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Historian Bios

Annual Conference

Richmond, Virginia

A group of elite historians will be joining us at the Annual Conference, leading Tours and History Tallks. You will also have the chance to meet and speak with many of these historians and authors. Schedule coming soon.

« Annual Conference Main | Tour Descriptions | History Talks

 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 19 years. He has appeared on numerous productions shown on the BBC, C-Span, Pennsylvania Cable Network and on HISTORY. He works full time as Director of History and Education at the Civil War Trust.

Emmanuel Dabney

Emmanuel Dabney has been employed by the National Park Service at Petersburg National Battlefield since 2001. After completing high school in Dinwiddie County, Emmanuel graduated magna cum laude with an Associates of Arts from Richard Bland College, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia and completed a Master’s degree in Public History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As an avid genealogist and historian, Emmanuel has discovered his great-great-great grandfather was a wealthy Virginia slave owner and his great-great-great grandmother was a mixed-race free Black woman. Among those in his family tree are his great-great grandfather, Henry Dabney, was digging earthworks around Petersburg in 1864 and 1865, two members of Virginia’s Secession Convention, and numerous Confederate soldiers and officers.

 Antonio Elmaleh

Antonio worked in acquisitions at World Northal Corp, which domestically distributed independent/foreign films such as: The Who’s QUADROPHENIA; Nicholas Roeg’s BAD TIMING and Peter Weir’s THE LAST WAVE. Later he was a development executive at 20th Century Fox and a Story Analyst for Warner Brothers, Motown Productions and Vestron Pictures. From 1986-89 he managed a co-production program of six films in partnership with BBC-TV and was Executive Producer of THE VISION, starring Lee Remick, Dirk Bogarde and Helena Bonham Carter. It opened the London Film Festival in 1988. Between 1989 and 1998 Antonio managed a real estate portfolio of World-Wide Holdings Corporation, a privately-held real estate company in New York City. In 1999, Antonio began researching and writing THE ONES THEY LEFT BEHIND, a novel about a Civil War veteran’s one-man peace march set during the stormy days of American Reconstruction.

 Dr. Gary Gallagher

Gary W. Gallagher is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia. A native of Los Angeles, California, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught for twelve years at Penn State University before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia. His research and teaching focus on the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. He has written, co-authored, or edited more than thirty books, most recently The Union War (Harvard University Press, 2011) and Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty (University of Georgia Press, 2013). Active in the field of historic preservation, Gallagher was president from 1987 to mid-1994 of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and served as a member of the board of the Civil War Trust.

A. Wilson Greene

Executive Director of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier since 1995, Will Greene is the former president and CEO of one of the Trust’s predecessor organizations, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites.  He served sixteen 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, 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.

Among his more than thirty Civil War and Southern history publications is his latest venture, currently under contract to the University of North Carolina Press, a three-volume history of the Petersburg Campaign with an expected publication date of 2013-2016.

 Christopher Kolakowski

Christopher L. Kolakowski 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 military leadership, the Civil War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars. He is the author of two books by the History Press, The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass and The Stones River & Tullahoma Campaigns: This Army Does Not Retreat. In 2015 the U.S. Army will publish his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War.

Chris currently serves as Director of the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA. He is a contributing writer for the Emerging Civil War Blog, and is also working on a study of the Philippine Campaign of 1941-42, scheduled for release in 2016.

 Robert E.L. “Bobby” Krick

Robert E.L. “Bobby” Krick has lived or worked on Civil War battlefields almost continuously since 1972. He grew up on the Chancellorsville Battlefield near Fredericksburg and graduated from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg with a degree in history. He has worked in various historical capacities at several battlefields, including Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument in Montana and Manassas National Battlefield Park. Since 1991, he has been a historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park.  Krick is widely published on Civil War topics. His first book, The Fortieth Virginia Infantry, was a unit history, and in 2003, the University of North Carolina Press published Staff Officers in Gray, a biographical register of the Army of Northern Virginia’s staff officers.

 John W. Mountcastle

John W. "Jack" Mountcastle was born and raised in Richmond, VA. Graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1965, he began serving as an Army officer in 1966. During his Army career, he commanded tank units at all levels from platoon through armored brigade. He served twice in Vietnam and spent a total of ten years in Germany during the Cold War. During the 1970s, Jack earned an MA and PhD from Duke University and taught Military History at West Point. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1994, he assumed the duties of the Army Chief of Military History in Washington, D.C. Jack returned to Richmond upon retiring from the Army in 1998 and joined the staff of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. He served there as the Director of Heritage Tourism for Virginia. Currently, he teaches Civil War history courses at the University of Richmond and lectures at the Virginia Historical Society. He is past President of the Richmond Civil War Round Table and is proud to be a member of the Civil War Trust and several regional battlefield preservation organizations. General Mountcastle maintains his interest in leadership studies and leads professional development programs for military and corporate groups at selected battle areas in the United States and in Europe. He and his wife Susan live in Glen Allen, Virgina.

 Wayne Motts

Wayne E. Motts is the chief executive officer of the National Civil War Museum, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has been a licensed battlefield guide at the Gettysburg National Park for twenty-seven years and is the co-author (with James Hessler) of the soon to be released Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg: A Guide to the Most Famous Attack in American History.

 John Pagano

John Pagano was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in the Hudson Valley. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the State University of New York at New Paltz. He began doing living history and historical site interpretation as a teenager, and, following college, divided his time between museums and traditional classroom instruction. John has authored more than a dozen articles on the Civil War soldier, and has served as a military advisor, combat choreographer or historical consultant on more than 40 films and documentaries. Most recently, he worked at Pamplin Historical Park, Old Fort Jackson in Savannah, Ga., before becoming the director of interpretation at Henricus Historical Park in Chester, Va. Pagano and his wife, Victoria, live in the historic Nathaniel Enroughty home on Trust-owned property at the Fist Deep Bottom Battlefield.

 Gordon Rhea

Gordon C. Rhea is a practicing attorney and an avid student of the 1864 Overland Campaign. His books about the campaign include The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 (History Book Club Main Selection, Book of the Month Club Selection, Landry Award, Civil War Regiments Award); The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern: May 7-12, 1864 (History Book Club Dual Main Selection, Landry Award); To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864 (History Book Club Main Selection, Landry Award, Fletcher Pratt Award); Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864 (History Book Club Dual Main Selection, Military History Book Club Dual Main Selection; Daniel M. Laney Award, Austin, and Richard Barksdale Harwell Award, Atlanta); Carrying the Flag (Perseus, New York, 2003); and In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: From the Wilderness to Cold Harbor (LSU Press: Baton Rouge, 2007) (with Chris Heisey, photographer).  

Mr. Rhea has given lectures across the country at the invitation of numerous historical societies, universities, and historic preservation organizations on topics of military history and the Civil War era; has served on the boards of historical societies, history magazines, and historical preservation organizations; and has appeared multiple times as a historian and presenter on nationwide television programs, including productions by The History Channel, A&E Channel, Discovery Channel, and C-Span. He is a fervent supporter of the Civil War Trust and frequently leads tours for the Trust and for other organizations dedicated to the preservation of historic lands and structures.

 Patrick A. Schroeder

Schroeder was born January 1, 1968, at Fort Belvoir, VA, was raised in Utica, NY, and attended Stuarts Draft High School in Augusta County, VA.  In the spring of 1990, he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Historical Park Administration from Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV.  He has a M.A. in Civil War History from Virginia Tech.  From the summer of 1986-1993, Patrick worked as a seasonal living history interpreter at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  In 1993, he wrote Thirty Myths About Lee’s Surrender, which is currently in its twelfth printing.   From 1994–1999, he was employed at Red Hill, the Patrick Henry National Memorial.  Patrick has written, edited and/or contributed to more than twenty-five Civil War titles including:  More Myths About Lee’s Surrender; The Confederate Cemetery at Appomattox; Recollections and Reminiscences of Old Appomattox; Images of America:  Appomattox County; Tar Heels; Sailor’s Creek:  General Custis Lee Captured with Controversy; Civil War Soldier Life:  In Camp and Battle; A Duryee Zouave; We Came To Fight: A History of the 5th NY Veteran Vol. Inf., Duryee’s Zouaves; Campaigns of the 146th Regiment New York State Volunteers; Pennsylvania Bucktails; The Bloody 85th; The Life of General Ely S. Parker: Least Grand Sachem of the Iroquois and Grant’s Military Secretary; Appomattox County; and With the 11th New York Fire Zouaves: In Camp, Battle and Prison.  Patrick resides in Lynchburg, VA, and has worked as an independent researcher, author, historian, and tour guide.  He has served as the Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park since 2002.  In an effort to protect sites relevant to the Appomattox Campaign, Patrick has set up the “Appomattox Fund” with the Civil War Trust, to save land important to the climatic events of April 1865.

 Richard “Dick” Sommers

Richard J. Sommers served for 43+ years at the U.S. Army Military History Institute/U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Even after nominally “retiring” as the Senior Historian of the Center in January of 2014, he continues teaching in the U.S. Army War College, writing about the Civil War, and speaking to Civil War groups across the nation. He has published over 100 books, articles, chapters, entries, and reviews on the Civil War.  His most recent book – the expanded, revised, 150th Anniversary edition of Richmond Redeemed: the Siege at Petersburg – was published by Savas-Beatie in September, 2014.  A graduate of Carleton College with a doctorate from Rice University, he was born and raised in suburban Chicagoland. He and his wife, Tracy, reside in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Randy Watkins

Randolph “Randy” Hall Watkins is a native Virginian with deep ties to the Richmond-Petersburg area. He was raised in western Hanover County and received his degree in history and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1971. Watkins spent 12 years in active and reserve service with the United State Navy and Naval Reserve, attaining the rank of quartermaster first class. Following 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, he retired with the rank of sergeant major. During his 19-year tenure with the National Park Service, Watkins was both an interpretive ranger specializing in military engineering and fortifications, the naval aspects of siege and Virginia units, but also a historic weapons supervisor. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live at Sysonby, an 18th-century home in Dinwiddie County once owned by a battalion commander during the First Battle of Petersburg, June 9, 1864.

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