Gettysburg Battle Anniversary: July 1-4, 2015

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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 152nd 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
Wednesday, July 1 – Friday, 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
Wednesday, July 1 – Friday, July 3

During the 152nd 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 “Guess Who’s Coming to 2015”, and “Join the Army” programs to learn more about the people involved in, and affected by, the battle of Gettysburg.  You can also pick up and check in your Junior Ranger activity booklets.  After your visit, get involved in Junior Ranger programs in other parks and online at http://www.nps.gov/webrangers!

Family Activities and Hands on History Hours: July 1 – 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Group Lobby.

Hands On History Cart

Special Programs – Wednesday, 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.
Striking Stone & Cutler: The Attacks of Junius Daniel’s Brigade on July 1 

On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, while other Confederate attacks either foundered or were turned back, Brig. General Junius Daniel exhibited superb leadership in skillfully maneuvering his five North Carolina regiments against Union troops positioned both atop Oak Ridge and in the Railroad Cut. Launching a series of desperate assaults, Daniel and his Tar-heels demonstrated remarkable grit and determination, earning the plaudits of those who observed their gallant assaults. Confederate division commander Robert Rodes, watching from atop Oak Hill, recorded that “The conduct of General Daniel and his brigade in this most desperate engagement elicited the admiration and praise of all who witnessed it.” Join Park Ranger John Hoptak and Daniel Vermilya and follow in the footsteps of Daniel and his North Carolinians.

Meet at the Eternal Peace Light Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 2. Park at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. 

2:30 p.m.
Buford, Birney, Humphreys and Geary: Defending the Emmitsburg Road on July 1.

Join Ranger Troy Harman and explore the various divisions and corps that defended the far Federal left along the Emmitsburg Road in the early evening of July 1. Generals Hancock, Slocum, Sickles and Buford gave it much attention to secure the Cemetery Ridge position on July 1, while General Lee and Pendleton explored options there until dark of the same day. The posturing near the Peach Orchard on July 1, established boundaries for severe fighting there the next day.

Meet at the Peach Orchard for this 2 1/2 mile hike. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

6:00 p.m.
“Plant Your Flag Down There!” – The Defense of Cemetery Hill

After nearly nine hours of stubborn fighting on July 1, Union troops were forced from the fields north and west of Gettysburg in full retreat towards Cemetery Hill – the ground they had been protecting through their actions that entire day.  Numerous command changes and devastating casualties nearly proved disastrous, but because of invaluable leadership and a persistence to hold on, the Army of the Potomac would live to fight another day.  Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Britt Isenberg and examine those tumultuous, but crucial hours on the evening of July 1 on Cemetery Hill, when everything was still hanging in the balance and nothing seemed certain for the exhausted soldiers of the Union Army. This program will look at how the momentous command decisions made that night affected the next two days of fighting and ultimately culminated in a Union victory at Gettysburg.

Meet at the Flagpole in the National Cemetery Parking Lot. Park in the National Cemetery Parking Lot or along North 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, 152 years ago.

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.      The Battle Begins – Dan Welch            
Meet at Auto Tour Stop 1, McPherson Ridge. Park on Reynolds Avenue.

10:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.  Cutler’s Brigade Arrives – Tom Holbrook        
Meet at the General Wadsworth Monument on Reynolds Avenue. Park along Reynolds Avenue.IMG_4480

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.  The 26th North Carolina vs. the 24th Michigan  – Karlton Smith
Meet at the John Burns Statue on Stone Avenue. Park on Stone and Meredith Avenues.

3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.    Collapse of the 11th Corps  – Chuck Teague
Meet at Barlow’s Knoll, East Howard Avenue.

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.    Retreat to Cemetery Hill: End of the 1st Day – Caitlin Kostic
Meet at the Baltimore Street Entrance to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the three days of the battle anniversary Park Rangers will present hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events 152 years ago. Held nightly at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Letters from the Battlefield: July 1st, 1863 Ranger Karlton Smith
A battle begins, a town is occupied, fields, farms, and streets are littered with the dead and dying. What was it like to experience and witness the first day of the battle of Gettysburg?  Join National Park Ranger Karlton Smith and hear the words of the men and women who experienced the ferocity of combat on July 1st, 1863.

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Special Programs – Thursday, July 2

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.
“Our little brigade fought like heroes” –The Irish Brigade at Gettysburg.

A Union officer observing the Union line on Cemetery Ridge could not help but notice one small group of battalions, barely 200 men apiece, the smallest brigade in the Second Corps. Veterans of countless battles, they relax in neat rows by their weapons, quietly talking while the booming of cannon and ripping musketry grows louder and louder. Suddenly a staff officer arrives; orders are shouted, the men rise, and the flags are uncased revealing the famous green flags with symbolic gold harp and shamrocks of Ireland. Though emblazoned with the state names of New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, a majority of the soldiers arrayed by these flags are native born Irishmen, banded together by nationality and the strength of their faith in the Catholic Church, fighting for the cause of Union in their adopted homeland. Absolution granted, the columns of dirty blue march southward to an appointment in the center of a whirlpool that was the “Wheatfield”. Join Park Historian John Heiser in retracing the route of the famous “Irish Brigade” on July 2, 1863, and the legacy of this fighting brigade in the famous Wheatfield at Gettysburg.

Meet at the Father Corby statue, Hancock Avenue. Park on the pavement on the right side of Hancock and Sedgwick Avenues. Walking distance of this program is approximately 2.5 miles over moderately rough terrain, fences, through high grass and seasonably wet areas.

2:30 p.m.
Myths, Memories, and Martyrs: The Battle for Little Round Top

Few episodes of the American Civil War have been mythologized as much as the ninety minutes the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia struggled for control GETT_150_Jul3_BattleforCulps_JM_042of the rocky slopes of Little Round Top. Legends were born, martyrs were made, and the fate of the nation was said to have hung in the balance. Join Supervisory Ranger Christopher Gwinn and explore the hill, separating fact from fiction, and memory from mythology.

Meet at the John Sedgewick Equestrian Statue on Sedgewick Avenue. Park on the right side of Sedgewick and Hancock Avenue. Walking distance of this program is approximately 2.5 miles over rough, rocky terrain.

6:00 p.m.
Gun Fight at the Peach Orchard

The fighting on July 2nd, the bloodiest of the entire battle, was preceded by what may have been the sharpest, largest close-action artillery “gunfight” of the entire Civil War. In most artillery engagements, including the climactic cannonade of July 3rd, most guns were far outside their effective range or lacked a direct view of a target. On July 2nd at the Peach Orchard, Union and Confederate guns, were placed quite by accident within “direct fire” range of each other. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel and explore the Union and Confederate gun line, concluding at the Peach Orchard.

Meet at the Louisiana Monument on West Confederate Avenue. Park along West Confederate Avenue. This hike will involve roughly a mile of walking over easy terrain.

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 152 years ago.

8:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.    Lee Plans for Battle – Chuck Teague
Meet at the North Carolina Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 4.

Park on West Confederate Avenue.

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Berdan’s Sharpshooters in Pitzer Woods  – Caitlin Kostic
Meet at the Longstreet Equestrian Statue, near Auto Tour Stop 6.
Park on West Confederate Avenue.

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.  Sickles Moves Forward – Evangelina Rubalcava
Meet at the Peach Orchard. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.  Longstreet Prepares to Attack – Karlton Smith            
Meet at Auto Tour Stop 7, near the Alabama Monument.

4:15 p.m.  – 4:45 p.m. Crisis on Little Round Top – Zach SigginsRanger Rubalcava 2 at Gettysburg NMP
Meet at the Warren Statue, Auto Tour Stop 8, on Little Round Top.

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Valley of Death –  Chuck Teague
Meet at Devil’s Den. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Into the Wheatfield with Col. Cross – Bill Hewitt
Meet at Auto Tour Stop 9, The Wheatfield. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Barksdale’s Mississippians take the Peach Orchard – Matt Atkinson
Meet at The Peach Orchard. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

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

8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Greene’s Brigade on Culp’s Hill – Daniel Vermilya
Meet at the Culp’s Hill Tower, Slocum Avenue.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the four days of the battle anniversary Park Rangers will present hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the s events 152 years ago. Held nightly at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Letters from the Battlefield: July 2nd, 1863 – Bert Barnett
The second of July, 1863 marked the largest and bloodiest of the three days of fighting at Gettysburg. No one who took part in the fighting, or witnessed it, would ever forget the experience. Join Ranger Bert Barnett as he offers a glimpse into the experience of combat on July 2nd by sharing the words and memories of its participants.

Special Programs – Friday, 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.
Hancock at Gettysburg – July 3rd   

General Winfield Scott Hancock – the very name personifies leadership.  On July 3rd, 1863, fate placed Hancock’s Second Corps on Cemetery Ridge, in the center of the line of battle of the Army of the Potomac. As the fate of the nation hung in the balance, Hancock rose to the occasion. He was everywhere issuing orders, directing troops, and rallying the men with his mere presence.  Join Ranger Matt Atkinson and follow in the footsteps of this American icon and retrace the route of “Hancock the Superb” during Pickett’s Charge.

Meet at the Abraham Brian Farm on North Hancock Avenue. Park along Hancock Avenue and in the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

2:30 p.m.
Pickett’s Charge  

Visitors are invited to follow in the footsteps of the Confederate soldiers that took part in Pickett’s Charge, the climactic moment of the Battle of Gettysburg. Who were the men that made this assault, what motivated them, and what did they experience in the fields between Seminary and Cemetery Ridge? Join Ranger Philip Brown and Bill Hewitt and retrace the route of the most famous charge in American military history.

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

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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 152 years ago.

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.  Slaughter in Spangler Meadow – Brian Henry
Meet at Auto Tour Stop 13, Spangler’s Spring.
Park on East Confederate and Williams Avenue.

8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.  Confederate Failure at Pardee Field – John Nicholas
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 – Troy Harman
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.   First Fire on East Cavalry Field – Chuck Teague
Meet at the Ranger Program Sign, on Confederate Cavalry Avenue.
Park on Confederate Cavalry Avenue.

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Alexander Hays and the Fight for the Bliss Farm – Nate Hess
Meet at the Abraham Brian Farm. Park on Hancock Avenue.

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Alonzo Cushing and the Cannonade – Bert Barnett
Meet at the High Water Mark, Auto Tour Stop 15. Park on Hancock Avenue.

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Alexander Webb and the Defense of Cemetery Ridge – Emma Murphy
Meet at the Meade Equestrian Monument.
Park on Hancock Avenue or in the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the four days of the battle anniversary Park Rangers will present hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events 152 years ago. Held nightly at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Letters from the Battlefield: July 3rd, 1863 – Chuck Teague
“You must recollect that at Gettysburg the fate of a country depended upon individuals.” So wrote Brig. Gen. Alexander Webb as he reflected on the significance of the events of July 3rd, 1863. What did the battle at Gettysburg accomplish? What did it fail to accomplish? Join Ranger Chuck Teague and examine the story of July 3rd through the letters the survivors of the battle wrote home.

va memorial at night

Special Programs – Saturday, July 4

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.   

3:30 p.m.
After the Storm: Gettysburg’s Experience

On July 2 and 3 1863 numerous citizens of Gettysburg felt the full weight of the Civil War as their farms and homes became the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the battle.  Hear their stories from during and after the battle as Ranger Dan Welch takes you to the very site of their most trying struggles.

Meet at the Mississippi Monument on West Confederate Avenue.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods
Over the four days of the battle anniversary Park Rangers will present hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the significance of events 152 years ago. Held nightly at 8:30 p.m. at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater, Battlefield Auto Tour Stop 6.

Voices of the Aftermath – Caitlin Kostic
The battle of Gettysburg left in its wake the largest man-made disaster in American history. How did the residents of Gettysburg deal with the aftermath of battle and how did the doctors, surgeons, and soldiers left behind cope with the enormity of the suffering and carnage? Join Ranger Caitlin Kostic and hear the stories of the aftermath of battle.

About The Staff

Staff of Gettysburg National Military Park
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3 Responses to Gettysburg Battle Anniversary: July 1-4, 2015

  1. Jeannine Trybus says:

    I really wish you did these programs earlier in the year. I love the real time walks, etc., but we now avoid the Anniversary because too many people and too hot!! We make it a point to bring our grand children during the quieter and cooler times of year, May, early June and November for Days of Remembrance. Of course we realize they miss some good programs. instead we hire a licensed battlefield guide to take them on a tour geared to their ages. WE LOVE GETTYSBURG!

    • The Staff says:

      Jeannine, Thanks for taking the time to comment and we are glad to know that you are able to make it to Gettysburg in the late spring and fall. We conduct battle walks, hikes, and interpretive programs year round, not just during the anniversary. Check out our full schedule online at http://www.nps.gov/gett

  2. Al Mackey says:

    Reblogged this on Student of the American Civil War and commented:
    The good folks at the Gettysburg National Military Park published the anniversary schedule for this year. I’m planning to be there. How about you?

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