Tours

BGES 2022 Program Schedule

Federal controls have loosened but continue to be inconsistent and so future restrictions may return; however, this guidance reflects the current practice in the country.

Covid has been a part of our tours and we recently experienced the first outbreak on an active tour and our actions were in accordance with this guidance. A few lessons learned are included within this.

  1. There is no requirement to be immunized to participate in our tours. BGES encourages everyone to get immunized to mitigate the symptoms of infections; however, we also note that immunizations are no guarantee against infection.
  2. Masks are optional, but, may be compelled for some individuals or the group for limited periods of time to reduce an immediate potential threat of infection and is at the sole discretion of the BGES tour manager. BGES will not tolerate internal intimidation in the matter of masking. The decision to wear a mask is personal and will not be criticized.
  3. Self testing is affordable and encouraged before the tour participant shows up. The most active variants of the virus seem to be infectious but generally milder. An outbreak infected 1/3 of our registrants—three on the tour and one after returning home. BGES encourages and facilitates contact tracing to make good decisions for the good of the cohort as a whole and the protection of people who are in contact with us. No person who tests positive will be permitted on the tour and will receive a refund.
  4. The tour director may require a BGES funded Covid self test be taken if a participant displays any symptoms of COVID—as they largely mirror the development of a cold or the flu that and or the appearance of a temperature above 100 degrees will trigger a test. The registrant may refuse the test, leave the tour and receive a partial or full refund at the Executive Director’s discretion.
  5. A positive Covid test will require the infected person to leave the tour immediately. They may retest that evening while in self isolation, if negative a third test will take place the next morning and if also negative the attendee may return to the tour but must wear an N-95 quality mask on the transportation and remain socially distanced at meals.
  6. A positive test that requires separation from the tour will also result in the BGES providing a CDC approved test kit for each member of the remaining cohort. Germination periods may mature after the tour ends and BGES encourages tests be conducted with consideration of self isolation until the exposed person proves negative. Obviously we have no control over what you do after you leave the tour or the tour ends but the test is painless, we are paying for it and it does stop the spread in the case you are unknowingly positive. In our “outbreak” patient zero thought they had a cold and. They had been to a large conference the week before, they proved positive. Additional infections affected two people who sat with them at dinner the night before they tested positive. The fourth positive was a second generation positive after the tour ended and is traceable to one of the two people infected by patient zero. Other folks have tested using BGES provided test kits and, so far, are negative.
  7. A positive test without symptoms requires self isolation for five days. BGES will work with a positive client and will pay for five days of hotel isolation or until the patient is released to travel. Positive individuals driving their own vehicles are at liberty to return home for their doctor directed treatment and or self isolation (if asymptomatic). In every instance the infected individual should contact their personal physician or a local physician who will determine when they can travel. We will support medical determinations and will deflect expenses associated with gaining clearance to return home. BGES does not recommend flying with a positive test without medical clearance and encourages asymptomatic individuals who are cleared to fly to wear an N-95 mask to respect the health of those flying with you.
  8. BGES will have a support person available to assist positive individuals in leaving an overnight road trip and gaining a safe space to evaluate their options. Trips that operate out of one location, returning each night may not have the extra support; however, the tour director will assist and look in on a hotel bound patient.
  9. If extraordinary circumstances compel a positive tested client to travel with us to a point of debarkation or safe haven, the tour director may compel all personnel to mask until the positive patient can be discharged. The travel vehicle will be disinfected and surfaces wiped down. Any other reasonable safety measures may be implemented at the tour director’s determination.
  10. Any ”well” individual on tour may leave the tour if they are uncomfortable with the COVID mitigations taken. They will be entitled to an appropriate refund for the portion of the program that is disrupted or missed.

COVID, like the Flu and other transmissible diseases, will be with us for the long term. It is the flavor of the week and its lethal ancestors must be respected. We are generally an audience of people who are elderly and with co-morbidities. We can shut down and stop doing tours or we can find a way to live with it. We restarted tours last spring and it took a year before COVID found us. You never know. Four people have gotten it, all were immunized and all report little to no symptoms, had they not tested they would not have known they had it. Patient Zero was screened by their physical condition. The protocol worked. We have one patient still in Kansas City in self isolation, doing well and scheduled to fly home, being asymptomatic, tomorrow. We have stayed in touch daily.

We hope you will find our experience, these procedures and mitigations will give you the confidence to travel with BGES. We understand if these procedures may give you pause—to each their own and in their own time.

We look forward to welcoming you on our field university study tours.


BGES conducts its flagship “Civil War Field University” by design for small groups usually traveling in vans to facilitate maximum access where buses cannot go. By keeping the groups small—usually between 8 and 20 people—BGES provides a stimulating and invigoratingly personal experience available from no other organizations offering Civil War tours.

Spotsylvania, VA / Photo courtesy of Chuck Lee

As a nonprofit, net proceeds underwrite charitable and educational activities of the organization. The reputation of BGES has caused it to be sought nationally and internationally for educational and leadership training, attracting some of the nation’s most respected historians and scholars both as members and teachers.

Inclusions

BGES trips offer a range of amenities that vary by the type of tour and the accessibility of resources. Field maps are often designed and used, reading books are usually featured, and suggested reading lists help interested persons prepare for the study to follow. Included meals are listed for each program. Lodging is usually not included unless the tour includes overnight stays away from the headquarters hotel.

Browse our list of upcoming tours on this page. Follow the links for detailed descriptions, itineraries and registration information.

Our 2022 Schedule as it Develops

Where dates are given the programs are agreed at this time. Programs will be added as agreed.


My Old Kentucky Home, A Broad History of the Blue Grass State, with Neil Mangum, from Cincinnati International Airport | October 21-29 2022

In 1860–1861, two natives of Kentucky were elected President, and one ran but was not elected. Two other dominant politicians, including “The Great Compromiser” and the architect of the Crittenden Compromise, also were representatives of the Bluegrass State. Long reputed for fast horses and rightfully famous for Bourbon whiskey, the state gave us Kentucky Fried Chicken and the “Louisville Lip”—Muhammed Ali. In baseball, no place is more famous than the factory making the “Louisville Slugger” bat and the home of the first American baseball team—the Cincinnati Red Stockings—just four years after the Civil War.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


America’s Greatest Warrior? General George Thomas in the West, with Brian Steel Wills and Bob Jenkins, from Chattanooga, TN | November 4-10, 2022

There are some people who just keep appearing in the center of things, in the American Revolution British peer Lord Charles Henry Cornwallis seemed to be in every major military engagement of the war. So too is it with George Henry Thomas in the American Civil War. If the war is won in the West, then Thomas, by definition, plays a key role. Some historians of note such as Thomas Buell (Warrior Generals) and Albert Castel (Articles of War) have suggested that Thomas may have been the best officer in the Civil War. What does his contemporary biographer, Brian Wills, think?

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Atlanta Campaign on the Weekends, Part 6: Fighting for Atlanta, with Bob Jenkins, from Atlanta, GA | November 11-13, 2022

This program reflects the now desperate nature of the Atlanta Campaign—having reached the city there was no more grand maneuvering for the Confederate arms—they were out of real estate. Sherman managing an Army Group now had the advantage of numbers and freedom to maneuver in any direction or multiple directions if he wished. Atlanta was a pivotal and key citadel. Three more chapters will follow under Bob Jenkins’s guidance—next year will bring Chapter 7, Cavalry Operations, Chapter 8, Atlanta Falls and Chapter 9, Rebels Released. Each program stands on its own. This one tackles the story of the fighting for Atlanta within an enlarged modern metropolitan area. It is a challenge that requires someone of Bob Jenkins’s enthusiasm to tackle. You will be in great hands!

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Washington’s Desperate Gambit, with Gary Ecelbarger and Scott Patchan, from Princeton, NJ | December 7-11, 2022

By the end of 1776, the American Revolution was on its last legs. Continental Army Commander George Washington had been defeated around New York and had been chased from New Jersey. With failure permeating his diminishing ranks, he escaped with a dispirited army to Pennsylvania along the banks of the Delaware River. With the British and their hired mercenaries from the German state of Hesse, the Hessians settled in for the winter and Christmas in barracks in Trenton and in Princeton. Washington conceptualized a bold and risky plan to inspirit his dissolving force: He would attack the Hessians. His efforts would reignite the revolution and inspire the Continentals into the critical year of 1777.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


To the Bitter End, North Carolina in 1865, with Wade Sokolosky, from Fayetteville, NC | February 16-20, 2023

After refitting his force, Sherman was called to bring his forces north to join the two Federal armies besieging Petersburg. Sherman agreed to march through South Carolina and North Carolina to destroy the remaining industrial infrastructure in the eastern Confederacy. This program picks up Sherman after he has moved through South Carolina from Cheraw and brings him north into North Carolina from the engagement at Monroe Crossroads through the last major battle of the war at Bentonville and the surrender of the Confederate forces at Bennett Place.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Alabama, Trial and Triumph, An American Journey, with Mike Bunn and Norm Dasinger, from Mobile, AL | February 26-March 5, 2023

I love America and am constantly enlightened as I move through her diverse and interesting history. BGES created an Americana series to feed that natural wanderlust and enduring curiosity—we have done Route 66, we did Texas, and are doing Lewis and Clark and the state of Kentucky later this year. We have and will continue to do additional themes. Now our attention turns to the state of Alabama.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Atlanta Campaign on the Weekends, Part 7: The Siege of Atlanta, It’s Cavalry Oprations and the Battle of Utoy Creek, with Bob Jenkins, from Atlanta, GA | March 17-19, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


War on the Lower Mississippi, with Parker Hills and Len Riedel, from Slidell, LA | March 26-30, 2023

In early 1862, Federal successes in Kentucky and Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas turned eyes toward the advancing Federal hordes. Far to the south, the South’s largest and most commercially successful city New Orleans was perceived to be secure. Sadly for them less than 3 weeks after Shiloh, New Orleans would fall to a naval attack up the Mississippi River. As the Federals moved north Baton Rouge and Natchez also were occupied then there was Vicksburg.

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


The Overland Campaign Pt 1, The Crossing of the Rapidan through the Battle of Harris Farm, with Gordon Rhea, from Fredericksburg, VA | April 10-15, 2023

Higgerson House
Higgerson House. Courtesy, National Park Service.

Following Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sent his first Corps west to aid General Braxton Bragg and he settled down to a conservative winter with some relatively minor engagements. In the same time, western hero, Major General US Grant continued a string of successes culminating at Chattanooga in November 1863. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General and give overall command of all the US armies. He then came east and after making adjustments for the Spring 1864 campaigning season he settled in with the Army of the Potomac.Early in May, he ordered Major General Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac to strike tents and cross the Rapidan River. Lee encamped near Gordonsville and observing from Clark Mountain moved to engage. It would be the decisive campaign in the east. This program led by the Gordon Rhea, the nation’s preeminent Overland Campaign historian and author of 7 award winning books related to the campaign originally scheduled this as a two tour, 10 day study; but with COVID after 3 reschedulings it was conducted with a diminished cohort of hearty travelers. He agreed to offer this again to allow folks who got spooked by COVID to attend this and Part 2 which is being conducted June 5-10, 2022 from Richmond–space remains for that tour. Another Part 2 is dependent upon the demand to this program and the need to allow folks to complete the entire program in sequence. Don’t miss this legend in the Civil War community–he writes well, on the battlefield he is even better.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Revolutionary Georgia: Kettle Creek, Briar Creek, Savannah and the Coast, with John Derden, from Pooler, GA | April 17-20, 2023

The American Revolution is widely regarded as a New England event that spread south and west. Even the, so called, Southern Strategy tends to include only South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The colony of Georgia was the last of the 13 original colonies and was reorganized to become a crown colony a few generations after it was settled. With a capital along the coast in Savannah the story of Revolutionary Georgia is lost in a history that centers around the development of Marthasville into Atlanta, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. With more than 50% of the state’s population living in and around Atlanta the significance of Georgia in the American story is often overlooked. This program will fill in that void. Join us as Professor John Derden squires you through a coastal history from Savannah up to and around Augusta following wherever possible revolutionary era roads and period settlements.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


US Grant’s 1864 Lynchburg Campaign, with Scott Patchan, from Staunton, VA | May 17-21 2023

Grant realized Lynchburg was a linchpin to Lee’s army. The capture of the city would sever a significant supply route, cut communications with Tennessee and compel Lee to consider all the threats to his rear. After an abortive start with New Market, General David Hunter endeavored to fulfill Grant’s command.

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Washington Between the Fourths, Part 2: Battling for Philadelphia from October to December 1777, with Gary Ecelbarger, from King of Prussia, PA | June 20-24, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Westward Ho, The Oregon Trail, with Neil Mangum, from Kansas City to Oregon City | July 9-18, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


The Real Horse Soldiers, Grierson’s Raid, with Timothy Smith, from Pearl (Jackson), MS | August 9–12, 2023

The more you look at U.S. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign, the more you see how dynamic and innovative it was. A seemingly independent cavalry action through Mississippi in late April and early May, and another from Eastport, Mississippi, toward Georgia at the same time, now are clearly associated with Grant’s risky and essential Louisiana march along the Mississippi River. The former, conducted by Col. Ben Grierson, a peacetime dance instructor, caught the eye of the famous Western actor, John Wayne, who, working with William Holden, created a popular romanticized movie The Horse Soldiers. The movie bears little resemblance to the historical event—with the notable exception of Newton Station. However, we now know just how important this raid was—so much so that Grant specifically designated Grierson for the command. We also know that it was extremely successful in distracting the Confederates from Grant’s march, and that the Georgia ride through Alabama kept the feared Confederate cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, away from the Grierson Raid as he pursued Colonel Streight’s raid.

Tour Details and Registration Information.


Atlanta Campaign on the Weekends, Part 8: The Battle of Jonesboro and the Fall of Atlanta, with Bob Jenkins, from Atlanta, GA | September 8-10, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Kings of the Mountain, The 1780 British Southern Campaign, with Scott Patchan and John Maas, from Spartanburg, SC | September 20-24, 2023

Having failed to end the American rebellion in New England, British forces turned toward a southern strategy that hoped to pacify the colonies of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Entrusting the control of British forces to its most experienced commander, Charles Cornwallis, and an enthusiastic and capable group of subordinates such as Banastre Tarleton, Lord Rawdon, and Patrick Ferguson, Tory loyalists proceeded to subdue the American countryside, resulting in some of the most severe and inhumane combat and terrorism in American history.

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


The Trail of Tears, The Cherokee Removal, with Jim Ogden, from Oklahoma City, OK | October 7-15, 2023

This premier program is being developed and a site survey is being planned. This tour ends in time for you to register for and attend the Trail of Tears annual conference in Siloam Springs, OK October 16-18.

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Atlanta Campaign on the Weekends, Part 9: Hood Unleashed, Cutting Sherman’s lines of Communications, with Bob Jenkins, from Atlanta, GA | October 27-29, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Washington Between the Fourths, Part 3: An Army is Forged, Washington at Valley Forge and the Fight at Monmouth Court House with Gary Ecelbarger, from Princeton, NJ | December 5-9, 2023

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Rebel Legend, Stonewall Jackson Stuns the Valley, Kernstown to McDowell. A two part study of the 1862 Valley Campaign, with Gary Ecelbarger, from Harrisonburg, VA | March 13-16, 2024

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


International Phenom, Jackson’s Foot Cavalry Define Mobility and Derail McClellan’s Plans, Part 2 of Gary Ecelbarger’s study of The 1862 Valley Campaign from Harrisonburg. This covers Jackson’s return to the Valley through his stunning victories at Cross Keyes and Port Republic | May 29-June 1, 2024

If you are interested in this program, please contact us.


Refund and Cancellations

BGES is an educational organization. All registrations are open-ended and may be refunded if circumstances require the client to cancel. The general policy is a 100% refund for cancellations made before the event. Penalties are not usually assessed unless nonrefundable vendor costs are incurred. All refunds are determined and approved by the Executive Director of the BGES.