Presenters, Guides & Historians Biographies

The 2024 Annual Conference

Speaker lineup and schedule are subject to change.
American Battlefield Trust Event

Garry Adelman

A graduate of Michigan State University and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Garry Adelman is the award-winning author, co-author or editor of 20 books and 50 Civil War articles. He is the vice president of the Center for Civil War Photography and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg for 25 years. He has conceived and drafted the text for wayside exhibits at ten battlefields, has given thousands of battlefield tours at more than 60 sites and has lectured at hundreds of locations across the country including the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. He has appeared as a speaker on the BBC, C-Span, Pennsylvania Cable Network, American Heroes Channel, and on HISTORY where he was a chief consultant and talking head on the Emmy Award-winning show Gettysburg (2011) and Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color (2015). He works full-time as Chief Historian at the American Battlefield Trust.

Chris Army

Chris Army is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. Since 2015, Chris has led tours around the Gettysburg Battlefield for groups of all demographics from private car tours to leadership tours for companies, school systems, universities and West Point Cadets. In 2005, Chris wrote an article for Blue & Gray Magazine about the North Carolinian Brigade of Alfred M. Scales and is currently working on several Gettysburg related projects. Chris and his family live in Dover, Pennsylvania. He is a Past President and Board Member of the Adams County Historical Society. Chris is also the co-founder of Culpeper Battlefield Tours and is involved in conducting ACW and Leadership tours at Brandy Station and Culpeper VA.

Matt Atkinson

Matt is a native of Houston, Mississippi. He received a B.B.A in General Business and a B.A. in History from Univ. of Mississippi and is a MA in History from Louisiana-Monroe. Matt has worked at Petersburg National Battlefield, Natchez National Historical Park, Manassas National Battlefield, and Vicksburg National Military Park. He is currently employed as a ranger/historian at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Sarah Kay Bierle

Sarah Kay Bierle graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a BA in History, works in the Education Department at American Battlefield Trust, and occasionally writes for Emerging Civil War. She has spent years exploring ways to share quality historical research in ways that will inform and inspire modern audiences, including school presentations, writing, and speaking engagements. Sarah has published three historical fiction books and her first nonfiction book, Call Out The Cadets: The Battle of New Market, is part of the Emerging Civil War Series.

Andrew Dalton

Andrew Dalton is Executive Director of the Adams County Historical Society and Beyond the Battle Museum. A 2019 graduate of Gettysburg College, he has received project funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is the author of a book, Beyond the Run: The Emanuel Harmon Farm at Gettysburg (2013), as well as numerous journal articles. His work as a historian and nonprofit executive has been featured in The Washington Post, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Harrisburg Patriot, and Hallowed Ground Magazine, among other publications. He is a frequent contributor and guest at the American Battlefield Trust, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Gettysburg College. From 2020-2023, Andrew spearheaded successful planning and fundraising efforts for the historical society's $12 million debt-free capital campaign to build its new history center and museum in Gettysburg.

Daniel Davis

Dan Davis, Senior Education Manager at the American Battlefield Trust. He is a native of Fredericksburg, VA where his love for the Civil War began on childhood trips to local battlefields. Dan is a graduate of Longwood University with a bachelor’s degree in Public History. Dan has worked as a Ranger/Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Site and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on the Civil War.

Stuart Dempsey 

Stuart has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2004, and is a leading expert on the 11th Corps at Gettysburg. Stuart had two relatives in the 11th Corps (73rd Ohio Infantry Regiment) and both were killed/mortally wounded at Gettysburg. They are both buried in the National Cemetery. Stuart is a popular lecturer on military history at conferences, colleges, and round tables. He speaks on a variety of topics ranging from the American Revolution to the Second World War in Europe. Stuart has been interviewed on several news broadcasts, and hosted a 46-part online video series on the Gettysburg Daily website.

Col. Doug Douds, USMC, Retired

Doug Douds, Col USMC Ret., is a former Marine aviator and is currently a professor at the U.S. Army War College teaching the Advanced Strategic Art Program (ASAP). ASAP educates and develops competitively selected national security professional’s technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skill. Professor Douds is also a licensed battlefield guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park where he shares the battle of Gettysburg’s story.

Codie Eash

Codie Eash serves as Director of Education and Museum Operations at Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center in Gettysburg, and is a 2014 graduate of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication/journalism and held a minor in history. In addition to museum tours and interpretation, he lectures for American Battlefield Trust conferences, National Park Service sites, historical societies, Civil War roundtables, educational groups, and other organizations. Codie is a founding contributor to the collaborative project Pennsylvania in the Civil War, writes book reviews for Civil War Monitor, and is a member of the Gettysburg Magazine editorial board.

Dr. Charles C. Fennell, Jr.

Dr. Charles C. Fennell, Jr (Charlie) is a native of western Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from West Virginia University in 1992. His dissertation was entitled "The Attack and Defense of Culp's Hill." Charlie has spent most of the last few years teaching History and Geography at West Virginia University and Harrisburg Area Community College Gettysburg Campus. Charlie began his guiding career at Gettysburg in 1986 and remains active doing between 300-400 tours a year including tours of almost every major Civil War battlefield east of the Mississippi. He is a frequent speaker at Civil War roundtables and is a published author and currently lives with his wife of 44 years Joleen in Hanover, Pennsylvania. We have a battlefield there too but nobody cares.

Phillip S. Greenwalt 

Phill Greenwalt, full-time contributor to Emerging Civil War and co-founder of the Emerging Revolutionary War blog. Currently, he is a Supervisory National Park Ranger of the Catoctin Mountain Park. Prior to his current position, Phill spent seven years a historian with the National Park Service at George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Thomas Stone National Historic Site. Phill also served as a Supervisory National Park Ranger of the Shark Valley District of Interpretation and Visitor Services of Everglades National Park. He started with the National Park Service as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He has also had the honor to be on official details for the Sesquicentennial of the surrender at Appomattox Court House and the Bicentennial of the Battle of Fort McHenry and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. 

He is also the co-author of Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, and Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville (all three with Daniel Davis). He is the co-author of A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Beginning of the American Revolution April 19, 1775, and author of The Winter that Won the War: The Winter Encampment at Valley Forge, 1777–1778. 

Phill graduated from George Mason University with an M.A. in American History and also has a B.A. in history from Wheeling Jesuit University. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.

William “Billy” Griffith

William "Billy" Griffith currently serves as Leadership Program Coordinator for the Gettysburg Foundation, as a Revolution Fellow for the American Battlefield Trust, author/historian for Emerging Revolutionary War, and leads tours as a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide. He received his BA in History from Shepherd University in 2014, and MA in Military History from Norwich University in 2018. While completing his undergraduate studies at Shepherd, he spent his time as a volunteer with the Gettysburg Foundation and the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, and also worked as an intern and substitute librarian at the David Library of the American Revolution. He has previously worked as a historical interpreter with both Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool, Maryland, and with the Prince William County (Virginia) Office of Historic Preservation. William’s first book, The Battle of Lake George: England’s First Triumph in the French and Indian War, was released by The History Press in 2016. He is also the author of A Handsome Flogging: The Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778, which was released in 2020 as part of Savas Beatie’s Emerging Revolutionary War Series.

James “Jim” Hessler

James "Jim" Hessler has worked as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park for two decades. Jim has authored or co-authored three full-length books on the Gettysburg campaign: Sickles at Gettysburg (2009), Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg (2015), and Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard (2019). His books received several distinguished book awards.

Jim currently co-hosts the popular Battle of Gettysburg Podcast. His other media appearances include Travel Channel, C-SPAN, NPR, PCN-TV, and other outlets. He also authored articles in Gettysburg Magazine, America’s Civil War, and Hallowed Ground Magazine. He was one of the primary content designers for the American Battlefield Trust’s mobile Gettysburg application.

Jim is a frequent speaker for Civil War Round Tables and other historical groups nationwide. In addition to Gettysburg, he leads tours at several other battlefields and historic sites across the country. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Little Bighorn Associates and formerly on the Executive Council for the Association of Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides.

Eric Linblade

Eric Lindblade was born and raised in North Carolina and began his study of the Civil War after a trip to Gettysburg at the age of six and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2016. He attended East Carolina University and is the author of "Fight As Long As Possible: The Battle of Newport Barracks” and is currently finishing up work on a history of the 26th North Carolina and the Gettysburg Campaign. Eric is a frequent speaker on topics about Gettysburg and his research specialty, North Carolina and the Civil War. He also co-hosts of the popular The Battle of Gettysburg Podcast.

Dr. Chris Mackowski 

Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War. He is the series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie, and the “Engaging the Civil War” Series, published in partnership with Southern Illinois University Press. Chris is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, and historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. He has also worked as a historian for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, where he gives tours at four major Civil War battlefields (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania), as well as at the building where Stonewall Jackson died. Chris has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War, and his articles have appeared in all the major Civil War magazines. Chris serves on the national advisory board for the Civil War Chaplains Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia. Chris owes all of his success in the Civil War field to his best friend, mentor, boss, and co-author Kristopher White.

Peter “Pete” Miele

Peter "Pete" Miele was born and raised in northern New Jersey, Miele received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2011.  In 2013, he relocated to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and earned his Master of Arts in Applied History from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2014.  In fall 2021, he began coursework towards a Ph.D. in American Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.

Miele began his career as an educator in the Northern Valley School District in Old Tappan and Demarest, New Jersey, teaching American History, World History, and American Studies. He later moved into the field of public history, starting as a Visitor Services Assistant at Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center in 2013.  Since then, he has served as Visitor Services Coordinator, Director of Education and Museum Operations and, most recently, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Education. 

In addition to museum work, Miele is actively engaged in the community.  He is Vice President of the Civil War Roundtable of Gettysburg and Treasurer of Main Street Gettysburg.  In 2016 and 2018, he served as an Adjunct Instructor for Shippensburg University’s History/Philosophy Department. 

A frequent lecturer, Miele has presented at national conferences of the Society of Civil War Historians, the American Association of State and Local History, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Battlefield Trust.  His essay, “Men, Morality, and Misbehavior:  A Social Study of the World War I Camps at Gettysburg and the Town that Surrounded Them, 1917-1918” was included in Duty Calls at Home:  Central Pennsylvania Responds to the Great War (Shippensburg University Center for Applied History, 2014).  He is currently working on a research project which situates the Gettysburg Campaign in the context of a humanitarian crisis.

Wayne Motts

Born and raised in central Ohio, Wayne graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in military history in 1989. Moving to Gettysburg in 1990, Wayne earned a Masters Degree in American History from the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 1994. He was one of the youngest people ever to complete the licensing process to be a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has guided parties around the famous field for 33 years. He has spoken to a wide range of historical bodies and groups on topics related to the American Civil War including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. 

In addition to his speaking engagements, Wayne has published several pieces related to the American Civil War in a variety of publications. He is considered the leading authority in the nation on Southern General Lewis Addison Armistead of Pickett’s Charge fame and has published the only biography of the general entitled, Trust in God and Fear Nothing: Lewis A. Armistead, CSA. 

For ten years he was the research historian for renowned Civil War Artist Dale Gallon of Gettysburg where he assisted in the historical research of 40 works of fine art. He was the Senior Research Historian for TravelBrains Corporation and in this capacity researched material to be included in a number of audio visual products related to the American Civil War. The products produced by his research have been endorsed by the History Channel and have won numerous awards. He was the curator at the Cumberland County Historical Society. In 2004, he assumed duties as the collections manager of the Adams County Historical Society in Gettysburg. In 2005, Wayne was named executive director of the Society. He led this organization from January 2005 until April 2012 and assisted the Society and Lutheran Theological Seminary it the rehabilitation of Schmucker Hall. In April 2012, he accepted the position of chief executive officer of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Wayne also served as President and CEO of the Gettysburg Foundation and is currently President Emeritus & Historian of the Gettysburg Foundation.

Dr. Carol Reardon

Dr. Reardon is an American military historian with especially strong interests in the Civil War and Vietnam eras. She is the author of numerous publications, including the award-winning book Pickett's Charge in History and Memory. A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Reardon regularly addresses public historical interest groups. Her talks have been broadcast on C-SPAN and she has provided commentary for several documentaries about the Civil War and the Military Academy at West Point. A fan favorite on the American Battlefield Trust YouTube channel, she currently teaches at Gettysburg College and is a board member of the Gettysburg Foundation.

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.

Ralph Siegel

Ralph Siegel has been a part-time Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2004 with a special concentration on July 2nd actions and artillery. He is co-author with LBG Mike Vallone of “Peach Orchard: A Gettysburg Battlefield Guided Tour.” He wrote about the Peach Orchard in the October 2022 edition of “Hallowed Ground” magazine. 

Siegel relocated to Gettysburg in 2023 after two decades as executive director of the Garden State Preservation Trust, New Jersey’s conservation finance agency. During his tenure, the GSPT funded $3 billion in appropriations for land conservation, battlefield acquisition and the preservation of farmland and historic sites. Prior to that he spent 25 years in newspapers including 10 years at The Associated Press.

Timothy “Tim” H. Smith 

Timothy H. Smith has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park for over 25 years and is Director of Education at the Adams County Historical Society. He has been involved with ACHS since the late 1980s when he began volunteering as a research assistant. Smith is the author of ten books and numerous articles about the Civil War, the Gettysburg Campaign, and a host of other local history topics. He is a historical consultant for the American Battlefield Trust and a frequent lecturer at Civil War Round Tables and Seminars, and appears regularly on the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s Battle Walks Series. Tim is recognized as one of the leading experts on the Battle of Gettysburg and all aspects of Adams County history. Around the American Battlefield Trust’s office, Tim is known as “Tim Smith of the East.”

Jessie Wheedleton 

Jessie Wheedleton is native to nearby York, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and former watch officer for Sea Education Association, she returned home from her life teaching seamanship to teach the lessons of the Civil War. Jessie has worked full-time as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg since 2018.

Kristopher D. White 

Kris is the deputy director of education at the American Battlefield Trust. White is a graduate of Norwich University with an M.A. in Military History and California University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History. He served as a ranger-historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He has also served the Penn-Trafford Recreation Board as a historian, and as a continuing education instructor for the Community College of Allegheny County. White is the co-founder and chief historian emeritus of Emerging Civil War and co-creator of the Emerging Civil War Series. An award-winning speaker and editor, White has authored, co-authored, or edited some two dozen books, including four covering the Battle of Gettysburg. Kris frequently leads tours and staff rides in the United States and Europe.