Meet our speakers for Gazette665’s American Civil War History Conference – 1865: Turning Homeward. We are excited and honored to introduce these outstanding presenters of American History and hope you will join us for our event on April 4, 2020.
David T. Dixon
David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and magazines. Most focus on Union sympathizers in the Civil War South.
David spoke at the 2016 Sacred Trust Talks in Gettysburg and has appeared before more than fifty Civil War round tables across the country. He has appeared on Civil War Talk Radio and other podcasts. He hosts B-List History, a website that featured obscure characters with compelling stories.
David’s biography of German revolutionary and Union Civil War General August Willich will be published by the University of Tennessee Press in September, 2020. His article on Wilich appears in the current issue of Georgia Backroads magazine and may be downloaded free on his website at www.davidtdixon.com. His current project examines the relationship between emotions and allegiance in the context of Civil War biography.
Phill Greenwalt, full-time contributor to Emerging Civil War and co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War (www.emergingrevolutionarywar.org) is currently a Supervisory National Park Ranger of the Shark Valley District of Interpretation and Visitor Services of Everglades National Park. Prior to his current position, Phill spent seven years a historian with the National Park Service at George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Thomas Stone National Historic Site. He started with the National Park Service as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He has also had the honor to be on official details for the Sesquicentennial of the surrender at Appomattox Court House and the Bicentennial of the Battle of Fort McHenry and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
He is also the co-author of Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, and Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville (all three with Daniel Davis). With Rob Orrison, he is currently working on the first book in the new Emerging Revolutionary War Series due out next year.
Phill graduated from George Mason University with a M.A. in American History and also has a B.A. in history from Wheeling Jesuit University.
Prior to her recent retirement, Meg taught math at Brownell Middle School, named for E. E. Brownell, a California educator who was named for Colonel Elmer Ellsworth and is related to Corporal Francis Brownell, the man who shot the man who killed Ellsworth. She has also taught at other public schools in California and Maryland.
She contributes to World At War and Strategy and Tactics, history and war-gaming magazines. Her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in American History was from California State University, Long Beach, and she earned a Masters degree in History, with a Civil War emphasis.
She has been working for several years on First Fallen: the Life and Times of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the only biography written about Ellsworth since Ruth Painter Randall’s, published in 1960. In it, she challenges some of the assumptions made about Ellsworth, and uses his life as a lens through which to view the attitudes and events of the urban North prior to the Civil War.
Keith Harris is a historian, an educator, an author, a runner, a social media aficionado, and an animal rights advocate. He received his BA at the University of California at Los Angeles (summa cum laude) and his Ph.D. in United States history at the University of Virginia. He has taught courses in United States history at the University of Virginia and the University of California at Riverside, and currently teaches at a private high school in Los Angeles.
His work focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century American history with a special emphasis on the Civil War, Reconstruction, historical memory, the Progressive Era, and national Reconciliation. His first book, Across the Bloody Chasm: the Culture of Commemoration Among Civil War Veterans, is available from the Louisiana State University Press. He is currently researching for a project on the making of the controversial silent film, The Birth of a Nation. He lives and works in Hollywood, California
Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan
Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan is Assistant Professor of Civil War History and Director of Graduate Studies in History at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in History from Yale and is the author of Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, which was one of three finalists (runners-up) for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in History.
Most recently, Dr. Jordan is co-editor of The War Went On: Reconsidering the Lives of Civil War Veterans, published with LSU Press. His next book, Enduring Civil War: Life, Death, and Survival in a Union Regiment, is due out in 2021 from Liveright/W.W. Norton. For the last six years, Dr. Jordan has served as Book Review Editor for The Civil War Monitor. He likewise serves as co-editor of the Engaging the Civil War Series with Southern Illinois University Press and co-editor of the Veterans Series with the University of Massachusetts Press.
Michael L. Oddenino grew up in Virginia, surrounded by Revolutionary War and Civil War history. After majoring in history at Virginia Tech – where he studied the Civil War under Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. – he continued his studies and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a practicing litigation attorney in Los Angeles and maintains his affection for history.
His interest in oratory led him to develop an interpretation of Patrick Henry’s famous “Liberty or Death” speech which he has performed in numerous venues and for a large convention audience.
He has made numerous historical presentations on Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Battle of Ball’s Bluff to many local Civil War Round Table groups and other Southern California clubs and has spoken at several West Coast Civil War Round Table Conferences. His enthusiasm for history and historical understanding comes through every presentation.
Sarah Kay Bierle
Sarah Kay Bierle (conference coordinator) graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a BA in History and has spent the last few years exploring ways to share quality historical research in way that will inform and inspire modern audiences, including school presentations, writing, and speaking engagements.
Sarah works as managing editor at the Emerging Civil War and on staff at Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. She is also the conference coordinator and owner of Gazette665, a company which hosts an annual Civil War History in Southern California, drawing speakers from across the country.
She has written several historical novels and her first nonfiction history book – a study on the Battle of New Market for the Emerging Civil War Series released in Spring 2019. Her current research projects focus on the lives of Civil War officers, artillery, and interactions between civilians and the military. She maintains her own history blog and website at www.Gazette665.com