“So, what do you guys do in the winter?”
I’ve probably been asked that question a hundred times, and at each of the four different National Parks I’ve worked at. It’s a common misconception that the ranger staff hibernate over the winter, like many of the mammal species that inhabit our more naturally inclined parks, only to emerge when the ground thaws and spring has made its arrival. The truth of the matter is, and this is especially so at Gettysburg, that quite a bit goes on at the park with the arrival of winter weather. Sure, we don’t hike out on the battlefield quite as much, nor will you find us leading tours downtown or on Little Round Top in the middle of sleet or sub-freezing temperatures, but we are busy nevertheless. Take for example our Winter Lecture Series which begins tomorrow. Every Saturday and Sunday, from January to Mid-March, National Park Rangers, historians, and educators present a free, hour-long lecture on some aspect of the American Civil War or the battle of Gettysburg. Since the inauguration of the sesquicentennial in 2011, we have focused our lectures on events happening that particular anniversary year. This winter we will be taking a look at the conclusion of the American Civil War and the very complicated and contested peace that followed. The final battles, such as those at Sailors Creek and Bentonville will be touched on, as will some of the defining personalities who shaped the war and the events following it. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and David Farragut, are but a few. Issues of reconstruction, race, and rhetoric will be explored, as will the material culture of 1865.
Click on the image below for a full schedule.
Tomorrow (Saturday, January 3rd) our lecture series begins with Ranger Matt Atkinson who will examine Robert E. Lee’s final years, from the surrender at Appomattox in 1865, to his death in Lexington, Virginia in 1870. Matt will begin at 1:30 p.m. inside the theater at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. We hope you can join us. In the off-chance you don’t live within driving distance, don’t fret. All of the lectures will be filmed and made available online via the Gettysburg National Military Park YouTube page. You can find it by visiting: http://www.youtube.com/gettysburgnps
In the meantime, you can catch up on some of the lectures you may have missed from last year.
Christopher Gwinn, Supervisory Ranger
Battle of Brice’s Crossroads – Forrest’s Greatest Victory
with Ranger Matt Atkinson
The 1864 Congressional Hearings on Meade at Gettysburg
with Ranger Troy Harman
1864 – The War for the Rail Lines
with Ranger Bill Hewitt
Kennesaw Mountain and the Atlanta Campaign
with Ranger Daniel Vermilya
“Like the Oncoming of Cities” – Freedom’s Dilemma
with Ranger Angie Atkinson
“Can those be men?” The Prisoner of War Experience in 1864
with Dan Welch, Gettysburg Foundation
Longstreet to the Rescue: The Battle of the Wilderness and the Wounding of James Longstreet
with Ranger Karlton Smith