Winter Lectures and More! Winter Programming at Gettysburg National Military Park

snowy sat.

While most people come in the summer, winter is a great time to visit and explore Gettysburg National Military Park. On January 9, 2016, the annual Winter Lecture Series begins. Featuring some of the best National Park Service Rangers and Historians from across the region, this 11-week series of hour-long talks will examine some of the more controversial and complex aspects of the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. From Reconstruction to the struggle for reconciliation, the rise of the Lost Cause, and the creation of battlefield parks, the decades following the end of the war represent one of the darkest, least recognized chapters in American history. And yet so many aspects of this important period continue to define and challenge us today. The Winter Lecture Series is held at 1:30 p.m. on weekends in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center from January 9 through March 13, 2016.

In addition to the Winter Lectures, Gettysburg National Military Park is pleased to announce the Gettysburg’s Battlefield Book Series! Meeting 11:00 AM -12:00 AM, every Saturday from January 9 to March 12 this series will examine significant works of history and literature on topics related to the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. We invite you to read along over the course of the winter before attending the informal one hour discussions in the Ford Education Center of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The Park staff will lead the meetings, providing a brief overview of that week’s topic and discuss the chapters read. The two selections for Confederates in the Atticour inaugural Battlefield Book Series tie in with the theme of our Winter Lecture Series—the aftermath and legacy of the American Civil War.

From January 9 to January 30 we will examine our first book , the recent classic, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, by Tony Horwitz. Horwitz traveled the country, delved into the world of Civil War reenacting, visited the battlefields and historic sites where the war was fought, and explored the numerous ways in which the legacy of the Civil War is still very much alive.

  • January 9             Chapters 1-5 (pg. 3-124)
  • January 16           Chapters 6-9 (pg. 125-209)
  • January 23           Chapters 10-11 (pg. 209-311)
  • January 30           Chapters 12-15 (pg. 312-390)

Our second book, Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Cause of William C. Oates, by Glenn LaFantasie is an examination of life and times of William Oates, the enigmatic Gettysburg Requiemleader of the 15th Alabama at Gettysburg. Oates full life took him from the taverns of Alabama to the slopes of Little Round Top and beyond. LaFantasie’s biography provides an intimate look at what one Confederate officer did before, during, and after the American Civil War. We hope you will join us this winter, read along, and share your thoughts and perspectives on these two fascinating books.

  • February 6                     Part 1 (pg. 1-67)
  • February 13                   Part 2 (pg. 69-109)
  • February 20                  Part 3 (pg. 111-171)
  • February 27                  Part 4 (pg. 173-243)
  • March 5                         Part 5 (pg. 245-309)

Finally, every Sunday at 11:00 AM park staff will lead an examination of the many monuments and markers found on the battlefield landscape. More than just a battlefield park, Gettysburg issnowy cannon one of the largest outdoor sculpture gardens in the world, featuring over 1,300 unique monuments, markers, memorials and plaques. These monuments and memorials make Gettysburg one of the best marked battlefields in the world, and each have an important story to tell. Join a Park Ranger for Stories in Stone: The Monuments at Gettysburg and discover the unique messages these bronze and granite sentinels tell. This hour long program meets every Sunday from January 10th to March 13th in the Ford Education Center at Gettysburg National Military Park.

For a complete schedule of all programs and featured speakers, check the park website or call the Visitor Information Desk at 717-334-1124 ext. 8023. Can’t make it to Gettysburg? All Winter Lectures will be filmed and made available on our park YouTube page: 

Winter Lecture Series 2016:
Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Remembrance:
The Aftermath and Legacy of the Civil War

Sat. Jan. 9
Jubal Early and the Molding of Confederate Memory
Join Park Ranger Matt Atkinson and explore the post-war life of former Confederate General Jubal A. Early. During the Civil War Early saw extensive service in most of the major campaigns of the eastern theater.  Known for his profane and blunt personality, he served as a writer and editor of the Southern Historical Society Papers, and played a major role in shaping how southerners remembered Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee, and what became known as “The Lost Cause.”  By laying aside the sword and taking up the pen, Early made a direct impact on how generations of Americans would understand the Civil War.
Matt Atkinson, GNMP            

Sun. Jan. 10
Louisiana Radical: James Longstreet and Reconstruction (1866 – 1875)
Follow the career of  former Confederate General James Longstreet from the end of the Civil War to Reconstruction-era New Orleans. Park Ranger Karlton Smith will shed light on Longstreet’s post-war politics, his role in shaping reconstruction in Louisiana, his involvement with some of the era’s major players, and his participation in the Battle of Liberty Place. – Karlton Smith, GNMP

Sat. Jan. 16
Power and Distorted Relationships: The Psychology of the “Loyal Slave” and “Mammy”
In the final days of the America Civil War, previously isolated slave populations found the opportunity to run toward Union ships or infantry encampments. Likewise, as federal forces moved onto these plantations and publicly read the Emancipation Proclamation, newly freed slaves migrated in great numbers to the nearest city where the Freedman’s Bureau worked to reunite scattered families and provide various forms of social or economic support. Southern planters watched their slaves leave with dismay, having lived under the delusion that their “human property” saw them as patriarchs who provided daily protection from birth to death. Their “defections” stripped away any pretense of the master-slave relationship. Join Ranger Troy Harman and explore the shattered notions of the “loyal slave” and “Mammy” following the end of the war and the transformation of southern society. – Troy Harman, GNMP

Sun. Jan. 17
The Long Road to Reconciliation- Veterans and the Record of War
Following the conclusion of the Civil War, surviving Union and Confederate veterans returned home to face an unknown future. United by the shared experience of war, these former soldiers bonded through veterans organizations. In 1866, Union veterans established the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1889 former Confederates banded together to create the United Confederate Veterans.  Both groups endeavored to “right the record” of the conflict. Park Historian John Heiser will examine how these two groups, through their newspapers, regimental histories, and reunions helped to shape our interpretation of the war. – John Heiser, GNMP

Sat. Jan. 23
Freedom, the Civil War, and its Complicated Legacy 
More so than any other era of the nation’s history, Americans have grappled with the meaning and legacy of the Civil War. Join John Hennessey, Chief Historian of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, for an examination of the continued relevance and the complex, controversial, and often contested legacies of the American Civil War.  John Hennessy, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Sun. Jan. 24
The Rhetoric of Reconstruction and Reconciliation – What Does it All Mean?
From the end of the war to the present day, Americans have seen their share of promises, proclamations, and declarations; all designed to encourage, enhance, or enforce a particular vision of the Civil War and its aftermath. From Lincoln’s changing recognition of the ultimate meaning of the conflict, evident in his Second Inaugural Address, to the views of a collage of other wide-ranging personalities; from Frederick Douglass, to Woodrow Wilson and George Wallace – all have tried to shape how Americans understand, view, and teach the war. Join Ranger Bert Barnett and explore the decades, leaders, and demagogues of the post-Civil War period.  – Bert Barnett, GNMP

Sat. Jan. 30
Colonels in War, Governors in Peace: Chamberlain and Oates in Reconstruction
The fight between the 20th Maine and the 15th Alabama on Little Round Top is among the most famous incidents of the Battle of Gettysburg, if not the American Civil War. What is less well known is what each regiment’s leader—Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and William Calvin Oates—did following the end of the conflict. Both men went on to become governor of his respective state, and both played a large role in the politics of Reconstruction and in shaping the memory of the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. Join Ranger Daniel Vermilya and discover the post-war political careers of these two fascinating individuals.   – Daniel Vermilya, GNMP

Sun. Jan. 31
Monuments, Memory and Reconciliation at the High Water Mark
Few places on the Gettysburg battlefield are as highly visited or as symbolic as the High Water Mark.  That something important and significant happened here is apparent to even the most casual visitor.  Why else would this little knot of trees be enclosed by an iron fence, and an imposing bronze monument of an open book with the words “High Water Mark,” flanked by cannons, stand in front of them?  Monuments and National Park Service wayside exhibits cluster densely here as well.  Through the decades it has always carried an importance for Americans.  For Union veterans it was place to remind the nation of their great victory and sacrifice through monuments, a process sometimes fiercely contested.  It was also a place of great pain for veterans of both armies and it served some as a point to find peace and reconciliation with former enemies.  Eventually the nation found it to be the ideal space for national reconciliation.  Historian D. Scott Hartwig will explore the major events up through the battle’s 50th anniversary that transformed this simple landscape into one of America’s most symbolic spaces.
D. Scott Hartwig

Sat. Feb. 6
“Trying to be a Radical and not a Fool”:
Congressman James A. Garfield and Reconstruction
Fresh from the Union army and the battlefields of the Civil War, James A. Garfield of Ohio entered Congress in late 1863 committed to abolition and Radical Republicanism.  Over the next 10-15 years, however, Garfield’s commitment to radicalism softened.  Learn more about Garfield’s background and his political views on African American rights, treatment of former Confederates, and other important national issues during the Reconstruction period.  Historian Todd Arrington will examine Garfield’s Reconstruction-era political experiences and how they prepared him to run for and serve as President of the United States. – Todd Arrington, James A. Garfield National Historic Site

Sun. Feb. 7
Impeached! The Rise and Fall of Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson rose from a humble Tennessee tailor to assume the mantle of the Presidency following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. His handling of the first years of Reconstruction nearly resulted in his impeachment. Join Supervisory Ranger Angie Atkinson for a look at the rise and fall of this controversial figure. – Angie Atkinson, GNMP

Sat. Feb. 13
Preservation and Commemoration at Antietam National Battlefield
2015 marked the 125th anniversary of Antietam National Battlefield, one of the five original battlefield parks created by the War Department. Since 1890, veterans, military groups, preservationists, and the National Park Service have all played a role in the creation, expansion, and preservation of one of the most pristine battlefields in the country. Join Keith Snyder, Chief of Interpretation, for a look at the evolution of the site of America’s bloodiest day. – Keith Snyder, Antietam National Battlefield Park

Sun. Feb. 14
Legacies of Letterman: The Army Medical Corps, 1864-1945
Join Education Specialist Barb Sanders and explore advancements in military medicine from the end of the Civil War to World War II. From the system of triage, evacuation and hospital care instituted by Medical Director Jonathan Letterman, through both the First and Second World Wars, the medical advances of the Civil War ultimately resulted in the advent of penicillin, blood collection, aeromedical evacuation and the treatment of psychiatric casualties. – Barb Sanders, GNMP

Sat. Feb. 20
Adelbert Ames – From Gettysburg to Mississippi
The story of Union General Adelbert Ames is one of courage, and heroism. A Medal of Honor recipient, and original commander of the 20th Maine, he would serve with distinction on countless battlefields of the Civil War. In the post-war years, Ames served as military governor of Mississippi, senator, and later civilian governor.  During his tenure, marked with violence and scandal, he tried to advance the rights of African Americans with mixed results.  Join Park Ranger Matt Atkinson as he tells the story of Adelbert Ames and his remarkable journey from Gettysburg to the political halls of Mississippi.
– Matt Atkinson, GNMP

Sun. Feb 21
If These Things Could Talk: 1866 and the Post War Army
The American Civil War spawned a technological revolution of military arms and equipment. Join Ranger Tom Holbrook and examine original objects from the park’s museum collection that shed light on the post-war army and its reorganization following the demobilization of hundreds of thousands of volunteer troops and the end of Civil War.  – Tom Holbrook, GNMP

Sat. Feb. 27
Furled and Unfurled: A History of the Confederate Battle Flag at Gettysburg
Few symbols are as recognizable or as controversial as the Confederate battle flag. From the men who carried it into battle, to its incorporation into monuments and memorials, the flag is inextricably linked with the battlefield of Gettysburg. Discover the compelling and controversial history of the flag at Gettysburg, and the on-going debate over its meaning and message. – Christopher Gwinn, GNMP

Sun. Feb. 28
Longstreet and Sickles – Together Again for the First Time: The Grand Reunion of 1888
The Grand Reunion of 1888, held on the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, was hailed as a time of reunion and reconciliation. It would also prove to be the first real meeting of many Union and Confederate veterans, Daniel Sickles, Henry Slocum, Joshua Chamberlain, James Longstreet and John B. Gordon among them. All these former enemies joined together in feelings of brotherhood and pride in the accomplishments of a reunited nation. Join Ranger Karlton Smith and explore the events, interactions, and episodes of this important moment in Gettysburg history. – Karlton Smith, GNMP

Sat. March 5
“It was, indeed, a scene of unsurpassed grandeur and majesty” – An Audio-Visual Presentation of the National Park Service’s Coverage of the 150thAnniversary of the American Civil War
Over the past five years, the National Park Service has covered the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War through extensive photography and video projects. From behind the camera, Jason Martz and a team of passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers have spent countless hours capturing these once-in-a-lifetime events. They have been used for immediate use on web and social media sites for a worldwide audience and have been saved and cataloged for ages to come. Beginning with the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) in July, 2011, and ending with the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Jason will highlight some of the most remarkable and stunning pictures and videos from the past five years. – Jason Martz, GNMP

Sun. March 6
“Our once beautiful but now desolated Valley” – Post-War Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

The aftermath of the Civil War brought many challenges to the residents of the Shenandoah Valley.  In the fall of 1864, the war-torn region had been destroyed by Union General Phil Sheridan’s Blue-Coats during “the Burning,” and in the post-war period, the Valley’s residents not only had to deal with the economic recovery of their formerly-named “Breadbasket,” but also the political changes facing the nation.  Park Ranger Shannon Moeck will discuss how all the Valley’s civilians, including former slaves and Confederate veterans, adjusted and adapted to their new environment, then, while remembering their past, went about rebuilding their lives during this uncertain time. – Shannon Moeck, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Sat. March 12
The Aftermath of Pickett’s Charge: Was There a Second Wave?
When Longstreet stated to Lee on the morning of July 3, 1863, “there never was a body of fifteen thousand men who could make that attack successfully,” he emphatically concluded with, “it would take twice that many men and even then the issue would be in doubt.” This latter statement is particularly revealing on contingencies to Pickett’s Charge. If one surveys all Confederate troops placed within supporting distance of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble assault, they add up to an additional 15,000 men. Did Lee and Longstreet arrange for another 15,000 combatants in a supporting role? Would they have moved forward under the right conditions? How did their presence contribute to Pickett’s fallback and final retreat of Lee’s army? – Troy Harman, GNMP

Sun. March 13
“We have made the most costly sacrifices” – The Consequences of War
The aftermath of war has consequences, both seen and unseen. The American Civil War left a swath of physical destruction, but it also affected families on a personal level. Sons, husbands, and fathers numbered among the dead and maimed, and families were forever changed. The war not only took lives but it also took innocence, safety, and home. Join Park Ranger Evangelina Rubalcava-Joyce and learn about the shocking aftermath of the Civil War and the fortitude of those who endured it.
Evangelina Rubalcava-Joyce, GNMP


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1 Response to Winter Lectures and More! Winter Programming at Gettysburg National Military Park

  1. Al Mackey says:

    Reblogged this on Student of the American Civil War and commented:
    Well worth attending if you’re in the Gettysburg area this winter. The rangers do a fantastic job.

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