Gary Ecelbarger
Civil War Historian and Lincoln Scholar

Gary Ecelbarger is the author of numerous 19th century non-fiction works including The day Dixie Died: The Battle of Atlanta, and The great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination. He has also released biographies of Civil War generals “Black Jack” Logan and Frederick W. Lander, as well as military histories of the Shenendoah Valley campaign and the First Battle of Kemstown. He is a leading authority of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley and has been consulted frequently for historical interpretations of Civil War battlefields in the Valley. He has also emerged as a Lincoln scholar and has divided his spare research and touring time in the Rockies and on Revolutionary War sites.


Born and raised in upstate New York, Gary Ecelbarger grew up with a fascination for history and science and a burning desire to write. He received an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Nutritional Biochemistry in 1989 and spent the next 16 years working in hospital intensive care units, teaching medical students, and conducting clinical research.


But beginning in the 1990’s Ecelbarger also combined his love of history and writing. After publishing magazine articles and book reviews, he wrote his first book, We Are in for It!, which was published in 1997 and featured as an editor’s choice for the History Book Club. That same year, Time-Life Books hired Ecelbarger as a consultant and writer for two volumes of its Voices of the Civil War series.


Eight years, two more books and a dozen articles later, Ecelbarger quit his day job at the end of 2005 to dedicate his complete attention to writing, researching, touring, and interpreting American history.


Gary currently lives 15 miles west of Washington, D.C., with his wife, a Georgetown professor, and three school-aged children.

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The Day Dixie Died
The Battle of Atlanta
Thomas Dunne Books

The only book dedicated to the day-long Battle of Atlanta, the most decisive battle in the most decisive campaign of the Civil War The Battle of Atlanta,...

The Great Comeback
How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination
Thomas Dunne Books

In the fall of 1858, Abraham Lincoln looked to be anything but destined for greatness. Just shy of his fiftieth birthday, Lincoln was wallowing in the depths...

Abraham Lincoln Under the Radar: The riveting story of how a two-time senate loser won his party’s presidential nomination.
Lincoln’s Life Lessons: Ten guidelines that form the blueprint of a successful life and career, gleaned from America's most fascinating historical figure.
Abraham Lincoln’s Most Underrated Speech: The spellbinding story behind a little-known speech Lincoln delivered in 1859, and its impact on his election to President of the United States one year later.
Channeling Abe - A Personal Quest to Follow Lincoln’s Route to Become a Self-Made Man: A Lincoln author reveals the story behind his conversion from a 20-year career in science and medicine to a self-taught historian and writer.

Praise for The Day Dixie Died
“Noted Civil War historian Gary Ecelbarger has written the definitive study of the Battle of Atlanta... In this deeply researched work, Ecelbarger not only provides the clearest and most detailed account ever written of the battle itself, but he also explains clearly and convincingly what was at stake. His analyses of the strengths and foibles of the leading figures in the battle are exceptionally insightful, and his treatment of the suffering of the men in the ranks most poignant.”
—Peter Cozzens, author of Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign

“[Gary Ecelbarger’s] research is full and exhaustive, his judgments mature, and his narrative style engaging." —William C. Davis, editor of The History Book Club Review

Praise for The Great Comeback
“With impressive research and engaging prose Ecelbarger shows a fact of Lincoln’s rise to the presidency that has never before been explored and in the process weaves a tale that is as interesting as it is inspiring.”
—Steven E. Woodworth, author of Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee1861--1865

“This is a rousing—yet authoritatively researched—account of one of the most dramatic, unlikely, and history-altering presidential conventions ever….Lincoln emerges as a brilliant, determined, and lucky politician, and Gary Ecelbarger as a major force in Lincoln scholarship.”
—Harold Holzer, Lincoln: President-Elect