National Park Service Historian Emeritus Ed Bearss to Speak about the Battle of Second Manassas
WASHINGTON, D.C.— On August 29, 1862, 2nd Lieutenant David Potts, Company I, 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was killed in the dense woods near an unfinished railroad cut at the Battle of Second Manassas. Moving against a strong position held by troops commanded by General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Potts’ regiment charged with fixed bayonets and briefly overran the Confederate line. When they encountered enemy fire in their front and flank, they were forced to withdraw, leaving behind 65 casualties – among them was Lieutenant David Potts.
National Park Service (NPS) Historian Emeritus, noted author and combat veteran of World War II, Edwin Cole Bearss, will present a lecture entitled, “2nd Lieutenant David Potts and the Battle of Second Manassas” on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 in the Sidney Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior (DOI) building at 1849 C Street, NW.
The lecture is free to the public and will begin at noon. It is being held in conjunction with the on-going exhibition in the DOI museum, “The Power of Context: National Park Service Museums at 100 Years.” In the museum exhibit is the Model 1850 foot officer’s sword carried by Lt. Potts at the Battle of Second Manassas. He is thought to have damaged the sword and scabbard when he fell in battle. The sword and scabbard, now in the NPS collection, was donated to Manassas National Battlefield Park in 1982 by his family, along with a photographic portrait of Potts in uniform.
The lecture offers a wonderful opportunity for the public to learn more about the Battle of Second Manassas from one of the nation’s most noted historians and a gifted lecturer. It also provides a chance to visit the Department of the Interior Museum, located in the Main Interior Building, and see artifacts from the outstanding National Park Service collections.
Bearss, a well known presenter and lecturer among Civil War enthusiasts and historians, is a lively and animated speaker with the uncanny ability to breathe life into whatever topic he is speaking about. A former Chief Historian for the NPS and now Historian Emeritus, Bearss continues to write about the Civil War, lectures frequently to Civil War Roundtable groups, and is a renowned battlefield guide.
Born in Billings, Montana in 1923, Bearss grew up within a bike ride of the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Upon graduation from high school in 1941, he joined the United States Marine Corps. During World War II, he was with the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion and 1st Marine Division in the invasion of Guadalcanal and New Britain. He was badly wounded by machine gunfire and spent the next 26 months in various hospitals.
Mr. Bearss studied at Georgetown University where he received a B.S degree in Foreign Service in 1949. He later earned an M.A. in history from Indiana University. His NPS career began in 1955 at Vicksburg National Military Park where he served as the park historian. While there he was instrumental in locating the resting place of the Union gunboat Cairo. In 1981 Bearss became the Chief Historian for the National Park Service, a position he held until he retired in 1995. Mr. Bearss has completed several detailed studies for the NPS and has authored many books. In 1990, he was a featured commentator on the PBS Program, The Civil War, and more recently on the Arts and Entertainment Channel’s Civil War Journal.
The DOI Museum is open weekdays except holidays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the third Saturday of every month. Admission is free; adult visitors must present a photo identification to enter the building.
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