Battlefield Tours

THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1:00 - 3:30 P.M.

A Short, Savage Fight: The Fight on Barlow's Knoll and the Gettysburg Plain, with John Hoptak (Gettysburg National Military Park)

On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, the soldiers of the Union Eleventh Corps took position on the broad, open plains north of town and atop an elevated piece of ground known locally then as Blocher's Knoll, but today known as Barlow's Knoll. Preparing for battle that Wednesday, these men were desperate to avenge the condemnation heaped upon them following the disastrous Battle of Chancellorsville two months earlier and to rehabilitate their reputation after being unfairly scapegoated for that defeat. Unfortunately, they now found themselves positioned on open, unenviable ground, as veteran soldiers from two hard-fighting Confederate divisions descended upon them from both front and flank. The struggle that ensued was short but vicious and exceedingly costly to the Eleventh Corps. After a desperate stand, the outflanked men of the Eleventh Corps found themselves once again driven back in defeat. This program will explore this lesser known but still critically important part of the first day's battle at Gettysburg. The walking tour will cover approximately 1.5 miles of sometimes elevating ground. Attendees will meet the guide at the college tennis courts.

FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 9:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Hiking the Union Fishhook, with Garry Adelman (American Battlefield Trust)

Hikers and walkers get ready for a rigorous experience that traverses on foot as much of the Union Fishhook position as possible.  From Little Round Top to Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, Cemetery Ridge and on to Cemetery Hill and terminating at Culp’s Hill, the hike will consist of 5-8 miles of walking with lunch in the middle. Via stories, photos, maps and more, we will delve into as much as possible whether it be soldier, civilian, fighting or folklore, at the very places where the events occurred. We promise plenty of hidden gems for experts and novices alike! Much of the hike will be on level or paved surfaces at a good clip, with some rugged and ascending terrain. Please only sign up if you are able to hike this distance and be largely on your feet all day.

FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.: From Battlefield to Field Hospital

(Semmes’s Brigade), with Keith Bohannon (University of West Georgia)

This tour will follow the path of the July 2, 1863 assault of Confederate General Paul Semmes’s Brigade of Georgians. This brigade, including the 10th, 50th, 51st and 53 Georgia Infantry Regiments, advanced across the Emmitsburg Road, past the Rose House and into the Rose Woods to engage Federals there. After suffering heavy casualties, including the mortal wounding of Semmes, the Georgians crossed the Wheatfield before ultimately falling back. The tour will include stops in the field on the Rose Farm where several famous photographs were taken of the dead of Semmes’s rigade and at a privately owned farm that served as the brigade’s field hospital. The tour will involve several hundred yards of fairly level walking in the vicinity of the Rose Farm and Wheatfield.

19th Indiana (Iron Brigade), with Peter Miele (Seminary Ridge Museum)

This tour will provide an overview of the political and social motivations of these Iron Brigaders and follow them into battle on July 1, 1863. The tour will closely examine the fighting in Herbst Woods in the morning and afternoon of the first day’s battle, as well as the unit’s important role on the barricade line behind the Seminary during the “Last Stand.” The tour will end with an exploration of the Seminary Hospital and a discussion of its importance during the battle and for months after. The tour will require between 1-2 miles of walking over undulating terrain, both in open fields and woods.

23rd North Carolina (Iverson’s Brigade), with Ashley Whitehead Luskey (Gettysburg College)

On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, 284 Tar Heels from the 23rd NC set out alongside three fellow North Carolina regiments from Alfred Iverson’s brigade on an ill-fated assault against the right flank of the Union first corps atop Oak Ridge.  Less than two hours later, only 17 would return from the battlefield unscathed.  Iverson’s attack would go down as one of the worst disasters of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the 23rd NC would suffer the highest casualty rate of the entire brigade. After the battle, the regiment’s mortally wounded commander, Colonel D.H. Christie, delivered an impassioned speech to his wounded subordinates from the porch of the nearby Hankey farm, promising that although he “might never live to again lead you in battle, I will see that the imbecile Iverson never should.” This tour will follow the final footsteps of the doomed Tar Heels from Oak Ridge to the historic Hankey farm, exploring the experiences of the attackers through their own words, the survivors’ quest for honor and redemption in the wake of the battle, as well as the human cost and home-front reverberations of the disastrous July 1 assault. The tour will require less than one mile of walking over mixed terrain.

21st Mississippi (Barksdale’s Brigade), with Jennifer Murray (Oklahoma State University)

This program will follow in the footsteps of the assault made by General William Barksdale’s Mississippians, specifically focusing on the 21st Mississippi regiment. Barksdale’s brigade was one element of the large offensive made by General James Longstreet’s First Confederate Corps against the Union army’s Third Corps on July 2, 1863. Our walk will begin along West Confederate Avenue, near the Mississippi State Memorial, cross the Emmitsburg Road and walk through the Peach Orchard. Our program will end near the Trostle Farm. We will then board our bus and conclude the program at the John Crawford Farm along the banks of Marsh Creek, the site field hospital for the men in Barksdale’s brigade. Estimated walking will total slightly over one mile.

13th Massachusetts (Paul’s Brigade), with Christopher Gwinn (Gettysburg National Military Park)

On the afternoon of July 1st, the 284 men of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry participated in some of the most brutal combat of the American Civil War. This tour will journey from the shadow of Oak Ridge where the men of the 13th faced off against Confederates of Robert Rodes’s division, and continue through the streets and alleys of Gettysburg, ending at the Christ Lutheran Church where many of the wounded were treated. This program will involve moderate walking of approx. 1.5 miles.

FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 1:30 - 4:30 P.M.

Medal of Honor Recipients at Gettysburg, with Therese Orr (Licensed Battlefield Guide)

Instituted during the American Civil War, the Medal of Honor was awarded to sixty-four Union participants of the Battle of Gettysburg. This tour will explore the stories of several of the battle’s lesser-known recipients, including Francis Irsch, Henry Huidekoper, Andrew Tozier and others. Learn of their heroic actions as you stand on the ground where they fought. This tour requires minimal walking over mostly even ground.

Following in the Footsteps of Lincoln, with Sue Boardman (Licensed Battlefield Guide)

Location, Location, Location! Abraham Lincoln spent 25 hours in Gettysburg in November ,1863. Through his activities there, he made three locations historically significant. The Gettysburg Lincoln Train Station witnessed Lincoln’s arrival and departure. The David Wills House facilitated his interaction with some of the mid-19th century’s most notable political figures. It also provided the environment in which the president finalized his dedicatory message. And lastly, Lincoln’s brief but important address in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery set it apart form other national burial grounds as a place consecrated by arguably one of the most important presidential speeches in American history. Follow in the famed footsteps of Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg! Join me as we follow Lincoln through his visit to Gettysburg! The tour will walk from the train station, to the Wills House, and up to the National Cemetery where the group will then traverse the pathways within the cemetery grounds. This program will require walking of about 1.5 miles on paved surfaces, including a couple of hills.

Confederate Monuments at Gettysburg, with Jill Ogline Titus (Gettysburg College) and Dan Vermilya (Eisenhower National Historic Site)

This in-depth tour of West Confederate Avenue will explore Confederate monuments and commemorative features dating from 1917 through 1973, examining the stories behind their placement, their symbolism and purpose, and their relationship to each other. Through focus on the monuments themselves, we will engage broader questions regarding the construction of historical memory, the evolution of the battlefield’s commemorative landscape, and the diverse meanings of Gettysburg for 20th-century Americans confronting their own historical challenges. This tour will be on-and-off the bus, and include stops at numerous monuments, some walking (on mostly level surfaces) and a good bit of standing. Should bus usage be restricted, we will walk approximately a mile and a half from the North Carolina Monument to the South Carolina Monument.

The West Point Class of 1861 at Gettysburg, with Zachery Fry (U.S. Army Command and General Staff College)

The West Point Class of 1861 at Gettysburg - The three days at Gettysburg included a number of harrowing sacrifices on the part of recent U.S. Military Academy graduates. This tour follows the personal stories and battlefield exploits of several newly-commissioned Union officers from the May and June 1861 graduating classes. We will relive the action at Gettysburg through the eyes of young men in volunteer infantry service such as Patrick O'Rorke and Emory Upton, as well as regular army junior officers like Charles Hazlett, Malbone Watson, Alonzo Cushing, and George Woodruff. This tour will require approximately one mile of total walking.

Beyond the Run: The Fight Harmon Farm and the Fight for Herbst Woods, with Andrew Dalton (Adams County Historical Society)

Scene of heavy fighting on the morning and afternoon of July 1, 1863, the Emanuel Harmon Farm along Willoughby’s Run is one of the Gettysburg battlefield’s best kept secrets. Travel beyond the run to this fascinating property where you will learn about the capture of Confederate General James J. Archer, walk in the footsteps of two civilians caught in the crossfire, and visit the site of a once-famous mineral spring and hotel. This tour will require approximately 2 miles of walking.

SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 8:45 - 11:45 A.M.

Pickett’s Charge Battle Walk, with Peter Carmichael (Gettysburg College), Christopher Gwinn (Gettysburg National Military Park), Jim Broomall (Shepherd University) & John Heckman (“The Tattooed Historian”)