Speaker & Historian Biographies

Annual Conference

Learn about history from some of the nation’s elite historians
American Battlefield Trust Event
May 18 - 21, 2023

Franklin, TN

Historian and Speaker Biographies 

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.

Matt Atkinson

Matt is a park ranger/historian at Gettysburg National Military Park. A native of Houston, Mississippi, He received a B.B.A in General Business and a B.A. in History from the University of Mississippi and holds an M.A. in History from University of Louisiana-Monroe. Prior to arriving at Gettysburg, Matt worked at Petersburg National Battlefield, Natchez National Historical Park, Manassas National Battlefield, and Vicksburg 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 volunteers as managing editor at 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.


Dr. Andrew Bledsoe, Ph.D

Dr. Andrew S. Bledsoe, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of History at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. He received his Ph.D. in History from Rice University in 2012, and he is a historian of the American Civil War and American military history. In addition to many other chapters, articles, and essays, he is the author of Citizen-Officers: The Union and Confederate Junior Officer Corps in the American Civil War (LSU, 2015) and co-editor of Upon the Fields of Battle: Essays on the Military History of America’s Civil War (LSU, 2018). His most recent book, Decisions at Franklin: The Nineteen Critical Decisions that Defined the Battle, will be published in May 2023. In addition to teaching courses on the Civil War, he leads a college seminar at the Chickamauga National Military Park. He is a frequent contributor to history groups and round tables and has been a fellow at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, the United States Army Heritage and Education Center, the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, and the Virginia Historical Society.” 


Daniel T. 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.

A. Wilson Greene 

A. Wilson Greene "Will" recently retired from a forty-four-year career as a battlefield preservationist, National Park Service historian, and museum director.  He served as a historian and manager at five national historic sites and is the former president and CEO of one of the Trust’s predecessor organizations, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, and led the development and operation of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier for 23 years.  Mr. Greene, a Chicago native, did his graduate work at Louisiana State University under the renowned Civil War historian, T. Harry Williams.  Greene is the author of six books and more than 25 published articles on the American Civil War and Southern history.  His latest book, A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg won the Distinguished Book Award for American Military History in 2019.


Robert Hulette

Mr. Hulette is a native of Franklin, TN, and has held a Commission in the Medical Service Corps,  U.S. Army Reserve for the past 16 years. He is a graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy and has degrees in both Biological Science and Environmental Policy from the University of Tulsa and attend graduate schools in Public Health and Epidemiology at the George Washington University, and completed his Master of Business Administration from Columbia Southern University. He is Board-certified in Biological Safety Microbiology, is a Registered Sanitarian, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management, as well as being a FEMA-Certified Continuity of Operations Planner and Advanced EMT. He completed the ISDA/Johns Hopkins Infection Control Fellowship and was a Volunteer Research Fellow in Microbial Ecology at the NIH. As a civilian Mr Hulette has worked in corporate, government, and consulting contexts, primarily in healthcare and R&D. He holds academic appointments at Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College and has published numerous academic articles.

Eric Jacobson 

Eric A. Jacobson has been studying the American Civil War for some 25 years. He is the author of For Cause & For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin, a project which encompassed nearly 10 years. The book was published in March 2006 and is considered by some to be one of the most important books ever written about the 1864 Tennessee Campaign. 

Eric’s second book, The McGavock Confederate Cemetery, was published in April 2007. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Historian for the Battle of Franklin Trust, which manages the Carter House, Carnton, and Rippa Villa. His third book, entitled Baptism of Fire, which details the roles of three Federal regiments at the Battle of Franklin, was released in September 2011. He is currently working on his fourth book. 

Eric lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife, Nancy, and their two daughters.


James D. Kay, Jr.

Jim Kay is a native Nashvillian and graduate of Auburn University and Washington and Lee law school. He is a well-known mediator and arbitrator across Tennessee. He is the founder of the Nashville law firm Kay Griffin PLLC, and he practiced law for 38 years.  He has lived most of his life on the Nashville battlefield and is one of the leading national experts on the battle. He has served on the board of Directors of the Battle of Nashville Trust, Inc. for over 20 years as is a past four term president. Mr. Kay authored the forwards to The Cavalries in the Nashville Campaign by Dennis W. Belcher 2020 and Mud, Blood and Cold Steel: The Retreat from Nashville by Mark Zimmerman 2020. He was a contributor to the masterpiece of James Lee McDonough titled The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble in 2004. Mr. Kay is one of the leading battlefield preservationists in Nashville and is also one of the largest private collectors of Nashville battlefield relics that he has personally found since his childhood.  

James Lewis 

Jim Lewis has been a Park Ranger with the National Park Service since 1991. He became the Chief of Interpretation & Cultural Resource Management at Stones River National Battlefield in 2016. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and raised in New Jersey, Jim is a graduate of Cornell University (BA in History) and has been a student of Civil War history since his late teens. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife Beth and son James. He serves on the advisory board of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association. He is also a founding member of the Middle Tennessee Civil War Round Table and a reenactor in Company B of the Ninth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, U.S.

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.


Steve McDaniel

Steve McDaniel, served as the deputy speaker of Tennessee's House of Representatives, and credits the beginning of his intense interest in the American Civil War to, at the age of seven, his discovery of a cap and ball pistol near the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield. Over the years, his interest has grown beyond the preservation of his home battlefield at Parkers Crossroads. He has worked with other historic preservationists to save hallowed grounds across the state of Tennessee. As a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, he promoted historic preservation among his legislative colleagues, as well as the Executive Branch. Rep. McDaniel was the House sponsor of legislation creating the Tennessee Wars Commission. He served on the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association’s advisory board, and he serves on the Tennessee State Museum Commission. He also served on the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. In addition, Steve is the historian of the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Association and is the recipient of numerous preservation awards. 


Joseph Ricci 

Joseph Ricci is a Civil War historian and historical interpreter for the Battle of Franklin Trust. Joseph holds a Master’s Degree in History from Southeastern Louisiana University. He has appeared in several BOFT Films productions and is also the producer and host of The Dispatch: The Official Podcast of the Battle of Franklin Trust and Home Brew History Podcast.  


Greg Wade

Gregory L Wade is a historian and author from Franklin, Tennessee. He has served on several preservation related boards including Franklin's Charge, the Battle of Franklin Trust, and the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association. As a writer, he has authored hundreds of articles for publications such as Blue and Gray, Sea Classics, Emerging Civil War, and various related newspapers. In 2014 he released Broken Valley, a fact-based novel on the chaos behind the lines in East Tennessee. As a long-time living historian, Wade has participated in various reenactments in several states and played specific roles in several Civil War related actor events. In 2007 he founded the Franklin Civil War Round Table, considered one of the most successful in the nation which has hosted hundreds of nationally known educators, authors and historians. He has spoken to approximately fifty groups including the Civil War Trust meetings in 2014 and 2016, He and his wife Beth, reside in Franklin. 


Lee White 

William Lee White is a park ranger at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, where he gives tours and other programs at the Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain Battlefields. He is the author of Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, part of the Emerging Civil War Series, as well as several articles and essays on topics related to the Western Theater. He also edited Great Things Are Expected of Us: The Letters of Colonel C. Irvine Walker, 10th South Carolina Infantry CSA. Over the years, he has spoken to many roundtables, historical societies, and other history-minded groups.