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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.

Spotslyvania, 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.

Hood’s 1864 Tennessee Campaign Part 2:
Sherman Heads to the Sea and Hood Moves North

John Bell Hood

November 13-16, 2018

With Eric Jacobson, Len Riedel and Lee White from Columbia TN

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

Part 2 of our look at the Tennessee Campaign delves into Hood’s move to Florence and Sherman’s move back across land he has already won.

Tour Details and Registration Information

The 1862 Maryland Campaign Part 2:
An Impossible Situation: Defending Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry / Photo courtesy of NPS.gov

November 29-December 1, 2018

With Tom Clemens, from Frederick, MD

A BGES Critical Civil War Campaign Studies Program

This second program in the 1862 Maryland Campaign series explores the Civil War’s return to Harpers Ferry and sets the stage for the battle at Antietam on September 17, 1862.

Tour Details and Registration Information.

Sherman’s Infamous March to the Sea and a tour of Confederate Georgia

Ditches at Fort McAllister
Patriot Pub Co. The Photographic History of the Civil War


Our 2019 schedule kicks off with a spotlight on Sherman’s March to the Sea, as we experience the most memorable elements of the march and other sites, including Irwinville, where Jefferson Davis was captured; the National POW Museum at the infamous Andersonville; the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center; the National Civil War Naval Museum; and more. With Stephen Wise, from Savannah, GA

Tour Details and Registration Information.

Maneuvering for the Kill, Sherman Enters North Carolina | January 28, 2019

Battle at Black River

Battle at Black River, M[ar]ch 16, 1865
Courtesy Library of Congress


This one-day program, taking in Fayetteville’s bounteous sites plus a vicious engagement at Averasboro, makes for a great weekend break as we follow Sherman’s hardened forces into North Carolina. As one observer commented, the world had seen no such army since the days of Julius Caesar! With Wade Sokolowsky, from Fayetteville, NC

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The Mobile Campaign 1864-1865 | February 7-9, 2019

This tour takes in the August 1864 operation against Forts Morgan and Gaines, which earned Admiral Farragut fame for his declaration to “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!” We then follow Gen. E.R.S. Canby’s route through Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley to Mobile and take in the remaining splendor of the antebellum plantation homes and the magnificent Magnolia Cemetery. With Mike Bunn, from Mobile, AL

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Confederate Pensacola | February 10, 2019

This Mobile program add-on or stand alone program explores the little-known fact that, given a few more weeks, the war’s first shots might have been fired here at Fort Pickens rather than Fort Sumter. We then head inland to visit the unique and important fortification at Fort Barrancas, along with the Outer Redoubt, interspersed with stories of the region and Pensacola’s key role in operations on the Florida Panhandle and against Mobile along the way. With Len Riedel, from Pensacola, FL

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The Peninsula Campaign | February 19-23, 2019

This program covers the intricate role of the Virginia Peninsula in establishing an independent Confederacy. We will explore the campaign through the Battle of Seven Pines and include Dam #1, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Eltham’s Landing, and Seven Pines. With Len Riedel, from Williamsburg, VA

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The Federals Meet Robert E. Lee: The Battles of Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill | February 24, 2019

Soon after Robert E. Lee ascends to command the Army of the Northern Virginia in June 1862, he devises an intricate plan that reveals his trajectory that will soon launch him into the pantheon of great generals. This quick program analyzes that audacious plan at the battles of Mechanicsville and the intense battle of Gaines Mill. With Bert Dunkerly, from Mechanicsville, VA

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In the Shadow of Atlanta: The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain | March 10, 2019

This packed, one-day walking tour covers Sherman’s attack at Kennesaw that resulted in what he dubbed the “hardest fight of the campaign up to that date.” We cover Kolb’s Farm and then zero in on the severe fighting especially across Pigeon and Cheatham Hills, in which the resulting tactical Confederate victory was not sufficient in halting Sherman’s relentless advance on Atlanta. With Keith Bohannon, from Kennesaw, GA

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First Chapter in the Georgia Campaign: The Battles of Dalton | March 15-17, 2019

This tour takes a good look at how the Confederates set up under new commander Joseph E. Johnston and how Sherman organizes his army group of the Armies of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio. We’ll discuss and visit the key sites at Tunnel Hill, Dug Gap, Mill Creek Gap, Crow Valley, Potato Hill, and Rocky Face Ridge. With Bob Jenkins, from Dalton, GA

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The Vicksburg Campaign Part 5: West to Vicksburg | March 20-24, 2019

This tour covers in great detail Gen. U.S. Grant’s intelligence network, the key to his success at Vicksburg. We will fight the battles at Champion’s Hill and the Big Black River, as Grant’s aggressive maneuvers chase Gen. John C. Pemperton’s forces back into his fortifications. We end the program walking those earthworks. A robust opening briefing will fill you in on Parts 1-4 and the importance of this fifth part, with three more to follow. With Parker Hills, from Vicksburg, MS

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Andy Jackson, the Creeks, and the British | March 31-April 5, 2019

This backwoods tour takes a look at Andrew Jackson, one of America’s most colorful characters and presidents. We delve into massacres, interesting tactical battles, the treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814, and the famous Battle of New Orleans in December 1814 and January 1815 as we travel from Tennessee to Louisiana. With Neil Mangum, from Nashville, TN (ending in New Orleans, LA)

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Civil War New Orleans and the Gulf Coast | April 5-8, 2019

Experience the most important sites, stories, and events in Civil War New Orleans, the largest city in the new southern Confederacy. We’ll also look at the fortifications surrounding New Orleans and then make our way to Jefferson Davis’ home at Beauvoir. With Len Riedel, from Slidell, LA

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The Great Invasion: Lee Enters Pennsylvania | April 10-13, 2019

A mandatory tour if you are to understand Gettysburg, this program follows Lee’s 14-day sortie into Pennsylvania and grounds you in the reasons and realities of his operation before he calls his forces together to meet the Army of the Potomac. We’ll visit many lesser known sites, including York, Greencastle, Harrisburg, Mercersburg, and more. With Bert Dunkerly, from Gettysburg, PA

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The Atlanta Campaign Part IV: Sherman Captures Atlanta | April 24-28, 2019

Historian Gary Ecelbarger and his friends have led us since 2016 from Rocky Face Ridge to the suburbs of Atlanta, in which we’ve learned over the three tours that there was indeed much left to see of Civil War Atlanta and the surrounding environs. Now we move to culminate the study with this superb offering that details Sherman’s capture of Atlanta, including visits to Atlanta’s History Center and the newly completed Atlanta Cyclorama. With Gary Ecelbarger and Scott Patchan, from Atlanta, GA

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A Great Clash of Sabers: The Surprise at Brandy Station | May 4-5, 2019

Meet us for a full two-day tour that will help you understand the complexities and intricacies of the much maligned engagement at Brandy Station, the largest cavalry battle ever conducted on the North American continent. With Clark Bud Hall, from Culpeper, VA

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Battling in the Backcountry: The Southern Strategy in 1780-1781 | May 16-19, 2019

This fascinating tour explores the battles and encounters that took place in and around Camden, South Carolina, highlighting both the British strategy in play and the marriage of partisan warfare with the Swamp Fox, the Gamecock, and Lighthorse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee’s father. This is an important program that will help you understand how the War for American Independence turned in the Americans’ favor. With David Reuwar, from Camden, SC

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A Military Perspective of the Gettysburg Campaign | June 1-4, 2019

Join us for an intellectually stimulating, integrated program on the battlefield at Gettysburg, led by Paul Severance, a newly retired senior leadership faculty member of the National Defense University at Fort McNair, and anchored on his time-proven staff ride that he developed and delivered for years at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (also at Fort McNair). Even if you have been to Gettysburg countless times, this is a program you will want to experience. With Paul Severance, from Frederick, MD

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Death in Montana: The Last Stand of George Armstrong Custer | June 11-16, 2019

This program takes us into the country of George A. Custer, a boy general whose bravado masked careless traits of battlefield leadership. We will walk the pristine Rosebud battlefield, visit the private property of Deer Medicine Rocks and Sitting Bull’s Vision Quest, and culminate with a full day on the Little Big Horn battlefield that highlights both Reno’s and Custer’s experiences. With Neil Mangum, from Billings, MT

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An Uncivil War: St. Louis and Southeastern Missouri 1858-1865 | July 10-13, 2019

With plenty of men ready to fight for either side, a robust economy, and the mighty Mississippi River forming its eastern border, St. Louis and southeastern Missouri became a bitter Civil War battleground, with engagements at New Madrid, Island #10, Cape Girardeau, and Pilot Knob. This tour delves into how Missouri experienced the war like no other state, and why it was so integral to the national debate. With Kyle Sinisi, from St. Louis, MO

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Monocacy: The Battle that Saved the Union | July 21, 2019

This tour focuses on the single day, July 9, 1864, when Union Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace met Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early on the banks of the Monocacy River, delaying Early’s assault on Washington, just a day’s march away. With Gloria Swift, from Frederick, MD

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A Test of Loyalties: East Tennessee Raids, Railroads, and Rebellion 1861-1863 | July 25-28, 2019

In this program, we examine the various elements of the war as it affected Tennessee’s mountainous eastern section upon completion of the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. Both regulars and irregulars engaged in vandalism, destruction, and intimidation; neighbors looked suspiciously at each other; and the war got very personal and very ugly. With Jim Ogden, from Knoxville, TN

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Epicenter of the Rebellion: Great Richmond Civil War Sites | August 10, 2019

This trip is filled with storytelling as we explore Civil War Richmond, including the Confederate White House, Drewry’s Bluff, Gaines Mill, and the sacred Hollywood Cemetery. This great day leaves you well positioned to skip up to Culpeper for the BGES’ tour of Cedar Mountain on the 11th. With Rick Britton, from Tredegar Civil War Center, Richmond, VA

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Jackson Checks Pope at Cedar Mountain | August 11, 2019

On this day-long tour, we experience how the controversial and bombastic Union general John Pope faces Stonewall Jackson outside Culpeper, Virginia, culminating in a battle that shifts fighting in Virginia from the Peninsula to Northern Virginia. With Greg Mertz, from Culpeper, VA

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The Tragic Destruction of the Nez Perce | August 16-24, 2019

On this stunning road trip through the mountains of Idaho and Montana, we follow the Nez Perce as they flee from their homelands in northwestern Idaho. Pursued by United States troops, they relentlessly repulse their attackers time and again, until they reach Bear Paw Battlefield, within sight of the Canadian border. There, their journey ends with the attack and surrender of the remaining Indians. With Neil Mangum, from Spokane, WA

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Washington Creates, Trains, and Fights an Elite Army | September 4-8, 2019

By the end of 1777, George Washington had lost Philadelphia and his beleaguered army was defeated at Valley Forge. This program follows the general’s maturation and leadership and studies how the stage becomes set for a stalemate in the Eastern Theater. With Gary Ecelbarger and Scott Pachan, from West Windsor, NJ

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The Great War: A Comprehensive Survey | September 11-24, 2019

This ambitious program, which includes entry into key locations normally not open to the public, begins in London, followed by a two-day symposium at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. We then embark on a comprehensive tour from Dunkirk to Ypes along the front to Verdun, closing with the Treaty of Versailles. This is both an important tour for fans of the American Doughboys and those who want to understand the larger ramifications of the war that led to the Second Great War. With Stuart Mitchell and Jonathan Krause, from London, England

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A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg | September 25-28, 2019

This program delves into the final acts of the Civil War, leading up to the dramatic and traumatic effort at the Crater in Petersburg. Led by historian Wilson Greene, who has completed his first volume of a multi-volume treatment of the siege of Petersburg, this is the first of a two- or three-tour series that will grant time and respect due to this often overlooked campaign. With Wilson Greene, from Chester, VA

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Lee’s Eyes and Ears: Stuart Rides Around McClellan | September 29, 2019

Showing Lee at his demanding best, this tour near Richmond follows step by step how, at his command, his cavalry chief J.E.B. Stuart studies McClellan’s vulnerabilities by traveling around his right flank, across his supply line, and around to his left. Lee then takes the ensuing information to craft an audacious plan that should have ended up destroying McClellen’s entire army. With Len Riedel, from Chester, VA

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Following the Roads to Special Orders #191 | October 6, 2019

This exciting “who done it” controversary takes a hard look at Robert E. Lee’s detailed plans to take the war into Pennsylvania, which fell into the hands of Union Gen. George McClellan when a copy was unwittingly left behind at a campsite. We follow Lee’s army and McClellan’s reaction as the complexities of the forthcoming operations are forever changed. With Gloria Swift, from Frederick, MD

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The Vicksburg Campaign Part 6: Grant Fails to Take Vicksburg | October 16-20, 2019

This masterful program studies the actual fighting at Vicksburg, as U.S. Grant plans several final–and some failed–assaults on the city. We walk the fields, talk the talk, and ponder the questions of these assaults that were shrouded in intrigues and have only been recently tied to a larger agenda. This is the tour if you want to study the actual fighting at Vicksburg. With Parker Hills, from Vicksburg, MS

Tour Details and Registration Information.

The Maryland Campaign Part 3: The Battle of Antietam | October 25-27, 2019

This is the story of America’s bloodiest single day. The extensive walking tour is conducted by the two men who know this battlefield better than anyone else. A special program you won’t want to miss. With Tom Clemens and Scott Harwig, from Frederick, MD

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Trouble on the Southern Frontier: Apaches, Gold, and the Old West | November 6-11, 2019

With this unique and broad look at the great history of the American Southwest, you’ll walk in the footsteps of Cochise, Mangus Coloradas, and Geronimo; visit the old army forts of Fort Bowie and Fort Lowell; see the great vestiges of the Spanish influence at Mission San Xavier; and remember the Wild West at Bisbee, Boothill Cemetery, and the OK Corral in Tombstone. With Neil Mangum, from Tucson, AZ

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The Battles at Chickamauga and Chattanooga | November 13-16, 2019

We follow in the footsteps of Union Maj. Gen. William Starke Rosecrans as he embarks on a tactical dance with Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg at Chickamauga then Chattanooga. This comprehensive study of the Confederacy’s only major victory in the west will bring you a rewarding and busy four days. With Norm Dasinger, Jr., from Dalton, GA

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The Virginia Campaign of 1781 | November 20-24, 2019

Our third and final Revolutionary War program this year expands the tactical dance between Maj. Gen. Marquis de Lafayette and Lt. Gen. Sir Charles Cornwallis in Virginia in 1781. Traveling to Richmond, the North Anna River, and the Virginia Peninsula (including Yorktown), this is a wonderfully important tour and insight into the final American/French victory. With Rick Britton, from Richmond, VA

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Bitter Fight on the Banks of the Stones River | December 5-7, 2019

At the end of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln was experiencing a difficult stretch, having lost considerable support in the midterm elections and a disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg. The battle at Stones River, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was his lucky break. This fascinating tour explores how Lincoln obtained the victory he desperately needed. With Lee White, from Murfreesboro, TN

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Terrible, Terrible Franklin | December 8, 2019

This tour follows Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood’s attempts to destroy Major General John Schofield’s retreating army take. He failed, only to be defeated at Nashville two weeks later, forcing him to resign his command. Franklin also is a preservation success story–a terrible field recovered from the encroachments of modern growth in the shadow of Nashville. This is a heart-rending story that everyone interested in the Civil War should hear. With Lee White, from Murfreesboro, TN

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Civil War Charleston | December 13-15, 2019

Birthplace of rebellion, citadel of resistance, pathos of defeat, genteel Charleston is one of the country’s most consequential cities. On this great program ending the year, we walk her streets, visit some of her greatest homes, experience the electricity of a town aflame with political passion, stop by a young man’s military college, study the tension of an isolated and starving garrison on an isolated island in the center of the harbor, and more. With Rick and Mary Hatcher, from Charleston, SC

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