2003 Seminars and Field Trips
(All 2003 Seminars have already taken place)

Port Royal Sound     South Atlantic Symposium     Wilderness     Chancellorsville     Manassas
     Seven Days    Gettysburg     East Tennessee     Kernstown - Cancelled
     Sabers & Saddles     Corinth     Shiloh     Andover     Charleston     Chickamauga

Port Royal Sound - 
A boat and land tour
Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
March 26

The capture of Port Royal Sound on November 7, 1861 provide the Union a key strategic point on the Atlantic seaboard. We leave from Hilton Head Island with historian Stephen Wise as he integrates the largest amphibious operation in U. S. history until WWII. 

Join the engaging and provocative Richard McMurry as he crafts an open forum of exciting and novel topics in an unsurpassed learning environment. Lectures and and panel discussions with authors and historians Bud Robertson, Brian Steel Wills, Craig Symonds, Joe Glatthart, Jackie Campbell, Stephen Wise, Alan Downs, Cathy Barton, Dave Para, Gail Stephens, and Gloria Swift.

South Atlantic Civil War Symposium - 
with historian author Richard McMurry

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
March 27-29

Battles of the Wilderness
A Military Staff Ride

Culpepper, Virginia
April 10 - 12

BGES continues its series of military staff rides with the popular Greg Mertz on the fields where he succeeded the legendary Bob Krick as chief historian. This program will examine the critical components of Grant's first efforts against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It foretold a field of bloody and sometimes ghoulish conflict. We will introduce historian Melissa Delcour, a teacher and director of a youth Civil War summer camp.

Chancellorsville was Lee's greatest victory, but it was also the event that made the Confederacy cry.

Join Ed Bearss as he continues his critical look at the nineteen essential sites of the Civil War. These programs are noteworthy for finding nuggets of information which make the programs memorable.

Ed Bearss' Essential Civil War Stop 8

Fredericksburg, Virginia
May 4 - 7

   BGES Membership
Appreciation Day

Manassas, Virginia
May 10

Join BGES Board Director and Interpretive Park Ranger Becky Cumins on a one day walking tour of First  Manassas.  Becky has a well-earned reputation for her enthusiasm and knowledge of the Manassas battle ground.  The program is designed to reacquaint members and guests with BGES. Lunch will be provided.

Tours of the Seven Days' Campaigns are often overwhelmed by the breadth of the fields to the detriment of the the essentials to understanding why the battles unfolded as they did. University of Richmond professor, Lynn Sims, starts the study of the battles at Mechanicsville.  Over the next two days you will walk the places that you have only glanced at or have never seen.

The Seven Days' Battles - a description by
J. William Jones - 1881

The Seven Days' Battle:
Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill

A Military Staff Ride
Richmond, Virginia
June 5 - 7


Ed Bearss' Essential Civil War Stop #9

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 1-4

No battle site has greater name recognition in the Civil War than Gettysburg. On its well-trod fields are the stuff of legends, heroes, and villains. What could be better than touring and discussing this unique event on the ground where it occurred exactly 140 years ago? Ed Bearss and  Brooks Simpson will craft a memorable walk through three days tasking themselves to show the hidden as well as the obvious.  It is a tall order that they will faithfully fulfill.


Over the past 10 years BGES has systematically trekked over the countryside and across over 100 battlefields and yet in few instances have we gotten the true sense of the war.  This is because the battles follow the armies rather than the people.  While there are a number of instances of internecine war and unspeakable atrocities there are few regions that you can visit where the society was polarized to the extent that national governments made them a part of their strategy.  East Tennessee is one such place.


Blue in Gray
Warring in East Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia

Knoxville, Tennessee
July 23 - 26


Second Battle of Kernstown
Cool Springs

Kernstown, Virginia


It seems so serene today, a lazy southern town next to the bypassed Mississippi River.  People casually go about their affairs with a air of indifference and southern gentility.  The old homes host visitors for an elegant evening and breakfast the next day and yet the stories...

The Vicksburg Campaign was arguably the most important in the American Civil War.  An undertaking of such importance that Lincoln called it the "Key."  Once the Mississippi River--the "Father of all waters" ran again "unvexed to the sea" the final outcome was a matter of time--learn how Grant did it in this program.


Ed Bearss' Essential Civil War Stop #10

Vicksburg, Mississippi
September 8 - 11

Sabers and Saddles
Nathan Bedford Forrest in Mississippi

Corinth, Mississippi
September 18 - 20

Of the many intriguing and noteworthy personalities produced by the Civil War perhaps none is more interesting and controversial than Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Historian Ed Bearss found his interest sparked as a youngster in Montana by the legend of Forrest. Shelby Foote spoke frequently and admiringly of him in Ken Burns’ The Civil War series. From the key cross­roads of Corinth we can examine the range of activities that make Forrest a case study in leadership and an icon of American manhood – good and bad.

Looking for something different on a battlefield?  Here is one you don't see every day of the week.  While Lee was at Antietam and Bragg was in Kentucky, Van Dorn was bearing down on Corinth.

The Battles of Iuka, Corinth and Davis Bridge

Corinth, Mississippi

The Battle of Shiloh &
The Siege of Corinth

Corinth, Mississippi

   I have been to over 100 battlefields in the past 10 years, but none seem to capture the essence of the war like Shiloh and Corinth.  This time capsule has been meticulously preserved and presented to give you a genuine trans-century experience.  There are many historically significant sites in and around the community.  The stories are interesting and important.  Here the world was introduced to war on a scale never before imagined.  Once you have seen the homes and walked the fields you will begin to appreciate the magnitude of America’s Civil War - it is personal and you will yearn for more.

Traditionally the study of the Civil War focuses on the “Lost Cause” and other issues of constitutionality as seen through the eyes of the South.  This is not wrong; but, it is a skewed approach.  There were more people interested in preserving the Union than in breaking it up.  There were also issues other than “states rights” or the “preservation of slavery.”  As this symposium proceeds, in this and subsequent years, many fundamental issues will be examined.  A number of them have applicability even today.  In the final analysis, The North in the Civil War, will uncover true issues such as racism in the 19th century, the development of the American culture and modern American government.  It has been and will continue to be an enlightening dialogue.  

The North in The Civil  War

The Second Annual
Civil War Symposium of the 
Massachusetts School of Law in Andover

Andover, Massachusetts
October 11 - 12

Siege of Charleston
James and Morris Islands

A Military Staff Ride

Charleston, South Carolina
October 23 - 25

Outside of Richmond, Charleston was the symbol of the rebellion and a target for military attack and capture. Yet in 4 years of war the city held on.

This program will examine the major Union efforts to capture Charleston. It will be singular for the sites we will walk--Morris Island, Battery Wagner (54th Massachusetts), The Marsh Battery (Swamp Angel), Castle Pickney, James Island, Secessionville, Sol Legare Island and others. In addition using the Staff Ride format you will learn the "Why" of this unique and interesting military operation.

Chattanooga was the gateway to the South. For two years the Union army sought a way to uncover and capture it. Then in the spring of 1863 a daring and bloodless Tullahoma campaign opened the road to Atlanta and uncovered the city.  Unfortunately the arrogance of the movement exposed the Union army in the west to its only major defeat in the war at Chickamauga. Two months later a misjudgment by Braxton Bragg resulted in a complete disaster for Confederate arms. You will see it all--the Alpha and the Omega.


Ed Bearss' Essential Civil War Stop #11

Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
November 3 - 6