Four Questions: The Texas Two Step, with Neil Mangum

Texas has long intrigued us with raucous tales of its fiercely independent past: The Wild West, shoot-’em-up battles, the Alamo defiance, cattle round-ups, the legendary Texas Rangers … and that only touches on a tiny bit of this fascinating state’s story. Kicking off a new year of BGES touring, historian Neil Mangum is leading two tours in … Read more

Travel Guide: Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway

  Legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman (ca 1821–1913) escaped from slavery in 1849, going on to help many others find their way to freedom along the Underground Railroad. She grew up and worked on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where many Underground Railroad sites have been connected by a scenic highway, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway. … Read more

Travel Guide: Grand Gulf-Raymond Scenic Byway

In spring 1863, as Gen. U.S. Grant plotted his attack on Vicksburg, he traveled into Mississippi’s interior, knowing he needed to sever the Confederate’s railroad connection between Vicksburg and Jackson. During that time, he transported reinforcements and supplies along the rural road between Grand Gulf and Raymond. “The genius of the campaign is out there … Read more

A Peek into BGES’ Novice Tours, with Len Riedel

BGES Blog: In 2020 you are offering two novice tours, Civil War 101: The Gettysburg Campaign; and Revolutionary War 101: Boston/Lexington/Concord. Normally your tours take deep dives into little known aspects of history. What is the thinking behind these novice offerings? LR: Well, hi Barbara, you sure cut right to the point, don’t you? The … Read more

BGES Members Making a Difference: Nancy Crago

Sometimes a connection to the past hits you in such a personal way that it catches you completely off-guard. BGES member Nancy Crago understands that phenomenon as well as anyone. As a kid growing up in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, Crago barely gave the Civil War a passing thought, even though she lived less than an … Read more

Travel Guide: Civil War Alexandria

Mention Old Town Alexandria, and most people think colonial history. And they’re not wrong. Founded in 1749, the town went on to become a hotbed of Revolutionary War activity, with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other patriots discussing the merits of democracy at Gadsby’s Tavern and worshipping at Christ Church. But Alexandria, located just 10 … Read more

Life of a Civil War Reenactor

BGES Treasurer Laurence Schiller retired in 2016 from his “real-life” profession at Northwestern University as history professor and the second winningest fencing coach in NCAA history. Interestingly, those jobs fit nicely into the broader scope of what Laurie loves to do—and continues to do: Reenact. He’s been a full-blown Civil War reenactor since 1994, typically … Read more

A Field Report from “Jeb’s Ride Around McClellan,” by Dave Downing

  Tour: Jeb’s Ride Around McClellan Date: September 29 2019 Tour Leader: Len Riedel Reported By: Dave Downing As a member of the Blue Gray Education Society, I closely follow upcoming tours/events published in the BGES Newsletter, and one such event (“Jeb’s Ride Around McClellan”) caught my attention. I have long admired Stuart and was … Read more

Five Questions: The Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, with Norm Dasinger, Jr.

In the midst of Civil War, both armies sought to control Chattanooga, the gateway to the Confederacy, and so they came to clash in the summer of 1863 at a nearby creek called Chickamauga. The Confederates won, and so they met again, this time at Chattanooga. The Confederates nearly dominated again … and then entered … Read more

BGES Members Making a Difference: Bryan Hagan

The Civil War era—and all of American history, for that matter—has had its fair share of colorful characters. For BGES member Bryan Hagen, this undeniable fact is one of the things that makes the study of our nation’s past so fascinating. And it’s even more fun for him when he gets to be “in character.” … Read more