May 2017 Meeting – Michael Block

Join us on May 9 when our speaker, Michael Block, will discuss the contested land to our southwest, in Culpeper County.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., May 9, 2017

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: The Civilian Experience in Culpeper County, Virginia, during the Civil War

Culpeper endured both the highs and lows of the war, from the heady days in the spring of 1861 when young men flocked to the Confederate banner, until May of 1864, when nearly 120,000 Federal soldiers first occupied, then decamped, and left the county a near wasteland. Few Virginia counties can boast what Culpeper County experienced during the Civil War.

Civilians would, over the course of the war, embrace the conflict, then loathe it, and finally suffer from both armies occupying their property and their homes. No matter what color the uniform, their presence had a significant impact on the lives of those in Culpeper County.

Michael Block will relate stories and events from the civilian perspective, from the words of those who experienced it, firsthand.

Michael Block, a life-long student of the American Civil War, moved to southern Fauquier County in 2004 where he developed a deep appreciation and love of Culpeper County and what happened on that historic ground during the Civil War.

He has been giving battlefield tours and lectures for a number of years, focusing on the counties of Culpeper and Fauquier. He has also been collecting photographs, drawings, and first-person accounts of events, both significant and mundane, that occurred in the region during the war and believes that Culpeper was the war’s most photographed county.

Block has been on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield since 2012 and is currently serving as its vice-president. He has also served on the Board of the Brandy Station Foundation and on both the Culpeper and Fauquier Sesquicentennial Committees.

In spring 2016, Block’s article on the Battle of Cedar Mountain appeared in Blue and Gray Magazine. He is now completing a book on that same topic, for the Emerging Civil War Series.

Block served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force; was stationed in Europe, Asia, and the United States; and retired in 2001. He continues to support the U.S. Government as a lead associate for Booz Allen Hamilton. Part of his work is as a Gettysburg Staff Ride Instructor for Government Intelligence Analysts, focusing on the geospatial and intelligence aspects of the battle.

Block has been married for 35 years to best-selling romance novelist Caryn Moya Block. They have two married sons, and three granddaughters, Vera, Amilya, and Quinn.

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About Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.
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