I am Kyle M. Bondo — US Navy veteran, amateur historian, and professional podcaster — and I would like to thank you for coming with me on this journey!
I have been following the history of the American Civil War since I was a knee-high to a grasshopper. After endlessly exploring almost every corner of every preserved battlefield in Northern Virginia, I created this podcast to share what I have learned with you.
I don’t always get everything right and I often have to overcome some linguistic challenges (e.g. saying cavalry instead of calvary), but my hope is to create a podcast that educates as much as it entertains.
My goal is to see this podcast series completed by 2025 so that it can become a testimony to what it cost to carry out the promise of the Declaration of Independence.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to me tell this story. You are appreciated!
About the Show
War Yankee - Overland is my American Civil War history podcast that follows General Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac on its 47-day, 113-mile military campaign south from Culpeper to Petersburg, Virginia. If you want to hear about the origins of War Yankee please listen to the very first episode:
How to Listen
War Yankee has two seperate tracks for you to listen to:
War Yankee - Overland is a stand alone series following Grant’s Overland Campaign as it happened during May-June 1864. I pull all my information from several sources (both dusty and digital) and do my best to be as accurate as possible. In this series I also use music and sound effects to create soundscapes of what it might have been like to be in the middle of these battles.
War Yankee - Intelligence is where I started putting all the research notes that didn’t fit into the Overland series. These are short, one-off episodes that focus on a very specific topic.
Podcast Production History
War Yankee - Overland was my 7th podcast and the first Civil War history podcast created for Gagglepod. Premiering in May 2021, the show is an attempt to document my real world tour of every historical location, battlefield/skimish, and road-side marker that was connected to Grant’s Overland Campaign in 1864 that I took during the Pandemic Summer of 2020.
For 3-months, I spent every day retracing the 113-mile path of Grant’s Army of the Potomac from their first step out of Culpeper, Virginia, to their last step at the onset of the Seige of Petersburg, Virginia. Each day I matched the historical event from 156 years before with the real location then set off to find it, explore it, and attempt to understand it. The end result was hundreds of hiked miles, hundreds of journal entries, thousands of photos, and an appreciation for the how and why each battle went the way it did.
The journey became very personal to me as I discovered countless heroic yet horrifying stories of war, and stood where hundreds (if not thousands) of Americans had been wounded or killed. I cannot tell you how many graveyards visited nor how many isolated and overgrown gravesites I found along the way. But what I can tell you is that you cannot comprehend how many soldiers died during this 47-day campaign until you walk the path. It is number that quickly becomes overwhelming when you see where it all happened yourself and truly understand why historians call Virginia the most expensive real-estate in the United States of America.
What I also discovered is how careless we have been in preserving these battlefields for future generations. Too many times did I come across a battlefield where a key historical location was now a major road, housing project, shopping mall, or convenience store. Equally distrubing were the number of well preserved “Confederate” locations while the “Union” location was all but forgotten. An unfortunate consequence of how the former Confederate politicians within the Commonwealth of Virginia dealt with remembering the Overland Campaign.
Meawnhile, while I did manage to complete my real world battlefield tour with the exploration of Petersburg in July 2020, I was only capable of producing the first 12 episodes of War Yankee - Overland before my podcast production studio Gagglepod had to close down in October 2021. Over the next year, I tried to restart War Yankee several times but was unable to come back to it. It wasn’t for lack of content because I had more content then I knew what to do with. No, it was a rough year full of changes, travel, and health issues that make producing a podcast difficult.
It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to visit the Vicksburg battlefield in Mississippi that the need to produce War Yankee called to me. I found the exact location that Grant negotiated the surrender of Vicksburg under a tree just off the side of the road. If you blinked you would have miss it, but there it was — a hidden treasure. That is when I decided to relaunching the show. First, moved the show to my own podcast media hosting company called Oncetold in Fort Worth, Texas. Then I rebuilt the waryankee.com website. Finally, I sat down and wrote the script outlines for 20 new episodes (covering the entire Battle of the Wilderness).
Now, after over a year on hiatus, War Yankee - Overland will returned to podcasting in 2023. All that is left to do is start recording. Wish me luck!