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Blue & Gray Magazine Ceases Publication

I had just turned 30 when my late wife Robin and I launched the premiere issue of Blue & Gray. That was more than a third of a century ago. Then, a few years ago, as I entered my 60s, folks started asking about an exit strategy. Did I have one? My answer was no, I don’t. I will continue publishing Blue & Gray until someone tells me to stop. Well, that time has come.

The handwriting is on the wall. After the Civil War Sesquicentennial the subscriber base has declined to the point we can no longer afford to pay the printer and the post office, the costs of preparing the driving tour — which is the hallmark of the publication — and rising health care costs. Furthermore, our book business, which helped support our publishing efforts through the years, has all but disappeared with the advent of online discount booksellers, against which we simply can not compete. The staff at Blue & Gray headquarters for most of the last decade has consisted of just two people — my son Jason and me.

While there will be no more issues of Blue & Gray, we will continue to maintain the website. We are also exploring ways to convert unfulfilled subscriptions into credits that can be used for back issues and our book titles, while supplies last. So, continue to visit the website for updates.

This has been a very difficult letter for me to write. Since you’ve gotten used to me signing myself “The General” at the end of every driving tour, I’ll quote a real general, one who faced a far more difficult decision, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.

d roth sig

88 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris Shelton #

    I just received an email stating that the last issue, on The Wilderness, will be available to subscribers as a digital download. I’ve been wanting to see a treatment go that battle for years. I’m just wondering what it would take to see a hard copy produced – if the spirit is willing.


    June 30, 2017
  2. Charlie Downs #

    Blue & Gray is the best! So sorry to see you have to cease operations. I bought my first copy while doing a tour of Manassas with Ranger Hank Elliott in 2011 and bought a copy of the First Manassas issue in the book store and have been a subscriber since. I just ordered several back issues and one day hope to have them all if I can find them at a reasonable price. I will definitely miss Blue & Gray, but it was a great run. Dave, hope you enjoy retirement and Jason, I wish you the best of luck in you endeavors.


    July 5, 2017
  3. Greg Sweatt #

    Wow! Just read the news today about Blue & Gray to cease publication. As a charter and continuous subscriber (starting back in the “old days”) I am sad to see the the end come. I was only a few years older than Dave Roth when the magazine was launched. Oh, how the years fly.
    Best to all at Blue & Gray in the years to come.
    Greg Sweatt
    July 10, 2017


    July 10, 2017
  4. Lawrence Nothdurft #

    As a charter subscriber this just kills me. I enjoyed the magazine so much…….


    July 11, 2017
  5. Brian Sandor #

    I just found out. I’m very sorry to see BG end, but its very understandable. Thank you for everyone of these great issues.


    July 20, 2017
  6. Paul Whitmore #

    Sorry to hear this! B&G was my favorite CW magazine. You’ll be missed, but I thank you for your New Market issue.


    July 26, 2017
  7. Troy Rhodes #

    Sorry to hear the magazine is ending. I really enjoyed it! Thanks to you and the BG staff for doing such a fine job for all these years. Best wishes to you all in your future endeavors.

    Troy Rhodes

    Jacksonville, Fla


    August 2, 2017
  8. Glenn Pitts #

    Dave, I’ve got every issue.
    I never subscribed because I wanted to ‘hand pick’ my issues at the newsstand and avoid possible damage in the mail.
    Sure, I had to buy a couple on Ebay and from you directly once I believe, but otherwise, I hand selected each issue.
    I wrote my own MicroSoft Access database application to catalog every issue so I could use my PC to search for any subject or individual and immediately identify each vol & issue the topic was in too. (Beats searching by hand)
    I will miss Blue & Gray – the definitive WBTS publication.


    August 6, 2017
    • Chris Shelton #


      I don’t know a lot about the magazine business (other than it’s headed downhill), but I’m pretty sure that the more subscribers they have, the better off they are – especially with regards to what they can charge for advertisements within said magazine. I’d think that a company is more willing to advertise if they see that the magazine has a larger base of subscribers. It sounds B & G may still be going if they’d gotten more circulation.

      I hope the next time that you find a magazine you like, you will actually subscribe to it. And if you get a few issues/topics that you don’t care for as much, GIVE them away.


      August 7, 2017
      • Chris Shelton #

        And as for possible damage to your magazine, B & G always came delivered in a plastic sleeve. I’ve subscribed for years and never once did I get a seriously damaged issue – just slightly creased due to an overzealous postal worker. And if one had been damaged, I’m sure B & G would have replaced it free of charge.


        August 7, 2017
  9. James Reilly ( no relation to artillery NC regiment) #

    Keep my money for the enjoyment 6x per year was worth every penny. Sorry to read this.


    August 9, 2017
  10. James Reilly #

    Your Blue and Grey was the best publication in my lifetime. It was the best early morning read before work of all time. I will miss my 6X times per year but alas I have kept almost every copy since hmmmm 1991 or 1992 ? Don’t sweat the money if I have any left, use it for whatever expense comes your way.


    August 9, 2017
  11. Larry Meier #

    So sorry but truly understand. You unselfishly put out the finest. Thank you.


    August 12, 2017
  12. I just came across this and am very sorry to hear the news. As an on and off subscriber over the last few years, this makes me wish I’d have been more supportive. Your publication stayed focused and was refreshing as so many others have veered into the social history genre. Your magazine was an excellent one and, unfortunately, a casualty of our times. In addition to the reasons you stated, I also believe part of the reason for declining interest in publications like yours is the dismal state of history education in the United States. With the focus on politics and social issues, rather than soldiers, military leaders and battles, lots of potential subscribers aren’t interested in learning about the more traditional aspects of Civil War history. We see this reflected in the current maelstrom over Confederate symbolism and monuments. One CW publication even went to far as to recently give a platform to a “historian” advocating for not just removal, but actual destruction of these monuments. Another CW blogger is suggesting Confederate monuments be removed from Gettysburg. When you see that kind of focus coming from ostensibly credible quarters, it drives potential students of the CW (and subscribers) away.

    It is truly a sad state of affairs. I wish you and yours the best in future endeavors.


    August 16, 2017
  13. Captain Dave Sulin #

    Dave, I have been with you from the start and cannot thank you enough for your efforts to educate those of us who have an interest in all things Civil War. Your “tours” have been eye opening experiences as I have followed the directions given and read with interest the sort of “rest of the story” interpretation of events. You have accomplished much to be proud of and I know that there are many others like me who will be carrying dog eared copies of Blue & Gray with us for years to come as we traipse around battlefield sites trying to get a better handle on the action. Thanks again for doing such a great job for as long as you did. Your publication will be sorely missed, believe me!


    August 16, 2017
  14. Pete Wallace #

    David, I spoke with you earlier today. It saddens me terribly to find out my favorite publication is having to shutter its operations. I have subscribed since the beginning (or at least the time I knew of your publication) and never was I disappointed with even one issue.
    I have learned so much about a war that I thought I knew a lot about already from you. I subscribed to every Civil War magazine published at one time but yours was the last and only one that I kept up my subscription to until the end. Yours was the only one worth my money.
    As someone mentioned above too many of the others became about blaming and chastising history. Something that cannot be done.
    I will miss those plastic envelopes containing Blue & Gray terribly but sadly all things come to pass. As you well know it’s just the good ones that hurt so much to lose. Know that you will be missed and that I appreciate every issue that you published. As for the future maybe something good will come of all this nastiness that prevails in our country today. Possibly a reawaking of the desire to learn more about the second most important event in our nations history may spur a renewal of interest of your magazine that your and Robin’s son Jason may be able to use to reestablish Blue & Gray. We may not be around to see it but who of us knows?
    Again THANKS for all of the Generals tours, if I win the lottery some day I plan to dig out all of my old issues and follow every step of them (that is if there are any Civil War parks or monuments left to see.) Thanks for devoting your time so that we all could learn about the “little things” that the soldiers went through. It’s been a fun ride sorry to see it end.



    September 5, 2017
    • James Reilly #

      Pete Wallace those were nice comments. I laughed when you mentioned that ” plastic” cover with the new B and G issue. Boy I miss it so much.


      September 5, 2017
  15. Mark Merritt #

    I’m so sorry to see this. I haven’t been paying attention when I realized I did not get my subscription in the mail the past few months. Been a subscriber since 1985, I will certainly miss this magazine! Good luck, I’m sure glad you were part of the landscape.


    September 30, 2017

    I was a charter subscriber of B & G, and just learned—-in November—that the magazine has folded. So sorry to see it go. Thankful that Dave and Jason agreed to publish my two-part article (August 1991 and August 1997) on keeping time during the War, before Standard Time was established in 1918. I admit not really paying attention and missed a notice about publication coming to an end.
    You’ll certainly be missed.==AC


    November 8, 2017
  17. Charlie Townsley #

    Dave…. yours was the best CW magazine hands down, as a charter member from issue # 1 I always looked forward to your issues. The General’s Tour was always carried along on my civil war excursions. Thanks once again…you will be missed!!


    November 26, 2017
  18. It was with a heavy heart that I read of the discontinuation of B&G. Even though 34 yrs is a good run, still, I was looking forward to more insightful issues; particularly those that would touch on my home state of Virginia. I did a lot battlefield tramping over the years and B&G was a constant companion. Thank you Dave and to your late wife Robin, and to Jason for your service. You will be sorely missed.


    November 30, 2017
  19. Bob Elliott #

    I also will miss Blue & Gray. It was the best magazine for those of us who like to see where the history took place. I found the sad news when I called David to see if per chance I had allowed my subscription to expire since I hadn’t received an issue in a while.

    For those of you who appreciate on-site visits of Civil War battlefields and worry that they may not be around much longer, please consider becoming a member of the Civil War Trust.and help us preserve that Hallowed Ground so it will always be available to tour. The Trust has saved over 47,000 acres in 24 states so far and has several more purchases for which they are currently seeking contributions.

    As Jim Lightheizer at the CWT ends all his letters: “til the battle is won”.


    December 13, 2017
  20. As a former military officer, your magazine with the accompanying maps explained the battles so clearly that it was a delight to read and study. Keep my money that you might owe back. VR. Lt. Col. Jeff Addicott


    December 18, 2017
  21. Art Candenquist #

    I am a charter subscriber to B&G Magazine, and I’m sorry to see the ceasing of publication. I believe I had about a year to go on my subscription—I always renewed for more than one year each time, so I’m curious to see how the subscription issue will be handled. Best of luck, Dave and Jason, on the future.


    December 18, 2017
  22. David Robinson #

    I think i started getting the B&G in the early 80s and over the years my family grew up lugging issues of these sacred scrolls in the very footsteps of my ancestors thru Virginia, West Virginia,.Maryland and Pennsylvania.Oh those many nights after a day on the battlefields the 5 of us sitting in our motel room rehashing what we had seen of that day’s travels,matching it too the most excellent B&G photos.Dave and Jason a part of my life, just like a part of your life has run its course.I hope you take as gospel the fact that THE BLUE AND GRAY magazine was manna for our love of the late unpleasantness. The perfect template of what a magazine on history should be.May the spirits of those true men of the 1860s protect you.


    December 23, 2017
  23. T W Englehart #


    As a Blue&Gray subscriber from the start, I will miss your excellent and informative publication. You have brought incredible joy to this Civil War History buff over the many years. I commend you on your dedication to preserving history and to passing on your love to so many. Godspeed and a heartfelt THANK YOU!


    January 11, 2018
  24. Chris Shelton #

    Is anyone else having trouble with ordering stuff and with this website in general? When I was able to log in, my shopping cart was saying that all the coupon codes were expired. Now, I can’t even log in. No one is responding to my emails and the phone number posted here goes no where.
    Just a little frustrating.


    January 22, 2018
  25. Gary Frame #

    Dave: Sorry you have to shut down. Blue &*Grey has been a real contributor. I’m proud to still have every issue. It’s been a grand run. Thank You


    February 19, 2018
  26. Keith Robinson #

    Great magazine I have enjoyed over the years. You will be missed.


    March 16, 2018
  27. My Dad and I have been subscribing for 20 years, BEST magazine EVER, no comparison, you have given me many happy days doing The Generals tours. Godspeed!


    April 13, 2018
  28. Chris Gooding #

    I had just paid (check cleared the bank 5/3/17) for my 2017-18 subscription when B&G announced its Appomattox (and I never saw another issue). Can’t find any info on how B&G might afford credit for an equivalent number of back issues????


    April 17, 2018
    • Chris Sheltonu #

      They gave discounts on back issues and books from sometime last year until early this year, plus free digital downloads of various back issues. Did you not see any of the emails they sent?


      April 17, 2018
  29. Paul Cook #

    I sincerely regret to hear that profits are too low for you and your family to continue to prepare and publish what I consider one of our (very, very few) sterling magazines on the civil war. I want to congratulate you on an extraordinary piece of work over so many years.. I think a collection of your issues would stand up as an equal to any of the histories published–i.e., a testimonial for you and your family.

    We don’t have many native historians remaining on many subjects–the civil war especially. I’ve been watching the magazine stands and have noticed how many magazines purporting to be about us–and especially the civil war–are no longer written from our perspective and in this country. I’ll be happy to see your website continue at the minimum.

    Paul Cook


    May 27, 2018
  30. Judith Haviland #

    Sorry to read this news. I shall never forget B & G New Market issue! I enjoyed your magazine immensely. All the best to you and your family.


    July 4, 2018
  31. C. Douglas Simpson #



    July 11, 2018
  32. heb #

    Sorry to hear this. You magazine was always the best CW publication. I used them extensively on my tours of various battlefields. You will be missed and my best to you and your family.


    September 13, 2018

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