T. Harry Gatton Award Recipients

The T. Harry Gatton award, presented annually since 2008 by the Raleigh Civil War Round Table, was made possible through a generous endowment by Mary Gatton in the memory of her late husband as a way to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the understanding of and appreciation for the American Civil War.   The award is typically presented at the January meeting, which for over 9 years has featured Ed Bearss as the main speaker at the meeting.

Thomas Harry Gatton (born March 10, 1918) was a native of Iredell County, NC, graduated from UNC at Chapel Hill where he was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and served in the US Navy during WW II, achieving the rank of Lt. Commander.

A former newspaper editor and radio station director, his career included service as Executive Secretary to US Senator Sam J. Ervin and Executive Vice President of the NC Bankers Association.   He served on numerous boards, authored 10 published banking histories, and was chairman of the NC Historical Commission.   He was the recipient of numerous awards including the Christopher Crittenden Cup for the preservation of NC history.   He died July 28, 2001.

  • 2017 - Wade Sokolosky
  • Wade is a native of Beaufort, N.C., who graduated from East Carolina and is a 25-year U.S. Army veteran.   He coauthored No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar: Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro, and wrote Final Roll Call: Confederate Losses during the Carolinas Campaign and To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming: The Battle of Wise’s Forks, March 1865.   Wade also spoke about Averasboro on the RCWRT’s documentary film about the end of the war in North Carolina.

    Wade was recognized for “his important efforts to study, preserve and share the Civil War heritage of his native North Carolina.   His research and publications have added to the understanding of some of North Carolina’s most significant military engagements, and he has willingly and freely shared his knowledge with students of the Civil War by lecturing, leading battlefield tours, and extending fellowship.”

  • 2016 - Ernest Dollar
  • Ernie was recognized for his many endeavors related to Civil War education and preservation including diligent research into the last weeks of the war and leading the efforts to preserve remaining portions of the Morrisville Station battlefield.   The group also acknowledged Ernie’s many public history activities that have included service as executive director of the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill and currently as the executive director of the City of Raleigh Museum.

    Recently, during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the war, he tirelessly presented programs and led tour groups, educating citizens about their local Civil War heritage.   Ernie also spoke about the surrender of Raleigh and Morrisville on the RCWRT’s documentary film about the end of the war in North Carolina.

  • 2015 - Philip Gerard
  • Philip Gerard was born in 1955 and grew up in Newark, Delaware.   He earned a bachelors degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Delaware and received his master’s in creative writing.   He was a faculty member at Arizona State University and currently serves as the chairman of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.   He is the author of two historical novels set in North Carolina, Hatteras Light and Cape Fear Rising as well as a recent work featuring Paul Revere and several non-fiction works.

    Philip has written a series of articles describing life and events during the Civil War in North Carolina that have been published monthly in Our State magazine.   Philip’s tales of Tarheels during the Civil War may be read at https://www.ourstate.com/civil-war-philip-gerard/.

  • 2014 - Tom Kearney
  • Tom Kearney was born and raised in Goldsboro and is a 1965 cum laude graduate from Wake Forest as a history major.   He completed his PhD coursework in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   Tom taught American history at N.C. State University from 1970-1978 and now has a radio program on WPTF 680 AM (Raleigh) at 9 p.m.   Among his guests have been members of the RCWRT.

  • 2013 - David Waller
  • David Waller was born and raised in Kinston, N.C., and attended North Lenoir High School and N.C. Wesleyan College.   He is known as “The Civil War Grave Hunter” for his efforts at locating and photographing more than 700 Civil War generals and other notables.

    David has shared his passion in dozens of presentations to schools, history and heritage groups, churches, and other organizations.   He also has been featured on radio and television programs, as well as newspaper articles on topics related to the Civil War.   David has led many tours of historical sites as well.   He has served as President of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table as well as its Program Chair.

  • 2012 - Leslie Rivers
  • Leslie has taught history at both the high school and middle school level, and currently teaches at Anson Middle School.   She also has worked diligently to update the historical records of Anson and Union counties.   She is a member of a number of organizations and an inspiring educator.

    Since 1993, Leslie has been associated with the North Carolina Museum of History as a sponsor of history clubs.   Under her direction, her student teams have won several awards through the museum.   In 2007 and 2010, films she made with students related to the Civil War in Anson and Union counties won a state history competition and were shown at the museum throughout the following year.   Her students also won a state history competition for photo-graphs they took.   Leslie earned her bachelor’s degree in history and her masters in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

  • 2011 - Mark Bradley
  • Mark is recognized nationally for his knowledge of the battle of Bentonville and the surrender of Confederate forces at Durham Station.   He also has supported local preservation efforts.   Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., he was a member of the RCWRT.

    Mark currently is a staff historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C.   He is an award winning author, having written the books This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place, Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville, and Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in North Carolina During Reconstruction.   Mark also has authored numerous other articles and has written several book reviews. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at N.C. State University and both his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • 2010 - Charles Hawks
  • Charles Hawks was recognized for his long-standing, valuable, and far-reaching contributions to the understanding of and appreciation for the American Civil War.   Mr. Hawks was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table and has been its greatest ambassador.

    In addition to serving as the editor of the Knapsack and on the Board of Directors, he worked tirelessly to grow our membership, plan trips and other special events, and graciously hosted members and guests in his home.   The Board of Directors and the General Membership gratefully acknowledge Mr. Hawks’ key role in the success of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table and his efforts at educating others about and generating interest in the American Civil War.

  • 2009 - Nora Brooks
  • Nora Brooks was recognized for her significant contributions to the understanding of and appreciation for the American Civil War through her edifying and entertaining portrayals of Millie Childe Lee, Mary Anna Jackson, and Julia Dent Grant.   In addition to her engaging first person, one-woman performances of Civil War personalities, the Board of Directors and the General Membership gratefully acknowledge Ms. Brooks’ role in teaching our youth about the Civil War and her beneficence to the Raleigh Civil War Round Table.

  • 2008 - Ed Bearss
  • The first Gatton Award was presented to Ed Bearss in recognition of his significant contributions to the understanding of and appreciation for the American Civil War through his renowned tours, talks, and books, as well as his tireless efforts in support of the preservation of countless Civil War battlefield sites and the memory of those who fought and died on them.

    In addition to these and many other contributions and achievements, the Board of Directors and the General Membership of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table gratefully acknowledge Mr. Bearss’ role in the success of this and numerous other Civil War Round Tables.