BGES 2024 Program Schedule


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.

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.


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.


Little Crow’s Rebellion and the Minnesota Massacres of 1862, with Neil Mangum, from Minneapolis, MN | July 12-20, 2024

Minnesota was the frontier of the United States and treaties had been made with the indigenous Indian tribes to permit settlement along the Minnesota River. Using various forts like Snelling in Minneapolis the United States maintained a nervous peace along the frontier. In the summer of 1862, Dakota warriors rioted at the Indian Agency after a scheduled delivery of various welfare items failed to arrive. Violence quickly spread along the river where over 500 innocent settlers were murdered by the rampaging Indians. A protective force of US troops moved against the rioters in what is known to history as the Dakota Sioux War of 1862. After the defeat of the Indians, President Lincoln authorized the execution of nearly 40 Indians convicted of assaulting women and children. Another unique BGES tour that you may never see again.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

He Must Be Suppressed; The Second Manassas Campaign, with Greg Mertz and Len Riedel, from Warrenton, VA | August 13-18, 2024

Stonewall Jackson’s meteor burned brightly and rapidly—in less than two years (July 1861-May 1863) he was gone. After his brilliant Valley Campaign (see March and June 2024 tours), he appeared to falter during the Seven Days Campaign. With the consolidation of Federal forces under the command of General John Pope, Lee returned Jackson to western Virginia to suppress the brash braggadocio Pope. The campaign sputtered out of the gate with Jackson fighting an ugly battle at Cedar Mountain; however, a dramatic march around Pope’s rear landed Jackson on his supply depot at Manassas Junction and when Pope stumbled back up the Warrenton Pike, Jackson struck him and held his attention until Lee came up with Longstreet and struck a devastating blow at the over-matched westerner. Pope would be sent to Minnesota to fight Indians (see July tour) and Lee would enter Maryland.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

The Atlanta Campaign on the Weekends, Chapter 10–Rome, Lafayette and Cassville, with Robert Jenkins, from Rome, GA | September 6-8, 2024

Having completed his 9 chapter study of the Atlanta Campaign, Bob Jenkins will return to important but various aspects of the campaign which were impractical to study in the confines of a series of weekend tours. Having completed a new book on the Cassville Affair, scheduled for release in February 2024, Jenkins will deliver a tour that focuses on forgotten aspects of the campaign all which are detailed in the book. This is the first time these military operations have been presented on a Jenkins tour. If you are a student of the campaign this is a program that will enhance your understanding of this decisive period in the Civil War.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

1864 Overland Campaign, North Anna to the crossing of the James River, with Greg Mertz, Scott Patchan, and Phill Greenwalt, from Richmond, VA | September 17-22, 2024

Grant and Lee had struggled across the central Virginia landscape for more than two weeks when the axis of the six week campaign shifted to the line of the North Anna River. Grant would pound and sidestep until he crossed the James River and attacked Petersburg in mid June 1864. This tour covers the final three volumes in Gordon Rhea’s award winning five volume study of Grant versus Lee in the 1864 Overland Campaign. Visit land at Jericho Mill that is not open to the public and press deep into the woods at Cold Harbor–ponder Grant’s challenges in crossing the James River unbeknown to Lee. Conclude with the heartbreaking failure to crush Lee and take Richmond in Mid-June 1864–oh the lives that would not have been lost.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

Before the Little Big Horn; The Civil War of General George A. Custer, with Neil Mangum, from Sandston, VA (Richmond Airport) | September 28-October 5, 2024

Perhaps no figure in American history reflected the identity of 19th century America better than George Armstrong Custer.  A dashing, good looking and decisive character, he was promoted to General officer in June of 1863 and took command of a Michigan Cavalry brigade before the Battle of Gettysburg.  One thinks, as he breached the Confederate cease fire line near Appomattox Village, that in a generation he might have been elected President. General Phil Sheridan presented the surrender table to Custer’s wife Libby as a gift.  Sadly for him, in June 1876 he died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  This should come as no surprise as Custer was brash to the point of carelessness. This study follows Custer in Command and shows several instances in which he should not have survived the Civil War.  You will travel with Custer and his bride Libby from Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley and on the road to Appomattox

Tour Details and Registration Information.

The Iron Dice of Battle, the Civil War Career of Albert Sydney Johnston, with Tim Smith, from Nashville, TN | October 9-12, 2024

“If Albert Sidney Johnston is not a general, then I have no generals,” boasted Confederate President Jefferson Davis who ranked Johnston the second most senior General officer in the Confederacy ahead of Robert E. Lee, Joe Johnston and PGT Beauregard.  Given command of the massive region from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River in September 1861, he would abandon his headquarters at Bowling Green, Kentucky in February 1862 and would be dead in less than 2 months.  This tour will follow Johnston’s command, examine his experience and critically ask was Johnston deserving of the accolades?  We will also speculate on if he might in fact, given enough time, proven to be the great soldier that Davis expected.  This trip will take us from Kentucky to his death at Shiloh, Tennessee.  This tour is based on Smith’s newly released book The Iron Dice of Battle; Albert Sidney Johnston and the Civil War in the West (LSU Press, 2023)

Tour Details and Registration Information.

Stonewall Jackson’s First Year of the Civil War, with Gary Ecelbarger, from Winchester, VA | October 23-28, 2024

By the end of the War’s twelfth month, one of America’s most iconic generals had already fought his third battle and was embarking upon his fourth campaign. He had added two stars upon his epaulets, expanded the size of his command from four regiments to three brigades, and obtained a world-famous nom de guerre. His name was Thomas Jonathan Jackson––but we all know him as “Stonewall.”

Tour Details and Registration Information.

Grant’s 1864 Lynchburg Campaign, with Scott Patchan, from Staunton, VA | November 6-10, 2024

General Grant’s multi-phased strategy for the spring campaign of 1864, his first as Commanding General of the Union Armies, called for all the Union armies to move simultaneously to keep the Confederates from transferring troops from quiet areas of the Confederacy to the main combat engagement zones.  Two Union forces were tasked to cinch up the interior lines between Tennessee and Lynchburg, Virginia whose canal and the Southside Railroad connected to Petersburg and the capital at Richmond.  The initial Federal force under Franz Sigel was defeated and thrown back at New Market.  General David Hunter replaced him and he proceeded up the Valley and advanced on Lynchburg where he was defeated by forces send by Robert E. Lee under the command of General Jubal Early–Hunter fell back past Hanging Rock near Big Lick (current day Roanoke) where we will end the tour.  Along the way you will see New Market, the newly opened battlefield at Piedmont, and other sites related to Hunter’s advance.  There are some remarkable vistas within the fields of operations.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

The Siege and Battles for Chattanooga, with David Powell, from Chattanooga, TN | November 20-23, 2024

The Federal defeat at Chickamauga compelled the Federal army to fall back on Chattanooga where commanding ground overlooked the Tennessee River and made it nearly impossible to feed the defeated Federals. Fresh from victories near Vicksburg, US Grant was the newly assigned Commander in the West. After relieving Major General Rosecrans, Grant opened a supply line and then assembled forces to break out from the entrapment at Chattanooga. In late November, a series of dramatic and hard hitting battles swept the Confederates from Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge back to Dalton, Georgia. Braxton Bragg would be replaced and Grant would be elevated two months later to command all the United States Armies with the newly assigned rank of Lieutenant General. This is a spectacular program conducted at nearly the same time as it was 160 years ago.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

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 non-refundable vendor costs are incurred. All refunds are determined and approved by the Executive Director of the BGES.