authentic history, good food and accommodations, and the best historian guides in the United States. The standards of quality and excellence that have been the hallmark of HistoryAmerica will not be compromised in the 2009 touring season.

Sharon McDermott and Michael and Georgia O'Connor wish to thank all of you who have traveled with us in the last two years, our fabulous historians who have made this possible, and our great tour directors who "make a plan come together." Special thanks to Pete and Julia Brown for their guidance and willingness to share all that they learned in 15 years of making HAT the business that it is today. HistoryAmerica TOURS is a spectacular organization and it has been a thrill for us to be a part of it.


Civil War on the Carolina Coast

NC Fall 08

The "Forgotten War" was not forgotten last November as Jim McPherson led HistoryAmerica Civil War enthusiasts on the tour Civil War on the Carolina Coast: First Shot to Final Battles.

The travelers pictured above had a memorable week with many sunny days. We thank Jim for his patience, subtle humor, passion for the subject, and ability to take such a vast subject and create a unified and understandable picture. It is such a treat to travel with him and his wife, Pat. Also special thanks to tour director Phil Waldron, who in his usual quiet style handled a myriad of details and kept the tour running seamlessly.


HistoryAmerica News Bits

  • McPhersonWhen surfing the web, it's not unusual to come across information on our outstanding historian guides. In the site for the National Endowment for the Humanities there is a wonderful article on Jim McPherson. HistoryAmerica TOURS is so proud to be associated with this exceptional man. McPherson is leading our Antietam and Gettysburg tour, May 3-10.
  • Pete Brown, founding owner of HistoryAmerica TOURS, and historian Ed Bearss did an extensive scout of the area from Charleston, South Carolina, to Richmond, Virginia, in preparation for the fall tour The Revolutionary War in the Southern Colonies. They returned really pleased with the things that they had seen and done. Special thanks to Emory Sadler for his assistance finding sites and introducing them to historians in the area. Of course traveling with Ed always opens doors to the past.
  • There is still space available on the Historic Texas tour that starts in less than three months. If your winter is as cold as ours (it's 6 degrees here today), you might want to think about a week in Texas in early April.
  • With the economy in trouble, if you plan to travel with HistoryAmerica this year, make your reservations early. Your enrollment might be the one that allows the tour to become a reality. However, do wait to make your airline reservations until you know the tour is going. Two months out is actually the time to get your best prices on flights.


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Updated 30-Jan-2009