About Me

I'm Steve Light, the author behind Battlefield Back Stories. I began this blog in May of 2012 because of my fascination with the Civil War period, and my desire to express that passion through writing. I am a museum professional, and I believe that history is not just interesting stories of the past, but an essential tool to understand our present world and to make informed decisions about the future.

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 more than a decade of experience working in education and interpretation at historic sites and history museums.

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.


  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

  4. I found your blog while researching the US Regulars and was wondering if you'd be willing to share some of your sources about Silas Miller.

    1. Hi Lee,
      Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I have not done any sustained research on the US Regulars or Silas Miller. What I list in that blog post about Miller's death is really the extent of my sources. Mainly:
      - U.S. Census records found on Ancestry.com
      - His enlistment record found on Ancestry.com
      - The brief announcement found in the Rockland County Journal published on August 15, 1863. The newspaper is digitized and you can find it here: https://news.hrvh.org/veridian/?a=d&d=rocklandctyjournal18630815&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------

      I wrote the blog because I came across the notice while doing other research in the Rockland County Journal, and thought it was an interesting story to tell.

    2. Would you have any thoughts on finding info on the soldier buried next to Lt. Miller- “H. Gaertner”? No company or regiment shown on head stone. Would he likely have also been in Lt. Miller’s 12th?

      Kent Gaertner

  5. HI Steve,
    I have just finished reading your four-part blog from 2012 about the Joh Slyder Farm at GNP. My 2nd great grandfather, on my mother's side, was Maj, Homer R Stoughton of the 2nd USSS. On my father's side I have a 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Henry Basnight Jr, who fought for the 32nd NC Regiment at Oak Ridge on July 1, 1863. I believe he was wounded and captured on July 3 at Culp's Hill. I find plenty of information on Maj Stoughton, but not as much on Thomas H Basnight. I was wondering, if as a historian, you might have a suggestion on some sources I might check out. I am on Ancestry.com, but have exhausted my hints on him. I appreciate your reply. You may also email me at tjbas47@gmail.com if you want.
    Thank you.
    Tom Basnight