Civil War History Programs with the Resident Associates Program
past articles

Vol. 1

Vol. 2

Vol. 3

Vol. 4

Vol. 5

Vol. 6

Vol. 7

Vol. 8

Vol. 9

Vol. 10

Study Leader Profile - Ed Bearss

The Smithsonian Associates Civil War E-Mail Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 1

If you've spent any time at The Smithsonian Resident Associates web site ( or any time studying the Civil War, then you are probably familiar with the name of Edwin C. Bearss. Mr. Bearss is an independent scholar and historian whose public career began at the National Park Service in 1955 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. While there, he conducted research leading to the recovery of the long-lost Union gunboat Cairo. He also located two forgotten forts at Grand Gulf, Mississippi, and was instrumental in having Grant Gulf named a State Military monument.

In 1966, he transferred to Washington, D.C., and in 1981 he became the National Park Service chief historian for military sites. Mr. Bearss continues to serve as a Civil War consultant and conducts detailed battlefield site tours and seminars for the Smithsonian Study Tours program.

In 1990, he was a featured commentator for Ken Burns' PBS series, The Civil War, the most popular program broadcast by that network to date. Recently, he has appeared on the Arts and Entertainment Channel's Civil War Journal.