Members Making a Difference: Greg Mertz

Upon completing a phone interview with BGES member Greg Mertz, you are immediately struck by two thoughts. First, despite an illustrious career in the National Parks system, including more than two decades as the Supervisory Historian at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (FRSP), Mertz might have missed his calling. His rich, distinctive voice and … Read more

Field Report 1: A Historian’s Reflection on the First Day of Gettysburg

The Blue and Gray Education Society sponsored “A Historian’s Reflection on the First Day of Gettysburg” on July 9-11, 2021. What a great experience, especially with all the unexpected problems that occurred. Fortunately, Len Riedel and Scott Hartwig managed to overcome and provided a first-class experience. We had our preparatory lecture on Friday, July 9, … Read more

Civil War Sites in Ohio

The Ohio River served as the dividing line between the North and South in middle America, with Ohio offering freedom and opportunity to refugee enslaved individuals. Ohio also served as an important political calculation for President Abraham Lincoln, who understood the importance of Ohio (and neighboring Indiana) as the South closed off economic traffic downriver. … Read more

Travel Guide: Civil War Harpers Ferry

Snuggled between the steep crags of the Blue Ridge, at the point where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac, Harpers Ferry is a quiet mountain village of stone-and-brick buildings and narrow, hilly streets. Its history, though, is anything but quiet, for it was here in 1859 that fiery abolitionist John Brown launched his ill-fated raid … Read more

Travel Guide: World War II Memorial by the Numbers

The World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, honoring the 16 million people who served as part of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, including more than 400,000 who died. It’s a spell-binding structure, with a splashing fountain surrounded by concrete pillars and pavilions. And it’s filled … Read more

Spring Civil War Wildflower Hikes

Long after the battles raged, Civil War battlefields have taken on a peaceful mode, providing serene places to stroll among preserved landscapes. Any time of year, the woodlands, meadows, rivers, and streams are beautiful places to walk, but springtime is especially special as wildflowers put on a colorful show, moving from one dazzling species to … Read more

Pennsylvania’s Other Civil War Sites

While we’re featuring Gettysburg this month in our “Tour Talk,” one of the Civil War’s most famous battles, there are plenty of other sites in Pennsylvania that aren’t as well known—but all have fascinating stories to tell. So if you’re heading out to Gettysburg, don’t forget to visit some of the state’s “other” sites as … Read more

Book Review: River of Death, The Chickamauga Campaign

River of Death, The Chickamauga Campaign By William Glenn Robertson (UNC Press, 2018, Volume 1, The Fall of Chattanooga), $30.97 Nearly 30 years ago I met Glenn Robertson on a tour with the new American Blue and Gray Association of Shiloh. He was accompanied by one of his active duty tour assistants, Lt. Col. Ed … Read more

Travel Guide: Peninsula Campaign

General McClellan’s major Union offensive against Richmond in the spring and summer of 1862 unfolded on the peninsula located between the James and York Rivers. The first stage ended inconclusively at the Battle of Seven Pines, where Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston was injured. With Robert E. Lee taking his place, the Army of the Potomac … Read more

Civil War Bucket List for 2021

With an anticipated return to travel in 2021, it’s the perfect time to start planning a trip—or trips—to the Civil War’s most epic sites. Maybe you’ve seen them, maybe not, but these are the sights that always dazzle. And there’s always more to see and learn. One amazing way to visit a battlefield is with … Read more