Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ed Bearss - Historian

On Tuesday February 11th Ed Bearss spoke to the Dallas Civil War Roundtable on his life and achievements. While a look back at his contributions to the National Park Service, battlefield preservation and Civil War studies may be appropriate, Mr. Bearss shows no signs of slowing down at age 85.

His talk traced his roots in Montana playing historical games with his grandmother to his current activities as a historical guide. Along the way he told how became a voracious reader and leader in the fight to save our nation's endangered battlefields. He shared his experiences as a Marine in World War Two and how he received multiple wounds at a battle in the Pacific.

After recovering from his wounds he obtained his masters degree in history and joined the National Parks Service as a historian. His time at Vicksburg was marked by the discovery and recovery of the USS Cairo. Please click on the link Ironclads to see pictures of the USS Cairo and other vessels.

He said that his proudest accomplishment was helping to pass the American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996. The American Battlefield Protection Program promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil.

In 1966 Bearss was transferred to Washington, DC. In 1981 he was named Chief Historian of the National Park Service, a position he held until 1994. From 1994 to 1995 he served as special assistant to the director. After his retirement in 1995, he received the title Chief Historian Emeritus.

Please click on the link to learn more about Mr. Bearss' achievements.