National Park Service 154th Battle Anniversary Programs

Wiedrich’s New York battery monument on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg. Scott Mingus photo.

National Park Service Press Release:

The three day Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point not only in the course of the American Civil War, but also for the future of the United States of America. Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides during the 154th Anniversary for a series of free guided walks and talks that discuss, explore, and reflect on this important chapter in our nation’s history.

Note: On all park avenues please park your vehicle on the right side of the road, unless otherwise directed, with all wheels on the pavement. Schedule is subject to change.

Daily Ranger-Guided Programs
Saturday, July 1 – Monday, July 3

Battlefield in a Box: An Overview (30 minutes) – Become part of the battlefield in this interactive overview program! Join a National Park Ranger and build a map of the battlefield using props. This program is perfect for the first time visitor wanting a better understanding of the battle. Meet at Ranger Program Site 1, daily at 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.

Lincoln and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (40 minutes) – Explores the meaning and cost of the Battle of Gettysburg, and of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Find out how the National Cemetery was established, who is buried there, and why Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address still has meaning for us today. Meet at the Taneytown Road entrance to the National Cemetery, daily at 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.

Care of the Wounded (1 hour) – Over 27,000 soldiers were wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg. Explore how these men were evacuated, treated, and ultimately, how most of their lives were saved. Meet at Ranger Program Site 2 behind the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 3:00 P.M.

Civil War Soldier (1 hour) – Over 160,000 soldiers participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. Find out why they enlisted, why they fought, and what they endured during the four years of the American Civil War. Meet at Ranger Program Site 1 behind the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 2:00 P.M.

Family Activities and Hands on History
Saturday, July 1 – Monday, July 3

During the 154th Anniversary children of all ages can visit the Family Activities and Hands on History station at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Discover hands-on history stations, hourly special guest appearances called “Mystery History Guest”, and “Join the Army” programs to learn more about the people involved in, and affected by, the battle of Gettysburg.

Hands on History Play a 19th century parlor game, learn what soldiers did in their spare time, and dress up like kids who lived in the 1860’s! All this and more at our special Hands on History station! July 1-3, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Mystery History Guest (30 minutes) Meet a special visitor from the past as they share their memories of the Battle of Gettysburg! July 1-2, 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m

Join the Army! (30 minutes) Attention! Recruits are needed to enlist in the Union army! Join now and learn what it meant to be a soldier during the Civil War. This program is for children ages 5-13 only, and held outside of the Museum and Visitor Center. July 1-2: 11:00 a.m, 12:00 a.m.

Story Time! (30 minutes) Join a Park Educator as they read aloud from a picture book, or parts of a chapter book, followed by an indoor game, activity, or visitor from the past… and then instructions for an outdoor adventure with your family!  1:00 p.m. July 1: B is For Battle Cry, July 2: The Last Brother, July 3: I am Abraham Lincoln
                       
Family History Hikes
Park Educators Barbara Sanders and John Hoptak will lead these special hour long programs just for children and their families. Follow in the footsteps of key units and leaders during fighting at Gettysburg and discover the amazing stories of real people who took part in the Battle of Gettysburg.


July 1, 2:00 p.m.
Sacrifice and the 16th Maine

On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, the 275 soldiers of the 16th Maine were told to hold their position “at all costs.” The regiment knew it was to be sacrificed in order to buy some critical time. Discover the sacrifice of the 16th Maine and assume the identity of one of its soldiers. Meet and park at Auto Stop 2, Eternal Light Peace Memorial.

July 2, 2:00 p.m.
Courage and the 9th Massachusetts Battery

How did the soldiers of the 9th Massachusetts respond and act during their very first battle? With remarkable courage! Come learn the story of these brave artillerists and retrace their route while they battled valiantly against hundreds of hard-charging, veteran soldiers from South Carolina and Mississippi.  Meet at Auto Tour Stop 10, the Peach Orchard. Park along Sickles Avenue. Do Not Park along the Wheatfield Road!

July 3, 2:00 p.m.
Pickett’s Charge!

It is, perhaps, the most famous attack in American Military History! On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, more than 12,000 Confederate Soldiers from Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee advance bravely across a mile of open ground and toward the Union position on Cemetery Ridge, in an attack Robert E. Lee believed would crush the Union army. March in the footsteps of these brave soldiers and learn why this attack has become so famous! Meet at Auto Tour Stop 4, the North Carolina Memorial. Park along West Confederate Avenue.

Special Programs – Saturday, July 1

Battle Walks
These special 2- to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

10:00 a.m.

Robert E. Lee:  The General and his Decisions

With the hopes of a nation riding upon his shoulders, Lee crossed the Potomac for a date with a destiny!  Join Park Ranger Matt Atkinson as he traces Lee’s decisions and movements from June 25 until the sun sets on the July 1 battlefield.  Topics include Lee’s angst over the absence of Jeb Stuart, Richard Ewell the controversy over whether or not to attack Cemetery Hill and the condition of Lee’s army to continue the offensive. Meet at Auto Tour Stop 1, McPherson Ridge.  Park on Reynolds Avenue.

2:30 p.m.

McPherson’s Ridge to Seminary Ridge: Fighting, Folklore and Photos

The famous fight on July 1, 1863, in McPherson’s woods has long garnered the attention of Civil War enthusiasts, but that is only part of the story. Join Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman and Tim Smith for a lively discussion of not only the colorful characters and key units involved in the fight, but also the numerous myths and legends that have formed around the events and the photographic coverage of the sites as this critical battleground became the hallowed ground we know today. Reynolds Woods, the path of John Burns—the Hero of Gettysburg—and a special visit to the newly restored Lee’s Headquarters will be among the highlights. The walk will involve roughly one mile of walking over rolling terrain. Meet at Auto Your Stop 1.  Park on South Reynolds Avenue.

6:00 p.m.
“These Honored Dead:” A Memorial Walk

More than 3,100 United States soldiers, wearing the Union blue, gave their lives during the three-day struggle at Gettysburg. Their deaths, as Abraham Lincoln eulogized in his immortal Gettysburg Address, helped to ensure a “new birth of freedom,” that this “nation might live,” and that its government—of, by, and for the people—“shall not perish from the earth.” Join National Park Service Rangers John Hoptak, Christopher Gwinn, Caitlin Brown and Jarrad Fuoss for this special evening walk and discover the stories of several of those men who offered up their lives upon these fields 154 years ago. Learn about who they were, why they served, and who they left behind. Meet at Auto Tour Stop 12, the Pennsylvania Memorial.  Park on Sedgwick and Hancock Avenue.

Real Time Programs
These 30- to 45-minute programs provide a brief overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time they occurred, 154 years ago.

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.     The Devil’s to Pay! Buford’s Cavalry Begins the Battle – Zach Siggins Meet at the West End Guide Station. Park on Stone Avenue.

10:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Battle for the Railroad Cut – John Nicholas   
Meet at the General Wadsworth Monument on Reynolds Avenue. Park along N. Reynolds Avenue.

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.    With the Bucktails on McPherson Ridge – Daniel Vermilya  Meet at the West End Guide Station. Park on Stone Avenue

3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.    Gordon’s Brigade Attacks Barlow’s Knoll – Chuck Teague  Meet at Barlow’s Knoll, East Howard Avenue. Park along East Howard Avenue.

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.    Caught in the Crossfire: The Civilian Experience on July 1st   – Emma Murphy   Meet at the Howard Equestrian Monument, East Cemetery Hill

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the anniversary of the battle Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 154 years ago. Held at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

“General Lee Decides to Fight It Out: His Thoughts, Plans, and Actions Between the End of Combat on July 1 and His Attacks on July 2.”

The Confederate army tumbled unexpectedly into heavy fighting on July 1, and it wasn’t until late that day that Lee himself assumed direct command of the field.  The successes then prompted Lee to continue the offensive in a more intentional and calculated way the next day. Ranger Chuck Teague will venture into the head of Marse Robert as he strives for ultimate victory at Gettysburg.

Special Programs – Sunday, July 2

62nd Pennsylvania Flag Rededication
10:00 a.m., Auto Tour Stop 9, The Wheatfield
Join representatives from the Borough of Hollidaysburg, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for a re-dedication ceremony of the recently rediscovered flag of Company M, 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. Raised in Blair County in July 1861, Company M served in many of the eastern campaigns to include Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The flag is being returned to the Wheatfield on the 154th Anniversary of the Battle where the 62nd Regiment fought at Gettysburg on July 2nd 1863.


Battle Walks
These special 2- to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.   

 

10:00 a.m.
“…gallantly met and handsomely replied…” – The Floridians Attack

As the Confederate assault on the Union left developed, more and more units were needed to carry home the attack. With afternoon daylight hours waning and the assault moving further northward toward Cemetery Ridge, the 2nd, 5th, and 8th Florida of Col. David Lang’s brigade was sent into the fray. The Floridians faced “grape, canister, and musketry” as they swept towards Federal positions. Follow in the footsteps of the Florida Brigade on July 2, 1863 with Ranger Dan Welch. Meet at the Florida Monument, West Confederate Avenue. Park on West Confederate Avenue.

2:30 p.m.
We Drop a Comrade’s Tear: Col. Edward L. Bailey and the 2nd New Hampshire in the Peach Orchard
Join Ranger Karlton Smith and explore the story of the 2nd New Hampshire, one of the oldest regiments in the Army of the Potomac with one of the youngest regimental commanders, into the swirling action at the Peach Orchard on the afternoon of July 2. Learn how Col. Bailey extricates his regiment from the chaos of a fighting withdrawal. Meet at the Trostle Barn on United States Avenue. Park along United States Avenue.

6:00 p.m.
“The Boys Fought Like Demons” – The Stand of the 105th Pennsylvania

Many Union and Confederate regiments found themselves embroiled in crisis south of Gettysburg on the evening of July 2. The 105th Pennsylvania, also known as the “Wildcat Regiment”, was certainly one of them. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Britt Isenberg and discover the role the men of the Wildcat Regiment played in the fighting along the Emmitsburg Road on July 2 at Gettysburg… and, what it all means. Meet at the Sickles’ Wound Monument at the Trostle Barn.  Park along United States Avenue.

Real Time Programs

These 30 to 45-minute programs provide an overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time at which they occurred 154 years ago.

 

8:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.                Lee and Meade Plan for Battle  – Angie Atkinson        
Meet at the North Carolina Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 4. Park on West Confederate Avenue.

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.                Sickles Occupies the Peach Orchard –  Daniel Vermilya
Meet at the Peach Orchard. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

4:15 p.m.  – 4:45 p.m.               The Battle for Little Round Top – Savannah Rose       
Meet at the Warren Statue, Auto Tour Stop 8, on Little Round Top.

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.                Fight for the Triangular Field   –  John Nicholas
Meet at Smith’s Battery, Devil’s Den. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.                The Boys who Came Home to FightCo. K, 1st PA Reserves  – Caitlin Brown
Meet at Ayres Avenue, The Wheatfield. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.                Last Stand at the Trostle Farm  – Philip Brown           
Meet at the Trostle Barn. Park on United States Avenue.

7:20 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.                 Redemption of the Harpers Ferry Cowards – Greg Hillebrand
Meet at Auto Tour Stop 12, The Pennsylvania Memorial. Park along Hancock Avenue.

8:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.                Night Fighting on Culp’s Hill – Brian Henry
Meet at the Culp’s Hill Tower, Slocum Avenue, Culp’s Hill

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the anniversary of the battle Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 154 years ago. Held at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Colonels in War, Governors in Peace: Joshua Chamberlain and William Oates after Gettysburg

The fight between the 20th Maine and the 15th Alabama on Little Round Top is among the most famous incidents of the Battle of Gettysburg, if not the American Civil War. What is less well known is what each regiment’s leader—Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and William Calvin Oates—did following the end of the conflict. Both men went on to become governor of his respective state, and both played a large role in the politics of Reconstruction and in shaping the memory of the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. Join Ranger Daniel Vermilya and discover the post-war political careers of these two fascinating individuals.

Special Programs – Monday, July 3

 

Battle Walks
These special 2- to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.   

 

10:00 a.m.
“The Lesson of a Famous Battlefield” – The Battle of Gettysburg and the Great Reunion of 1913

From battlefield to national military park, Gettysburg was slowly transformed from a site of indescribable violence to a memorial dedicated to those two armies that fought the most costly battle of the American Civil War. Fifty years after the armies marched away, many of those who had faced death at Gettysburg returned- older and perhaps wiser, bearing smiles for the press photographers while others, less inclined to “the niceties of the gathering” held back tears. The old men gazed at the field of Pickett’s Charge, just as we do today, and pondered the meaning of those three bloody days in July 1863 and, as old soldiers often do, remembered  this battle, their part in it, and asked whether its significance and the lessons they learned at Gettysburg would be lost as the years passed.  Join NPS historian John Heiser as we retrace the story of the battle, Pickett’s Charge, and the Great Reunion of 1913 when veterans of the Civil War made Gettysburg a place of national reunification.

 

Meet at Zieglers Grove, National Cemetery Parking Lot.  Park along North Hancock Avenue and at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

 

2:30 p.m.

Pickett’s Charge & African American History
Since the end of the American Civil War 152 years ago, endless debates have asked whether slavery alone caused the conflict, or were there additional causes – such as the rise of industrialism, modernism, capitalism and nationalism, and the demands each one placed on the United States. Additional causes can be argued, and have been argued, but one fact remains, the greatest single outcome of the Civil War was freedom to 4 million slaves. Whether it is conceded the war begin only over slavery, or a combination of factors, the final outcome was a New Birth of Freedom for African Americans. It is in this spirit that we look at Pickett’s Charge through the eyes of African American history. We will walk the sacred route that Pickett, Pettigrew and Trimble’s men followed on July 3, 1863, not as judges, but as non-partisans who simply want to find traces of African American history woven into the fabric of the pivotal hour in American History, where a new American identity was born. Join Ranger Troy Harman for this 1 mile, 2 hour walk.

 

Meet at Auto Tour Stop 5, the Virginia Memorial. Park along West Confederate Avenue.

 

6:00 p.m.
“Fury On The Bliss Farm”

Learn about the forgotten struggle for the William Bliss farm. Located in between the lines, on July 2 & 3, 1863, the incongruously named farm was a no-man’s land that changed hands some ten times – possibly more than any other ground at Gettysburg. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide John Archer and discover how this struggle impacted Lee’s plan for victory, the lives of those who fought there, and the Bliss family.

Meet at the Abraham Brian House on Hancock Ave. Park on Hancock Ave. and at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

 

 

 

Real Time Programs
These 30- to 45-minute programs provide a brief overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time at which they occurred 153 years ago.

 

8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.                 Morning Attack at Spangler Meadow – Dan Welch
Meet at the Auto Tour Stop 13, Spangler’s Spring
Park on East Confederate and Williams Avenue.

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.              Lee and Longstreet at Odds  – Greg Hillebrand
                                                Meet at the Peach Orchard. Park on North Sickles or United States Avenue.
Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.             Horses and Sabers: East Cavalry Field – Tom Holbrook                                                                                 Meet at the Ranger Program Sign on Confederate Cavalry Avenue. Park on Confederate Cavalry Avenue.

1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.                The Cannonade – Jarrad Fuoss
Meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5.                                                                                                              Park on West Confederate Avenue

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.                “A Desperate Thing to Attempt:” Pickett’s Charge Hike – Greg Hillebrand
Meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5.                                                                                                  Park on West Confederate Avenue

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.                Fight for the Angle –  Emma Murphy                                                                           
Meet at the High Water Mark, Auto Tour Stop 15. Park on Hancock Avenue.

6:00 p.m.  – 6:30 p.m.               Culp’s Hill – The Face of Battle – Philip Brown
Meet at Culp’s Hill Tower, Culp’s Hill
Park on Slocum Avenue

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the anniversary of the battle Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 154 years ago. Held at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

The Stories Behind the Numbers

Fifty thousand people became casualties during the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. But what does the word “casualty” mean? Who were the people that were forever affected by the battle? Join Park Ranger Caitlin Brown as she explores the personal accounts of soldiers and civilians who were forced to deal with the horrific aftermath of Gettysburg and how these individuals are much more than mere statistics.

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