From June 7 through August 10, Gettysburg National Military Park will offer a variety of free ranger guided programs that explore the Battle of Gettysburg, care of the wounded, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the monuments of Gettysburg and much more.
New this summer – LIVES LOST AND SAVED AT THE GEORGE SPANGLER FARM. This farm served as the Union Army’s 11th Corps field hospital with more than 1,900 Union and Confederate wounded. Park Ranger programs tell stories of the wounded soldiers and the doctors and nurses who struggled to keep them alive. Civil War encampments will showcase soldier life and medical care. Costumed interpreters will demonstrate farm work and crafts of the Civil War period. Recently preserved by the Gettysburg Foundation, the George Spangler farm is one of the most intact Civil War field hospitals from the battle of Gettysburg. Open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays only, from June 6 to August 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Access to the farm is by free shuttle bus from the Museum and Visitor Center only.
Programs take place, on the battlefield, in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and at the Museum and Visitor Center and last between twenty minutes and three hours, depending on the program. Begin your visit to Gettysburg at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike. During your visit, be certain to pick up a copy of the park summer newspaper that lists all of the programs. Check the park website www.nps.gov/gett, and www.facebook.com/GettysburgNMP for updates. For questions by phone call 717/ 334-1124 x 8023.
THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG – Ranger programs that focus on the three days of the battle of Gettysburg, perfect for our first-time visitors.
THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG: AN OVERVIEW (30 minutes) – Want to understand the basics of the battle before you get out on the field? This is the program for you! Meet in the Ford Education Center inside the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
THE FIRST DAY (1 hour) – Why did the battle start at Gettysburg? How did the fighting on July 1, 1863 shape the rest of the battle? Find out on this program. Meet at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 2, daily at 10 a.m.
THE SECOND DAY (1 hour) – What were the key decisions that shaped the fighting at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and what resulted? Join a ranger and discover the events that unfolded on Gettysburg’s bloodiest day. Meet at the Peach Orchard, daily at 2 p.m.
THE THIRD DAY & BEYOND (1 hour) – What happened during “Pickett’s Charge” on July 3, 1863 and what did its outcome mean for the Union and Confederacy? Meet at the “Ranger Program” sign in the National Cemetery parking lot between Taneytown Road and Steinwehr Avenue, daily at 4 p.m.
FIRST SHOTS ON McPHERSON’S RIDGE (1 hour) – New this year! The Edward McPherson farm witnessed the opening shots of the Battle of Gettysburg, initiated between Union cavalry and Confederate infantry. How did the fighting on this simple farm shape and influence the strategy of the battle in the coming days? Join a ranger on this hour-long walk to discover the answers. Program begins at Auto Tour Stop No. 1. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 1:30 p.m.
MONUMENTS OF GETTYSBURG (45 minutes) – The Gettysburg battlefield contains the world’s largest collection of outdoor sculpture. Who created these monuments and decided where to place them? What do they symbolize? Hear the extraordinary stories behind these memorials during this ranger-conducted program held in the Ford Education Center classroom of the Museum and Visitor Center, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
GETTYSBURG IN-DEPTH – Perfect for returning visitors, and for those who want to join a ranger and explore the battlefield on foot.
BATTLE WALKS (2 hours or more) – Want to experience the battlefield from the same vantage point as the men who fought here? Walk the fields and woods that were fought over a century and a half ago to get a closer look at the famous and not so famous places and people that shaped the battle. Check at the information desk for a complete schedule of daily topics and where to meet the park ranger. Water, a hat and proper foot gear are highly recommended. Daily at 3:30 p.m.
HIKE WITH A RANGER (3 hours) – This informal battlefield program examines Gettysburg’s fascinating layers of history, extending from the battle to present day. Water, hat, and proper foot gear are highly recommended. Check at the information desk or park website for a complete schedule of topics and where to meet the ranger. Water, a hat and proper foot gear are highly recommended. Wednesdays at 9 a.m.
“KEY MOMENT” – These ranger-guided programs offers visitors the opportunity to explore climactic moments and turning points during the three days of battle.
LITTLE ROUND TOP (1 hour) – What made this small, rocky, hill crucial to the outcome of the battle and why has it become one of the most famous hills in America? Meet at the General Warren statue on the summit of the hill, Auto Tour Stop 8 to find out. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m.
DEVIL’S DEN (1 hour) – More famous today for its unusual rock formations and stories of Confederate sharpshooters, discover why Devil’s Den was vitally important to its Union defenders on July 2, 1863. Meet at the parking lot on Sickles Avenue at Devil’s Den, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m.
CULP’S HILL (1 hour) – Walk the wooded slopes of Culp’s Hill to experience where the most sustained fighting of the entire battle took place. Meet at the Culp’s Hill Tower on Slocum Avenue. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 3 p.m.
CEMETERY HILL: THE KEY TO GETTYSBURG (1 hour) – Find out why Cemetery Hill was one of the most important pieces of terrain on the battlefield. Before it became known as the site of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, it figured prominently in all three days of combat at Gettysburg. Meet at the Baltimore Street (Rt. 97) entrance to the National Cemetery. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m.
EAST CAVALRY FIELD (1 hour) – Visit the scene of one of the largest cavalry battles of the war, where Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was stopped by a Union cavalry force that included a new general named George Armstrong Custer. Meet at the parking area on Confederate Cavalry Avenue. Take Route 116 east to reach this site. Wednesday and Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD – Ranger programs that reveal the human cost and significance of the battle of Gettysburg.
LINCOLN & 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 a.m. and 3 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 the Ranger Program Site behind the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 3:00 p.m.
SUNSET ON CEMETERY RIDGE (1 hour) – Walk this historic ground at sunset and explore what happened when the battle ended and the clean-up and care for the killed, wounded and captured began. Hear compelling stories of courage and suffering, resiliency and memory. Meet at “Ranger Program Begins Here” sign in the National Cemetery Parking lot Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
AN ARMY FIELD HOSPITAL: THE GEORGE SPANGLER FARM (1 hour) – Travel to the George Spangler Farm, the Union Army’s 11th Corps field hospital, where care for over 1,900 soldiers wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg was provided. Discover their story and the stories of the doctors and nurses that struggled to keep them alive. Take the shuttle from the park Museum and Visitor Center for this program, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.
LONG REMEMBERED (1 hour, 15 minutes) – Explore the impact of the battle upon the Gettysburg community and walk in the footsteps of President Lincoln. This 75-minute program meets at the historic train station on Carlisle Street near the Majestic Theater. Sundays at 6 p.m.
THE CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCE – Programs that focus on the Civil War experience beyond the battle of Gettysburg.
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 the Ranger Program Site behind the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 2 p.m.
A VISIT TO THE PAST (45 minutes) – Step back in time with costumed interpreters who portray men and women who witnessed and participated in the events of 1863 at Gettysburg. Programs offered daily at the Visitor Center or beginning at the Ranger Program sign at the National Cemetery Parking Lot between Steinwehr Avenue and Taneytown Road. Schedule available at www.npg.gov/gett.
CAMPFIRE AT PITZER WOODS (1 hour) – Take a seat by the campfire at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater as darkness falls over the Gettysburg battlefield. Evening campfire programs discuss a wide variety of topics on the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. Held nightly at the park amphitheater, Auto Tour Stop 6, at 8:30 p.m.
JOIN THE ARMY! (1 hour) – Children “enlist” in the army and discover something about what it meant to be a soldier in a Civil War regiment. This program is for children ages 6-12 only, and held outside of the Museum and Visitor Center. Sign up at the Visitor Center information desk. (Limited to 25 participants). Daily at 11 a.m.
JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAM – This free family-oriented activity allows children (ages 5-13) to become Junior Rangers by completing an activity guide as they visit the park and museum. Ask for details and the program guide at the park information desk in the Visitor Center.
HANDS ON HISTORY CART – Want to feel what it was like to wear clothing from the 1860’s? Play mid-19th century parlor games? Discover what soldiers did during their spare time? Children and families are encouraged to find the Hands on History Cart inside the Museum and Visitor Center daily at 2 p.m.
Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available at www.nps.gov/gett.
Thanks to Christopher Gwinn for compiling this information.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant