Sean Michael Chick

Sean Michael Chick graduated from University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Communications and from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Master of Arts in History. He currently works in New Orleans, leading historic tours of his hometown. He is also a boardgame designer, concentrating on the period of Western warfare from 1685-1866. His main American Civil War research interests include Shiloh, the Army of Tennessee, New Orleans during the Civil War, P.G.T. Beauregard, the Petersburg Campaign, and Civil War tactics in relation to linear tactics from 1685-1866.

A full listing of Sean’s Emerging Civil War articles can be found here.

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Sean is also a member of the Emerging Civil War Speakers Bureau. His available presentations are listed below:

Creole General: P.G.T. Beauregard
Few Civil War Generals attracted as much debate and controversy as Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard. He combined brilliance and charisma with arrogance and histrionics. He was a Catholic Creole in a society dominated by white Protestants, which made him appear exotic next to the likes of Albert Sidney Johnston and Robert E. Lee
He was reviled by Jefferson Davis and often mocked by Mary Chesnut in her diary. Yet, he was popular with his soldiers and subordinates. Outside of Lee, he was the South’s most consistently successful army commander. Yet, he lived his life in the shadow of his one major defeat: Shiloh. After the war he was a successful railroad executive and took a stand against racism, violence, and corruption during Reconstruction. Yet, he was ousted from both railroads he oversaw and his foray into reconstruction politics came to naught. His was a life of contradictions and dreams unrealized.

Louisiana Regiments at Shiloh
Over 6,000 Louisiana men fought at Shiloh, more than any other battle of the war. They were the most diverse regiments in the Confederacy. Some took their orders in Creole French, while other units were made up of almost entirely Irish, German, and other nationalities. Cajuns and men from the pinewood region were also common. The regiments included the wealthy elite and dock-workers from the dangerous wharfs of the Mississippi River. They also had diverse experiences at Shiloh, including many friendly fire incidents and hopeless charges. These regiments formed the corps of 2 brigades which saw service on both sides of the Mississippi.

Grant’s Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign
In 1864 Ulysses S. Grant initially wanted to follow a strategy similar to George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. Realizing it was not what the Republican politicians wanted, Grant compromised and sent the 40,000 man Army of the Jame under the command of Benjamin Butler to stop the flow of reinforcements and capture Richmond if possible. Despite initial success, Butler was defeated by P.G.T. Beauregard in one of the South’s last major strategic victories.

The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864
The final act of Grant’s Overland Campaign was his drive to capture Petersburg. Despite having a numerical superiority that at one point was 5 to 1, Grant ad his generals failed to take the city in four days of heavy fighting, resulting in a long siege that put Abraham Lincoln’s reelection in jeopardy. The reasons for the defeat were exhaustion from hard fighting, a decimated officer corps, the extreme heat, and the generalship of P.G.T. Beauregard.

“They Came Only To Die”: The Battle of Nashville
On the cold hills south of Nashville an ad hoc Union army led by Goerge Thomas smashed John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee. The battle and subsequent pursuit destroyed the Confederacy’s western field army as a major force. Nashville, combined with Sherman’s March and Appomattox, ensured the Civil War would end before summer 1865. Often forgotten due to Ulysses Grant’s antipathy towards Thomas, and the fact that most of the battlefield is under suburban sprawl, Nashville was decisive and marked Thomas as one of the war’s top tacticians.

Ulysses S. Grant as a Military Commander
Proclaimed as either a drunken butcher or a military genius, Grant has always attracted praise and condemnation. Lost is the nuance of Grant’s personality and abilities. He combined a good grasp of strategy and operational maneuver with a dogged determination. In terms of logistics and his weakness for alcohol, he improved as the war went on. Yet, he was tactically deficient, preferred loyal commanders to capable ones, and lacked battlefield charisma. The portrait emerges of a highly talented but flawed commander, worthy of praise and study but not the current rash of hagiography.

“Only the Flag of the Union Greets the Sky”: Northern Generals and the Just Cause
Among scholars it is commonly believed that until recently the memory of the Civil War was dominated by the Lost Cause, leading many to erroneously think the South “lost the war but won the peace.” The North though did create a separate vision of the war, which I dubbed the Just Cause. It emphasized nationalism, patriotism, unification on Northern terms, and free labor. This memory was for a long time the creed of America and has a complicated legacy. Much of the creed was forged by Union generals such as Ulysses S. Grant, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Abner Doubleday.

The American Civil War in the Age of Horse & Musket
Often thought of as the first “modern” war, the American Civil War was among the last in which linear tactics were used. Only in 1866 were rapid fire weapons used in mass in the Austro-Prussian War, which led to a true revolution in tactics. The battles of the Civil War had more in common with Fontenoy than with Verdun, making it less a transition and more the last bow of a mode of fighting that had dominated the western world since roughly 1685.

New Orleans During the Civil War
No other Southern city was as large, diverse, and prosperous as New Orleans. As such, the war experience was varied and the population was divided. This tour of the city covers major events from the granulation of sugar cane, to secession, capture, and occupation. The city’s varied and complicated wartime experience are covered, as is the fate of its men who wore blue and gray and went off to fight in faraway places.

A Walk Among the Tombs
New Orleans is known for its cemeteries, and those related to the Civil War are no exception. no other city save Richmond has so many Confederate generals and soldiers buried in the city, although several notable Union soldiers are also entombed. This tour is flexible and can cover burials in Metairie, St. Louis No. 3, and Greenwood Cemeteries. Among the burials discussed are P.G.T. Beauregard, John Bell Hood, Richard Taylor, William Mumford, P.B.S. Pinchback, and society tombs for veterans of the Confederate army.

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  • The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864 (Potomac Books, 2015)
  • Grant’s Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, May 5-June 7, 1864 (Savas
    Beatie, 2021)
  • Dreams of Victory: P.G.T. Beauregard in the Civil War (Savas Beatie, 2022)
  • They Came Only to Die: The Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864 (Savas
    Beatie, 2023)


  • “Opportunity Knocks” in America’s Civil War (2022)

Board Games

  • Across Four Oceans
  • Hold the Line: Frederick’s War
  • The Beast at the Gates: Drewry’s Bluff 1864
  • Hell in the Pacific: Plan Orange 1931 and 1935
  • Nine Years: The War of the Grand Alliance 1688-1697
  • Horse & Musket (game series)
  • Cruel Morning: Shiloh 1862
  • Pemberton & Grant: Vicksburg Campaign of 1863
  • All for the Regiment
  • Rally ‘Round the Flag: Battles of Perryville and Stones River
  • Cradle of Civilization