Historian. Gragg was born in Asheville, North Carolina, on May 28, 1950, the son of L. W. (“Skip”) Gragg, a small businessman, and Elizabeth Virginia Lunsford. In 1954 the family moved to Conway, South Carolina, where Gragg graduated from Conway High School in 1968. He attended the University of South Carolina where he obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism in 1972 and a Master of Arts degree in American History in 1979. He married Cindy Outlaw of Florence on December 22, 1973, and they have seven children.
Gragg began his writing career in broadcast news at a local radio station while in high school. While attending USC in 1971–1972, he was a member of the capitol press corps, serving as a legislative reporter for AP Sound, a division of the Associated Press. In 1972 he worked as a news editor and reporter for television station WBTW-TV in Florence. From 1974 to 1976, Gragg was news director and early anchor for WWAY-TV, Wilmington, North Carolina, and from 1976 to 1977 he was a news reporter for WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a newspaper columnist, he wrote for the Myrtle Beach Sun News (1980–1986) and the Charlotte Observer (1981–1983). Gragg served as executive editor for Pee Dee Magazine from 1991 to 1998 and presently serves as a senior editorial consultant for Rudledge Hill Press. In addition, since 1983 he has owned and managed Southern Communications Services, Inc., a marketing and public relations agency serving local, regional, and national clients.
Gragg served as director of public information for Montreat College in North Carolina in 1977–1978 and later as director of public relations at Coastal Carolina University in his hometown (1978–1983). He began teaching history courses on the U.S. military and the American Civil War at Coastal Carolina in the early 1980s and remains an adjunct faculty member in the history department there.
Gragg is the author of thirteen books on American history, including The Civil War Quiz and Fact Book (1985); Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher (1991), winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War History; The Illustrated Confederate Reader (1989), winner of the Douglas Southall Freeman Award for History; Covered with Glory: The 26 th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg (2000), winner of the James I. Robertson Award for the Best Civil War Book of the Year; Commitment to Valor: A Character Portrait of Robert E. Lee (2001); From Foxholes and Flight Decks: Letters Home from World War II (2002); From Fields of Fire and Glory: Letters of the Civil War (2002); and Lewis & Clark: On the Trail of Discovery (2003). Gragg has earned praise from historians and critics for his books that are rich with history and powerful in their message. Author and historian Clyde N. Wilson wrote about Covered with Glory, “A superb story has met a superb writer.”