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David A. Welker    Civil War Historian

Author/Speaker/Battlefield Guide

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A Bit About Me

I’m a professional historian with the US Government and author of three Civil War histories, The Cornfield: Antietam's Turning Point; Tempest at Ox Hill: The Battle of Chantilly and A Keystone Rebel: The Diary of Joseph Garey.  A frequent public speaker on diverse aspects of the war, I'm also the author of numerous  magazine articles on the war.  I’ve also been featured on several Civil War history podcasts and TV/radio programs.

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David Offers Presentations On:

* His Books - Diary of a Keystone Rebel
                      - Tempest at Ox Hill: The Battle of Chantilly

                      - The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point

* The Story of Civil War Intelligence

* African American Intelligence Contributions

* The US Regular Army in the Civil War

And More! Contact David about other talks 
                and requested topics at 
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* The Union's Invalid Corp - the Veteran Reserve Corps' Unsung Story

* The First Battle of Bull Run - The Greatest Learning Curve

* The Battle of the Crater - "Such opportunity for carrying fortifications I

                                                 have never seen and do not expect again to have”

* The USS Choctaw - An Ironclad Well-Suited to River Warfare

The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point

March 5, 2020

The Cornfield tells the story of what happened in David Miller’s once-peaceful farm field on 17 September 1862, which opened America’s single bloodiest day.  This is the story of human struggle against fearful odds, of men seeking to do their duty, of simply trying to survive in a contest which had implications that echoed decisively throughout Antietam’s other actions and reverberated beyond the close of fighting that evening.

Making this often-complicated action  available for readers of all interest levels, The Cornfield includes many previously-obscured first-hand accounts and offers new analysis of the Cornfield fight. 

NOW IN PAPERBACK! - Click here 

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My Books

Hot off the Shelf

Tempest At Ox Hill: The Battle of Chantilly

Every Civil War buff has heard of the Battle of Chantilly, the bloody 1862 engagement fought in a driving rainstorm only twenty miles from Washington that claimed the lives of two of the Union's most promising generals. Yet few have known the full story of courage and human drama because no one has ever produced a lively and historically accurate account of the battle-until now. Tempest at Ox Hill compellingly evokes this pivotal battle of the war.


A Keystone Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Joesph Garey, Hudson's Battery Mississippi Volunteers

The story told in Joseph Garey's daily journal is much like thousands of other young men called to military service in 1861 but with a twist - for he was a Pennsylvania boy who fought for his adopted state of Mississippi.  A priceless record that shares one young man's journey from naïve youth to an adult who had tasted war's truth and had had enough.


My Recent Articles

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African American Intelligence Contributions to the Civil War

My new article for the first time examines Black Americans' intelligence contributions to the Civil War through the lens of primary, wartime sources.  It clarifies and enhances the full extent of this contribution, sharpening the truth of some accounts while shattering other long-held myths and legends.  

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Studies in Intelligence Vol. 66, No. 1 (March 2022)

Read the story of these fascinating devices of covert action sabotage operations, designed by a Confederate contractor and used through World War II and beyond!

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Rebel Thunder

America's Civil War August 2021

Tells the story of how three of Jubal Early's regimental commanders ignored an order and saved the Confederate position at the 1 September 1862 Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill).

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Antietam's Deadly Harvest

America's Civil War, January 2021

New revelation from a recently discovered map suggest that the human cost of America's bloodiest single day was considerably higher than previous generations of historians had believed.

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Cornfield Maelstrom

Civil War Times October 2020

This article takes a new look at Antietam's deadly Cornfield, featuring excerpts from my new book The Cornfield: Antietam's Deadly Turning Point

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America's Civil War Interview

September 2020

My interview in Ethan Rafuse's Five Questions column, which you can read here: 


USS Choctaw: "Well Adapted to the River Service"

Civil War Navy: The Magazine - Spring 2020

The first complete history of this notable Civil War ironclad ship, adding new detail and correcting some long-held assumptions about her.


The Cornfield – Inside the Action at Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point

March 23, 2020

 “The Cornfield action was long glossed over by historians and storytellers, who treated it as a generic back-and-forth slugfest before moving on to recounting the battle’s many other, more easily understood actions.”  This article offers some of the big-theme insights of my recent book.  Here's s link to the article: 

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"I Am The Colonel's Orderly"

Civil War Times April 2019

A soldier's diary preserves the only known text of an Emory Upton speech.  Telling the story of the 121st New York Infantry's Albert N. Jennings in his own words, taken from the pages of his journal written during the war.


A New Image of Little Mac

Civil War Times - June 2016

An eBay search uncovers a previously undiscovered image of the general and the prewar Delafield Commission.

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Recent Presentations:

The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point

Here's my presentation on Antietam's Cornfield, given to the reenactors of the 3rd US Regulars, which offers the basics of the two hours of fighting there and the opening portions of my book.

The US Regulars at Second Bull Run

This presentation reveals new details of the actions and contribution of the Regular Army troops during the Second Battle of Manassas, 29-30 August, 1862.  I'm the second speaker, covering particularly the movements and fighting of the 3rd US.


David's Three Favorite Books of 2023

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David's Revolutionary War Writings

Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution

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