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.


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. 

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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

America's Civil War Interview

September 2020

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

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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: 


"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.


Podcast Appearances


  Here's my appearance on Preservation Maryland's podcast.  Click on the active portion of the link to launch Episode 126. 



What Others Are Saying...

York Civil War Roundtable Blog

Emerging Civil War Book Reviews

Civil War News


Antietam's Cornfield

My Blog

My Antietam's Cornfield blog takes stories , events, and people featured in my most recent book and explores them in greater depth. To learn more about the fascinating, often-tragic personalities and events included in my book, click here:


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.


"Don't Give Up The Ship"

Captain James Lawrence - 1813



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