Earlier this month, I had the privilege to interview my friend and mentor, historian Greg Mertz, on the occasion of his retirement from the National Park Service after a career of more than three and a half decades. Our wide-ranging conversation touched on some of his favorite memories, his “Civil War origin story,” his ECW book Attack at Daylight and Whip Them: The Battle of Shiloh, and his work supporting battlefield preservation. (Greg is the 2018 recipient of ECW’s Brig. Gen. Thomas Greely Stevenson Award.)
Near the end of the interview, some tech issues put a literal buzz in Greg’s voice, and in the edited version of the podcast and YouTube video, I had to edit out the final question: “What’s next for you after retirement?”
However, he offered an answer that I wanted to pass along. The following comes from the Zoom transcript of our interview:
Chris Mackowski: “What’s next for you after retirement?”
Greg Mertz: “I’m not exactly sure, but it might connect to your question before about preservation. I’ve had some conversations with the American Battlefield Trust. For quite some time, we’ve been discussing the possibility of a Virginia state park covering Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain and a friends group to support it. An important part of what I did at [Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park] was around the volunteer program.
One of the things that they’re looking for is someone that might be a chair or a co-chair of a friends group for the state park, and I’d be glad to get involved in something like that. So, that’s something that has been kind of in my direction that I’m interested in.
Maybe Emerging Civil War has other battlefield topics they would like somebody to explore and write!