Gettysburg – July 2013: What’s in Store

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park, working together with the Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg College and other partners, has completed the planning for major events on the Gettysburg battlefield during 2013.  To learn more about the numerous seminars, programs, events and exhibits that are planned throughout the year, we recommend the website: www.Gettysburgcivilwar150.com

In this blog I want to focus on some special National Park Service interpretive programs and events planned for June 29 through July 7, 2013.

On June 29 and 30, and again from July 5 through 7, the Gettysburg Foundation and the National Park Service are teaming up to present A Sacred Trust: Talks and Book Signings.  Free series of talks and book signings featuring renowned authors, historians, National Park Service rangers and others who share perspectives on topics related to the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War.   

The park’s signature 150th battle anniversary event will be on June 30, 2013: “Gettysburg: A New Birth of Freedom” Commemorative Ceremony.  This evening event will take place on an outdoor stage near Meade’s Headquarters on the Gettysburg battlefield and will include music, a keynote address, and “Voices of History,” a dramatic reading of eye witness accounts written by soldiers and citizens swept into the events of the battle and its tragic aftermath.  The ceremony will end with a procession where participants and the public are invited to walk through the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg to see luminaries marking each of the more than 3,500 graves of soldiers killed in the Battle of Gettysburg.  The ceremony is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation.

From July 1 through 4, the park is offering Special Battle Anniversary Park Ranger programs at Gettysburg National Military Park.  These programs are being designed to accommodate higher numbers of visitors and still provide excellent experiences on the battlefield. 

Living History Camps– Two full battalions of Union and Confederate infantrymen accompanied by artillery and other supporting units will present demonstrations and programs near the Pennsylvania Memorial and at Pitzer’s Woods throughout the day to illustrate the life of the Union and Confederate soldier and demonstrate the tactics used by both armies in the Battle of Gettysburg.  PLEASE NOTE that living history events are July 1-3 only.

Key Moment Programs- Each day of the battle, and on July 4, NPS rangers will present ranger talks on a regular schedule at locations where key events occurred during that particular day of the battle, or during the battle’s aftermath.

Special Programs- NPS rangers will provide special programs that allow visitors to experience critical events and decisions of the battle and its aftermath at the approximate time they occurred 150 years ago. This will include a July 3 commemorative march across the field of Pickett’s Charge, with visitors organized by NPS rangers to represent each of the Confederate brigades that participated in the attack and the Union soldiers that defended against it.

Voices of the Battle- Each day at 7:00 p.m. visitors can gather for a program where we hear the voices of soldiers and civilians describing their experiences during the battle and aftermath.

Special Junior Ranger Patch- All summer, kids can earn a special 150th anniversary Junior Ranger patch by completing an activity book associated with the battle anniversary activities.

Ranger Programs at the Museum and Visitor Center- NPS rangers will present Battle Overviews, Civil War Soldier, and Care of the Wounded on a regular schedule in the Museum and Visitor Center or at the Interpretive Program stations outside the building. For kids we will have a Kids and Family tent with activities throughout the day, and a special interactive Signal Corps station July 1-3 near Meade’s headquarters. We may also do some regular ranger programs at key visitation points, like the Cemetery, Little Round Top and the Angle.

There may be some changes to some of the plans outlined here.  To learn more, especially as we approach the summer of 2013, please continue to visit the park’s website where we will be developing a special section on the 150th battle anniversary -  www.nps.gov/gett

If you are looking for information about battle reenactments, lodging, and Gettysburg community events please go to:  www.gettysburgcivilwar150.com

By Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, October 4, 2012

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