To commemorate The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Fox offers five programs that explore several different aspects of the war from several points of view. For a weekend event or re-enactment, he would be happy to present several of these programs with a bulk discount if you book more than one. Follow this link for lesson plans and Click Here to purchase a CD.
Black Jack Logan: Who was John A. Logan? Was he: General Grant’s favorite Civil War officer, OR one of Illinois’ most powerful Senators, OR Founder of Memorial Day as a National Holiday, OR Mark Twain’s favorite public speaker… Or all of the above? As one historian has said, John A Logan was the most important character of the 19th century who is completely forgotten in the 21st. How does a man go from small town lawyer to Vice Presidential Candidate? What pushed him from becoming Abraham Lincoln’s bitter rival to campaigning for Lincoln’s re-election? How does an avid racist and author of Illinois’ Black Laws become an advocate for African American Civil Rights and education? Spend an hour with this enigmatic character as personified by Brian Fox Ellis and maybe you will better understand why Frederick Douglas said, if a man like Black Jack Logan can have a change of heart then there is hope for everyone.
Captain Henry Detweiller on The Role of Steamboatin’ in the Union Victory! Based on the pilot’s logs of Captain Detweiller, Brian “Fox” Ellis steps on stage immersing the audience in the vital, though unsung role of steamboats in the siege of Vicksburg, the capture of Natchez, and the horrors of Shiloh. Captain Henry Detweiller was there and shares an eyewitness account. He delivered troops and supplies during the Civil War, was a friend of Lincoln and rival of Mark Twain! Fox brings these stories to life in a first person monologue that shares a unique voice in this important chapter of river history. Fox is also the Riverlorian for the Spirit of Peoria.
Civil War Ghosts and Legends – True stories and period literature are woven with traditional songs and poetry from the most un-civil war. Join Brian “Fox” Ellis as he takes listeners back in time to the bloody battlefields, and gruesome field hospitals of America’s deadliest war. Fox recites poems by Walt Whitman and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, interspersing his rich knowledge of the war with horror stories by Civil War soldier/reporter Ambrose Bierce and folksongs by Stephen Foster.
A Soldier’s Tale: The Civil War from the Front Lines – In this dynamic performance storyteller and author Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into the shoes of three soldiers to explore the war and its aftermath in American History. In the persona of Mathias Stritt, a German immigrant and first to enlist in Peoria, we hear the overview of the war from Shiloh to the burning of Atlanta and Sherman’s march to the sea. General David Perkins Greer created the Illinois 77th Regiment and fought alongside Grant and Sherman. Robert Avery fought in the Red River and Mobile Campaigns, was captured and spent much of the war in the notorious prison camp of Andersonville.
Walt Whitman’s Lincoln - Lincoln was a fan of Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, reading excerpts to clients in his Springfield law office; the one time he took the poetry home Mary Todd threatened to burn it! Whitman’s most famous poems, “Oh Captain, My Captain” and “When Lilacs Last Bloomed” were written as eulogies for this martyred hero. After Lincoln’s assassination Whitman gave regular lectures on Lincoln to rave reviews. Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into Whitman’s shoes to recreate a program he delivered on the Life of Lincoln woven with his Civil War poems and recollections of their misty morning encounter during the war.
And here is a program I helped Barry Cloyd to research and write. Please Contact Fox if interested in hosting this or any of these Civil War programs:
James Henry Munroe – The Drummer Boy of Shiloh: With more than 2000 Civil War songs to choose from, many written by the soldiers themselves, let the Drummer Boy of Shiloh be your guide on a tour of the Civil War through its music. He was only 12 years old when the War Between the States began, but he volunteered. He marched with General Fremont, General Buell and General Grant. On a Sunday morning in April, 1862 he found himself on the front lines of Shiloh, TN, near a little church of that name. He fought in 27 major battles. After the war he settled in Peoria, Illinois, where he taught music at Peoria Central High School, led several fine orchestras and collected Civil War music. Join singer/songwriter Barry Cloyd as he steps into the shoes of Munroe to explore the history of the war through songs famous and less well known.