Research Questions

No history book is ever finished. No historical investigation can truly be considered complete. Historical research is a work in progress. It is a journey from a state of ignorance to . . . a state of somewhat less ignorance. Always questions will remain, and answers will be elusive.

Decision at Tom’s Brook tells a story, and while that story may have a beginning and an end, it is merely part of a larger story that still requires investigation. This website exists as an adjunct to the book. It is a place to present additional findings, to correct errors and to encourage further research. On this page, we will present ideas for continued investigation into the events of October 1864 and into the people and the places important in those events.

IMG_2886Primary sources indicate that hundreds of residents of the Shenandoah Valley fled their homes in the first week of October 1864 and moved northward to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Can the extent of this migration of refugees be documented? How many resettled in northern states? How many returned to Virginia.

IMG_1831What were the circumstances concerning the execution of Federal prisoners by Confederate soldiers in Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties in the first week of October 1864? What facts can be established? Can the executed men be positively identified? Who was Fred Swaerker? How extensive were Federal espionage efforts during the campaign? How organized were Confederate counter-espionage efforts and how were they related to the widespread guerilla activity?