Cancellation

25 01 2011

I received word today of the cancellation of the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium, The Eastern Theater from First Manassas Through the Seven Days Campaign in Aurora, CO, at which I was to speak on October 1, 2011.

Sell your stock in airlines and Denver area dining and lodging establishments, as the estimated 125,000 folks who wanted to see my dog and pony show have been forced to change their plans.  Sorry Chamber of Commerce, it’s not my fault!





An Expert? Ummm…No.

6 01 2011

Will Rogers defined an expert as a man fifty miles from home with a briefcase, while Mark Twain said it was an ordinary person from another town.  Regardless of the definition you choose, I am no expert.  I can’t imagine ever considering myself an expert, and I’m frankly confounded when I hear anyone describe themselves as one – an expert, that is.  I’ve even heard-tell of folks who have moved on to “other wars” because they’ve learned just about all they can learn about the Civil War.  Come on, get real.  You’re bored, you need a new challenge, a change of pace, I get it.  But spare me the “my work is done here” stuff.  Unless your specialty is percussion caps used on Burnside breech loaders or something similarly obscure, I ain’t buyin’ it. 

I realize that event organizers are going to use the E word in promotional materials.  But I want to make one thing perfectly clear – I don’t consider myself an expert on the Civil War or even the First Battle of Bull Run.  I’m confident I have readers who have studied the war and the battle for a longer period and in greater detail than have I.  [That being said, I can still entertain a room for an hour or two without boring the heck out of everybody (there are always exceptions) and pretty much guarantee that anyone who stays awake the whole time will learn something they didn't know before, so don't let my admission deter you from booking me, Danno.]

I know there’s a real definition of “expert” and it doesn’t mean “knows everything”, but you know what the word connotes, and you know what I mean by this.  I don’t mind so much when others call someone an expert, but it bugs the hell out of me when I hear people refer to themselves as one.

There.  I just needed to get that off my chest.  As always, you’re free to be wr…I mean, you’re free to disagree.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.





Gettysburg College Civil War Institute Conference 2011 Schedule

1 12 2010

The schedule for the 2011 Gettysburg College Civil War Institute conference, Mobilizing for War and the Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run, has been announced.  They’ve put together quite a lineup of speakers and guides.  The conference runs from June 26 to July 1, with guided tours of the First Bull Run battlefield slated all day on Wednesday, June 29.  Each of the seven guides will be leading their own specialized tour.  The tours are part of the conference package and cannot be attended separately.   The guides are:

  • Ed Bearss
  • Ray Brown
  • Jim Burgess
  • Ethan Rafuse
  • Joe Rizzo
  • Harry Smeltzer
  • Greg Wolf

You can find the full conference schedule here; registration info here.  As more on the tours becomes available, I’ll let you know.





Bull Runnings on Capitol Hill

15 11 2010

I’ve been invited to speak to the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table on Monday evening, April 4, 2011.  I understand this group meets in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.  Doors to the buidling close at 7:00 PM.

This will (as of now) be the first presentation on Peter Conover Hains and his account of the First Battle of Bull Run.  I’ll begin work on the presentation in January, so that gives me three months to get the PowerPoint and text together.





A Couple of 2011 Speaking Engagements

8 10 2010

Here are a couple more appearances I’ll be making in 2011.

June 29th, 2011 – Gettysburg, PA and Manassas, VA, The Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, 29th Annual Summer Conference, Mobilizing for War.  I provided a copy of the press release here.  This is a week-long conference, and will include one day of touring the Manassas battlefield with the focus of the tours being the First Battle of Bull Run.  There will be anywhere from five to eight tour buses and tour guides, each conducting their own custom tour.  My tour will be Hidden Mysteries of First Bull Run.  This tour will be geared for tourists already familiar with the battlefield and the campaign.

October 1, 2011 – Aurora, CO, The Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable, in conjunction with Aurora Community College, presents the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium, The Eastern Theater from First Manassas through the Seven Days Campaign (go here for registration info).  I’m not sure yet what I’ll be speaking about, though it will be a topic concerning First Bull Run for sure.

I’ll post updates here as speakers and topics are updated, but so far for sure I know that Ethan Rafuse and Ed Bearss will also be leading tours at Bull Run, and Ethan and Jim Morgan are part of the Rocky Mountain lineup . 

If you do decide to attend any of my speaking events, do me a favor and lay off playing solitaire or any other card game for at least 48 hours beforehand.  The Queen of Diamonds has been known to exaggerate negative reactions to public speakers.  Just ask Laurence Harvey (above).  Thanks in advance. 

If you’d like me to speak to your group, leave a comment on the Book Me, Danno page or shoot me an email at the address to the right.





A Public Appearance

25 09 2010

Don’t miss it!  I will be speaking to  – and hopefully with – the good folks of the Loudoun Valley Civil War Roundtable in Leesburg, VA on June 14, 2011.  This will be a program on the twisted tale of Peter Conover Hains, who fired the opening salvo of the First Battle of Bull Run with his 30-pdr Parrott gun, “Long Tom”.  This is my second confirmed speaking gig for next year.  I have two others which I’m pretty sure are go, one at the end of June and one at the end of September.  I don’t know if any more are in the offing, but I’ll keep the Book Me, Danno page updated for my fans, both of you.





What’s Up With Me

15 08 2010

For those many, many fans of Bull Runnings who just have to know what’s going on in the exciting, fun-filled life of its host, I have a couple of things going on right now. The most immediate is the completion of the next installment of Collateral Damage for Civil War Times. This will feature a home on a Western Theater farm, though it’s not really on a battlefield and it’s on the Eastern seaboard. I checked the CWT website but don’t see that they’ve ever put one of these articles online. If they ever do, I’ll let you know.  And yes, I will be putting up all the photos I took of the Roulette Farm, my subject of the current issue of the magazine, in the near future.

You may have noticed that I have a speaking date coming up at the Rufus Barringer Civil War Roundtable in Pinehurst, NC in 2011.  After much deliberation, I’ve decided to make a presentation on Peter Conover Hains, the young artillery lieutenant who opened the ball for the Union at Bull Run with a shot from his 30 pdr Parrott, Long Tom.  I’ve been fascinated with his story for a long time, but haven’t really buckled down on it.  Of course I’ll share the fruits with you all here, when the time is right.

Other than the above mentioned date, I really don’t have any firm commitments to speak in 2011, or the rest of 2010 for that matter.  A couple of roundtables have expressed some interest, but I haven’t nailed anything down for sure.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be leading at least on bus tour on the battlefield, but even that isn’t official yet.  Keep in mind that I have incredibly high standards: I pretty much won’t speak to any group unless they say Hey, would you like to speak to our group?

If your group is interested in a Bull Run related program – or one on any of the other Civil War topics I’ve written on here or elsewhere – you can contact me at the email address in the right hand column.

Last, the Facebook fan page is doing well – Bull Runnings has 136 “likers” as of this morning.  If you want to follow on Facebook, you can use the link in the right hand column.





Speaking Update

16 07 2010

I’ve updated my speaking engagement page (aka Book Me, Dano!, where you can contact me about speaking to your group) to indicate I will be making an appearance before the good folks at the Rufus Barringer Civil War Roundtable in Pinehurst, NC, on May 19, 2011.  Tentatively, I will be giving a presentation based on my Civil War Times magazine column that is now called Collateral Damage, though I think I will be sticking with the original title In Harm’s Way.  If you’re in the area, stop in.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.








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