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Insurrectionists, Scoundrels, Partisans, and Heroes

It is my intent to highlight individuals and movements that played major roles in the Shenandoah Valley before, during and after the American Civil War. The course will explore in detail John Brown’s Raid and the impact it had both in the South and in the Shenandoah Valley in particular. The lives and adventures of partisan rangers will also be covered. Men like John Mosby's and McNeills Rangers as well Jessie Scouts, and Blazer Scouts; men who fought on both sides of the war here in the valley. We will also cover male and female civilian spies like Belle Boyd, Rose O’Neal Greenhow, and Harriet Tubman. There will be time set aside to discuss some Civil War heroes like Tom Laws and heroines like Rebecca Wright. There were many thieves and scoundrels that frequented and victimized civilians here in the Shenandoah Valley. There will be time to discuss these individuals as well. Optional readings and book suggestions would include Midnight Rising by Tony Horwitz, The Valley of the Shadow and In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Edward Ayres, and Mosby's Rangers by Jeffrey Wert. All of these will enhance understanding of the subjects and incidents covered. Two optional class outings will be offered on weekends during the class including one to Winchester and one to Harper’s Ferry.


Peter Dalton is a native to the State of Maine, growing up in the coastal community of Belfast Maine. Though a lifelong sailor and river canoeist he has adopted Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley as his home. Peter has a major in education in the Social Sciences from the University of Southern Maine. He worked with the U. S. Navy at Bath Iron Works as a civilian air and ship born sonar technologist for several years. He has also worked for several technology companies including Electronic

Data Systems and Hewlett Packard where he worked as operational engineer supporting banking platforms around the world. In retirement he has also labored as a full time and substitute teacher. Peter has written and edited several books on the American Civil War and currently maintains and publishes a blog on the Shenandoah Valley's Civil War History. Mr. Dalton is a Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Guide and is currently approved with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. He

specializes in Jackson's 1862 and the 1864 Valley Campaigns. He has taught classes previously for JMU's Lifelong Learning Institute on the Shenandoah Valley's Civil War legacy.

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