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Historian recalls time when ‘all eyes of America were on us’

While John V. Quarstein is a renowned historian and author who’s literally written the book on much of Hampton Roads’ past, especially the Civil War, he’s also a showman at heart. And he was in his element last Wednesday.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people who packed Westville Christian Church in Mathews on the rainy evening, Quarstein enthralled his audience with tales of the characters, both Yankee and Confederate, who shaped the events that became the 1862 Peninsula Campaign.

Last week’s program, sponsored by the Mathews County Committee for the Civil War Sesquicentennial and the Mathews County Historical Society, was the penultimate Civil War lecture of the year. Artist/historian Henry Kidd will end the 2014 season with an illustrated talk on the Battle of the Crater at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Kingston Episcopal Parish Hall.

The Peninsula Campaign—a series of maneuvers and battles starting with the Union Army of the Potomac landing at F...

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