On April 25, 2019, BGES celebrates 25 fantastic years of fronting Civil War education and preservation. In that time, we’ve scoured related sites both large and small with our premier study tours, and branched off into other important areas of American history as well. We’ve launched some important legacy preservation projects, grown our Wounded Warrior tours for America’s heroes, and published books and monographs. And through it all, we’ve been honored to engage with some of history’s and the military’s greatest minds. To commemorate our 25th anniversary, in the days leading up to the Big Day some of our members will be sharing their favorite BGES stories on these pages. Be sure to return to the website often to relive some poignant memories.
I attended a BGES tour of Civil War sights around Charleston, South Carolina. I don’t remember for sure when this tour was, but I suspect it may have been April of 2001. One of the sights on the tour was the former location of Battery Wagner (depicted in the movie Glory, and now under water). To get as close to the Battery as possible, we had to walk along the beach for some distance. It was suggested we leave our shoes on the beach and walk barefoot. The historian guiding the tour had misread the tide charts, and the tide came in as we walked. At one point, waves were breaking near my waist, and I’m 6’3″. After visiting the remains of Battery Wagner, we waded back to claim our shoes. Unfortunately, like Battery Wagner, Len’s footwear had washed away. After the bus dropped us at the hotel, the barefooted Riedel went shoe shopping. All he could find in the local area was a Hip-Hop clothing store, so Len had some “interesting”-looking shoes for the remainder of the trip.