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.


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.

The Brilliant Little Battle of Monocacy | July 21, 2019

Bridge over Monocacy, Scene of Lew Wallace battle with Early, 1864
Alfred R. Waud
Courtesy Library of Congress

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

Tour Details and Registration Information.

A Test of Loyalties: East Tennessee Raids, Railroads, and Rebellion 1861-1863 | July 24-27, 2019

A Thrilling Scene in East Tennessee–Colonel Fry and the Union Men Swearing by the Flag
Harpers Weekly, March 29, 1862

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

Burning and Evacuation of Richmond, April 3, 1865
Lithograph by A. Hoen & Co., Richmond, Va. c1897
Courtesy Library of Congress

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

View of a Federal artillery battery fording a nearby stream at the Cedar Mountain battlefield.
Courtesy Library of Congress
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

Chief Joseph
Photoprint by Dr. Edward H. Latham c 1903
Courtesy Library of Congress

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

Winter scene at Continental Army encampment at Valley Forge, Pa.
Harpers Weekly. Jan 27, 1877.
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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A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg | September 25-28, 2019

Battle of Petersburg Crater
The Confederate line as reconstructed at the crater. From a drawing made by Lieutenant Henderson after the battle
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War [c. 1887]
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’s Ride Around McClellan in June 1862 | September 29, 2019

The Burial of Latané
William Dickinson Washington, 1864
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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 McClellan’s entire army. With Len Riedel, from Chester, VA

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Following the Road to Special Order #191 | October 6, 2019

Special Order 191
Courtesy US National Park Service
This exciting “who done it” controversy 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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Initial Attempts to Take Vicksburg: Part 6 of Our Signature Vicksburg Campaign Study | October 16-20, 2019

Confederate fortifications in rear of Vicksburg. Photographed between 1861 and 1865.
Courtesy Library of Congress
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

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

The Battle Fog at Antietam
From The Photographic History of the Civil War

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

Tombstone in Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona
Courtesy Library of Congress
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 of Chickamauga and Chattanooga | November 13-16, 2019

Wartime view of Chattanooga
From Harper’s Pictorial History of the Great Rebellion
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

The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, AD 1781
Courtesy Library of Congress
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

Rosecrans’ Victory March
Courtesy Library of Congress
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

The Battle of Franklin
The Battle of Franklin
Courtesy Library of Congress
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

St. Michael’s Church, the oldest surviving religious
structure in Charleston, South Carolina.
Copyright Robert Hankins
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

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The Battles of Dalton — Chapter 1 of the 1864 Georgia Campaign | April 23-26, 2020

Battle of Dug Gap. Alfred R. Waud
Courtesy Library of Congress

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

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.