01 July 2013

Military Monday: Battle of Gettysburg


150 years ago this week the most critical and the bloodiest battle of the Civil War happened in Gettysburg. This three day battle in 1863 was the result of an ambitious invasion of the North by General Robert E. Lee. He was met in Gettysburg by the Union Army of the Potomac, under the command of Major General George Gordon Meade. The Union Army showed a new energy born out of desperation. The Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg resulted in Lee's retreat to Virginia. It was also the final break of the Confederate spirit and will.

During the days of the battle anniversary, with July 4 focusing on the battle's aftermath, the park will offer the following interpretive program opportunities, free of charge:


Living History Camps - Two full battalions of Union and Confederate infantrymen accompanied by artillery and other supporting units will present demonstrations and programs near the Pennsylvania Memorial and at Pitzer's Woods throughout the day to illustrate the life of the Union and Confederate soldier and demonstrate the tactics used by both armies in the Battle of Gettysburg. (PLEASE NOTE living history events are July 1-3 only.)

Key Moment Programs - Each day of the battle and on July 4, Park Rangers will present ranger guided programs at locations where key events occurred during that particular day of the battle, or during the battle's aftermath.

Overview Hikes - Each day of the battle, and on July 4, Park Rangers will present 60 minute overview hikes covering different phases of the battle and its aftermath. These will involve more walking than Key Moment programs.

Battlefield Experience Programs - Park Rangers will provide special programs that allow visitors to experience critical moments of the battle at the approximate time they occurred 150 years ago. This will include a July 3 Commemorative March across the field of Pickett's Charge, with visitors organized by NPS rangers to represent the Confederate brigades that participated in the attack and the Union soldiers that defended against it.


Voices of the Battle - Every evening at 7:30 p.m. visitors can gather and listen to the voices of soldiers and civilians describing their experiences during the battle and aftermath.

Special Junior Ranger Patch - Continuing throughout 2013, kids can earn a special 150th Anniversary Junior Ranger patch by completing an activity book associated with the battle anniversary activities.

"Kids and Family" Activities Tent - For children we will have a "Kids and Family" programs tent just outside the Visitor Center with activities throughout the day. We will also have a special interactive Signal Corps station July 1 through 3 near Meade's Headquarters.

Park Ranger Programs at the Museum and Visitor Center - Park Rangers will present Battle Overviews, Civil War Soldier, Care of the Wounded programs on a regular schedule in the Museum and Visitor Center or at Interpretive Program stations outside the building. In addition to programs in the museum, the park will offer some programs at sites including the Cemetery, Little Round Top and the Angle.

A full list of programs is available in a commemorative event guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center information desk, and is also available at the website at http://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/150th-anniversary-index.htm.

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