On the Trail of History Video Series

This video series takes an “on location” approach to history, bringing the viewer to historic sites and discussing the broader context for the location or topic.  Topics include battlefields and event-specific sites (e.g. the Battle of Gettysburg) as well as topics that are less tangible like the development of industry or examining changes in daily life over time in the United States.

The series has several goals:

  • Create and provide public access to concise, well-researched mini-documentaries on important topics in U.S. history
  • Tell the stories of these people and places within a broader context of U.S. and World history
  • Document and preserve through video records unique historic sites for future generations
  • Raise awareness and support for preserving these sites


This is a non-profit endeavor by a professional historian to make historical knowledge more accessible to the general public (thus the decision to publish them online through YouTube).  At this time, all the equipment and work are done at my own expense and time.

As Producer, I am responsible for the videos from start to finish.  The creation process for a single video is more involved than you may first realize, and producing just one video is akin to the research and writing required for an article or book chapter.

The process includes: researching the topics and sites, creating digital maps and illustrations, scouting and arranging travel to relevant sites, directing principle photography on site, locating historical images and copyright permissions, developing and recording scripts and incidental music, and all editing/post-production work.  The videos are also closed-captioned manually for accuracy when they are posted online.

The videos and all supplemental images and materials for the series are copyrighted by Jessica A. Cannon and cannot be modified, duplicated, stored, or otherwise transmitted external to my YouTube channel without expressed written permission.

Searching the Video Listings

Several videos are currently in production, and links to each video will be added as they are completed.  Videos can be searched thematically or chronologically on this site.

Series Highlights and Recent Videos

Coming soon, a sub-series on the History of Flight (from the Wright Brothers through the Space Age), still in short 8-10 min. videos!


There will also be videos on Iron Making in America (1750-1880) and Colonial Chesapeake life as part of the main series.

You can follow the series directly by subscribing to the YouTube channel here, or check out individual videos listed below.

On the Trail of History series trailer

The Battle of Antietam