Recipient of Ed Bearss Award

We are pleased to announce Dennis Frye as the 2016 recipient of the Ed Bearss Award! Given annually, the award encourages the study of the American Civil War era by reimbursing the awardee with up to $1,000 for scholarly research.

Named in honor of the esteemed, nationally-known historian, Edwin “Ed” C. Bearss, the award was presented to Frye at the Stonewall Jackson in the Valley Civil War conference last month. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Park and is the author of more than 77 articles and seven books.

“We are pleased to announce Dennis as the recipient of this prestigious award,” said Ted Alexander, facilitator and co-founder of Chambersburg Civil War Seminars. “His project, Searching for Stories: New Discoveries of the First Invasion of the North from Newspapers and the National Archives will gather primary source material for two of his upcoming books. We are honored that such a distinguished scholar will inaugurate this program to promote the study and understanding of the Civil War.”

The award is given to a deserving author working on a non-fiction book about the Civil War in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley. Applications are being accepted now through March 1, 2017. The awardee will receive up to $1,000 to cover expenses related to researching their book.

Submissions for the award are reviewed by the Ed Bearss Award Committee with Dr. Richard Sommers of the U.S. Army War College as chair. Dr. Sommers and his committee of distinguished scholars will review applications in 2017.

Funds raised for the award originate from donations, silent auction proceeds and raffles. The award is supported by both Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and attendees at tours held throughout the year.

Interested individuals should contact Lark Plessinger at lplessinger@chambersburg.org or call 717-264-7101 ext. 206 for more information or to receive an application.

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours is a division of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and held in partnership with historian Ted Alexander. Tours planned for 2016 include Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond in July as well as Lincoln at Gettysburg in September. Ed Bearss, Jeffry Wert, Joe Mieczkowski, John Schildt and more than 20 other speakers/guides will lead the Civil War tours.

 

Col. Keith Gibson gives our group a tour of VMI

Stonewall Jackson in the Valley

This May we traveled to Harrisonburg, Va in pursuit of the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The tour was excellent! Here’s our recap via pictures:

Group photo at Washington & Lee on our way to the Lee Chapel

Group photo at Washington & Lee on our way to the Lee Chapel

Thursday, May 19 we followed the footsteps of Lee and Jackson on a tour of Historic Lexington led by Keven Walker and Edwin Bearss. Visits included the Stonewall Jackson House, Lee Chapel, Traveler’s grave, VMI Museum and Jackson’s Grave.

Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington

Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington

 

Friday featured all day sessions at Massanetta Springs Conference Center with talks by Jerry Holsworth, Steve French, Gary Ecelbarger, John Schildt, Daniel Toomey and Jeff Wert.

Traveler grave


Saturday, May 21 we ventured on Jackson’s Valley Campaign to Camp Alleghany, Port Republic, Cross Keys, the Widow Pence Farm and Kernstown Battlefield led by Jeffry Wert and Edwin Bearss.

Port Republic

Sunday we continued our trek of Jackson’s Campaign to Front Royal, Kernstown Battlefield and Stonewall Jackson Headquarters with Jeff Wert and Ed Bearss.

Widow Pence Farm presentation.

Widow Pence Farm presentation.

Thank you to all of our participants – we had a fantastic trip! Hope to see many of you at our July “Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond” seminar or September’s “Lincoln at Gettysburg.”

 

Best wishes,

Lark Plessinger, program coordinator

Ted Alexander, co-founder & facilitator

Gettysburg Day 3 & Beyond

Front Cover2Welcome to our 2016 Chambersburg Civil War Tour with “Gettysburg Day 3 &  Beyond” – we are excited to host you! Please click here to view the brochure.

We’ll kick off the seminar with talks by Jennifer   Murray, Joe Mieczkowski and Jeff Wert on     Wednesday evening. Following that we’ll host traditional bus tours on Thursday and Saturday with leading historians.

Friday will feature all day sessions given by nine speakers and also our Annual Luhn Memorial Silent Auction will raise funds for Battlefield Preservation. Please feel free to bring donations—all proceeds go toward preservation. We’ve raised $185,000 to date.

We’ll end this fantastic conference with rarely seen sites led by Steve French as we follow the retreat of the Confederate wagon train of wounded on Sunday.

We look forward to seeing you for four to five days of education, great fellowship, delicious food, and fun. Please click here for the complete itinerary and pricing.

- Ted Alexander, Co-founder & Facilitator

- Lark Plessinger, Program Coordinator

 

ted alexander

Ted Alexander – Champion of Franklin County History

Below is an excerpt from the 2015 Franklin County Visitor’s Guide published by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Year after year, Ted Alexander spoke, wrote, and presented about the history of Franklin County. He worked for more than thirty years to educate the local community and the general public about Franklin County. Using everything in his power, he planted seeds of recognition and worked to make the public understand the importance of this place in American history.

Ted authored, edited, and contributed 10 books on the Civil War and other aspects of American history. He also authored more than 200 book reviews and articles for publications like “Civil War Times,” “Blue & Gray Magazine,” and “The Washington Times.” He is the co-founder of the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars with the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and contributed as the lead historian on the development of the Chambersburg Heritage Center.

Thank you, Ted Alexander, for you passionate drive, long hours of diligent work, and helping to educate so many about Franklin County’s history. Because of your years of contribution, Franklin County has an event  yearly commemorating the 1864 burning of Chambersburg.

Stonewall Jackson

April and May 2016 Civil War Tours

Hi Folks,

We are excited to host you all at our 2016 Civil War Seminars! We have a great and exciting year planned, and registration is now open for our April and May tours!

The Ed Bearss Symposium, based in Chambersburg, will kick-off the year focused on Military Leadership & Combat - and will include more than just Civil War tours! The event will be from April 7 to 10 and will start with a bus tour of Gettysburg Day 2: The Wheat Field and Peach Orchard led by Ed Bearss. Friday will feature all day sessions at the Hampton Inn including talks by Tom Clemens, John Fox III, Dana Shoaf, Ed Bearss, Stuart Dempsey, Christopher Kolakowski and Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters. Please click here to view the talk titles and descriptions by each speaker.

On Saturday, Ed Bearss will lead our first-ever tour to Brandywine Battlefield! This was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the American Revolution and it is there General Washington’s Continental Army faced British Redcoats of General Sir William Howe in all-day combat along Brandywine Creek. We’ll visit Kennett Square, Kennett Meeting House, Brandywine Visitor Center, Lafayette’s Headquarters and more! Sunday will then feature half-day sessions with John Miller, Steve Bockmiller, and Dennis Frye. Click here to see the complete itinerary and pricing.

The May 19-22 Seminar will be Stonewall Jackson in the Valley based in Harrisonburg, VA and hosted in partnership with Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Thursday we’ll kick things off with a tour of Lexington – In the Footsteps of Lee & Jackson – led by Keven Walker. We’ll visit VMI Museum, Lee Chapel, Jackson’s Grave and more! Learn more about this tour here.

Friday sessions will feature talks by Jeff Wert, Scott Patchan, John Schildt, Steve French, Jerry Holsworth, Daniel Carroll Toomey, and others. Then on Saturday will be a bus tour – Jackson Valley Campaign Part 1 – bus tour led by Ed Bearss and Jeffry Wert. We’ll visit McDowell Battlefield, Camp Allegheny, Cross Keys and more! Sunday will be Part 2 visiting Front Royal, Kernstown Battlefield and more. View the complete brochure with pricing here!

That’s the run-down, and we can’t wait for April and May to get here! Please check back soon for more information on the July and September Civil War tours both based in Chambersburg, Pa.

-Ted Alexander, Lark Plessinger

Civil War Tour

2015: A Year in Review

We had one of our best years yet hosting Civil War Tours following the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War!

We kicked off 2015 with our Ed Bearss Symposium in April with a bus and walking tour of Little Round Top and Devil’s Den with Ed Bearss. We heard from fantastic speakers about leadership and combat in the Civil War including Dennis Frye, Wayne Motts, Perry Jamieson, George Franks III, Dr. Richard Sommers, and others. We had a great time and a full house at the Hampton Inn in Chambersburg. To read the reviews from some of our attendees, click here.

Civil War Tours

Stop at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center.

May was dedicated to following the footsteps of those Damn Blackhats with the Iron Brigade led by Lance Herdegen. We toured Gettysburg, South Mountain and Antietam with Lance. Sessions also included talks about the Iron Brigade by Tom Clemens, Dan Welch, Joe Mieczkowski, and others. Our participants had a great time on this Civil War tour – we were glad to see so many new faces at this event!

Civil War Conference

Visiting with General Grant at Appomattox.

One of our absolute favorite seminars (it may have been logistically challenging for Lark) was our trip to Richmond to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg and Appomattox. We had a completely full house and heard from amazing speakers, had excellent guides and could not have asked for a better Civil War tour. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and Dr. Bud Robertson spoke, Dr. Richard Sommers and Ed Bearss led bus tours, and we had a fantastic week in Richmond. Thank you to everyone for coming – we couldn’t ask for better guests!

Ed Bearss, Bob Allen and the group at what's left of the Garrett Farm.

Ed Bearss, Bob Allen and the group at what’s left of the Garrett Farm.

Our final 2015 Civil War seminar was focused on Lincoln. Specifically, we focused on Mr. Lincoln’s army at Gettysburg and the John Wilkes Booth Escape Tour. Guides and speakers included Ed Bearss, Bob Allen, Dan Vermilya, Ed Steers, Wayne Motts, and others. We had the opportunity to tour Gettysburg as well as Ford’s Theatre, Surratt Tavern, view Dr. Mudd House and stand on the ground of the Garrett Farm.

Now as our 27th year of tours approaches, we are working hard to finalize the 2016 itinerary and update our branding. Specifically, we have redesigned our website to make it easier for our guests to navigate and learn more about our tours. If you’re interested in the Civil War and would like to be updated about our events, please sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. If you have specific questions, please contact Lark directly at lplessinger@chambersburg.org or call 717-264-7101.

We can’t wait for our 2016 Civil War Tours! Click here for the latest updates.

Best,

Ted Alexander, Lark Plessinger

End of the War Report

Hi all,

We had a fantastic trip to Richmond for the Civil War Tour: “End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg and Appomattox” July 22-26, 2015 with Dr. Richard Sommers, Dr. James “Bud” Robertson, Ed Bearss, Robert E. L. Krick, Jim Godburn, Ted Alexander and others.  We had more than 100 people attend including participants, speakers and guides! Thank you for coming. 

We also asked Hal Jespersen, one of our participants, if we could post a snippet of his review of the tour in Richmond for an After Action Report. Below is the beginning of his 2015 Civil War Travelogues – Chambersburg “End of the War” Seminar.

“Welcome to my 2015 travelogue pages, commemorating the fifth year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial! This report covers my trip to attend the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce seminar, “The End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg, and Appomattox.” (This is my fourth excursion with Ted Alexander and the Chambersburg gang.) To see the entire list of my 2015 trips, go here…”

For the rest of Hal Jespersen’s day by day travelogue of the seminar, please click here.

Below are photos from our seminar. See you in September! -Ted Alexander, Lark Plessinger

After Action Report

Report by Harry Smeltzer, author of Bull Runnings

Coverage of  our Weekend with Lance Herdegen & The Iron Brigade 

This past weekend I attended the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours event, On the Trail of Those Damn Black Hats: Weekend with Lance Herdegen & The Iron Brigade. I did so as the guest of friend and facilitator Ted Alexander, in return for coverage of the event on my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hopefully you are all followers and were kept up to date of all the happenings – if not, you can subscribe here. Below is a recap of the event.

Friday featured presentations at seminar HQ the Hampton Inn by Lance Herdegen (see an interview with him here) on The Iron Brigade at Gainesville; Tom Clemens (see an interview with him here) on the Black Hats’ Memories of Antietam; and Dan Welch (with the Gettysburg Foundation) on Beyond the Sobriquet: The Men of the Iron Brigade. After a break for dinner, the evening concluded with Lance and “Forward! Forward! Charge! Align on the Colors!”: The Unfinished Railroad Cut at Gettysburg.

Bright and early Saturday the 40 or so attendees boarded a bus bound for South Mountain (where we stopped on the National Road at Mt. Tabor and Bolivar Roads where Lance described the brigade’s move on Turner’s Gap.) Then it was on to Antietam, and discussions at the Visitor’s Center and the Miller Farm. Finally we arrived at Gettysburg, and after lunch at the Dobbin House Lance held court near the Reynolds Wounding marker and covered the brigade’s actions in Herbst Woods and the Railroad Cut. Of course, time in the bus was spent talking about the brigade’s actions on other parts of the field, and Lance unleashed a small portion of his vast knowledge of the men and events of the Iron Brigade as well.

I decided to stay over Saturday night for a slate of talks on Sunday morning, and I’m glad I did. Lance kicked off with a more complete history of the Iron Brigade (by the way, Lance is one of the most upbeat, happy guys I’ve ever seen on tour, and it wasn’t just this time – a hail fellow well met); fellow Save Historic Antietam Foundation board member and founder of the National Civil War Medical Museum Dr. Gordon Dammann gave a delightful presentation on Civil War Medicine Hollywood Style: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly; and Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides President Joseph Mieczkowski concluded the formal talks with a really interesting talk on Rufus Dawes & the 6th Wisconsin at Gettysburg and Beyond. Joe is apparently a “thread puller” like me and shared some fascinating tidbits.

The seminar and tour were well-organized. Raffles and auctions held Friday and Sunday raised about $500 for battlefield preservation, which will go toward purchasing available land at Antietam (see Civil War Trust info here.) And to top it off, I got to spend some time with a couple of fellows whom I had not seen in ten years, friends from prior battlefield stomps.

Next up for Civil War Seminars & Tours is The End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg, & Appomattox, July 22-26 (see brochure here.) Speakers feature Ed Bearss (see interview here) and friend and blogger Jimmy Price (see interview here), among others (like Bud Robertson, Richard Sommers, R. E. L. Krick, John Coski, Chris Calkins, the list goes on.) Sounds like a great event – register soon if you agree!

Lincoln

Hi Folks,

Lincoln PosterWe are pleased to announce the itinerary and registration for the Lincoln Seminar, Sept. 24-27, is now available online. The seminar will start with an optional bus tour of “Mr. Lincoln’s Army at Gettysburg,” talks featuring Dan Vermilya, James Getty, Ed Bearss, Wayne Motts, Ed Steers, Bob Allen, and others as well as the John Wilkes Booth Escape tour. View the complete itinerary and pricing here.

In other news, we just finished our Ed Bearss Symposium on Leadership & Combat in the Civil War. We had a great turnout with nearly 50 participants and enjoyed hearing from Ed Bearss, Dennis Frye, George Franks III, Perry Jamieson, Tom Huntington, Wayne Motts, John Michael Priest, Richard Sommers and George Wunderlich. The sessions focused on a variety of topics including a lively panel discussion about Civil War Commanders (the good, bad, and ugly). Thank you for coming out! We also raised nearly $800 that will be donated to preservation and the Ed Bearss Award. To see photos from the Ed Bearss Symposium, click here.

Space is filling up very quickly for our “End of the War: Richmond, Petersburg, and Appomattox” based in Richmond, Va. If you have not registered, please do so soon. We expect a fully-booked seminar, but will start a wait-list when necessary. Click here for the itinerary.

Our May seminar is coming up next month with Lance Herdegen focused on the Iron Brigade. There are just a few spots left, click here to register. Looking forward to seeing our members and new members at our seminars this year.

All the best,

Ted Alexander

Ed Bearss Symposium After-Action Report

Ed Bearss bellows to the group at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Ed Bearss bellows to the group at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Our Ed Bearss Symposium in April had a great turnout with nearly 50 members from all over the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for coming! Please click here to see more photos from our Ed Bearss Symposium.

We enjoyed hearing from Wayne Motts of the National Civil War Museum speak about leadership at Gettysburg as well as insights from Perry Jamieson regarding Bentonville and learning more about Falling Waters and the end of the Gettysburg Campaign.

The speakers are introduced during our Ed Bearss Symposium featuring Ted Alexander, Dennis Frye, Ed Bearss, Richard Sommers, and John Priest.

The speakers are introduced during our Ed Bearss Symposium featuring Ted Alexander, Dennis Frye, Ed Bearss, Richard Sommers, and John Priest.

Sessions at the Hampton Inn in Chambersburg also included talks by John Priest, Dr. Richard Sommers, Tom Huntington, and Dennis Frye. George Wunderlich spoke about Civil War Ballistics and the type of wound damage expected of Civil War weaponry. A lively discussion with these historians, Ed Bearss, and Ted Alexander proved insightful as they reflected on the leadership attributes of Civil War Commanders.

The view of the valley from Little Round Top.

The view of the valley from Little Round Top.

Our seminar concluded with an energetic and interesting tour of Little Round Top and Devil’s Den led by Ed Bearss. We are looking forward to visiting Gettysburg again in May as one of the stops on our tour with Lance Herdegen following the footsteps of the Iron Brigade! Please click here for more information about our 2015 Civil War Seminars & Tours.

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours hosts Civil War tours led by nationally recognized historians since 1989.