About Me

I'm Steve Light, the author behind Battlefield Back Stories. I began this blog in May of 2012 because I love studying the Civil War, and I enjoy sharing that passion with others. I am a museum professional. My interests include not only studying history, but creating innovative ways to engage and educate public audiences. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History from Gettysburg College, where I also minored in Civil War Era Studies and served as the President of the Civil War Club for two years. I have a Master's Degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and a decade of experience working in the education field at historic sites and history museums. Please note that this is a personal blog that reflects my own thoughts and opinions, and is in no way connected to or affiliated with my employer, or any other organization.

I grew up in Kinderhook, New York, the home of Martin Van Buren. I first became interested in the Civil War as a freshman in high school, after reading The Killer Angels. That summer, my parents took me to Gettysburg for my birthday, and I was hooked. Since that time, my quest to understand the Civil War era has never ended. I maintain a broad interest in eighteenth and nineteenth-century American history, including aspects of political, economic, social and military history. And yet, I frequently find myself more narrowly focused on the military history of the war, especially the Army of the Potomac. I also find it fascinating to study the history of battlefield landscapes, and their evolution as commemorative landscapes.

My blog brings me a great deal of enjoyment. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts as well.


  1. Do you have any knowledge to share with me regarding the execution by firing squad of Confederate deserters? My gg grandfather was a private in the 53rd NC Inf, Co G. He was executed by firing squad in Jan 1864 while in winter quarters near Orange Courthouse, Orange, VA. I have been searching libraries, websites, and message boards for the past 6 years, trying to learn what troops were required to be present to witness the execution (his younger brother was also in Co G with him), and whether the dead were buried in unmarked graves or in a section of a military burial site. I am headed from Michigan to Orange, VA next month to try to learn more about that area, and at the present, I am doing as much digging as possible for any clues to where he may have been buried. Thank you for any suggestions you might provide.

    1. Barb,

      Sorry for the delay in responding to this. I don't have specific information for you. However, I am aware that in the winter of 1864 a number of Confederate deserters from North Carolina were executed by firing squad on the Montpelier estate (home of James Madison) in Orange. I believe that they may have an idea of where those deserters may have been buried. I know some people at Montpelier, and I'll ask around to see if I can get more particulars for you.

  2. Very nice blog. Keep up the great work !!!!

  3. Hi Steve: As you know, next year marks the 150th anniversary of the placement of the First Minnesota Volunteers urn at Gettysburg. A commemoration to honor this is in the planning stages. What we haven't been able to find is the exact date that the urn was placed and dedicated in 1867. Your piece on the urn was wonderful and we're hoping you can point us in the right direction! Tom's great-great uncle, Henry Charles Winters, was with the First Minnesota and killed at Gettysburg on July 2. Thanks, Jill MacKenzie and Tom Stack