Tag Archives: Ed Bearss

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.

 

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

 

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

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

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.

Dear Editor,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I am writing this letter to you regarding the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours, an affiliate of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. I was awarded the Scott Hosier Scholarship in late July, which allowed me to attend the “Terror on the Border: Summer of 1864” weekend. As a college student with many expenses, this scholarship gave me an opportunity that may have otherwise been impossible.

I am currently a sophomore at Lycoming College, where I double major in History and American Studies. Although I cover a wide variety of topics in my studies, learning about the Civil War is my passion. I spent my summer interning at Antietam Battlefield and the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum to supplement my studies. Although these were both very enriching experiences, they cannot compare to the knowledge I acquired during my time spent at the “Terror on the Border” weekend. Touring battlefields with Civil War experts and listening to them speak on their topic at Wilson College not only provided me with new perspectives, it also gave me a new found motivation to push even harder in my studies.

As a lifelong resident of Waynesboro, the seminar was especially valuable. Learning how the area that I have grown up in was affected by the Civil War enriched how I view the heritage of our area. I believe that residents of this area would greatly benefit from the information I learned during my time at the “Terror on the Border” weekend. Personally, it helped me connect our local heritage to a larger scale.

In closing, my time spent with the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours at the “Terror on the Border” weekend stemming from the generous Scott Hosier scholarship was invaluable, and for that, I am extremely appreciative.

Thank you for your time.

Best,

Rebecca Reed

Lycoming College

After Action Report: July Seminar

by Craig Swain, Guest Blogger

Over the last couple of days, I had the pleasure of attending, as a guest, “Terror on the Border” hosted by Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours. I do hope you were able to catch some of the tweets and Facebook posts, but if not, let me offer a quick “catching up” in review.

Wilson College

Friday’s sessions held at Wilson College in Chambersburg, included eight speakers: Jeffry Wert, Richard Sommers, Steve Bockmiller, Ted Alexander, Mark Neely, Jr., Steve French, Daniel Carol Toomey, and Gail Stephens. That’s quite a lineup. The topics focused on activities in the summer months of 1864, though mostly narrowed to the events connected to Confederate General Jubal Early’s Raid that July and associated activities into August. The exception was Neely’s discussion of the Democratic Party’s 1864 presidential campaign. And I’d argue Neely’s topic fit in well alongside the others, reflecting the ultimate output from the military campaigns through those critical months of the war.

On Saturday we were afield for a tour. And not just a “get on the bus and we’ll drive around” tour. We did a lot of “stepping out” to see the sites. Ed Bearss, Ted Alexander, and Ranger Brian Dankmeyer were our guides as we traced the advance of Early’s Confederates from Hagerstown to Frederick and then on to the Monocacy battlefield. I offered up several photos on social media yesterday, so forgive me if these are redundant to those who followed along there:

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A couple of structures on the Monocacy Battlefield which we visited caught my attention. Even during the 150th tour of Monocacy a few weeks ago, we had not visited the buildings of the Thomas Farm, as we focused more so on the actions across the field. So it was a treat to step out around the buildings. A stone building, which was recently restored, was a slave quarters next to the house:

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The Thomas house itself witnessed the fighting on July 9, 1864.

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What’s more, it was the setting of a very important meeting in which General U.S. Grant laid out the operations to follow in the fall of 1864. And we are coming up on the anniversary of that event.

Let me offer up in closing and overall review of the programs, some overall thoughts on the programs. I’ve attended over the years a lot of seminars and tours. I found those offered by Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours are a lot more focused than most. None of the speakers waded the audience through excessive high level overviews. Instead, we moved directly into discussions about the events in focus. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes those broad overviews are needed, and certainly welcome. But if the speaker has a finite amount of time to cover a subject, and the audience is sharp and attentive, as is the case for these seminars, we get more bang for the buck. In addition, the seminars and tours are structured to complement each other (as the speakers are constantly referring back to material covered earlier in the programs). These are blended, somewhat seamlessly, by Ted Alexander’s commentary throughout the sessions. These are “full course” meals, not “fast food” deals. So at the end of the series, the audience leaves with a full, robust appreciation of many facets of the topic.

I highly recommend these programs. Please visit the Seminars and Tours website and consider future events on their schedule. And… keep in mind the objective of the organization with these programs – battlefield preservation. It’s a win-win across the board.

With Bearss in the Woods

Greg Bayne has kindly allowed us to publish this article he wrote about attending our 2012 seminar – “The Battles of South Mountain.” Greg is from the UK and is a member of the American Civil War Roundtable: www.acwrt.org.uk.

Enjoy! – Lark Plessinger, Program Coordinator

“We have all made that list. You know, the 100 things to do before you go up to Valhalla to talk to Massa Robert about what really happened at Gettysburg. I won’t detail my complete list out, but number 86 was recently fulfilled in an unexpected manner.

This tale also involves the “life sometimes throws up a surprise or two” trick. I had to make an unplanned trip to Virginia in October. My schedule was all over the place so I emailed all my US Contacts to say I was coming and I just might (emphasise might) be in their neck of the woods. Tom Clemens, who obviously hadn’t heard about my nocturnal snoring habit, insisted that I break my journey to Clifton Forge and stay with him and Angela and their dog Bomber. Plus if I could stay the next day, he had a very pleasant surprise for me.

That weekend the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars had organised a conference around the battles of the gaps during the Antietam campaign. A variety of speakers were on show including Ed Bearss. Ed was on the main coach and I was on the mini bus with Tom as we pulled into our first stop. It was the Schaffer House where the Union 9th Corps stopped for breakfast and lunch and I think if Franklin could have had his way, high tea as well, just below the mountain ridge. Ed skipped out of the bus and I immediately went over to say hi. “Ed,” I felt I could call him Ed, “I don’t suppose you recall the last time we met?” There was a slight twitch of his moustache as he was trying to decipher first the audacity of the approach and then the strange accent. Sensing a complete loss of face I blurted, “Oxford 2003″. An awkward moment of silence then “Ah, yes”. With a slight twinkle in his eye he was off.

Slightly crestfallen I went back to my place with the troops. The general idea of the tour was to have the whole South Mountain campaign explained by the Antietam experts, John Hoptak on most things, Joe Stahl on Fox’s Gap and Tom Clemens on Turners Gap. I say general idea because you could see Ed bubbling and bursting minute by minute until he could barely restrain himself with an impromptu running narrative. Whenever a speaker paused for breath, he was in there. We just stood and listened in awe.

We demolished the rebs on the extreme right then pursued them up to Crampton’s gap. At Crampton’s, Ed had a few moments berating some (but not all) of the previous Antietam park commissioners. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about most of time, but it was highly amusing all the same. Then his gaze focused on me. I was completely alone having wandered off to take a few photos. He marched over on an intercept course. Catching me at the War Correspondent monument (note the irony here folks) he said, “You know, I had a very good time in England with your Round Table. Very knowledgeable group, good questions, nice people. Give my regards to them.” I smiled and mumbled “Thanks”. Before I could get my next comment in, he was off, explaining the sighting of the Confederate guns at the top of the road junction to another member of the group. Wonderful, just wonderful.

After a church hall lunch of roast chicken and Burkittsville cole slaw (a very secret recipe) went up to the Old Mountain Inn at Turners gap.  We hiked across part of the Appalachian Trail to Fox’s Gap, shadowing the Confederate defence line. Most of us trod carefully, mindful of the mud, deadfall, ticks and the odd slithery thing. Not our Ed, he was off yomping at the front. Thankfully he wore a red cap so we could keep him in sight. A short way in was a modern toilet block. Ed stopped “If any of you need to use the head, this is your last chance.” Seconds later he was off. At one point I thought I heard a voice behind me whisper. “For goodness sake tell him to slow down.” At Fox’s gap he was in good form then decided to route march to an undetermined place deeper in the forest where Haye’s was wounded. Thankfully a no trespass sign plus a large fallen tree barred our way or else he may have got there on his own, such was the rate of stragglers. Undeterred we bushwhacked back to the new North Carolina monument. I am pretty certain that we left no one behind but I couldn’t be 100% sure.

Back at the Reno monument we were treated to one of Ed’s favourite games where the participants were press ganged into Union and Confederate Regiments, “You sir,” he gravelled, “are the 3rd SC, and you are the 50th. You will oblique right and then be surprised by the Union forces in the road and take more than 50% casualties in less than five minutes.” You could almost smell the smoke as Drayton’s Brigade was destroyed piece by piece. Thankfully I was left guarding the supply train.

A traipse back to Turners gap and we had Tom Clemens wrap things up with a view of the evening assault. As darkness fell both sides lay down where they were amongst the rocks and trees. No campfires were lit such was the fear of being shot at from the darkness. Lee ordered a retreat. The Confederates slipped away quietly. The Battle of South Mountain was over.

So number 86 “Go on a Civil War tour with Ed Bearss” has been ticked off. There are three more CW related items still to tick off but let’s leave those for now. Many thanks to Tom Clemens and the Antietam team for what was a brilliant and totally unexpected day. If you ever get the chance to do number 86 for yourself, please make sure you take it.”

Ed Bearss DVD is here!

Please click here to purchase the DVD set.

On this 4 disc set you will hear directly from the man who some have called our greatest living national treasure. You will hear Civil War stories and more, as Ed discusses his serious wounding int he Pacific in WWII, his work on the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, his work salvaging the U.S.S. Cairo, and his personal discussion with LBJ in the planning and acquisition of the LBJ Ranch for the National Park Service.
4 Disc Set Includes:
“Suicide Creek,” “Worse than Guadacanal:” The Wounding of Ed Bearss, January 2, 1944
How Not to Raise a Gunboat: The Salvaging and Restoration of the U.S.S. Cairo
Forrest at Brice’s Crossroads, Putting the Scare on the Yankees
Me and LBJ, Ed’s Interviews with President JohnsonEd Bearss lecture