September 2018 Meeting – Charles Knight

Our September meeting features historian Charles “Charlie” Knight and a discussion of Confederate General William “Billy” Mahone.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., September 11, 2018

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

Topic: Little Billy Mahone: Soldier, Railroader, Readjuster

“Short in stature, but every inch a soldier” is how one writer described William Mahone. “Little Billy,” as he was known, dreamed of a railroad empire from the Chesapeake Bay to the Mississippi River – the railroad he founded is today’s Norfolk Southern. He was one of Lee’s most trusted lieutenants in the closing year of the Civil War. He aligned himself with the Republicans during Reconstruction yet dominated Virginia politics for two decades. An irascible and polarizing figure during his time, Mahone’s fingerprints can be found all over post-war Virginia.


Charlie Knight is Curator of Military History at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.  He has 20 years of experience in the museum field, having previously worked as a Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield Park in New Market, VA; Curator at the Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA; and Director of the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix, AZ. He joined the NC Museum of History staff in 2017.

Knight is a graduate of Bridgewater College and American Military University, with degrees in U.S. History and Military History. He has written numerous articles and book reviews for a variety of magazines, including Blue & Gray, Classic Trains, Hallowed Ground, among others. His first book, Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market, was published in 2010, and his second book, Robert E. Lee: Day by Day, will be published in 2019; he is also working on a biography of Confederate General and railroad magnate William Mahone. Knight has spoken to various historical organizations and at conferences around the country, and was an advisor to the 2014 film Field of Lost Shoes, about the Battle of New Market.

Knight lives in Holly Springs, NC, with his wife and two children.

About Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.
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