Our programming on the battlefield from July 1-4, during the 150th anniversary, may seem somewhat bewildering and overwhelming at a glance, but I assure you there is a method to our madness. If you have been following our blog we have covered Battlefield Experience programs and Key Moment programs for each day of the anniversary. Now I am going to introduce another program into the mix – the Overview Hike – but before I do let me try to explain the difference between these different programs and try to diffuse potential confusion.
The Key Moment programs, which Chris Gwinn covered in last week’s post, involve minimal walking and last only thirty minutes. They are intended to provide a general program on what happened in a specific location on that day during the battle. If you do all the Key Moment programs in a day you will have a good feeling for what happened on that day of the battle 150 years ago.
Battlefield Experience programs are special programs we may never do again. I wrote a series of posts describing every one of these programs over the last four weeks. They generally occur early or late in the day and can last up to two hours and may involve significant walking. For example, The Last March of the Iron Brigade, which I will do on July 1 with Dan Welch, is a two mile march.
In the middle of these types of programs are our Overview Hikes. These are targeted at those people who want a bit more than a Key Moment program can offer, and want to do some hiking over the battlefield landscape, but do not want to hike for miles. All of these hikes are moderate in nature, and, as you will see, last no longer than 90 minutes. We will offer two to three hikes daily. The schedule for each day is as follows:
The Battle of McPherson’s Ridge – 10:30-11:45 a.m. Meet at the McPherson’s Ridge Key Moment Station. McPherson’s Ridge, Herbst Woods and Seminary Ridge were the scenes of some of the heaviest fighting on July 1.
The Battle North of Town – 3:30-4:30 p.m. Meet at the Barlow’s Knoll Key Moment Station. This will cover the battle between the 11th Corps and Early’s and Rodes’ divisions of General Ewell’s 2nd Corps.
The Valley of Death – 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Meet at Devil’s Den Key Moment Station. Explore the battle for Little Round Top, Devil’s Den and the Plum Run Valley.
Sickles’ Line Under Attack – 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Meet at the Klingle farm lane entrance on Sickles Avenue. This is a short walk north of the Peach Orchard Key Moment Station. Walk the ground of heavy fighting from the Klingle farm to the Peach Orchard.
Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill – 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. Meet at the Baltimore Street entrance to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Hike from Cemetery Hill to the western slopes of Culp’s Hill, the scene of attacks by Ewell’s Second Corps on the evening of July 2.
The Battle for Culp’s Hill – 7:30 – 8:45 a.m. Meet at the Spangler’s Spring Key Moment Station. Hike up the slopes of Culp’s Hill where the opposing forces struggled for nearly seven hours on the morning of July 3.
Clash of Cavalry – 10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Meet at the Michigan Brigade Monument on East Cavalry battlefield. Hike part of the ground of the major cavalry action that occurred on the afternoon of July 3.
Three Farms in the Path of Battle – 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. Meet at the Klingle farm lane on Sickles Avenue. Hike to the Klingle, Sherfy and Trostle farms and learn how the battle impacted their farms and lives.
Commemoration and Memory of the Battle – 3:30 – 5 p.m. Meet at the Pennsylvania Memorial. Hike along Cemetery Ridge and explore how the battle has been remembered and commemorated in the last 150 years.
For specifics about parking for all of these hikes, see our Commemorative Events guide, which can be downloaded on our website at http://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-index.htm.
Find your hiking shoes, hat and sunscreen, and grab some water or sports drink and join us for a battlefield hike during the 150th.
D. Scott Hartwig