We have come to the realization that we can’t hold History Camp Virginia this year and create the History Camp experience people love.  As a result, we’re canceling History Camp Virginia and our other History Camps this year.  

We are optimistic about next year and will work to put together the kind of History Camp experience in 2021 that draws folks from all walks of life to these unique events every year.

Until then, check out History Camp Online for live streamed and archived sessions with presenters from this and other History Camps across the country.

Best regards—

Lee and Carrie



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If you love history, you’ll love History Camp.

Here’s what one participant said:

“I’ve been to dozens of official academic conferences with big names where all submissions are thoroughly vetted by panels of experts, and none of those conferences were as fun and informative as History Camp. It really was the best set of speakers I’ve seen at a conference: relaxed and informed and direct.”

History Camp brings together people from all walks of life, regardless of degree or profession, who are passionate about history. And you don’t have to be a member of any organization to participate.

This is a good overview, and especially helpful if you are curious about what makes History Camp different than any other conference or gathering you’ve attended.

Join us on November 7 and see why we say, “Spend a Saturday with some of the most interesting people in history.”

Presenting at History Camp

One of the things that makes History Camp unique is that we welcome any presenter who wishes to share their love of history.  You might be an author, Park Ranger, armchair historian, volunteer, reenactor, executive director of a historic site, retired public health nurse, student, tour guide . . . In fact, we’ve had folks with those backgrounds and many more present.

Your topic must relate to history, but unlike other conferences, you don’t have make your presentation conform to a theme, geography, or narrow subject area.

You might cover historical people and events, historical research and methods, managing a historic site or history organization, careers for people who love history, teaching history, or other topics related to history.

There are, however, two things you won’t find at History Camp, current or recent politics and product pitches.

We all chip in to cover the cost of History Camp, so speakers register, just like everyone else.

And because sharing information as broadly as possible is one of the fundamental principles of History Camp, many sessions are recorded and all presenters are asked to post their slides.  If you have things that you don’t want to appear online (on YouTube or elsewhere), don’t include them in your slides or consider a different presentation.

If you’re interested in presenting, please sign up here.

History Camp Virginia 2020 sessions

WWII Military Intelligence at P.O. Box 1142 at Fort Hunt, Virginia

David Lassman (, On Facebook: @david.lassman.12) I have a long career as a historian with the National Park Service. I have worked on the National Mall, Independence NHS, Mount Rushmore NM, Vicksburg NMP, George Washington Birthplace NM, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which includes Fort Hunt.  I am currently at Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Maryland, which interprets the life of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

During World War II, Fort Hunt, Virginia was the primary military intelligence facility in the United States. It coordinated the interrogation of the top 4,000 German, Italian, and Japanese POWs (MIS-Y); and the escape & evasion activities of American forces (MIS-X); and intelligence gathering (MIRS).

Research into this story involved performing several dozen history interviews of veterans who worked at Fort hunt, American prisoners of war, and even a few German soldiers and scientists.

Stories in Stone

Ta Mara Conde ( is a monument conservator with Historic Gravestone Services with over 20 years of experience in her field.

There is a cemetery in every town and whether it is a colonial burial ground from the beginning of our country or the modern memorial garden on the outskirts of the city; it holds the history of that town. It tells the story of the people, their attitudes towards death, and the industries in which they worked. The cemetery can even show us the geology of the local landscape. These outdoor museums to the average man hold a wealth of information which is accessible and open to the public. The stones reveal the stories, even the mysteries of the town, through the monuments to the people who lived there and whose stories are written in stone.

KENTUCKY BARRACUDA: Parker Hardin French (1826-1878)

Emmet Joseph (Joe) Goodbody (, On Facebook: @kentuckybarracuda) is a retired United States Army Colonel and corporate leader with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska (Omaha) and a masters in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology.  His great-grandfather was a victim of Parker Hardin French as a passenger on the fraudster’s California-bound gold rush expedition.

Historical biography “KENTUCKY BARRACUDA: PARKER HARDIN FRENCH (1826-1878) 

“Notorious Scoundrel and Delightful Rogue of Antebellum and Civil War America.” 

Enjoy some quirky history and a pathologically intriguing profile of one of the most colorful characters of the 19th Century. Parker Hardin French has been previously relegated to a minor footnote in Antebellum and Civil War history. The crafty, charismatic and charming Machiavellian contributed more to history than previously documented. 

In the era of steam, sail and horse, the rapidity of French’s movement and breadth of his adventures is almost mind-numbing. As a runaway teen he joined the British Navy and fought in the first Opium War. When he was just 22 years old, he was a commission merchant and, a year later, built the first ocean going ship on the upper Mississippi. Before he was 30, he was the leader of an infamous gold rush expedition; implicated in an irregular invasion of Cuba; jailed bandit and then paramilitary hero in Mexico; lawyer, district attorney, legislator, journalist, and political enforcer in California; part of an American cabal which governed Nicaragua; and, appointed but rejected Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States. He didn’t slow down in his 30s: he was a real estate developer; lawyer; journalist; part of a conspiracy to invade Mexico; arrested as a seditionist agitator and Confederate agent; jailed as a political prisoner; and, lawyer and purveyor for Union troops. His final days were spent in obscurity but the period was still peppered with the occasional swindle that garnered both regional and national attention. First and foremost, he was a barracuda.

The Historic National Road

Lorna Hainesworth (  is an Ambassador and National Traveler.  She is a lifetime member of the Surveyors Historical Society and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, an associate member of the Department of the Geographer and the District of Columbia Association of Land Surveyors, a founding member of the Lewis and Clark Trust and The Pursuit of History, Inc.  She is a member of several American Revolution Round Tables, the Washington Map Society and the Lincoln Highway Association. Lorna is a supporter of the American Battlefield Trust, The Fort Plain Museum and the Maryland State Dental Association Foundation. She is an independent scholar who makes her home in Randallstown, Maryland.

The Historic National Road is commonly referred to as the first federally funded road or the nation’s first interstate highway or road that built America. Where was it built? When was it built? Why was it built? Who was involved in building it? What became of it? How can it be traveled today? Transportation was critical to the development of the United States as a nation.  This session will inform on one of the most significant roads in country’s history.

Lorna’s paper, Open a wide door . . . make a smooth way: Historic National Road, which provides the history of the National Road, can be downloaded at

My Union Army Ancestors at Petersburg

Ross Schwalm (, President, Johannes Schwalm Historical Association who publishes articles on his 16 Civil War ancestors. Senior Vice Commander of the Irish Brigade Camp #4 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Fredericksburg VA.

Mr. Schwalm brings a combat veteran’s perspective to enhance his previously published articles and current research showing the specific actions by his ancestors during the Petersburg Campaign of 1864-65. Topics will include the Crossing of the James River on the longest pontoon bridge ever built during the war and the many offensives conducted by Lt Gen U. S. Grant to break the Confederate defenses and supply lines. The content comes from personal letters, newspaper accounts and official records of the war that takes you down to the company level to see the actions of Samuel Schwalm, Robert Bruce Thompson, John Lebo, Henry Lebo, John Kessler and John Hoffa. The talk includes many photographs gathered during battlefield visits as Mr. Schwalm “walked in the footsteps” of his Civil War ancestors.

John Yates Beall and the Operations of the Confederate Volunteer Coast Guard

Gerald Holland (On Twitter: @Capt_Dutch) is a 18yr veteran of the US Coast Guard and a PhD student in history at Liberty University. In 2014 he co-founded the Williamsburg Yorktown American Revolution Round Table. He has been published in the Journal of the American Revolution and the Trafalgar Chronicle.

This session will cover the operations of the Confederate Volunteer Coast Guard in the summer and fall of 1863 on the Chesapeake Bay.  People should attend because this is a little known story about a group of dedicated Confederate naval guerillas who sought to provide their support to the Confederate war effort.

“As Clear as Mudd!” The Four Year Odyssey to Pardon Dr. Samuel A. Mudd

Bob Bowser (, On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @drmuddhouse) have taught history to high school students for the last fifteen years. Additionally, he has served as a docent at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House museum for thirteen years and have been on the museum’s board of directors for the last three years. He maintains the museum’s web presence by running the website, as well as their social media accounts.

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and aiding and abetting John Wilkes Booth after the fact, however Mudd was pardoned less than four years into his sentence. This session will cover the four year struggle to obtain a pardon for Dr. Samuel A. Mudd during the tumultuous presidency of Andrew Johnson set against the backdrop of reconstruction.