Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Programs, 2009
Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides for a series of free guided walks that discuss the three days of battle and its impact. Each program is approximately three hours in length and may include up to two miles or more of walking. Some of the terrain is moderately difficult and programs may pass through tall grass. Water, headgear, sun protection and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.
July 1, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. The Attack and Defense of Oak Ridge
After the initial Confederate thrust toward Gettysburg was repulsed on the late morning of July 1, the battle escalated as both armies brought more troops onto the field, lengthening their respective battle lines. Sometime around noon Maj. Gen. Robert Rodes’s Confederate Division arrived from the north and quickly occupied Oak Hill, a strategic height northwest of town. Rodes deployed his troops and soon after launched them against the right flank of the Union First Corps located on Oak Ridge. The resulting action was confused and bloody, as the outnumbered Union defenders tenaciously held their ground against repeated Confederate attacks from the north, northwest and west. Join Park Ranger Eric Campbell as he examines this chaotic struggle from the perspective of both the advancing Confederates and the Union defenders.
Meet at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 2. Additional parking is available along the right side of North Confederate Avenue, beyond the Eternal Light Peace Memorial parking lot, or along Buford Avenue, south of the Mummasburg Road. Note: Please park your vehicle on the right side of the road, but with all wheels on the pavement.
July 1, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. "We got off 80 men out of 350 that went into the fight." In the Footsteps of the 157th New York
Follow in the footsteps of the 157th New York Infantry on July 1. For years the scene of their desperate battle with Doles' Georgia brigade was occupied by a car dealership. Today, the dealership is gone and the ground restored so that the story of this unheralded but desperate action can finally be understood. The 157th lost more men killed and wounded than any regiment in the 11th Corps on July 1, 1863, and though driven from the battlefield, the regiment was not defeated for want of courage and determination. Join Park Historian D. Scott Hartwig in retracing the route of this hard- fought Union regiment at Gettysburg.
Meet just east of the 157th New York monument on the corner of Mummasburg Road and West Howard Avenue. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately two miles.
July 2, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
“Impeded by immense boulders and sharp ledges of rock.” The Attack of Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s Division on July 2, 1863
Join a team of Park Rangers as they follow in the footsteps of the four brigades in Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s Division during their attack against the Federal forces stationed in Devil’s Den and the adjacent areas of the Wheatfield and Little Round Top. The focus of the program will be the fight for Devil’s Den but it will also examine how the terrain effected movements and complicated the command and control of a 7,000 man infantry division.
Meet rangers John Heiser, Karlton Smith, Matt Atkinson and Eric Campbell at the Texas Brigade monument on South Confederate Avenue. The program will end at the 99th Pennsylvania Monument on the summit of Devil’s Den. The walks will average between a mile and a mile and one half. It is highly recommended that you wear good hiking boots and be prepared for rough terrain and tall grass. Park at the picnic area on South Confederate Avenue, or along the right side of South Confederate Avenue.
July 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. “I gave orders to General Hays to...advance upon Cemetery Hill when a favorable opportunity should occur.” Major-General Jubal A. Early Early’s Attack on East Cemetery Hill
On July 2, 1863, General Early’s Confederate division faced Cemetery Hill, the centerpiece of the Union position at Gettysburg. Commanding General Robert E. Lee had ordered the Union flanks to be attacked on July 2, either for the purpose of driving them toward a critical mass against Cemetery Hill or to pull Union strength away from that point for Confederate reserves to seize it directly. It seemed apparent, at least by 6:00 pm on July 2, that Union Commanding General George G. Meade had committed his strength to the flanks, thus leaving General Early’s division, along with other Confederate reserves facing Cemetery Hill, the daunting task of seizing the main position directly. Early’s attack was not an afterthought, but rather the defining moment of the three day battle in Lee’s plan. Cemetery Hill was the main position of the Union army and Meade had given Early “a favorable opportunity” to seize it directly. Join Ranger Troy Harman as he follows the steps of Early’s July 2 evening assault, and traces the more precise High Water Mark at Gettysburg. Meet in front of Keefauver School on Lefever Street. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately one and one-half miles.
July 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. In the Footsteps of the 15th Alabama: A Family Program
A special program for children ages 8-14 and accompanied by an adult or guardian. Ranger Barb Sanders will explain the role of the 15th Alabama Infantry during the fighting on July 2, 1863, and the impact the battle had on the local populace. Meet at Alabama Monument, near Auto Tour Stop 7. This walk is over hilly terrain and ends approximately 1.5 miles from its starting location, so please plan and dress accordingly.
July 2, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. “The Fight Was Remarkable” The Struggle for Culp’s Hill on July 2
Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Charlie Fennell as he details the significant action at Culp’s Hill, the anchor of the Union right, on July 2, 1863. Here it can be argued was the best chance for a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. That the Union army prevailed was in no small part due to the heroic valor of a single brigade of New Yorkers commanded by the oldest general in the Army of the Potomac, Brig. Gen. George Greene. As one veteran stated, “Deeds of heroic valor were preformed upon every part of the field during the three days…but nowhere…was more dauntless heroism displayed than in defense of Culp’s Hill by the men in Greene’s brigade…on the night of July 2, 1863.” Meet at the Culp’s Hill Observation Tower on the summit of Culp’s Hill.
July 3, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. “We arrived on the open ground within a few hundred yards of our old position...the night being quite dark....” Col. Silas Colgrove, 27th Indiana. The Pre-Dawn Engagement at McAllister Ridge
Shortly after 10 p.m. on July 2, 1863, Union Brigadier General Alpheus Williams’ Division returned to the Baltimore Pike expecting to reoccupy their defensive works located along an obscure ridge between Powers Hill and Spangler Meadow. To their dismay, Confederates held their fortifications and the ridge, prompting Colonel Colgrove to push-out skirmishers from the 2nd Massachusetts to investigate. In a rare instance of Civil War night fighting, the Massachusetts soldiers successfully completed a sortie that not only found the enemy and recaptured the Union breastworks; it set off a confusing chain of events that lasted well into the early morning hours of July 3. The success of the 2nd Massachusetts overnight was countered by their ill-fated charge across Spangler Meadow later that morning. Join Ranger Troy Harman in walking this recently rehabilitated “open ground”, visible for the first time in over a century thanks to ongoing battlefield rehabilitation. Meet at the flagpole in front of the new Museum and Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately two miles.
July 3, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. The Attack and Repulse of Pickett’s Charge
Follow in the footsteps of Virginia soldiers of General George E. Pickett’s Division during their ill-fated assault against the Union center. Join the team of park rangers- Jim Flook, Raffi Andonian, and Jennifer Murray, as they tramp the route of the brigades of Brig. Gen. Richard Garnett, Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead and Brig. Gen. James Kemper of Pickett’s now famous command. Meet the rangers at the Virginia Memorial (Auto Tour Stop 5), along West Confederate Avenue.
For the perspective of the Union soldiers who repulsed the attack and to learn about the Union response to Pickett’s Charge, meet the park ranger at the Abraham Brien farmhouse, located along Hancock Avenue, directly behind the old Cyclorama Center. Suggested parking at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.
July 3, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. Cemetery Ridge: A Visual History
The history of Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge goes far beyond the stories of Generals Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock. Tens of thousands of soldiers were involved in the fighting there on July 2 and 3, 1863, and in the years following the area would develop into one of the Civil War’s most iconic places. Join Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman and Tim Smith to explore Cemetery Ridge though the lens of the camera. Like no other resource, historical photographs provide us with a glimpse into the transformation of the field of battle into the memorial it is today. The Angle, the Copse of Trees, the Bryan House, Meade’s Headquarters, the old observation tower, and the soon-to-be removed Cyclorama building are just some of the topics to be covered. Learn of the 1890s efforts to restore Zeigler’s Grove, and the battle over the Gettysburg Electric Railway. As always we will discuss moved monuments and avenues long gone. Meet at “Ranger Program Begins Here” sign at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.
July 4, 2009 at 3:30 p.m.
To Save a Life – The Evacuation and Treatment of the Wounded
Follow the path of men of Brigadier General George Willard’s New York brigade into combat on July 2, and then trace the experience of those who are wounded through their evacuation and treatment. Meet a team of rangers at the Pennsylvania Monument, Auto Tour Stop No. 12. Please park along the right side of Hancock Avenue.
National Park Service
Source: Gettysburg National Military Park
Images: Civil War Librarian