Explore. Discover. Learn.
If you are interested in learning more about history from experts in the field, you've come to the right place. Expert Historical Tours has been created by historians and authors who love touring and talking about history. Our tours are primarily small van, personal interaction events, allowing you to see history in its most powerful iteration. We look forward to having you join us for an unforgettable experience.
Expert Historical Tours, LLC is a new venture designed to provide a broad range of historical tours and conferences for the historical community. Our goal is to provide first rate historical events with the spirit of friendship and community that so many of you love to attend. At the same time, we pledge full transparency and a professional, customer centered experience. We intend to offer a wide range of historical tours covering a variety of eras of American history, including the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, and, eventually, tours of World War I and World War II sites in Europe.
EHT Kick-off Event:
The Five Battles of Winchester
While our first full-blown tours are scheduled for 2019, Expert Historical Tours (EHT) wanted to introduce ourselves with a unique tour opportunity on Saturday, November 3rd. In conjunction with the Kernstown Battlefield Association, EHT presented “The Five Battles of Winchester,” a day of lectures and tours from the authors and leading authorities of all five battles in the Winchester area (the First and Second Battles of Kernstown, and the First, Second, and Third Battles of Winchester). On a beautiful, crisp autumn day, a sold-out crowd of nearly 50 enthusiasts joined Scott Patchan, Gary Ecelbarger, and Eric Wittenberg for a day-long look at these crucial battles in the Shenandoah Valley. The Kernstown Battlefield Association provided an excellent lunch, and as tour guides, we waived our usual fees. The profit from the event went towards the KBA and its programs.
A few comments from attendees:
“Concise, informative discussion for the advanced enthusiast yet still clear enough for a novice to follow. The Kernstown event was really well done!”
“I attended a seminar/tour on the Five Battles of Winchester held by the Kernstown Battlefield Association and Expert Historical Tours. It was a wonderful day. Everything was well done. Interesting lectures and well led tours. Loved it!”
“A superb day on the battles of Winchester!”
“Excellent initial event sponsored by Expert Historical Tours on the Five Battles of Winchester. Kudos to guest speaker Gary Ecelbarger. Best wishes to Scott, Eric, and Keith on their new venture, looking forward to attending many more.”
“This will be the place to go for great battlefield experiences. Make sure you follow this page for upcoming tour dates!”
As the 2018 American History Lecture and Touring season comes to a close, Expert Historical Tours appreciates the support received for its kick-off event. We look forward to upcoming tours in 2019…see our schedule below and stay tuned for more announcements!
Mark your calendars
We are finalizing an exciting mix of tours for the 2019 campaign, and want to announce several planned events, as of this date. Stay tuned for more details, additional events, and links to allow you to register for these one-of-a-kind opportunities to tour with the experts!
July 12 - 14, 2019:
Cavalry Fest, Part 1
Expert Historical Tours invites you to accompany one of the nation’s most prolific authors and cavalry experts on the first leg of an annual series; a spectacular three-day weekend that treads the ancestral hoof prints of America’s classic Civil War cavalry actions, beginning at Brandy Station and galloping through Trevilian Station and Yellow Tavern.
August 7-11, 2019:
Stonewall Jackson's World-Famous 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign
Expert Historical Tours anchors its inaugural 2019 season with a comprehensive 4-day investigation of the 1862 events in the Shenandoah Valley, led by THE most prolific author of the campaign and aided by an equally experienced Valley veteran – each has 25 years of experience exploring and professionally touring within this inimitable Blue Ridge-Allegheny corridor. Based out of Harrisonburg, centrally located within the Valley, this EHT tour promises to educate, enlighten and entertain with the expertise and experience of its leaders.
August 28-Sept 1, 2019:
Little Big Horn and the Sioux War of 1876
Another expertly-led program, this one by Jim Hessler and based in Montana. EHT will guide you through the unadulterated landscapes of yesteryear, including the scene of Custer's Last Stand.
October 10-13, 2019:
The Chickamauga Campaign - Between the Rock and a Hard-Fought Place
Dave Powell, THE pre-eminent author and expert of this campaign, will lead you through one of the most deadly battles of the Civil War.
July 12-14,2019: Gettysburg – The First J
Details to be announced. $550
1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign Tour Details
In the annals of world military history, few campaigns have captured the fascination and imagination with a tighter grip than the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. This momentous spring within the Blue Ridge corridor made Major General Thomas J. Jackson – the man known as “Stonewall” – the most famous military figure throughout America and beyond and whose troops marched themselves into worldwide recognition and admiration. Not to be overlooked is the efforts of the Union combat soldier, young and older men who proved their valor time and time again on Valley battlefields. Their story, though not nearly as well known, in many instances during the spring of 1862 is no less admirable and no less compelling than that of their Confederate counterparts.
Surprisingly, today’s student of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 has a much greater opportunity to understand and appreciate this spectacle than the reader and tourist of yesteryear. A current quarter-century renaissance of literature dedicated to the campaign has greatly magnified what was only a handful of publications prior to 1990. Several hundred battlefield acreage have opened to the public this century as have vast improvements in interpretive signage throughout the Valley. Seemingly every year, valuable new first-hand accounts have come to light to challenge our traditional understanding of movements and actions associated with the campaign.
About our Guides:
Gary Ecelbarger is widely recognized as the leading authority of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. He has published three books about the campaign and a fourth dedicated to the winter prelude to it. Additionally he has authored over a dozen published essays, monographs, and articles dedicated to this campaign -- including three Blue & Gray MagazineGeneral’s Tours published within the past eight years. A charter member of the Kernstown Battlefield Association, Ecelbarger is responsible for successful preservation and interpretive efforts throughout the Valley. He is currently writing a book dedicated to the final two weeks of this campaign.
Scott Patchan is an expert of the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign with two dozen years of experience studying and professionally touring its components. A reigning authority of Civil War history in the Valley, Mr. Patchan has served as an officer of the Kernstown Battlefield Association and has led preservation efforts throughout this century. An indefatigable researcher of 1862 events and personalities, he has also authored five books and numerous monographs about the 1864 Valley Campaign.
Wednesday evening (August 7): An overview of this world-famous campaign is in the offing on the eve of the thorough 4-day comprehensive and chronological exploration of it. Our experts will set the scene with a contextual presentation with a focus on the winter campaign (January – March, 1862) leading up to the sites to be seen beginning on our opening day in the field.
Thursday (August 8): We begin our spring campaign at our first of ten buildings we will see on this tour where Stonewall Jackson held his headquarters: The George Hupp house in Strasburg, where on the morning of March 23, 1862, Jackson sent his depleted army northward to re-claim Winchester as his base of operation. We next head to Kernstown where we will thoroughly explore the March 23 1862 battlefield, currently preserved to highlight its 19thCentury features. After lunch, we’ll pursue Jackson’s retreating army southward as we head up the Valley Pike, heading into 1860s Valley features – natural and manmade -- and stop at sites including the McGinnis House, Stony Creek, the North Branch Bridge, and Meem’s Bottom. As we peer toward Rude’s Hill we will absorb new theories about Confederate high command’s involvement in Jackson’s campaign. We’ll end our first tour day by following Jackson’s route around the Massanutten Mountain to the Argenbright House at Conrad’s Store (now called Elkton), the fifth Stonewall Jackson headquarters still standing, where we will learn why this dwelling should be considered the most important and unheralded building of the entire 1862 Valley Campaign.
Friday (August 9). We begin with a short jaunt to the Virginia Central Railroad, where we will discuss how and speculate why Jackson and his army double-backed into the Valley after leaving it through Brown’s Gap. From there we head westward through Staunton and into the Alleghenies where we pick up clashing armies at the McDowell Battlefield. Here we recount the blow-by-blow action of May 8, 1862 at the best preserved but least-visited battlefield of this campaign. After lunch, we will go eastward to return to the Valley. We will stop at Mount Solon, where Jackson and Richard Ewell met to discuss future plans in the Valley. We will follow Jackson’s route across New Market Gap to White House Bridge. From there it is “down” the Luray Valley, including a unique stop at Compton’s Creek, where the sparkling oration of a Maryland colonel prevented a mutiny of his regiment. We will end our tour day at Front Royal, where we will recount the movements and actions of the surprisingly daylong struggle of May 23, 1862. Our tour day ends with a cliffhanger: we will head back to our hotel prepared to wrap up the battle the following day.
Saturday (August 10). Our first stop this day will be in Strasburg with a return to the George Hupp House which served as Major General Nathaniel Banks’s headquarters while Jackson crushed his left flank at Front Royal. We then will ride halfway between the two towns to Buckton Station and recount the significant cavalry battle led by Brigadier General Turner Ashby on May 23, 1862. From there we will follow Confederate cavalry to and through Front Royal and head northward on the pike to the exciting cavalry charge at Fairview. After a short stop at Double Tollgate then head over to the original Cedarville Crossroads and visit the eighth Stonewall Jackson headquarters site of the tour. After lunch, we’ll follow Jackson to the Valley Pike and continue our Valley chronology with skirmish stops at Middletown and Newtown, then down the Pike to cover the Battle of Winchester of May 25, 1862. From there we will head to Charles Town and Harpers Ferry to cover Jackson’s fourth trip there in three years. The rest of our afternoon will trace the impressive path of Jackson’s Foot Cavalry to escape a trap at Strasburg and afterwards constantly harassed by the equally impressive pursuit of Bayard’s Flying Brigade. Our tour day ends with this clash of foot cavalry at Chestnut Ridge, near Harrisonburg, where on May 6, 1862 this encounter marked the only time during the entire 1862 campaign where a commissioned general was killed in action.
Sunday (August 11). Our final tour day promises to be an exciting one as we enter June portion of the 1862 campaign. We’ll head back to the Luray Valley and follow the route of Shields’ Union division to Columbia Bridge. From there, we’ll travel to the village of Port Republic and the dramatic action of June 8 at the North River Bridge. From there it is onward to the Cross Keys Battlefield where we will explore newly opened sites and also explore privately owned ones. After lunch, we will thoroughly explore the killing ground at the June 9 Battle of Port Republic, including the famous coaling and wheatfield of the bloodiest battlefield of the entire 1862 campaign.
About Expert Historical Tours
Meet the Founding Experts
As professional History Guides, we excel at helping present comprehensive historical tours. We strive to provide truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences, led by authorities on the topic. We want to share our knowledge and passion for history with you, and look "to Educate, to Enlighten, and to Entertain. Join us for a unique look at history...with experts.
Scott Patchan is a battlefield guide and a leading scholar on the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. He has written four books on the region and dozens of articles in publications such as Blue and Gray, North and South and Civil War Times. He also serves as a member of the Kernstown Battlefield Board of Directors and on the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation’s Resource Protection committee. His most recent publications include The Last Battle of Winchester: Sheridan, Early and The Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 to September 19, 1864; Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and The Struggle for Chinn Ridge; The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton and Shenandoah Summer:
Eric J. Wittenberg is an award-winning historian, blogger, speaker and tour guide. His specialty is Civil War cavalry operations, and much of his work has focused on the Gettysburg Campaign. He is the author of 22 published books on the Civil War (and one on baseball!) and more than three dozen articles that have appeared in various national magazines. He is also deeply involved in battlefield preservation work and often assists the Civil War Trust with its efforts, and is also a member of the Governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, and was educated at Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is an attorney in private practice. He and his wife Susan and their four golden retrievers reside in Columbus, Ohio.
Eric maintains a personal blog, Rantings of a Civil War Historian.
Keith Kehlbeck is a writer, historian, and marketing consultant with clients in the hospitality, nonprofit, and publishing sectors. A veteran of Civil War touring and symposia, his critically acclaimed book, Gone to God: A Civil War Family's Ultimate Sacrifice, published in 2013, tells the story of loss and remembrance using previously unpublished primary source materials. He is currently working on a book about Old Capitol Prison, "the Bastille of the North."
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Expert Historical Tours
P.O. Box 1306
Kilmarnock, VA 22482