Color Bearers at the Annual Conference

The 2024 Annual Conference

The tour schedule is tentative and subject to change.
American Battlefield Trust Event

Welcome Color Bearers!

One of the many benefits of your Color Bearer Membership is to join an exclusive tour on Thursday afternoon, as well as the Color Bearer dinner on Friday night during the annual conference. Below you will find the tours and descriptions for you to choose from. Lower on the page, you'll read about our guest speaker, Jeff Shaara

Thursday, April 25, 2024 - Tour Selections for Color Bearer Tours

161 Years of History on the Field of Pickett’s Charge 

The field of Pickett’s Charge hosted the most famous attack in American History… and “on great fields, something stays.”  Today the stories of the participants are legend, and the great field has not only stayed with soil, fences, and undulations, but a lot was added—monuments, tents, POWs, trails, tanks, railways, a swimming pool, and layers upon layer of history spanning world wars and more.  Join Trust historians Garry Adelman and Kris White for a full treatment of the famous field and that which transpired there, from private land to battleground, training ground, prison ground, (a buffet aground) to hallowed ground!  Expect stories, photos, fighting, and folklore.

Sites Included: North Carolina Memorial, Bliss Farm, Fields of Pickett's Charge, the Former Pickett's Buffet.
Walking Level: Please expect at least one mile of walking on grassy and sometimes rutted terrain. The ground may be marshy if there have been recent rains.
Guides: Garry Adelman & Kristopher D. White 

Courage & Survival: Civilians and Soldiers in Gettysburg's Crossfire—Walking Tour 

Join Sarah Kay Bierle on a walk through the streets of Gettysburg. Walk in the footsteps of civilians, soldiers, and presidents and learn about the three invasions of the town in 1863. How did the community cope with the tragic and historic events? Where did soldiers find refuge or set up look-out posts? What was it like when the streets of town became part of the battleground? 
Sites Included: Gettysburg Square, Presbyterian Church, German Reformed Church, and more. 
Walking Level: Please expect to walk for up to two miles in the town and along sidewalks.
Guide: Sarah Kay Bierle 

Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum-Behind the Scenes

Visit the "Best New Museum" in the country, as voted on by USA TODAY readers. Head behind the scenes at the Adams County Historical Society and their new museum-"Gettysburg Beyond the Battle." Join Executive Director Andrew Dalton and Director of Education Tim Smith, for a tour of the museum. You'll take part in the "Caught in the Crossfire Experience." Then you will go behind the scenes into their collections room, and you'll finish off your visit with a presentation by Andrew and Tim. 

Sites Included: Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum/Adams County Historical Society. 
Walking Level: Less than 1 mile of walking in a museum setting.
Guides: Tim Smith & Andrew Dalton 

The George Spangler Farm at Gettysburg 

Discover one of the best surviving farms used as a corps field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg—the George Spangler Farm & Field Hospital—minutes from the battlefield. Join esteemed historians Wayne Motts and Dr. Carol Reardon of the Gettysburg Foundation to hear the stories of the Spangler family, the soldiers, the surgeons and the civilians. Learn how the Spangler family went from working their 80-acre farm to facing extreme adversity as the farm was transformed into one of the largest field hospitals where more than 1,900 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers were treated. Explore the restored barn that sheltered wounded soldiers. Visit the rehabilitated summer kitchen where Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead reportedly died from wounds received during Pickett's Charge.
Sites Included: George Spangler Farm 
Walking Level: Please expect less than one mile of walking on uneven and unpaved surfaces.
Guides: Wayne Motts & Dr. Carol Reardon

Friday, April 26, 2024 - Color Bearer Dinner

6:45 – 7:15 pm     Cocktail Reception for Color Bearers
7:15 – 9:00 pm    Author Dinner with Keynote Speaker Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara
Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in criminology. Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely known coin and precious metals dealers in Florida. In 1988, Jeff's father, Michael Shaara, died, and Jeff made the decision to sell his business and take over the management of his father's estate. 

In 1993, the motion picture “Gettysburg” was released, based on his father's classic novel, The Killer Angels. After the critical and commercial success of the film, Jeff was approached about continuing the story and finding someone to write a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. Jeff had no previous experience as a writer. 

In 1996, Ballantine Books published Jeff's first novel, Gods and Generals, the prequel to his father's great work. Gods and Generals leaped onto the New York Times Bestseller List and remained there for fifteen weeks. Critics nationwide praised the book and Jeff's writing ability, and the book was awarded the American Library Association's prestigious "Boyd Award." No one was more surprised than Jeff himself. In 1998, the sequel, The Last Full Measure, was published, with the same result: thirteen weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List and universal praise from critics and fans nationwide. Since then, Jeff has penned books about the Revolutionary War, Mexican-American War, the World Wars, Korean War, and Teddy Roosevelt. 

Besides his books, Jeff has penned articles for three Time Entertainment, Inc. "coffee table books" on the Civil War. He has written introductions for the re-publication of two notable novels, Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee" and MacKinlay Kantor's "Long Remember." He was also a major contributor in the National Endowment for the Arts program "Operation Homecoming," where he led writing workshops for military personnel. 

From 2007 through 2014, Jeff served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Battlefields Trust (formerly the Civil War Trust), the nation's most established and successful protector of Civil War battlefield lands. He currently serves on their "Alumni Board". After many years in Florida, New York City, and the mountains of Montana, Jeff and his wife Stephanie now live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.