Meet Charlie Crawford from Georgia

An interview with a Color Bearer member

"I have enjoyed my long association with the American Battlefield Trust and its predecessor organizations, especially the chance to meet so many other preservation-minded people."

Charlie Crawford, Color Bearer

Charlie at the site of Smith's New York battery near Devil's Den in Gettysburg in 1956 ("I didn't know not to sit on the cannon in those days") and another at the very same gun fifty years later during the Trust's 2016 Annual Conference.

Charlie Crawford is president of Georgia Battlefields Association, a non-profit battlefield preservation group, and editor of the Georgia Battlefields monthly newsletter. He has made over 100 presentations and led over 50 tours relating to the Civil War in Georgia.

Charlie grew up near Philadelphia and has a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech. He spent 24 years in the Air Force, including service in Vietnam, before retiring as a colonel. He moved to Atlanta in 1996 and is currently office manager for an information technology consulting company.

Charlie also has an M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He is a American Battlefield Trust Color Bearer and a member of the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech College of Sciences Advisory Board, and the Military Officers Association of America.

American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?

Charlie: I received a letter from the old Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) in 1990 when Gary Gallagher was president. I had been stationed in the Pentagon in the late 1980s when Annie Snyder was leading the fight against the Tyl Hazel development at Manassas. That controversy was covered by the local media, so I knew the background that led to creation of APCWS. I also had heard of Bud Hall's (and others') effort to save the small monuments to Kearny and Stevens at Ox Hill. I think APCWS bought the mailing list from the History Book Club, which is how I got on the APCWS mailing list. In any case, I was already interested in preservation, so I joined APCWS as life member number 46.

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

Color Bearer membership – as does all American Battlefield Trust membership – allows me to keep up on preservation news. Being a Color Bearer makes me feel good about contributing to the preservation effort.

What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?

Since I frequently lead battlefield tours (albeit mostly in Georgia), I've always liked Antietam because you can follow the whole day's action chronologically by starting at the north and proceeding southward without retracing your steps. Antietam is also special because it witnessed more casualties in a single day than any other American battle, because the men on both sides were Americans, even though they were fighting for different visions of what the United States should be.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Having been in the Air Force for many years and having married a woman who has held leadership positions in international associations and having the financial wherewithal, I've enjoyed being able to travel to many countries. One place I'd still like to go is Scotland to see the ancestral land of the Crawford clan.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

I'd like to talk for a while with Lincoln, in part because he was a great conversationalist. I'd also like to meet George Washington: Even though much has been written about him, I still don't have a good feel for his personality. Others on the list would be Jesus, Martin Luther, and Isaac Newton.

Anything else you want to share?

I have enjoyed my long association with the American Battlefield Trust and its predecessor organizations, especially the chance to meet so many other preservation-minded people.