The Living Historian: Keeping History Alive

Sunrise at WS Hancock Monument,
East Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg, PA, Summer 2019

Speaker’s Bureau

I am available to speak to community groups, Civil War roundtables, and other organizations or events on the topics below. Additionally, for the people I portray as a living historian, I can appear for a living history event. Please contact me for availability and to make arrangements for an appearance.

I portray two people both in the third person as well as the first person. The two people I portray are Albert Myer and Winfield Scott Hancock.

For a list of other topics I am available to speak on, please see the Topics section.

Albert Myer, Founder of the Signal Corps

The first person that I portray is Albert J. Myer. He was born in 1828. He was a career officer in the US Army. He entered the Army as a surgeon in 1854. He invented a system of signaling called aerial telegraphy, and used this to system to found the United States Signal Corps during the Civil War. After the war, he would remain in the position of Chief Signal Officer of the Army until his death in 1880. During this time, he would expand the duties of the Signal Corps to include weather prediction. With this duty, he would found the US Weather Bureau. He is buried in Buffalo, NY.

I portrayed Albert Myer as a Major at Manassas National Battlefield Park on the 162nd Anniversary of First Manassas.

I enjoy portraying Myer because he allows me to do two things. First, his story is largely untold from the American Civil War. Second, it allows me to talk about the Signal Corps during the Civil War. This too is largely untold. Many Civil War buffs do not know the story of Myer and the Signal Corps. One takeaway from Myer’s writings is that he was incredibly proud of the service that the Signal Corps performed during the Civil War and after. By portraying Myer and the Signal Corps, I get to keep those stories alive.

I portray Myer in the Confederation of Union Generals. We are a first-person presentation group that seeks to educate the public. For more biographical information about Albert Myer, please see my page on our website.

Winfield Scott Hancock, Commander of the 2nd Corps

The second person whom I portray is Winfield Scott Hancock. He is a career officer in the US Army. Hancock was born in 1824 and is from the greater Philadelphia area. He graduated from West Point in 1844. Before the Civil War, Hancock served in the Mexican War, and would serve in multiple posts across the US. During the Civil War, he was a prominent officer in the Army of the Potomac, and served in most major campaigns in the Eastern Theatre. He was the longtime commander of the Second Corps and pivotal in the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he would serve as commander of multiple departments and divisions. He would remain in the Army until his death in 1886. He is buried in Montgomery Cemetery in Norristown, PA.

I portrayed Hancock at a few local events,
like this one in Hainesville, IL in October 2023.

I enjoy portraying Hancock because it is a flexible impression. Because he was involved with the Army of the Potomac from nearly the beginning of the Civil War until its end, he allows me to talk about most major campaigns. Hancock avoided politics as a military leader. Yet, he was a Democrat; this allows me to talk about how Union soldiers fought for many reasons, not just abolition. Lastly, many people have heard Hancock’s name, but do not know much about him. He is not a household name, like US Grant, Robert E. Lee, or George G. Meade; however, in his position as commander of the Second Corps, he had just as important a role in the Civil War. By portraying him, I get to keep his story alive.

Topics (Talk titles in Italics)

  • Albert J. Myer
    • Colonel Albert Myer, Founder of the Signal Corps
    • “Old Probabilities”: Founding the United States Weather Bureau
    • Signaling the Future: The Origin of Aerial Telegraphy & “Wigwag”
  • Winfield Scott Hancock
    • Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, “Thunderbolt of the Potomac
    • Hancock “the Superb”: Directing the Battle of Gettysburg
    • “May God Strike Me Dead”: ‘Ol Win and Confederate Friendships
  • Civil War Signal Corps
    • Modern Communications: The Union Signal Corps in the Civil War
    • Stolen Ideas: Edward Porter Alexander and the CSA Signal Corps
  • Henry Knox
    • Henry Knox, the Forgotten Founding Father
    • The Noble Train of Artillery: The Journey to Fort Ticonderoga 1775-76

Upcoming Talks

  • Colonel Albert Myer, Founder of the Signal Corps, Chicago Civil War Roundtable, January 2025
  • Colonel Albert Myer, Founder of the Signal Corps, Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable, January 2025

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