The Robert E. Lee Symposium on the Civil War is an annual study tour that explores the military decisions of General Robert E. Lee. Noted scholars and authors guide attendees over portions of important Civil War battlefields. Registrants have the opportunity to listen and learn from the finest Civil War historians as they examine primary documents, conduct discussions, listen to in-depth lectures and take guided tours. Symposiums are restricted to 55 participants. The tour package includes dinners, box lunch, tour transportation, guided tours, participant materials and scholars’ honoraria.
This year’s topic focuses on Sailor’s Creek to Appomattox. The Battle of Sailor’s Creek (also known as Sayler’s Creek, Hillsman Farm, or Lockett Farm) was fought on April 6, 1865, near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the Appomattox Campaign in the final days of the American Civil War. It was the last major engagement between the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant before the capitulation of Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox Court House three days later.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Elizabeth Varon, professor of history at the University of Virginia, who will be discussing the theme and implications of her award winning book, Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War.
Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House evokes a highly gratifying image in the popular mind — it was, many believe, a moment that transcended politics, a moment of healing, a moment of patriotism untainted by ideology. But as Elizabeth Varon reveals in her vividly narrated history, this rosy image conceals a seething debate over precisely what the surrender meant and what kind of nation would emerge from war. The combatants in that debate included the iconic Lee and Grant, but they also included a cast of characters previously overlooked, who brought their own understanding of the war’s causes, consequences, and meaning.
About the Battlefield Tour Guides
The battlefield tour guides for 2015 are John W. Mountcastle, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired),
and Ron Wilson, retired historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.
John W. (Jack) Mountcastle was born and raised in Richmond, Va. Graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1965, he began serving as an Army officer in 1966. During his Army career, he commanded tank units at all levels from platoon through armored brigade. He served twice in Vietnam and spent a total of ten years in Germany during the Cold War. During the 1970s, Jack earned an MA and PhD from Duke University and taught Military History at West Point. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1994, he assumed the duties of the Army Chief of Military History in Washington, D.C. Jack returned to Richmond upon retiring from the Army in 1998. Currently, he teaches Civil War history courses at the University of Richmond and lectures at the Virginia Historical Society. He is past President of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. Jack Mountcastle maintains his interest in leadership studies and leads professional development programs for military and corporate groups at selected battle areas in the United States and in Europe.
Ron Wilson retired after thirty-four years with the National Park Service in 2000. He served as Supervisory Park Ranger at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park for twenty-five years. Previous Park Service assignments include Gettysburg National Military Park, Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site/Johnstown Flood National Memorial, and Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. He co-authored The Appomattox Paroles April 9-15, 1865 and is a former president of the Lynchburg, Virginia, Civil War Roundtable. He worked with Petersburg National Battlefield historian Chris Calkins to establish the Lee’s Retreat Driving Tour.
Schedule of symposium activities:
Friday, June 12, 2015
5-10:00 p.m. Charley’s Riverfront Café in Farmville: buffet dinner, cash bar and lecture by Dr. Elizabeth Varon
Participants return to their selected lodging in and around Farmville
Saturday, June 13, 2015
8:30 a.m. Attendees arrive at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park
9:00 a.m. Tour led by Jack Mountcastle
12 noon Tour returns to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park for box lunches prepared by Charley’s Waterfront Café
1:00 p.m. Tour, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park led by Jack Mountcastle and Ron Wilson.
1:30-4:30 p.m. tour and accompanying lectures at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. Tour of significant locations coordinated by Mountcastle and Wilson, including a viewing of Grant’s terms of surrender on loan from Stratford Hall
5:30 p.m. Tour bus returns to the Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park
7:00 p.m. All registrants and Mountcastle and Wilson meet at Charley’s Waterfront Café for a cash bar, plated dinner and Q/A summation of day’s tour led by Mountcastle and Wilson
10:00 p.m. Symposium ends
All retire to motels
Costs for the Lee Symposium:
(deadline to register is May 29, 2015)
$425.00 FULL SYMPOSIUM
$150.00 FRIDAY ONLY
$275.00 SATURDAY ONLY
Student Discount: $50.00 @ for up to six students for guided tour and box lunch, Saturday, June 13th, 2015
The cost of the symposium includes all tour bus accommodations, a bound symposium booklet with appropriate maps and selected readings, and a copy of Chris M. Calkins’ book, The Appomattox Campaign. There will also be an opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of Dr. Varon’s book Appomattox. Registrants are responsible for all lodging costs, all breakfasts, transportation to Sailor’s Creek, and transportation to Charley’s Waterfront Café in Farmville, Virginia. The address of Charley’s Waterfront Café is 201 Mill Street, Farmville, VA 23901, telephone (434) 392-1566.
To register for this symposium, print and fill out the registration form REL sym and send to Jon Bachman at the address given on the form.
Payments can be made by mailing a check to Jon Bachman, c/o Stratford Hall, Box 483 Great House Road, Stratford, Virginia 22558, or by credit card (Master Card, Visa, and Discovery only). Call Jon Bachman at 804-493-1972 for more information.
Participants are responsible for arranging for and paying their own lodging expenses. Please check www.tourappomattox.com for suggestions. A list of lodging options available follows:
Hampton Inn – Farmville
The area’s newest hotel, located next to the Sunchase apartment complex, offers affordable accommodations. Approximately 1 mile from Longwood Campus. For more information call (434) 392-8826 or visit their website.
Days Inn -Farmville
Located on South Main Street, Approximately 2 miles from campus, the Days Inn offers comfortable and affordable accommodations. For more information, call (434) 392-6611 or visit their website.
Comfort Inn – Farmville
Located on South Main Street, approximately 2 miles from campus, the Comfort Inn offers comfortable and affordable accommodations. For more information, call (434) 392-8163 or visit their website.
Super 8 – Farmville
The Super 8 motel is located on South Main Street, approximately 2 miles from campus and offers comfortable and affordable accommodations. For more information, call (434) 392-8196 or visit their website.
The Manor Cottages-Farmville
Approximately 3 miles from campus, the five Manor Cottages at 3463 Farmville Road (U.S. Highway 15) on The Manor Golf Course are owned and operated by Hampden-Sydney College. Each cottage is made up of two suites with their own entrances and can be reserved as a whole cottage or by suite. For more information, call (434) 223-6669.
Comfort Inn – Burkeville
Located in Burkeville just off US-460, approximately 15 miles from campus, the Comfort Inn offers a variety of full-service amenities and features, including free continental breakfast, free local calls, a free weekday newspaper and free coffee. For more information, call (434) 767-3750 or visit their website.
Bed & Breakfasts / Vacation Homes / Cabins
Nothing’s better than to feel at home even when you’re not. That just what you will get at one of our many bed & breakfasts and vacation homes in the area.
The Inn on the Avenues – Farmville
This bed and breakfast is a traditional 1910 historic home that offers three guest rooms and includes gourmet breakfast. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, cable TV, complimentary beverages and more.
Sandy River Retreat – Rice (6 miles from Farmville)
1-3 bedroom cabins are located on a 16 acre farm and include central heat & ac, washer & dryer, high speed wireless internet, picnic tables & chairs, charcoal grill, and linen & towels. For more information call (434) 392-7246 or visit their website.
Linden Woods Log Home (10 miles from Farmville)
Three bedroom, two bath log home with two car log garage snuggled in 19 acres of forest only 10 miles south of Farmville on Route 15. Daily, weekly, weekend, and monthly rental. For more information, call (757) 620-4871.
Sylvan Surrender Country Home – Green Bay (15 miles from Farmville)
This beautiful 3400 square foot house sits on a hillside overlooking a private 6 acre lake. The house features four bedrooms (bedding for twelve), three and a half bath, and a fully-equipped kitchen, a large covered porch with great views of the lake, a large basement recreation room, and more.
Hidden Depot Farm Bed & Breakfast (17 miles from Farmville)
An informal farm B&B for couples wanting a quiet get-away with a private 3 acre lake and 2 miles of walking trails in the woods and fields. Convenient to Longwood University, Civil War sites (located on the Lee’s Retreat Trail and near Sailor Creek Battlefield and High Bridge); and railroad attractions – O and G-Gauge Model layouts and the local Crewe Railroad Museum. There is free Wi-Fi. For more information, call (804) 561-3664 or visit their website.
Bird Grove Farm, Circa 1823 – Jetersville, Amelia County (19 miles from Farmville)
At the end of a country lane, Bird Grove Farm sits on 75 peaceful acres and features two bedrooms upstairs, one with a queen bed and the other with a double and two twins – both with private baths. Rent the whole house or by the bedroom. Only 20-25 minutes from Longwood University. For more information, call (804) 561-0382.
Roselawn Bed & Breakfast – Keysville (20 miles from Farmville)
Roselawn is a pre-Civil War Victorian farmhouse located in Keysville, Virginia. Enjoy a relaxing stay in one of their historic rooms or suites. For more information, call (434) 736-8129 or visit their website.
Longwood Bed & Breakfast – Farmville
The Longwood University Bed & Breakfast is owned by Longwood University and is only a short walk to campus and the shops of historic Main Street. With a cost of only $95-$145 per room, the Bed & Breakfast offers the best deal in the Farmville area for overnight accommodations.
Spring Creek Cabin – Pamplin (20 miles from Farmville)
This secluded cabin on 100 acres, with a 1/2 mile driveway, includes a fully equipped kitchen, hot tub, indoor jetted tubs, Dish TV, pool and foosball tables, fire pit, and more. The four bedrooms and three baths can accommodate eight people and arrangements might be available for more.
Winterham Plantation Bed & Breakfast – Amelia (28 miles from Farmville)
Winterham Plantation Bed and Breakfast is a beautifully restored antebellum Italianate mansion, with the elegance of Virginia’s historic grandeur, and the convenience of modern amenities. For more information, call toll free 1-866-561-4519 or visit their website.
The Babcock House – Appomattox (28 miles from Farmville)
The Babcock House features five bedrooms and one suite, all furnished with unique antiques. All the rooms have private baths, coffee makers, cable television and central air conditioning to insure your comfort. For more information, call toll free 1-800-689-6208 or visit their website.
Longacre Bed & Breakfast– Appomattox (28 miles from Farmville)
Longacre Bed and Breakfast have five guest rooms. Each room has a distinctive layout and unique features, making each truly one of a kind. Amenities include high-speed Internet access and complimentary tea. Room rates range from $85 – $200 a night.
The Grey Swan Inn – Blackstone (30 miles from Farmville)
The Grey Swan Inn Bed and Breakfast has five guest rooms with private baths and is located within walking distance to shopping and restaurants in Blackstone, VA. This 1902 inn feels like home with antiques and reproduction furnishings and a lovely porch for relaxing. For more information, call 434-292-3199 or visit their website.
Spring Grove Farm Bed & Breakfast – Appomattox (35 miles from Farmville)
Spring Grove Farm is a two-hundred acre Virginia plantation that has been fully restored to its 1842 condition, with compatible wings for additional facilities and baths. For more information, call 434-352-7429 or visit their website.