On April 15 at 5:30 p.m., William C. Davis will deliver the 2020 Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture entitled “The Greatest Fury: The Battle of New Orleans and the Rebirth of America.”
Master historian William C. Davis will tell the definitive story of the Battle of New Orleans, the fight that decided the ultimate fate not only of the War of 1812 but the future course of the fledgling American republic. It was a battle that could not be won. Outnumbered farmers, merchants, backwoodsmen, smugglers, slaves, and Choctaw Indians, many of them unarmed, were up against the cream of the British army, professional soldiers who had defeated the great Napoleon and set Washington, D.C., ablaze. At stake was nothing less than the future of the vast American heartland, from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, as the ragtag American forces fought to hold New Orleans, the gateway of the Mississippi River and an inland empire. Tipping the balance of power in the New World, this single battle irrevocably shifted the young republic's political and cultural center of gravity and kept the British from ever regaining dominance in North America.
William C. “Jack” Davis is a retired history professor who taught at Virginia Tech. An acclaimed expert on the Civil War, he has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; the Civil War Preservation Trust; the Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg, Virginia; the National Park Service; and the Lincoln Prize and Pulitzer Prize nominating juries. He is the author and editor of more than fifty books, including The Greatest Fury: The Battle of New Orleans and the Rebirth of America.
A light reception and book signing will take place at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture following the lecture.