This bus tour will follow the route of Col. Charles R. Coster’s Union brigade on July 1, 1863, from Cemetery Hill to the site of John Kuhn’s brickyard in what was then the northeastern outskirts of Gettysburg. It was in this brickyard that three of Coster’s regiments made a forlorn stand against an overwhelming Confederate force that drove them with great loss back from whence they came. This stop will include a discussion of the Brickyard Fight at Coster Avenue, as well as the story of the development and evolution of Mark Dunkelman’s 70-foot mural that depicts the action at the place where it occurred. From there the tour will proceed to the Humiston Memorial on North Stratton Street to talk about the story of Sgt. Amos Humiston and his “Children of the Battle Field.” The tour will conclude on East Cemetery Hill with the story of the National Homestead orphanage, the ultimately tragic coda to the Humiston story. There will be very little walking on this tour—just to and from the bus at the various sites.
This tour will consist of all walking once the group arrives at the Wheatfield. Total walking distance will be less than 1 mile will be split into several short walks that will traverse both paved and unpaved surfaces, including some rugged terrain, around the vicinity of the Wheatfield.
Early in the afternoon of July 1, General Robert Rodes’s division arrived on the battlefield to continue the successive waves of Confederate assaults against the Union line stretching along Seminary Ridge and the northwestern fringes of Gettysburg. One of the units spearheading this assault was the North Carolina brigade of General Alfred Iverson. Already suffering from a strained relationship with their commander, Iverson’s North Carolinians advanced into the fields of Oak Ridge, leaderless, unsupported, and bearing no knowledge of the reinforced line of Federals crouching behind the stonewall to their left-front. Iverson would watch his line of nearly 1,400 men melt away under a withering fire to fewer than 500 survivors within a span of minutes. The surviving Tar Heels immediately maligned their commander with charges of incompetence and cowardice. Worse yet, they also accused Iverson of being drunk during the assault and blamed him wholeheartedly for the disastrous slaughter along Oak Ridge. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, Iverson was transferred to a new department in the deep South for the rest of the war, his surviving Tar Heels refusing to serve any longer under his command. Word of the slaughter on Oak Ridge quickly spread, with even local Gettysburgians viewing what they called “Iverson’s Pits” as a particularly haunting section of the battlefield. In fact, it was mere months before John Forney, the owner of the farmland over which the Tar Heels had attacked, began circulating stories of unusual sightings on his battle-blighted property and of potential encounters with the unsettled spirits from Iverson’s folly. On this tour, we will discuss the botched assault of Iverson’s brigade, but will also spend significant time exploring the larger significance and enduring legacy of this attack. Specifically, we will discuss Iverson’s assault through the lens of contested notions of southern honor and masculinity, the politics of brigade leadership, and how popular culture and local influences have shaped the complex memory of this one facet of the Battle of Gettysburg.
This tour will include less than 1 mile of walking over mixed terrain as well as several stops of prolonged standing to facilitate group discussion. Participants may wish to bring a lightweight lawn chair with them.
This special evening tour of the Gettysburg battlefield for youth attendees under the age of 18 and their families will focus on the letters of soldiers who fought here and discuss how they expressed their varied experiences of battle through writing. The tour will make several stops along the battlefield and will feature several group discussions of soldiers’ letters. This special tour will offer our youngest attendees a forum to learn, ask questions, and talk about the battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War with Peter Carmichael and other young people in a smaller and more intimate forum, as well as to explore first-hand the actual battlefield sites discussed in the soldiers’ writings.
*For children and teens under 18 years of age and their families
This staff ride will provide an overview of the battle of Gettysburg using a traditional military-focused approach to understanding the battlefield. There will be no long walks on this tour. The group will make about 10-12 stops at familiar battlefield locations, each of will require only short walks. However, the group will be standing for perhaps 20-30 minutes at each stop, so attendees may wish to bring a camp stool with them. In short, this will be more of an intellectual workout than a physical one.
The final two battles fought by Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson illustrate a great deal about the degree to which Jackson may have changed as a commander. The general whose plans had been very stringent and whose dealings with subordinates had been rigid, demonstrated characteristics of flexibility on his final two fields of battle.
Jackson learned of the birth of his daughter during the march to Fredericksburg, and one cannot help but ponder whether the joy of that event impacted him. Though Union attacks exploited a gap in a portion of Jackson’s line commanded by A.P. Hill – with whom Jackson feuded with more than any other man on the face of the earth. Hill positioned his men on the Fredericksburg Battlefield after just learning of the death of his own daughter. Was Jackson’s lack of criticism of Hill’s position because “Old Jack” recognized the terrain challenges of the sector assigned to Hill, or did the new father show some empathy for the father who had just lost a child. The tour of Jackson’s portion of the December 13, 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg position will entail a ¼ mile easy walk.
Jackson’s wife and daughter arranged to visit the general during the spring of 1863, but their stay was cut short by the Union army demonstrations and maneuvers initiating the Chancellorsville Campaign. Lee and Jackson worked closely together in determining the Confederate course of action, with each officer endorsing the proposed strategy of the other in the formative stages of the campaign. After making contact with the enemy, Lee and Jackson agreed upon attacking the exposed Union right flank, but Jackson proposed making the assault with more troops that Lee had apparently contemplated. Lee adopted the audacious plan of Jackson and one of the most impressive flank attacks of the war drove in two miles of Union soldiers in three hours. Planning to press the advantage that he had gained, Jackson prepared for night attack, but was accidentally wounded by his own men which scouting during a lull in the action. Jackson subsequently died from complications of pneumonia and the impact of his death has been contemplated by students of the war ever since. A steep ¼ mile walk along a paved path will take participants to the earthworks where Lee had ordered Jackson to prepare to repulse an anticipated Union attack on the first day of the battle. A level ¼ mile walk will cover the area of Jackson’s wounding and another ¼ mile stroll will take participants to the cemetery where Jackson’s amputated arm was buried.
Overall this tour will include about a mile of walking, of which 1/8 mile will be up a steep hill.
Total walking distance of 1 mile, including several bus stops comprised of short walks each.
This tour will explore the many different voices of those who participated in the September, 1862 battle of Antietam. While not delving into the tactical weeds of the battle itself, the tour will instead focus on the multiple, and at times conflicting, experiences of the battle’s participants, and will discuss how these diverse participants sought to make sense of and represent their experiences to others through their writings.
The tour will make several stops along familiar portions of the battlefield, most of which will require very little walking. However, there will also be two longer walks over uneven and rugged terrain.
This tour will include approximately 1.25 miles of walking over mostly paved surfaces.
This tour will include roughly 1 mile of walking over mixed terrain.
This tour will take place entirely indoors and will require very minimal walking. The group will be standing for up to 1 hour.
(One hour classroom discussion of primary source documents followed by a focused battlefield tour)
Much of the attention of the July 2nd fighting focuses on the Federal left flank and the action at Little Round Top and Devil’s Den. As a result, the critical fighting on the Union right flank, at Culp’s Hill, has largely been overlooked and overshadowed. This program explores the fighting on July 2nd and July 3rd along Culp’s Hill, one of the most important actions of the battle and the site of the most sustained fighting at Gettysburg. We will follow in the footsteps of Colonel David Ireland’s 137th New York and learn how his regiment held the Union right flank “at all hazards.”
This tour will require roughly one half-mile of walking. The terrain will be relatively easy, excepting the first half of the tour that moves from the Culp’s Hill tower down the eastern slope of the hill to the 60th NY Monument. The group will then follow General Greene’s line and conclude the tour near the parking lot of Spangler’s Spring.