October 4, 2019 - October 5, 2019
Gettysburg History Symposium
Are you a Friend? As a Friend, you'll receive special discounts and access to Friends-only events.

Change event date

Choose a new date from the list below. Click the blue arrow after you make your selection.
Continue Shopping

Event details


October 5, 2019


Gettysburg History Symposium Saturday Programs


Presented by Gettysburg National Park Service and Gettysburg Foundation


This year attendees are invited to enjoy the collective efforts of Gettysburg National Military Park and Gettysburg Foundation as they treat you to the experience that you have come to expect from the Park's Semi-Annual Seminar and the Foundation's Fall Muster combined into one exciting event!


On Saturday, attendees will choose one program in the morning from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and one in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  A lunch buffet will be offered in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The available programs are listed below: 


Morning Sessions: 

Indoor AM Program: This session will consist of the following lectures   

8:30 a.m. -9:30 a.m. Gettysburg: Lost and Found with National Park Service Ranger Bert Barnett 

From the earliest moments of the eerie quiet, punctuated only by the faltering cries of the failing wounded, intertwined with the creaking wheels of the retreating Confederate Army, wonder has arisen; as if from the sodden soil itself.  What did all this mean? As time ticked away from the terror of the flaming guns, new generations have come to grapple with its meaning, and subsequent value to citizens in later times.  Those that knew directly of battle have long passed; only the land they fought over lingers to tell their stories.  The legends remained the property of those who wrote them in blood, then passed to subsequent generations; whether seemingly abandoned, recalled with monuments, or lost beneath seas of macadam.   

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. The Wrong Impression: A Study of the Proper Placement of Lane’s North Carolina Brigade and the 8th Ohio during Longstreet’s Assault on July 3, 1863 with National Park Service Ranger Karlton Smith 

Longstreet’s Assault on July 3, 1863 had hardly begun when Brigadier General James Lane's North Carolina Brigade was given the unenviable task of shoring up the wavering left flank of General Pettigrew’s advancing line. Close by was the skirmish line of the depleted 8th Ohio Infantry, which- against all odds- wreaked havoc on that same Confederate flank. Recent studies show that perhaps our understanding of the position of these commands and where their encounter took place on the field has been misunderstood beginning with the early histories of the battle and the evidence today may change our perception of what happened on the left flank of Longstreet's Assault on July 3, 1863. 

10:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Memories of Battle: Union and Confederate Veterans and the Fighting on Culp’s National Park Service Park Service Ranger Christopher Gwinn 

The most sustained fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg occurred on the wooded slopes of Culp's Hill. The bullet torn landscape, lined with entrenchments, became some of the first land preserved on the Gettysburg battlefield. Ranger Christopher Gwinn will explore how Union and Confederate veterans remembered the fighting there, and how the Hill transformed from Battlefield to Memorial Park. 


Outdoor AM Program 1: On Freedom’s Tenuous Edge: Stories of Gettysburg’s African-American Community Before, During, and After the Battle with National Park Service Ranger John Hoptak 

Join us for this two-mile-long hike and discover some of the lesser-known and lesser-told stories of the Gettysburg Campaign and Battles: stories of Gettysburg’s African-American community before, during, and after the battle. From their involvement with the Underground Railroad, to their experiences during the battle and its impact upon their homes, their families, and their lives, the history of Gettysburg’s African-American community is a truly fascinating and complex one, and an essential one to know, for it helps to paint a fuller portrait and provide a greater understanding of not only the campaign and battle, but of the Civil War, as well. This tour includes a strenuous battlefield walk. 


Outdoor AM Program 2: Great Tasks, Great Crusades; Gettysburg in the Ages of World War with Penn State Professor, Jared Frederick 

From the 1910s to the 1940s, Gettysburg National Military Park served as one of the nation's largest outdoor classrooms for America's leaders of two global wars. Utilized by the early Tank Corps, for psychological operations training, and prisoner of war internment, Gettysburg's World Wars history is colorfully distinct. Beyond its utilitarian purposes, the landmark was heralded as symbolic of America's most noble virtues. Come reflect on this crossroads moment of battlefield history as America commemorates the 75th anniversary of WWII. Tentative tour stops include Meade's Headquarters, the High Water Mark, Long Lane, and the Soldiers National Cemetery. This tour includes a strenuous battlefield walk. 


Afternoon Sessions: 

Indoor PM Program: This session will consist of the following lectures 

1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m. "There never were such men in an army before”: The Army of Northern Virginia in the Aftermath of the Battle of Chancellorsville with National Park Service Ranger Philip Brown 

Often considered Lee's greatest victory, The Battle of Chancellorsville exacted a heavy toll on the Army of Northern Virginia.  This lecture will examine the effect the battle had on Lee's Army and how it impacted the Gettysburg campaign. 

2:00 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Protest after Pickett’s Charge: “Stonewall” Hayes and the Birth of Anti-Confederate Sentiment at Gettysburg with Author and Historian Codie Eash 

Following Union victory on July 3, 1863, division commander Alexander Hays dragged several captured Confederate battle flags across a dusty, bloody Cemetery Ridge. Despite dozens of eyewitnesses' descriptions explaining this demonstration's symbolic importance, the event has been generally relegated to footnotes and brief remarks in battle histories. This lecture examines precisely what happened that day, how it was remembered by those who observed and participated, and the ways it impacted many veterans' reflections on Gettysburg's status as a site of Rebel defeat. 

3:00 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Killed at Gettysburg Project with Assistant Director of the Civil War Institute atGettysburg College Dr. Ashley Luskey 

Launched in the Spring of 2017, CWI’s student-driven Killed at Gettysburg project interprets and contextualizes the final footsteps of Gettysburg’s fallen. Incorporating both primary source documents, new scholarship on the long Civil War era, and digital technology such as WordPress and ArcGIS StoryMap, the project illuminates the antebellum lives and war-time experiences of Gettysburg combatants, the impact of their deaths upon their families and communities, as well as how their individual and collective sacrifice has been remembered in order to highlight larger themes about the Civil War era as a whole. This presentation will discuss both the methodology behind the project as well as the opportunities and challenges posed by a micro historical, placed-based study of Gettysburg’s fallen in teaching students and interpreting for the public about the social, cultural, and political fabric of these individual soldiers’ worlds and why they still matter to us today. 


Outdoor PM Program 1: Masons at Gettysburg with National Park Service Ranger Matt Atkinson 

Freemasonry is an ancient fraternity whose origins and traditions are shrouded in mystery.  At Gettysburg, many soldiers were Freemasons and on more than one occasion, the bonds of brotherhood were tested but not broken, even by war.  Join Matt as we explore the different individuals and stories that took place on the battlefield. This tour includes a moderate battlefield walk. 


Outdoor PM Program 2: A Story in Their Own Right: Monument Controversies at Gettysburg with National Park Service Ranger Dan Vermilya 

Ever since the battle came to a close, controversies have raged over how to properly remember those who fought and died at Gettysburg. This tour will consider some of the various controversies associated with Confederate monuments at Gettysburg, stopping at several Confederate state memorials on West Confederate Avenue. There will be moderate walking involved. This tour includes a moderate battlefield walk. 


Outdoor PM Program 3: Lincoln and His Vision of a “New Nation” with National Park Service Ranger Troy Harman 

Five times in his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln referred to our country as a "nation", the first sitting president to use this word publicly, in a modern sense, to define the United States. The cemetery he dedicated became a National Cemetery marked by a Soldier's National Monument, the cemetery itself an integral part of a National Military Park. What did the word "nation" mean to Lincoln and his audience in 1863, and why was it used so prominently by Lincoln to define the future of it after the Civil War? Also, how did the culture of Gettysburg and its citizens reflect a developing nation, and how did Lincoln's speech give expression to it?  NOTE: This is a walking tour along the November 19, 1863 funeral procession route, beginning at the train station and ending in the National Cemetery. This tour includes a strenuous battlefield walk. 


Outdoor PM Program 4: The Peach Orchard with Licensed Battlefield Guide James Hessler and Britt Isenberg 

Most conversations about the battle of Gettysburg’s second day center around Confederate attacks and the Union defense of Little Round Top. However, the most important piece of ground on the south end of the battlefield that day was nearly a mile to the west; a gentle eminence crowned by a four-acre peach orchard owned by Rev. Joseph Sherfy. This program will assess the importance of the Peach Orchard and its relationship with accepted interpretations about the plans, execution, and results for both armies that day. This tour includes a moderate battlefield walk. 


Outdoor PM Program 5: “Unsurpassed Courage in Battle” Medal of Honor Recipients at the Battle of Gettysburg with Licensed Battlefield Guide Therese Orr 

Major General Dan Sickles, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing: all well-known recipients of the Medal of Honor. Sixty other men received the Medal of Honor for their actions at Gettysburg. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Therese Orr to visit a handful of locations (on all three days of the battle) where other men performed courageous acts worthy of the Medal of Honor. This tour is mostly on even ground; however, a couple of locations require either a longer walk, or a walk over uneven ground. 


4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. All Participants are invited to the closing remarks and panel discussion with panelists Christopher Gwinn, Chief of Interpretation at Gettysburg National Military Park and Dr. Ashley Whitehead-Luskey, Assistant Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, moderator: John Heckman, host of the Tattooed Historian Facebook Series 


Purchase items

Choose an available section to see ticket options

Additional items

Please Select AM Program
Please Select PM Program