Gregg Biggs talks about the Tennessee Civil War flags book he is working on: part one

CWG: Could you describe the project-book you’re working on?  How did you come about deciding to write this book?

Well I fell into it actually and not by circumstances that I would choose.  The former curator of the Tennessee State Museum, Sheila Greene, passed away from cancer a few years ago.  She was not only an outstanding curator but was also working on doing a flags book for the museum that is, and will be, encyclopedic in nature.  The project sat dormant for a time until 2007 when thanks to a special appropriation from the state legislature, I was brought on board to complete the research and write it.

I had done some work with and for Sheila already and so was known to the museum while I was living in Ohio.  It helped, I am sure, that I had moved to Tennessee to about 50 miles from Nashville where the state museum is located.

Everyone who knew Sheila really misses her greatly.

CWG: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come about having such a strong interest in the Civil War?

I am a military historian with a wide-ranging interest that includes military flags of the 18th and 19th Century.  I am also the son of a US Air Force officer which is were that interest started.  I was into the Civil War as a kid but really got into it when as a 5th grader in a Chicago suburb a classmate brought a full Union sergeant’s uniform and equipment to Show and Tell.  Her name was Elizabeth Bloss and she told the tale of her ancestor, Sgt. John Bloss, who lead the patrol that found wrapped around three cigars, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s operational plans for the 1862 Maryland Campaign.  This, of course, led to the battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg.

I suppose it was this direct connection of a classmate and her ancestor that really spurred me to getting into it a lot more than I already was.

Other than that I have lived across the country and even overseas and attended college in Florida and Texas with a journalism interest but got into business instead and all the while kept nurturing my love of history.  I am very grateful to say that I get to lecture on the Civil War across the country to Civil War Roundtables and history groups and on topics that include flags, the Civil War in the Western Theater and some other things.  I also just did my first Revolutionary War lecture this past weekend.

Part one of ten: The Civil War Gazette interview with historian and author Greg Biggs

Travellers Rest Symposium on Civil War Cavalry
Image courtesy of The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. Biggs is on the far right.

Left to right, Eric J. Wittenburg, Brian Steel Wills, Myers Brown, and Greg Biggs.

Also: see this article from Civil War News

The following images are all courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum

35-star U.S. Cavalry.jpg by you.
35-star U.S. Cavalry Guidon, Unknown Regiment (after July 4, 1863). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 2.194 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
32nd TN Infantry flag.jpg by you.
First National Flag, 32nd Tennessee Infantry. Presented by the ladies of Franklin, Tenn., while the regiment was stationed in Bowling Green, Ky. (December/January 1861–1862). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 10.342. (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
17th Tennessee Infantry.jpg by you.
Hardee Pattern Battle Flag, 17th Tennessee Infantry (circa 1863). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 78.19.50 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
11th TN Infantry flag.jpg by you.
Dalton-Issue Battle Flag of the 11th Tennessee Infantry (1864). Tennessee State Museum Collection, acc. no. 3.2 (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)
18th Tennessee color bearers.jpg by you.
18th Tennessee Infantry Color Bearers. L-R: Dr. Nat Gooch, Logue Nelson and William McKay. Published in Confederate Veteran, 1911. (Note: At the Battle of Murfreesboro, 10 men were killed or wounded bearing this flag, including Gooch and McKay.) (Courtesy Tennessee State Museum)

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