The Saga of Turner Ashby, the "Black Knight" of the Shenandoah Valley

November 20, 2019

7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Virginia Military Institute
Nichols Auditorium
Lexington, VA 24450

At 7:30pm, on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, in VMI’s Nichols Auditorium, Keven M. Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation will present “The Saga of Turner Ashby, the ‘Black Knight’ of the Shenandoah Valley.”

Many Southerners remember Ashby as a chivalrous commander, although some Northerners saw him as a guerrilla and undisciplined marauder. A privileged upbringing in northern Virginia provided him with the skills of an accomplished horseman; he exhibited a strong affinity for things Elizabethan and often won first honors in equestrian competitions like jousting, skill-at-arms, and vaulting. Ashby usually rode horses that were pure white or pure black. He formed the Mountain Rangers, served under Stonewall Jackson, and ultimately took command of the 7th Cavalry CSA until his untimely death near Harrisonburg in June 1862. Idolized by his men, scores flocked to serve in his cavalry units. His dark complexion, flowing beard, and plumed hats made for quite a striking figure striving to exhibit the gallantry and dash that recalled the bygone age of Virginia Cavaliers and Spotswood’s Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. Henry Kyd Douglas described him “galloping over the field on his favorite war horse… Eager, watchful, he was fascinating, exciting, inspiring. … Altogether the most picturesque horseman ever seen in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Keven Walker has become something of a legend in his own right. He came to the SVBF from Antietam National Battlefield, where he served for 11 years as a Ranger, a Cultural Resources Specialist, and Historian. While there, he authored the book, “Antietam: A Guide to the Landscape and Farmsteads”. Since joining the SVBF as its CEO, he has led the way in preserving over 1000 acres of battlefield land in the Valley; opened a new visitor center and a 600-acre battlefield park; and more than tripled the Foundation’s youth involvement.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the Rockbridge Civil War Roundtable and VMI’s Museum System.

Civil War, History, Meeting, Lecture, Presentation