Guides & Historians | American Battlefield Trust
Annual Conference 2019 Lexington Hero
Christopher A. Kierkus

Guides & Historians

Annual Conference: May 29–June 2, 2019

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Schedule and speaker lineup is subject to change

Speakers & Historians 

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 30 articles on the Civil War. He is the vice president of the Center for Civil War Photography and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg for 20 years. He has appeared on numerous productions shown on the BBC, C-Span, Pennsylvania Cable Network and on HISTORY, where, most recently, he was the chief consultant for “Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color.” Since 2010, he has been the director of history and education at the American Battlefield Trust, leading efforts to provide high-quality educational materials for classroom use and develop groundbreaking techniques for on-site and digital battlefield interpretation.


Kent Masterson Brown 

Kent Masterson Brown was born in Lexington, Kentucky on February 5, 1949. He is a 1971 graduate – and in 2014 named a distinguished graduate – of Centre College and received his juris doctor degree in 1974 from Washington and Lee University School of Law. He was the creator and first editor of the national magazine, “The Civil War,” and is author of six books, including Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander, and Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign. Kent’s books have been selections of the History Book Club and Military Book Club. His books have received rave reviews and numerous national awards. He is currently writing George Gordon Meade and the Gettysburg Campaign, which will go to press in the summer of 2020.

Kent has also written, hosted, and produced eight award-winning documentary films for public and cable television, including: Bourbon and Kentucky: A History DistilledHenry Clay and the Struggle for the UnionUnsung Hero: The Horse in the Civil WarDaniel Boone and the Opening of the American West, and “I Remember The Old Home Very Well:” The Lincolns in Kentucky. All Kent’s films have been widely broadcast throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas. Two of his films, Daniel Boone and The Lincolns in Kentucky, won the regional television ratings when they were premiered on Kentucky Educational Television. All have won Telly Awards; Unsung Hero was nominated for an Emmy Award.

A nationally-known speaker, Kent was the first chairman of the Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission and the first chairman of the Perryville (Kentucky) Battlefield Commission. He is now a member of the Kentucky Film Commission. He was a director of the Gettysburg Foundation. Kent lives in Lexington with his wife, Genevieve, and their three children, Annie Louise, Philip, and Thomas.


Dan Davis

Dan Davis is a native of Fredericksburg, VA where his love for the Civil War began on childhood trips to local battlefields. He 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 and is a regular contributor to Emerging Civil War. He currently resides in Fredericksburg.


A. Wilson "Will" Greene 

Recently retired as executive director of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier following a 17-year tenure, Will Greene is also the former president and CEO of one of the Trust's predecessor organizations, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS). He served 16 years with the National Park Service at a variety of historic sites and holds degrees in history from Florida State University and Louisiana State University. Greene is a frequent lecturer and study leader for the Smithsonian Institution and the Blue and Gray Education Society, and he has spoken to more than 100 Civil War round tables and provided more than 50 tours to special-interest history groups. He has completed more than 30 Civil War and Southern historical publications and is currently under contract with the University of North Carolina Press to write a three-volume history of the Petersburg Campaign. The first volume of the trilogy,  A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg: Volume 1: From the Crossing of the James to the Crater, was released in June of 2018.


Christopher L. Kolakowski 

Christopher L. Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. He received his BA in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his MA in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany.

Chris has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kentucky State Parks, and the U.S. Army. He has written and spoken on various aspects of military history and leadership from 1775 to the present. He has published two books with the History Press: The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass and The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat. Chris is a contributor to the Emerging Civil War Blog, and his study of the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign titled Last Stand on Bataan was released by McFarland in late February 2016. In September 2016 the U.S. Army published his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War.

Chris lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is Director of the MacArthur Memorial.


Richard McMurray 

Dr. Richard McMurry is a respected historian, humorist, author and lecturer in Civil War circles. Richard is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, a graduate of Virginia Military Academy, and received a Ph.D. in history from Emory University under Bell Wiley. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the Civil War, including Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History; John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence; The Fourth Battle of Winchester: Toward a New Civil War Paradigm; and Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy


Lawrence K. "Larry" Peterson 

Lawrence K. "Larry" Peterson graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a B.S. and obtained an M.B.A. from the University of Alaska. After brief careers as a National Park Service ranger and as a United States Air Force communications officer, he entered aviation. After serving in many organizations as a pilot, chief pilot and chief flight instructor, he was hired by United Airlines and retired as a Boeing 757/767 Standards Captain.

A student of the Civil War since grade school, he utilized this interest to research, over some 18 years, his great-great-grandfather’s role in the war, culminating in the publishing of his biography Confederate Combat Commander, The Remarkable Life of Brigadier General Alfred Jefferson Vaughan Jr., by the University of Tennessee Press in October, 2013. He is president of the Rocky Mountain Civil War Round Table in Denver, Colorado. Along with his good friend and noted Civil War author Matt Spruill, he is collaborating on a series of books, Command Decisions in America’s Civil War, describing critical decisions of the various campaigns and battles of that war, including his books on the critical decisions for the Battle for Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, and the Kentucky Campaign of 1862, due to be published in 2018 and 2019.  He is also a book reviewer for Civil War News.

He and his wife Kathleen are long-time residents of Evergreen, Colorado, and both are proud long term Color Bearers of the American Battlefield Trust, befitting General Vaughan. 


Stuart Sanders 

Stuart W. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and is the former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, the organization charged with preserving and interpreting Kentucky's largest Civil War battleground. He currently works for the Kentucky Historical Society, where he oversaw community field services and now serves as their History Advocate.  Stuart brings his experience as a preservationist, interpreter, outreach specialist, author of three books and speaker to his current duties, communicating the relevance, value, and significance of Kentucky’s history.  Stuart served on both the Kentucky War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and the Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He has written a wide range of Civil War articles for a variety of publications. 


Phillip Seyfrit 

A lifelong Madison County, Kentucky, resident, Phillip Seyfrit is a graduate of Model Laboratory School, Eastern Kentucky University and the Mid- America College of Funeral Service.  After a twenty year career in the funeral industry, in late 2007 Phillip changed direction and accepted the position of curator for the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center and its related sites.  Phil’s active in Richmond’s First Presbyterian Church, the Richmond Masonic bodies, and many national, state and local Civil War preservation and history groups.  He is also past president of the Madison County Historical Society. He has been published in several Civil War periodicals and enjoys visiting Civil War battlefields and related sites.  Phillip portrays Federal Colonel William Link and Confederate Colonel Preston Smith at events relating to the Battle of Richmond.  He is program chairman of the Madison Co. Civil War Roundtable, president of the Central Kentucky World War II Roundtable, and a board member of the Flags for Veterans—Madison County.   He served on the Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. 


Darryl Smith 

Darryl Smith is a board member for the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation, serves on the board of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table, and is a member of the American Battlefields Trust.  He resides in Cincinnati with his wife Jennifer and is employed with Synchrony Financial as a quality experience manager.  Darryl holds a degree in American History from Miami University and a B.A. from Xavier University and is the owner of Walking With History LLC which offers tours of Indian and Civil War battlefields and history sites in Kentucky and Ohio.


Dr. Amy Murrell Taylor 

Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on the social and cultural history of the U.S. South in the 19th century. Her latest book, Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War's Slave Refugee Camps (UNC Press, 2018), was awarded the Merle Curti Social History Award and the Avery O. Craven Award, both from the Organization of American Historians, as well as the Tom Watson Brown Book Award from the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Nau Book Prize from the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History. Embattled Freedom is a study of the many thousands of men, women, and children who fled slavery and sought refuge behind the lines of the Union army during the American Civil War. It explores how their day-to-day experiences in military-supervised camps shaped the way Emancipation unfolded in the United States. She previously examined families divided by national loyalties in The Divided Family in Civil War America (UNC Press, 2005). Taylor is the co-editor, with Stephen Berry, of the "UnCivil Wars" series with the University of Georgia Press, as well as an editorial advisory board member of the Civil War Monitor magazine and a past member of the board of editors of the Journal of Southern History. She is also involved in a variety of public history and historic preservation projects in central Kentucky.


Kristopher D. White 

Kris is the Education Manager at the American Battlefield Trust. White is a graduate of Norwich University with an M.A. in Military History, as well as a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History. For nearly five years he served as a staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. White is the co-founder of Emerging Civil War and is also the co-creator of the Engaging the Civil War Series, which is a partnership between Southern Illinois University Press and Emerging Civil War. An award-winning speaker and editor, White has authored, co-authored, or edited nearly two-dozen books; and is the author and co-author of numerous history-related articles.