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Gettysburg


  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Leon Hadar: The Arabs Will Have Their Gettysburgs

    Leon Hadar, senior analyst at Wikistrat, a geostrategic consulting group, is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East.This month Americans marked the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, an event seen by many historians as a decisive victory for the Union and a turning point in the Civil War.Indeed, hope among the leaders of the Confederacy for diplomatic recognition by Britain and other Europeans powers dissipated after the Union victory at the battle. While Great Britain remained neutral during the U.S. Civil War, Confederate leaders planned to secure independence through a strategy of drawing Britain (and France) to their side through diplomatic support and military intervention....In a way, any British effort to end the Civil War before Gettysburg would have changed the course of that war, and, by extension, American history. In such a counterfactual scenario, there wouldn’t have been a United States. And the historical narrative of the nation (or two nations) would have been quite different from the one being taught in American schools today, which is based on the notion that the Civil War amounted to a birth of the nation and that the abolition of slavery was necessary, if not inevitable.

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Beware Civil War relics

    GETTYSBURG, Pennsylvania (REUTERS) - With 250,000 visitors expected to converge on the Gettysburg battlefields this week, historians and antiquarians say the 150th anniversary of the clash that defined the United States (US) Civil War has prompted an increased interest in Civil War relics - and an apparent uptick in the thefts and faking of conflict memorabilia.While there are no national statistics about thefts of war mementos, museums and law enforcement officers around the nation have reported a range of incidents involving the plundering of Civil War artifacts.The thievery even extended to the current Gettysburg re-enactment, where criminals made off with a trailer containing war items valued at US$10,000 (S$13,000) in Frederick County, Maryland, last month....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    At Gettysburg, a battle of history vs. modernity

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Like thousands of other re-enactors, Eric Mueller honors the sacrifices of soldiers in the Civil War by going to great lengths to live as they did — sleeping beneath a canvas sheet suspended on wooden posts, eating hardtack and salt pork, carrying 60 rounds of ammunition in a cartridge box and a backpack, and marching long distances in heavy woolen tunics.But in the interests of safety and perhaps a little comfort, Mr. Mueller, 40, allows modest divergences from the 19th-century soldier’s life.Last week, for example, Mr. Mueller packed in his knapsack two sweet potatoes and two small onions, foods that he conceded may not have been in season in southern Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863, and so would not have been available to Civil War troops even if they had tried to forage them from nearby farms.Still, he subjected himself to discomforts like not washing for a week and squeezing his six-foot frame into a 5-foot-8-inch-long tent that he shared with another re-enactor. Mr. Mueller, a civil servant from Hawaii, said he stayed “reasonably dry” during four nights of camping out on Cemetery Ridge in the heart of the Gettysburg battlefield....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Lincoln mastered wisdom of unsent letter after Gettysburg

    Abraham Lincoln, remembered 150 years after a “decisive” battle of the U.S. Civil War, could have excelled in modern-day Washington politics, one of the pre-eminent scholars on the American president says.“He would be tech savvy, he would lose the beard, he would have some cosmetic surgery, he would make an asset of his height,” historian Harold Holzer said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “He was so smart about working with the press, getting the press to work in his behalf, giving out exclusives, and he would have mastered any medium.”As one measure of Lincoln’s political prowess, Holzer recited an often-told tale of Lincoln thinking twice before dispatching a letter upbraiding his general who defeated the enemy at the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point for the Northern victory in the Civil War. It was a precursor to the dilemma of hitting the send button on a regrettable e-mail....

  • Originally published 07/05/2013

    Robert Hicks: Why the Civil War Still Matters

    Robert Hicks is the author of the novels “The Widow of the South” and “A Separate Country.”FRANKLIN, Tenn. — IN his 1948 novel “Intruder in the Dust,” William Faulkner described the timeless importance of the Battle of Gettysburg in Southern memory, and in particular the moments before the disastrous Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, which sealed Gen. Robert E. Lee’s defeat. “For every Southern boy fourteen years old,” he wrote, “there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon.”That wasn’t quite true at the time — as the humorist Roy Blount Jr. reminds us, black Southern boys of the 1940s probably had a different take on the battle. But today, how many boys anywhere wax nostalgic about the Civil War? For the most part, the world in which Faulkner lived, when the Civil War and its consequences still shaped the American consciousness, has faded away.Which raises an important question this week, as we move through the three-day sesquicentennial of Gettysburg: does the Civil War still matter as anything more than long-ago history?...

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    Ron Radosh tears into Doris Kearns Goodwin for Gettysburg speech

    Ron Radosh writes for PJ Media.This week our nation remembers the battle that raged at Gettysburg 150 years ago. It was a carnage in which thousands were killed in three days of fierce fighting. Had the Union troops not won, an outcome that was not a sure thing when the fighting began, the future of our nation would have been quite different than it is today.......My wife and I watched it [Doris Kearns Goodwin speaking at Gettysburg] two nights ago, and were stunned at what we heard. Goodwin barely mentioned Gettysburg, except for a perfunctory acknowledgement at the start of her comments.Instead, those in attendance were forced to listen to a self-absorbed, narcissistic and politically correct bromide about how Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg was important as a precursor to  LBJ’s support of the Civil Rights Bill, the fight for gay marriage, the  “women’s liberation” movement of the 70’s, and of course, the need for a female president, after numerous references to Hillary Clinton, Kearns Goodwin’s obvious choice.

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    David Brooks cites Allen C. Guezlo in op-ed column

    David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for the NYT.Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. In his eloquent new account, “Gettysburg: the Last Invasion,” the historian Allen Guelzo describes the psychology of the fighters on that day.A battlefield is “the lonesomest place which men share together,” a soldier once observed. At Gettysburg, the men were sometimes isolated within the rolling clouds of gun smoke and unnerved by what Guelzo calls “the weird harmonic ring of bullets striking fixed bayonets.” They were often terrified, of course, sometimes losing bladder and bowel control. (Aristophanes once called battle “the terrible one, the tough one, the one upon the legs.”)But, as Guelzo notes, the Civil War was fought with “an amateurism of spirit and an innocence of intent, which would be touching if that same amateurism had not also contrived to make it so bloody.”...

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    Allen C. Guezlo: Twilight of the Confederacy

    Allen C. Guelzo is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. He teaches at Gettysburg College.Looking back 20 years after it was fought, Alexander Stewart Webb declared that the Battle of Gettysburg “was, and is now throughout the world, known to be the Waterloo of the Rebellion.” Certainly Webb had earned the right to judge. He was in command of the Union brigade that absorbed the spearpoint of the battle’s climax on July 3, 1863, the great charge of the Confederate divisions commanded by George E. Pickett. “This three days’ contest,” Webb said, “was a constant recurrence of scenes of self-sacrifice,” especially “on the part of all engaged on the third and last day.”One hundred fifty years later, one might imagine that Alexander Webb was suffering from a touch of middle-age myopia. The word “Gettysburg” is still powerful enough to be recognized by even the most indifferent grade-schooler as a big-box event in American history. But does it deserve to stand beside Waterloo?

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    The Terror of Being Black at Gettysburg

    For the unknown number of African Americans rounded up by the Confederate army, who called Gettysburg and the surrounding region home, Union victory mattered little. For them a new birth of freedom would have to wait just a little longer.

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    The Terror of Being Black in Pennsylvania During the Battle of Gettysburg

    Harper’s Weekly, November 1862.On Wednesday July 3, thousands of visitors will congregate near the "copse of trees" on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg to commemorate the 150th anniversary of "Pickett's Charge." From this position they will be able to imagine the roughly 13,000 Confederates in tight formation, who crossed the deadly field in the face of long-range artillery. Once across the Emmitsburg Road visitors should have little trouble envisioning the deadly effects of short-range canister and the deafening sound of Union rifles. Some will contemplate the tragedy of a war that pitted Americans v. Americans while others will hold tight to thoughts of what might have been before accepting that the charge constituted a decisive Confederate defeat.

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    Goodwin: Gettysburg is unique among battlefields

    There are lots of other battlefields in America, but there is just something extra special about Gettysburg.Historical Author Doris Kearns Goodwin suspects the combination of the battle and Abraham Lincoln coming here four months later contributes greatly to its uniqueness....

  • Originally published 07/01/2013

    Debunking the Myths of Gettysburg, 150 Years Later: Historian Allen Guelzo

    For something that happened 150 years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg still generates its share of controversy. And myth, according to historian Allen Guelzo, “grows like weed out of controversy.”Guelzo, a professor of history at - appropriately enough - Gettysburg College, is the author of the recently published “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.” He spoke with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein about the battle and his book – an exhaustively researched and detailed dive into the pivotal fight of the Civil War.Among the myths of Gettysburg that Guelzo debunks is that the battle was an accident – that Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac merely happened upon each other in the hills of South Central Pennsylvania. “No, it was not really an accident,” said Guelzo. “At least not more of an accident than any battle in the Civil War was.”

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    The Battle of Gettysburg at 150

    Hancock at Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup. Credit: Wiki Commons.The Battle of Gettysburg marks its 150th anniversary this week (so does the Union victory at the siege of Vicksburg, but good luck seeing anything about that in the media).To mark the occasion, we've assembled a list of resources -- digital collections, books, and news stories -- about the battle and the Civil War that are worth closer examination.And of course, please share your favorite Civil War books in the comments! We're pretty well read here at HNN, but considering that the amount of works published on the Civil War easily numbers in the tens of thousands, we certainly haven't read (or even heard of) them all!Digital Resources

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    MN regiment charged into history in 1863

    In the smoky twilight outside Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, several regiments from Alabama were fighting their way down a slope into a rocky creek bed. Union soldiers were fleeing in front of them. The Confederates were almost at their goal -- to completely break the Union line and take a battery of big guns a few hundred yards away at the top of another slope called Cemetery Ridge. But out of the smoke, a line of Minnesotans came running toward them, firing and charging with leveled bayonets. Two major Civil War anniversaries are coming up this week. Given the choice between visiting Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa., there was never any question of where dignitaries from Minnesota would pay their respects. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, may have been more important to defeating the South, and several thousand Minnesota soldiers were part of the siege that preceded the city's surrender.

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    New map may explain Lee's decisions at Gettysburg

    GETTYSBURG, Pa.—On the second day of fighting at Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee listened to scouting reports, scanned the battlefield and ordered his second-in-command, James Longstreet, to attack the Union Army's left flank.It was a fateful decision, one that led to one of the most desperate clashes of the entire Civil War—the fight for a piece of ground called Little Round Top. The Union's defense of the boulder-strewn promontory helped send Lee to defeat at Gettysburg, and he never again ventured into Northern territory.Why did the shrewd and canny Lee choose to attack, especially in the face of the Union's superior numbers?While historians have long wrestled with that question, geographers and cartographers have come up with an explanation, by way of sophisticated mapping software that shows the rolling terrain exactly as it would have appeared to Lee: From his vantage point, he simply couldn't see throngs of Union soldiers amid the hills and valleys....

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    Re-enactors and spectators descend on Gettysburg

    An army of visitors a quarter million strong, including legions of Civil War re-enactors, is converging on Gettysburg, Pa., to mark the 150th anniversary of the nation's bloodiest battle, a three-day clash that helped turn the tide of the war.Areas surrounding the town of 7,000 in southern Pennsylvania are being transformed into battlefield scenes, complete with an outdoor field hospital where hundreds of people acting as surgeons will pretend to triage people acting as wounded soldiers, all while period-dressed guides explain the scene."It's our Olympic moment," said Andrea DiMartino, a coordinator with the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, which stages re-enactments each year. Over four days, the group expects 60,000 to 80,000 spectators, who will pay $40 a day to view the action from stadium seating or from their own blankets or lawn chairs. This year, the group also is offering, for $13, a live broadcast of a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge to be viewed on a computer, tablet or smartphone.The tourism agency for Adams County, Pa., expects the surge of visitors to inject $100 million into the region's economy....

  • Originally published 06/30/2013

    Civil War historian makes Gettysburg his focus and his home

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The wheat had been flattened in the somber field where the dead Confederates were lined up for burial in 1863.Forty-four bodies, some with their legs tied together to make them easier to carry, had been gathered by their comrades. But there was no time to dig the graves, and this was how the photographers found them, laid out on the trampled ground.William A. Frassanito, the reclusive historian of Civil War photography, is standing in the woods just outside the field at sunset, explaining how he located this spot after it had been lost for more than a century.It’s quiet now, except for the cooing of mourning doves and the lowing of cattle that graze in the knee-high grass....

  • Originally published 06/28/2013

    National Park Service livestreaming Gettysburg reenactment

    WHAT: This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg, a major turning point in the Civil War that ended General Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North and also served as inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's famous “Gettysburg Address”. EarthCam and the National Park Service have teamed up to transport viewers to another time with spectacular live views of the Gettysburg battle field.WHY: Watch Pickett's Charge March live as it happens on July 3 from 3:00 to 4:30pm ET from EarthCam's high-definition live streaming webcam positioned atop the Codori Barn. The Nicholas Codori farm is located just south of Gettysburg on the east side of Emmitsburg Road where it was the scene of heavy fighting on July 2 and proved to be an obstacle to advancing troops of Pickett's Charge on July 3. See participants walk in the footsteps of Confederate Soldiers who made the attack from Seminary Ridge or Union Soldiers who defended ground on Cemetery Ridge.HOW: Enjoy live views of the Gettysburg Battlefield and watch Pickett's Charge March Live from EarthCam's camera at www.earthcam.com/gettysburg, or go to www.gettysburgfoundation.org and click on the “Watch Pickett's Charge Live!” button.

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Apps mix history with technology at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

    PHILADELPHIA — At the 150th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg, many Civil War re-enactors will eschew the use of modern technology, but scores of tourists will embrace it.More than 5,700 Foursquare users have checked in at sites in the historic borough; more than 16,000 Facebook users have liked it. And in the weeks leading up to the anniversary, apps that offer maps and information about key battle spots have surged in popularity.Garry Adelman has been a licensed Gettysburg battlefield guide for 19 years and has recently moved his high-energy tour into the realm of the smartphone. The project was initiated four years ago by the Civil War Trust, a nonprofit battlefield preservation group where Adelman is the director of history and education....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    New Gettysburg museum explores role of faith in Civil War

    When Confederate soldiers bore down on Gettysburg, Pa., in 1863, a quiet seminary building atop a ridge was transformed — first into a Union lookout, then a field hospital for 600 wounded soldiers.Now the structure that stood at the center of the Civil War’s bloodiest and most pivotal battle is being transformed once again.On July 1, marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Schmucker Hall, located on the campus of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, will reopen as a museum reflecting on the epic battle, the costly war and the complex role of faith.Seminary Ridge Museum will take visitors into the minds of those who fought and explore their conflicting ideas of freedom....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Gettysburg residents seek black history museum

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gettysburg’s small African-American community proudly tells stories of ancestors who fought in the Civil War, of a young woman who shook President Abraham Lincoln’s hand and of the men who buried thousands of bodies after the battle.But they also speak of a struggle to preserve that history and of discrimination that continued long after the war ended — even where Lincoln himself reminded Americans of our defining ideal: that all men are created equal.‘‘Our story here in this town, and in this state, and in this country has not been told,’’ said Mary Alice Nutter, 68, who has been working to fulfill her mother’s dying wish for an African-American history museum in the town where Union soldiers turned the tide of the Civil War, helping to end slavery in the United States....

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Shaped by history, Gettysburg celebrates milestone

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. –  Gettysburg changed the direction of American history 150 years ago, and the town hasn't been the same since.The couple of hundred thousand visitors expected at events to mark the anniversary of the 1863 clash won't have to look far to find remnants of the pivotal campaign of the Civil War, even outside the grounds of the meticulously maintained national park.Cannonballs and shrapnel remain embedded in a few of the roughly 200 buildings that remain from the period.Many of the businesses in the rural county seat cater to the throngs of tourists that stream into one of the country's most historic places, from General Pickett's Buffet to Abraham's Lady, a battle-era clothing shop....

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    A Gettysburg battle plan: The field as it once was

    GETTYSBURG - During the monumental battle fought here 150 years ago, Powers Hill played a key role as a signal station and artillery position guarding the main route to Washington.Over time the fields turned to forest and few visitors made the short trek up the boulder-filled hill at the southeastern corner of Gettysburg National Military Park for the view.Because there wasn't one.Before last year you could not see the battlefield for the trees. Today, after trees have been clear-cut, a nonhistoric house demolished, and a small parcel of land purchased, a visitor can stand beside the boulders, look out across the Baltimore Pike clear over to Culp's Hill and understand exactly what was at stake."Seeing the landscape as soldiers saw it is paramount to understanding the battle," said Garry Adelman, director of history and education at the nonprofit group Civil War Trust and a licensed battlefield guide for 20 years....

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Gettysburg readies for anniversary

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The commemoration of this year’s milestone anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg will include amenities that soldiers would have relished 150 years ago.A groomed path to the top of Little Round Top. Expanded cellphone coverage. Dozens of portable toilets.The National Park Service and a cadre of community organizers are busily putting the finishing touches on preparations for the commemoration of the pivotal battle of the American Civil War that cemented this small Pennsylvania town’s place in U.S history. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected for a 10-day schedule of events that begin June 29.“I think we’re ready,” Bob Kirby, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park, said in a recent interview . “We’re ready for what the world would like to see.”...

  • Originally published 05/12/2013

    American Civil War Wax Museum up for sale

    After 51 years educating and entertaining Gettysburg visitors, the American Civil War Wax Museum is up for sale."The owners are looking to retire," said Tammy Myers, general manager of the museum. It has always been a family business and the owners' children are not interested in operating it, she added, so they are ready to sell.The 12,450-square-foot property located at 297 Steinwehr Av. is currently on the market for $1,695,000, acording to a listing by Prudential Bob Yost-Sites Homesale. As to whether or not the museum will remain open once it is sold, that will depend on the buyers, Myers said....

  • Originally published 04/04/2013

    Cyclorama no more

    Work is underway at Gettysburg National Military Park to rehabilitate the northern section of Cemetery Ridge to its historic condition, and a key step in that project has now been completed. On March 11, several dozen people gathered to watch the demolition of the last remaining portion of the old Cyclorama building....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Park service says budget cuts won’t derail 150th anniversary events at Gettysburg

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The National Park Service says federal budget cuts won’t derail the events planned for the Battle of Gettysburg’s 150th anniversary.Bob Kirby, the superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park, says Friday that an extensive series of special programs will take place as planned this summer, though the budget cuts will have some impacts.Kirby says the non-profit Gettysburg Foundation is also providing some extra support this year....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Demolition of Gettysburg Cyclorama building begins

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Demolition work has begun on the Cyclorama building at the Gettysburg National Military Park that used to house the 377-foot painting depicting a pivotal moment in the Civil War battle.Workers began tearing down the building last week, and park superintendent Bob Kirby told The (Hanover) Evening Sun that the demolition is scheduled to be completed by the end of April.The park service has planned to tear down the building since 1999 but the architect’s son and a preservation group opposed the decision, and a court battle ensued that lasted more than three times the length of the Civil War. A court-ordered study last year concluded that demolition was the best course of action....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Lincoln statue at Gettysburg set for April installation

    The long-awaited Abraham Lincoln statue will finally be installed in Gettysburg in April. Rob Lesher, executive drector of the Adams County Library System, announced Tuesday that plans are now firmly in place for the statue's installation. "It will be a very attractive gift to the borough and should be a compelling driver for tourists to visit downtown," Lesher said at a Gettysburg Public Works Committee meeting. The 7-foot-6-inch-tall statue will be placed on the steps of the library on Baltimore Street, but it won't be the only Lincoln statue in downtown Gettysburg. Another statue two blocks away on Lincoln Square also depicts the 16th president, holding his hat and gesturing toward the Wills House where he put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address....

  • Originally published 02/23/2013

    National park cuts detailed in memo

    The towering giant sequoias at Yosemite National Park would go unprotected from visitors who might trample their shallow roots. At Cape Cod National Seashore, large sections of the Great Beach would close to keep eggs from being destroyed if natural resource managers are cut.Gettysburg would decrease by one-fifth the numbers of school children who learn about the historic Pennsylvania battle that was a turning point in the Civil War.As America's financial clock ticks toward forced spending cuts to countless government agencies, The Associated Press has obtained a National Park Service memo that compiles a list of potential effects at the nation's most beautiful and historic places just as spring vacation season begins......Even Declaration House in Pennsylvania, the place where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, wouldn't be spared. Nor would comfort stations on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi...

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Cyclorama building at Gettysburg will be demolished

    A 14-year battle over the fate of a modern structure at the heart of Gettysburg National Military Park is over.The National Park Service said Thursday that it would begin demolishing the Cyclorama building as soon as February, clearing the site ahead of the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle.The site will be restored to its 1863 appearance, complete with a period apple orchard and replicas of the wood fences that once crisscrossed the fields, park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. The massive painting that the building once housed has been separately preserved....

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Gettysburg Remembrance Day parade has new date

    In anticipation of larger than usual crowds expected at Gettysburg for the annual Remembrance Day parade, planners have moved the event to the weekend of Nov. 23, a week later than had been scheduled.This year is the 150th anniversary of both the battle in July and Remembrance Day in November, the day President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. The parade is very popular with visitors and residents and draws thousands of smartly dressed reenactors who march in military units through the city.Planners say the change was made to better accommodate “lodging requirements.”...

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