Historical Presentations

This is a listing of Sarah Kay Bierle’s historical presentations. We’ve listed the available presentations for 2020.

Sarah is a popular speaker at Civil War Round Tables and historical groups. Please contact her for additional details, references, and scheduling.

National Museum of Civil War Medicine, CWRTs (nationwide), Temecula Valley Genealogy Society, Temecula Valley Historical Society, Society for Women & The Civil War Conference, Emerging Civil War Symposium, Author Talks at New Market Battlefield.

Awakened Hearts: The Power & Patriotism of Civilians

In 1861, America was going to war. Citizen armies were formed, and a frenzy of patriotism influenced both the civilian men going to war and those left at home. Following the history of the 1st Minnesota Regiment and the 2nd Virginia Regiment, this presentation explores multiple aspects of the civilian response at the beginning of the war and how they dealt with the realities of war. (45-50 min. Powerpoint images available)

Blockade Runners & Dark Shores

How much do you really know about Blockade Runners and the Southern coastline during the American Civil War? Explore uniqueness of blockade runners – their role, new maritime technology, captains and crew, and challenging diplomacy. Learn about the dark Southern shores; why were the lighthouses extinguished or destroyed? Maritime traffic along the Southern seaboard and Gulf Coast is a compelling historical account. (45-50 minutes. Powerpoint images available.)

Dr. Hunter McGuire: Medical Director, Surgeon, Confidant

Dr. Hunter McGuire served as Medical Director of the Confederate Second Corps in the Army of Northern Virginia and fought to save lives on many battlefields. His life, education, medical advancements, and military record are an important part of Civil War and American medical history. McGuire’s skill and trustworthiness during the war won him the respect of his commanders, Generals Jackson, Ewell, Early, and Lee while after the conflict he continued his medical career, influencing 19th Century medicine and education. This presentation traces McGuire’s challenges and successes at home, in military camps, on the battlefields, and in hospital wards and classrooms. (50 minutes. Powerpoint Images available.)

From California to Gettysburg: The Hancock Family

In 1858, Winfield and Almira Hancock and their two children moved to California. As a U.S. Army officer, Winfield S. Hancock’s duties had taken the family to several remote outposts, but their time in California would be some of their most memorable days. The American Civil War began while the Hancocks were in California, and this conflict presented challenging choices. Their decision – made in California – would impact one of the great battles of the war. (45-50 min. Powerpoint images available).

Gettysburg Civilians: A New Perspective on One of the Civil War’s Most Famous Battles

Many people know about the military conflicts, tactics, and strategies at Gettysburg, but it’s important to remember that Gettysburg was a town and farming community long before the armies arrived. This presentation explores that town, its citizens, and the civilian experience before, during, and after the bloody battle days. (45-50 min. Powerpoint images available)

A City at War: Richmond, Virginia, in 1863

Richmond, Virginia, was the capital of the Confederacy, but it was also a city facing internal civic and societal conflicts and dilemmas. This presentation takes a closer look at some important events in Richmond’s mid-war history – from Jackson’s funeral, military triumphs and losses, political wrangering, explosive tragedy, slave trade, and independent roles for women. (45-50 minutes. Powerpoint images available.)

Searching For The McGuires

Developed for a genealogy society, this presentation reveals the Civil War story of the McGuires of Winchester, Virginia. They were an “ordinary” family with extraordinary impact. Additionally, the presentation shares tips practical tips for researching family history and understanding historical figures in the context of their era and geographical location. (45-50 minutes. Powerpoint images available.)

Then Christmas Came: The Justification & Condemnation of War in 1862 

In 1862, devastating battles shocked Americans. The end of the war wasn’t in sight. The Battle of Fredericksburg was the capstone for fighting in the east; it ended days before Christmas, leaving soldiers and civilians stunned by the casualties. With the “season of peace and good cheer” upon them, Americans tried to reconcile their war and beliefs. Ultimately, they found ways to justify or condemn the strife, setting the stage for more conflict in coming years. (45-50 minutes. Powerpoint images available.)

To Save Lives: Civil War Medicine

Going beyond “saw-bones” storytelling, this presentation busts myths, explores the development of the medical field, details experiences by dedicated surgeons and nurses, and challenges the audience to re-evaluate their ideas regarding Civil War medicine. (45-50 min. Powerpoint images available)