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FACULTY

  • Bill McKinnon
    Bill McKinnon
    Faculty
  • Bryan Hagen
    Faculty
  • Duncan Anderson
    Faculty
  • Eric Jacobson
    Faculty
  • Gary Ecelbarger
    Faculty
  • George Fickett
    Faculty
  • Gloria Swift
    Gloria Swift
    Faculty
  • Gordon Rhea
    Faculty
  • Jim Ogden
    Jim Ogden
    Faculty
  • Jim White
    Jim White
    Faculty
  • Keith Bohannon
    Keith Bohannon
    Faculty
  • Lee White
    Faculty
  • Len Riedel
    Len Riedel
    Faculty
  • Neil Mangum
    Neil Mangum
    Faculty
  • Norman Dasinger
    Norman Dasinger
    Faculty
  • Parker Hills
    Parker Hills
    Faculty
  • Richard McMurry
    Faculty
  • Rick Britton
    Rick Britton
    Faculty
  • Rick Hatcher
    Faculty
  • Robert Jenkins, Sr.
    Faculty
Bill McKinnon

Having spent my childhood in Virginia I suppose it was only natural that I should have developed a strong interest in the Civil War. As a busy surgeon at Emory I have always looked forward to the day when I could visit and study Civil War sites more often.  I started following BGES at least 20 years ago, participating in many of its programs. Len Reidel tells us that to really understand a battlefield one has to walk the ground.  BGES allows us to do this, visiting and walking over historic battlefields and other interesting sites in the company of a nationally recognized authority on the area being visited.  The groups are small enough to allow easy interaction with the tour leader, who enjoys answering our questions and offering interesting sidelights to our visit.  I became a member of the BGES Board of Directors because I believe strongly in what the group does.  Teaching about the importance of that terrible conflict is largely lacking in schools today. BGES is the only group that for 25 years has not only visited sites but has explained what happened there and why.  This, coupled with the Society’s service projects and working with our veterans makes me proud to be a member. I’m glad that we are looking forward to another 25 years of excellent educational experiences led by the Society.

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Bryan Hagen

Lives with his wife, Jenny, in Charlottesville, Virginia, having relocated from Minnesota eight years ago. He is a veteran campaigner with the BGES group and works as a guide and host for the Wounded Warriors Program. He and his son, Ben (also a BGES campaigner) are proud sponsors of a cannon at the Raymond, Mississippi Battlefield. Bryan is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and also works as a guide at Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, which is located near Orange, Virginia. In his role as an interpreter at Montpelier, he has intensely studied the lives, careers, and times of the Madisons with a special emphasis on Madison’s role in the development of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the War of 1812. He is also a participant in local Charlottesville historic events as a reenactor.

 

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Duncan Anderson

Head of the War Studies Department at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The Australian Ph.D. supervises an international staff of some of the world’s best and brightest historical minds. Here they teach the major block of military history to the officer candidates for the British Army and Commonwealth countries. Frequently featured on historical programming, Anderson and his staff are all specialists in portions of world history. Anderson’s scholarship is on the Pacific theater and in particular the fall of the Philippines and its redemption.

 

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Eric Jacobson

The moving force behind the reclamation of the Franklin battlefield. As the CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust, he has cleared battlefield land, removed structures, and restored landscape while enhancing the interpretative experience. His books are the standard works on the battle and an excellent read.

 

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Gary Ecelbarger

One of the country’s foremost authorities of the 1862 Valley Campaign as well as the most prolific scholar of modern campaign literature. He has written four books about the campaign, two additional monographs, as well as at least a dozen articles and feature-length contributions in the nation’s top Civil War magazines. His most acclaimed works are We Are In For It!: The First Battle of Kernstown and Three Days in the Shenandoah: Stonewall Jackson at Front Royal and Winchester. We cannot overlook his knowledge of the Revolutionary War and the Atlanta Campaign, since we are doing tours with him in those areas.

 

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George Fickett

Has been a student of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign for 42 years. A former Chesterfield County employee he, with his colleague, Scott Williams, has mapped and documented the campaign for many years, and it is in no small measure directly due to his devotion that these sites are now available to visit and understand. George was presented the National Park Service’s “Take Pride in America” Award in 1987, and he received the Virginia Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004. He received a lifetime achievement award from Chesterfield County as a volunteer in 2012. Nobody knows this campaign or the grounds any better. George is now a key player in the newly founded Friends Group for the Petersburg Campaign.

 

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Gloria Swift

Was born in Washington, D.C., to parents who were very interested in Civil War history – especially her father. On Sundays, he would pile the family into the car and off they would go to a battlefield. Gloria remembers telling her father, “Oh Daddy, this is boring,” but something must have rubbed off because she graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in American History.

Specializing in military history and the Civil War, Gloria pursued an exciting career for over thirty years with the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger conducting tours and as a museum curator, working on two museum renovations. She has worked at Gettysburg National Military Park, the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield, and Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in addition to others. She took the opportunity for an early retirement from the National Park Service in December 2014 when stationed at Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, Georgia.

Back home in Frederick, Maryland, Gloria is having fun in retirement but has not given up history. In addition to hiking local battlefields with her dog Fred, she currently works part-time for Blue and Gray Education Society (BGES) as the membership coordinator and travel associate on the history tours. She is also the creator and editor of the BGES membership quarterly newsletter, Along the Monocacy.

 

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Gordon Rhea

A practicing attorney from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. He has completed six books related to the Overland Campaign that pitted U.S. Grant against R.E. Lee. The award-winning series, published by LSU Press, has now been completed with the recent release of On to Petersburg, Grant and Lee June 4-15, 1864. Gordon brings the same analytic skills so essential for good trial work to the analysis of military campaigns—exhaustive research, the lessons of precedent, and the logical outcomes from well-thought-out plans and the unexpected curveballs that are known in the military as friction. Personalities count in law and in leadership. Gordon recognizes both, bringing a delightful summary that both clients and juries appreciate and respect.

 

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Jim Ogden

One of the country’s finest military historians. A preservationist of the first order, he is often called upon to lead tours for distinguished visitors to the National Park Service—having taking Vice President Cheney and his family around Chickamauga and the region several times.

 

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Jim White

A retired US Army officer who currently works as a logistics management specialist (operations and plans) for DLA – Europe & Africa. A federal civilian employee since 2002, he has worked as the logistics operations & planner and Chief, Business Management Office, for the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia – European region; Assistant Professor in Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations for the US Army Command and General Staff College; and as a civil-military plans officer with the Department of State, US Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan. During his 25-year military career, he served in a variety of line and staff officer positions as an infantry and foreign area officer. Jim has a BS in History from Eastern Michigan University, an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA in Public Policy (Peace Operations Policy Program) from George Mason University. He is also a graduate of the US Army Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Foreign Area Officer Course, and the US Army Command and General Staff Officer Course. Since 1999 he has led over 20 tours covering WW 1 and WW 2 topics.

 

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Keith Bohannon

Professor of history at the University of West Georgia specializing in U.S. Civil War history. He has led numerous tours of Eastern and Western Theater battlefields and worked a number of years as a historian with the U.S. National Park Service at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. He is the author of numerous essays published by both university and non-academic presses, including several that examine aspects of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

 

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Lee White

A staff historian at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga NMP. He was introduced to BGES members at the 2017 part 1 program and is a recognized expert on the Army of Tennessee operations.

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Len Riedel

The Executive Director of the BGES. A retired Air Force officer, Riedel has a Master of Arts degree in History. He is the architect of the BGES’ diverse programming and of considerable preservation accomplishments in the nonprofit community. Len blogs on this site: BGES Blog.

 

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Neil Mangum

One of the nation’s foremost Indian Wars authorities and is a life-long student of George Armstrong Custer. Neil served his career in the National Park Service where his postings included a tour as the Superintendent of the Little Big Horn National Battlefield. He was a key player in significant changes that made the site more inclusive and healing. His engaging manner has opened many doors to heritage tourists and made him one of the most respected historians in the country. He has also led tours of the Great Sioux Indian War, The Apache Wars, The Central Plains Indian War, the Buffalo Red River War and many other western themes. Recently he has turned to Americana tours, including the Pony Express, Route 66, and the Santa Fe Trail. He is the author of the definitive work, The Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Big Horn. Neil retired from the NPS in 2003 and now lives in Payson, Arizona.

 

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Norman Dasinger

A resident of Rainbow City, Alabama, has led many tours of Civil War sites in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. His interest in the war began when he and his father began researching their family history in the early 1980s. Finding several Confederate and Union ancestors, they set out to see the battlefields they had fought upon, a journey that led to multiple states. They, along with Norman’s brother, joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans and became active in the organization for many years. Their travels for the SCV brought them to many other battlefields and historical sites. When he moved to Paulding County, Georgia, in 1989, Norman began to learn, in detail, about the three local battlefields: Dallas, Picketts Mill, and New Hope Church. He became active in organizations, charged with promoting and interpreting them. He moved to Alabama in 2005 and began to study the history of the most prominent Civil War event in the area: the Forrest Streight Raid. He enjoys showing people the deep and rich history of locations in his state and other surrounding areas.

 

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Parker Hills

A retired brigadier general, Mississippi Army National Guard, who also served almost 32 years as a Regular Army and National Guard officer. For years Hills conducted the Military Staff Ride program for the state of Mississippi and is an expert on Mississippi battlefields. Hills conducts tours for Road Scholars (formerly Elderhostel) and is a corporate leadership trainer who founded Battle Focus. He is active in the preservation of Civil War battlefields, and has served as president of Friends of Raymond and of Friends of the Vicksburg Campaign and Historic Trail. He was chair of the Mississippi Civil War Battlefield Commission and a member of the Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. Hills is a graduate of the US Army War College and holds a Master of Education degree in Psychology. He is the author of the BGES monograph, A Study in Warfighting, Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, the co-author of the Driving Tour Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign, and co-author of the prize-winning book Receding Tide, Vicksburg and Gettysburg, The Campaigns that Changed the Civil War. He has contributed a chapter entitled “Roads to Raymond” for Vicksburg: Mississippi Blitzkrieg, edited by Steve Woodworth, and his latest work, Vicksburg: Art of Commemoration, is an invaluable analysis of the art and architecture of the monuments at Vicksburg National Military Park.

 

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Richard McMurry

One of the country’s foremost authorities on the Western Theater of the Civil War and particularly the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. He is the author of several highly acclaimed books, including Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy, John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence and Two Great Rebel Armies.

 

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Rick Britton

Charlottesville, Virginia-based author, historian, and cartographer. With over 200 published articles and essays under his belt—the vast majority on the history of Virginia—he is the author of the award-winning Jefferson; A Monticello Sampler, and 2015’s Virginia Vignettes; Famous Characters & Events in Central Virginia History. He also teaches classes on the history of central Virginia, conducts battlefield tours, lectures frequently on a wide range of Virginia history topics, and illustrates maps for history books and websites. (To see a sampling of Rick’s maps, go to the Mount Vernon website—www.mountvernon.org—and click “Revolutionary War.”)

 

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Rick Hatcher
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Robert Jenkins, Sr.

A Dalton, Georgia, lawyer whose passion for the Civil War has erupted with the knowledge he had ancestors who fought in the war. He is a passionate preservationist and a moving force in the region for the newly interpreted sites in northern Georgia. His research and two published books are part of a larger Atlanta Campaign series he hopes to do. Both books are excellent reads and highly informative. A veritable fountain of knowledge, he is being increasing sought out for tours and educational programs.

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