With the recent passing of National Park Service Historian Emeritus Ed Bearss, we would like to offer a unique insight into the making of this legend.
Available for free download below, we pull from the archives and present the two part interview of Ed as published in the February & April 2000 issues of Blue & Gray Magazine. Interviewer Kieran McAuliffe provides an opportunity to learn about the man, and about the influences that created this legendary historian.
Edwin Cole Bearss, at the age of 76, is Historian Emeritus for the National Park Service and is considered the dean of all Civil War tour guides. He can outwalk, outtalk or outshout anyone who is fortunate enough to be on one of his many tours across battlefields in the United States, and now into Canada and Europe. His knowledge of the Civil War is legendary.
Blue & Gray Magazine Phase 2
Since 2017, Blue & Gray no longer publishes a bi-monthly magazine. However, Editor/Publisher Dave Roth is dedicated to bringing back important out-of-print material in an 8.5 x 11 soft-cover book format through Amazon on Demand. The first book is on the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness. It was never available in a print version, but originally was published as a download in 2017, when B&G had to cease publishing. This is the first publication with Amazon in what is being referred to as Blue & Gray Magazine Phase 2.
The authors of the Wilderness book are Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White. The book includes Blue & Gray’s signature feature, “The General’s Tour,” with sites-to-see, tour and battle maps, as well as vintage and modern color photographs. The original title was “A Wilderness of Woe”: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864.
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.
My goal in the last issue on the Bermuda Hundred Driving Tour was simply to indicate where Ben Butler’s earthworks crossed W. Hundred Road. In doing so I violated a cardinal rule of The General’s Tour by including a site I did not personally visit, though I did observe the site 25 years ago while preparing our 1989 issue on Bermuda Hundred, and it appeared on that issue’s Tour Map. Once the 2014 Tour was laid out, I realized there was one set of earthworks not included that could complete a tour of Butler’s Final Line as it stretched north beyond W. Hundred Road (Rt. 10) toward the James River.