The Civil 
War Institute

300 North Washington Street
Campus box 435
Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: 717.337.6590
F: 717.337.6596

Tours

Manassas Battlefield Tours

Ray Brown/Jim Burgess
A View from the Ground:   On the frontlines of First Manassas

National Park Service Historians Ray Brown and Jim Burgess will explore significant areas of the battlefield where much of the heaviest combat occurred and where key decisions were made that shaped the outcome of the action, as well as the circumstances that propelled Thomas J. Jackson and his brigade into a pivotal role on Henry Hill.  The tour will require considerable walking over rolling terrain on Henry Hill and Chinn Ridge.    On the actual ground CWI participants will gain a better understanding of how the field actually looked at the time and learn the location of key landmarks and terrain features that help define the location of opposing battle lines This tour by bus and foot will cover sites associated with the battle, including Stone Bridge, Van Pelt house site, Sudley Springs Ford Portici, Robinson House site, Henry Hill, and Chinn Ridge


 

Joe Rizzo/ Greg Wolf
"From the First March to the Final Rout:   A Comprehensive Tour of First Manassas:"
 

Where Thomas J. Jackson earned the nickname "Stonewall," on Henry Hill is the focal point of virtually every Manassas tour.  If you are searching for a deeper explanation into the operations and strategy that led to this pivotal moment, if you want to follow in the footsteps of the armies before Jackson helped turn the tide, and if you want to study other critical moments of the campaign that took place away from the towering Jackson monument near the National Park Visitor Center, then this is tour to take, since it includes both a general treatment of the battle and specialized stops for the personal who already has a firm knowledge of the engagement.   Even the veteran visitor of Bull Run will see place--such as Manassas Junction, "Liberia," Blackburn's Ford--that are rarely available to the every-day-visitor of Manassas.


 

Ethan Rafuse
Staff Ride

In 1906 officers from what is today the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College executed the school's first "staff ride".  Carried out under the direction of Maj. Eben Swift, this exercise involved in-depth study of the great 1864 campaign across northern Georgia that ended with the fall of Atlanta.  The idea behind the staff ride (a concept borrowed from the Prusso-German officer education system) is to use historic battlefields as open-air classrooms to help military professionals better understand the real world challenges of command.  Participants in the 2011 Civil War Institute will have the opportunity to travel to Virginia to participate in a staff ride of First Manassas.  In addition to studying and critically analyzing the course and conduct of one of the Civil War's truly great campaigns and the terrain where the fighting took place, the ride will provide participants with an appreciation of how the professional military uses history, and its place in the development of leaders for the current and future operational environments.  Unlike the traditional battlefield tour, the emphasis of the staff ride is on analysis of events and the development and application of critical thinking skills.  Thus, it is presumed that participants in a ride have some familiarity with events and are prepared to actively engage with the instructor and other participants. What value does studying campaigns and battles fought over rolling hills by armies wearing fancy uniforms and equipped with single-shot muskets have for officers as they think about the present and future of war in 2010?  Come along and find out!


 

Harry Smeltzer
Hidden Mysteries of First Bull Run

This tour explores the battle through a series of personal vignettes that offer an intimate view July 21, 1861.  Even for the veteran tourist of First Manassas, "Hidden Mysteries" will offer a fresh perspective through the stories of participants like Peter Hains, Daniel Tyler, William Falkner, and E. B. C. Cash.    These individuals might not be household names, but their experiences reveal critical and often overlooked moments of the First Manassas Campaign. We will visit the critical portions of the battlefield, as well as a few spots not commonly visited by the casual tourist like the remnants of the war's first monument and an 1861 road trace. Led by Smeltzer, a noted expert on First Manassas and host of the blog "Bull Runnings," is geared toward a CWI participant who is familiar with the battle and visited the site before. There will be a moderate amount of walking as part of this tour, with some hilly terrain.


 

Ed Bearss
Advanced Tour of First Manassas/Bull Run

This tour will feature an in-depth look of the first major land battle to occur after the Battle of Fort Sumter. The Battle of Bull Run/Manassas was the bloodiest and largest American Battle at this point. Explore the battle that should have been a quick and easy victory but, shocked the North with a Union defeat and led to President Abraham Lincoln calling for the enlistment of 50,000 more men. Discover how this pivotal battle set the tide for the coming of the long and arduous Civil War.


 

Jennifer Murray
Gettysburg: Preserving and Remembering a Landscape of War

This tour will explore issues and debates on preserving and remembering a landscape of war by highlighting key issues and eras in the history of the Gettysburg Battlefield from July 1863 to June 2011.  This program focuses on the development of America's "hallowed ground" and addresses the creation of the national military park, its 148-year development, memorialization and commemoration, and contemporary debates over landscape rehabilitation, preservation, and interpretation. The tour will include stops at the Eternal Peace Light, the National Cemetery, East Cemetery Hill, Culps Hill and the High Water Mark.  Minimal walking involved.


 

Gettysburg Battlefield Tours

Troy Harman
Meade's Monocacy: Rock Creek Line: Neither Here Nor There

 Debate swirled after the battle over whether General George G. Meade intended to leave Gettysburg after the first day's fight for the security of his logistical stronghold around Westminster, Maryland at Pipe Clay Creek.  Several Union Corps commanders even recalled a critical July 2, 1863 war council conversation about the army falling back on a stronger position.  Claims to this effect persisted after the battle forcing Meade to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee, the result proving to further enhance General Ulysses S. Grant's appointment in the East.  Meanwhile, Meade categorically denied ever intending to leave Gettysburg on July 2 or 3, yet the record shows some discussions took place regarding a stronger fall-back position. Where was it?  Though Meade intentionally did not elaborate on the location, his actions, along with a myriad of sorted messages permit us to reasonably answer the riddle. Join Ranger Troy Harman within the Benners Hill cul-de-sac, for a hike atop Hospital hill and full discussion of Meade's Monocacy-Rock Creek Line.


 

Scott Hartwig
The Three Battles of July 1

Tour will present an analysis of three different engagements on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, with a  discussion about combat, leadership, terrain, and motivation in the Civil War. The tour will relate the three engagements to the larger Battle of Gettysburg and will visit Herbst Woods, where Pettigrew's North Carolina Brigade faced off against the Iron Brigade; the victory and defeat of General Joseph Davis's Brigade on McPherson's Ridge; and the Confederate Brigades of Doles and Gordon and how maneuvers played a role in their success during the fighting on Barlow's Knoll. This tour will involve light walking totaling less than one mile, including some slight uphill terrain.  There will be a bathroom break available if needed and participants should be prepared for stops in light meadow grass.


 

John Heiser
"The Fortunes of War Rarely Place Troops Under More Trying Circumstances:" Kershaw's Brigade at the Rose Farm

Tour will begin on the Rose Farm grounds, where sites of significance will be pointed out followed by a walking tour around the farm and buildings, highlighting the fighting there on July 2, 1863 and the resulting devastation experienced by the land owners. Participants should be aware that the tour will cover approximately one mile over uneven terrain including creeks, walls, fences, and areas where there may be poison ivy. No restrooms are available on this tour.

 


Greg Mertz
"Emulating a Volcano in Eruption": The Artillery Duel Preceding Pickett's Charge

 

Tour will examine Confederate artillery positions, assessing whether the best positions were utilized, and if not, the reasons why. The tour will stop at several points along the Federal line to evaluate the damage done by the Confederates, and will conclude by considering the degree to which the Confederate bombardment succeeded or fell short of accomplishing its mission. Stops will include Oak Hill, Seminary Ridge near McMillan Woods, and a point near the Peach Orchard. Moderate amount of walking required on paved and unpaved foot paths; a bathroom break will be available.


Wayne Motts
Wearing the Green: Hiram Berdan and his Elite Union Sharpshooters at the Battle of Gettysburg

Tour describes in detail the formation, recruitment, equipment, and experience of the First and Second United States Sharpshooters.  Specially armed, clothed, and equipped these two Federal regiments were composed of soldiers widely recognized as the best shots from the northern states during the Civil War.  Despite their relative small numbers, these troops had a tremendous battlefield impact as skirmishers in places like Gettysburg.  Tour is composed of a combination driving and walking, highlighting the action of both regiments on July 2, 1863 along the Emmitsburg Road, Seminary Ridge, and the action on the Federal left at Big and Little Round Top. Participants will see and experience places on the Gettysburg Battlefield not toured by the general public. This tour requires standing and walking more than one mile over uneven terrain.


 

Jennifer Murray
"We Gained Nothing But Glory": The Planning and Implementation of Pickett's Charge

Tour explores the planning and implementation of the famed Confederate offensive on July 3, 1863. It will follow the footsteps of General James Kemper's Virginia Brigade. Kemper's Brigade, totaling five regiments, held the extreme right of the infantry line, and therefore endured an experience significantly different from other Confederate infantry units. This program will situate Kemper's men and discuss the impact of this position during the assault, including the devastating enfilading artillery fire and a Union counterattack by Vermont troops.  Consists of about two and one half miles of walking on both paths and fields; some terrain is rugged, uneven, and weedy.


 

Tim Orr
The Whirlpool of Battle: Gettysburg's Bloody Wheatfield

In this small field, over 6,600 Union and Confederate soldiers became casualties of war, an average loss of 44 soldiers per each minute of fighting.  The Wheatfield stands out as one of the bloodiest clashes of infantry to occur during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, second only to Pickett's Charge. Yet, the fighting in the Wheatfield is poorly understood with historians often merely dismissing the Wheatfield as a pointless engagement ending in stalemate. This tour will reconsider the Wheatfield's tactical importance, explaining the circumstances that propelled so many Union and Confederate units into such a confined space. Additionally, it will examine these decisions against the context of the brutal fighting that circumscribed, impaired, or spoiled decisive combat leadership.  The tour will include moderate walking around the Wheatfield area; some terrain is uneven with tall grass.  There are no bathrooms located in the immediate area, though one will be available on the bus.


 

 

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Compiler

Gettysburg 

College

300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: (717) 337-6300