O’Reilly graduated in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in American history from Washington & Lee University. He worked for the “Stonewall” Jackson House in Lexington, and even guest lectured at Washington & Lee on Civil War topics while still an undergraduate.
He joined the National Park Service in 1987 as a temporary historian at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, and later took a full-time position at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
He returned to Fredericksburg in 1990 to fill the permanent historian’s position at the “Stonewall” Jackson Shrine. He has also served as an historical consultant for the city of Fredericksburg and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Planning Commission. He has written numerous articles on the war in Virginia, and introductions to several books, including Phil Sheridan’s memoirs, “The History of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry,” and “The 155th Pennsylvania’s Under the Maltese Cross.”
In 1993, he released a book on the Fredericksburg campaign titled “Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg” and contributed several pieces to James M. McPherson’s Atlas of the Civil War; Civil War Regiments; Civil War, and America’s Civil War publication.
He has made appearances in several video documentaries, including “Civil War Journal.” His book, “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock,” was released by LSU Press in December 2002, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and has won the Capital District (Albany, N.Y.) 2002 Book Award. His latest book, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” was released recently.
For further information about the program, call Wayne Strong at (423) 323-2306.