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150 + 1 years ago: Highlights from the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg

One year ago, the roads of Gettysburg were packed with vehicles, sidewalks were crammed with history and Civil War enthusiasts, media satellite trucks dotted the horizon, and the sound of cannon fire echoed across the landscape.

The Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, “Gettysburg 150: Reflections of History,” was held over a ten-day period in late June and early July 2013. An estimated 235,000 visitors took part in the commemoration by visiting the area and attending a number of events around town and on campus.

The summer of 2013 was an exciting time for Gettysburg and Gettysburg College. Now, one year later, we wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the College’s highlights from the commemoration.

Gettysburg College in the news

CW Media

Hundreds of media organizations covering the commemoration in town and countless others covering it from afar presented a wonderful opportunity for national visibility for the town and College. The College and our Civil War experts garnered 100+ Sesquicentennial-related media hits in June and July alone in outlets including the New York Times, Wall Steet Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, and more. Check out the complete list of Sesquicentennial-related media hits.

Gettysburg College historians interpret July 1-3, 1863

Three Gettysburg College historians talk about what it was like to be in Gettysburg on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. Watch John Rudy examine July 1, Peter Carmichael discuss July 2, and Allen Guelzo talk about July 3.

Reenactors, battlefield tours, and events…oh my!

View photos on Flickr

The number and variety of Sesquicentennial events in town and on campus meant there were some unique sights to see during “Gettysburg 150: Reflections of History.” Check out some of the shots our photographers captured on campus, in town, and at the reenactments and encampments.

Campus in 1863 vs. 2013


Campus looked a bit different when the Battle broke out in 1863 that it does in modern times. Check out this story and infographic and find out about some major differences.

An APPropriate historical walking tour of campus


The Gettysburg College: Witness to History historical app is a 1.2-mile walking tour that takes you through the Gettysburg College campus and the town of Gettysburg. Individuals taking the tour and using the app will be able to witness the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of students, faculty, and townspeople living in Gettysburg during the summer of 1863. The app is available in the Apple store and the Google Play store. Find out more.

Addressing Gettysburg for visitors

Addressing Gettysburg is a 15-minute film about the enduring meaning of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which uses the campus community to tell the story. The film was shown at the Majestic Theater throughout the summer of 2013. Find out more.

War & Memory: How the battle changed the College forever

Pennsylvania College

Civil War Era Studies Lecturer Brian Matthew Jordan ’09 wrote a piece for Gettysburg magazine about the impact the Battle had on the College.

That’s not all! The Battle Anniversary wasn’t the only big event of 2013.

Dedication Day

While June and July were busy and exciting times for history lovers in Gettysburg, visitors flocked to Gettysburg yet again in November for the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Check out our coverage of Dedication Day 2013 and read the untold story of the Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg College history

Gettysburg College (then known as Pennsylvania College) played a vital role in the Civil War, with more than 200 alumni serving the Union or Confederacy, and the College’s Pennsylvania Hall functioning as an observation post and hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. On Nov. 19, 1863, College students and faculty processed to hear Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Earlier in the year, an 1851 graduate of the College, prominent attorney David Wills, had invited Lincoln to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” at the cemetery’s dedication. Lincoln stayed with the Wills family on the square the night before delivering his famous speech.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Mon, 30 Jun 2014

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