155th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

The three day Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point not only in the course of the American Civil War, but also for the future of the United States of America. Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides during the 155th Anniversary for a series of free guided walks and talks that discuss, explore, and reflect on this important chapter in our nation’s history.

 

Day-By-Day Program Navigation Tool Navigation

 
 
A large group of visitors gather around a park ranger during a Pickett's Charge battle anniversary program. The group stands in an open field of yellow grass and in the distance is a line of trees and a large red barn under a blue sky with a few clouds.
A park ranger leads a Pickett's Charge battle anniversary program.

NPS Photo

 

Daily Ranger Guided Programs:
Sunday, July 1 - Tuesday, July 3


Become part of the battlefield in this interactive overview program! Join a National Park Ranger and build a map of the battlefield using props. This program is perfect for the first time visitor wanting a better understanding of the battle. Meet at Ranger Program Site 1, daily at 10 am, 4 pm. (30 minutes)
Explores the meaning and cost of the Battle of Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Find out how the National Cemetery was established, who is buried there, and why Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address still has meaning for us today. Meet at the Taneytown Road entrance to the National Cemetery, daily at 10 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 4 pm. (40 minutes)
Over 27,000 soldiers were wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg. Explore how these men were evacuated, treated, and ultimately, how most of their lives were saved. Meet at Ranger Program Site 2 behind the Museum and Visitor Center, daily at 3 pm. (60 minutes)
 

Family Activities: Sunday, July 1 - Tuesday, July 3


During the 155th Anniversary children of all ages are encouraged to attend our special programs at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, as well as our Family History Hikes out on the battlefield. (Accompanying adults must remain with children at all times.)

Special Programs In and Around the Visitor Center

Meet a special visitor from the past as they share their memories of the Battle of Gettysburg!
July 1-3: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm – Ford Education Center. (15 minutes)
Attention! Recruits are needed to enlist in the Union army! Join now and learn what it meant to be a soldier during the Civil War. This program is for children ages 5-13 only, and held outside of the Visitor Center.
July 1-3: 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm – Ranger Site 1. (30 minutes)
Join a Park Educator as they read aloud from a picture book, followed by a related indoor game or activity.
July 1-3: 10 am, 2 pm – Ford Education Center. (30 minutes)

Family History Hikes (Saturday, June 30 - Tuesday, July 3)

Park Educators will lead these special hour-long programs just for children and their families. Follow in the footsteps of key units and leaders during fighting at Gettysburg and discover the amazing stories of real people who took part in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Visit the home of a widow who surrendered her home to a commanding general, an African-American farmer facing the approaching Confederate army, and an immigrant whose husband was off fighting for their new country. What did the battle, and the war, mean to these civilians and the rest of their lives?
June 30: 3 pm. Meet at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.
What traits make an effective leader? Lt. Colonel Rufus Dawes’ example during the fighting on July 1 will answer the question, as you walk in the footsteps of a unit that charged headlong into an enemy position within an unfinished railroad cut.
July 1: 3 pm.
Meet at McPherson Ridge, Auto Stop 1. Park along Reynolds Avenue.
What did it take to be in the middle of an enemy attack from two different directions? Discover the story of the men of the 12th New Hampshire, assume the identity of one of their soldiers, and find out their fate along the way.
July 2: 3 pm. Meet at the Peach Orchard, Auto Tour Stop 10. Park along Sickles Avenue. Do Not Park along the Wheatfield Road.
On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, more than 12,000 Confederate Soldiers from Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee advanced bravely across a mile of open ground and toward the Union position on Cemetery Ridge, in an attack Robert E. Lee believed would crush the Union army. March in the footsteps of these brave soldiers and learn why this attack has become so famous!
July 3: 3 pm. Meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5. Park along West Confederate Avenue.
 

Special Programs - Sunday, July 1

Battle Walks

These special 2 to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent, and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

On the morning of July 1, 1863 the men of the 147th New York went into battle north of the Railroad Cut. Three hundred and eighty men entered the fighting. Three days later nearly three hundred had been claimed by the battle – killed, wounded, missing, or captured. Join Ranger Christopher Gwinn and follow in the footsteps of these New Yorkers and learn the story of those who survived the fighting, and those who did not.
Meet at McPherson Ridge, Auto Tour Stop 1. Park on Reynolds Avenue.
Join Ranger Karlton Smith and hike from Barlow's Knoll, along Howard Avenue to the position of Dilger's Battery and then back to Barlow's Knoll. Examine the position of the Eleventh Corps, the make-up of the troops, the personalities of the officers and how this affected the battle north of town on July 1, 1863.
Meet at Barlow Knoll, East Howard Avenue. Park on East Howard Avenue.
On the late afternoon of July 1, 1863, Colonel Charles Wainwright and Major Thomas Osborn together sought strength on their new-found position atop Cemetery Hill. In the face of Ewell's threatening Confederates, leadership, order, and firepower supplanted fear and confusion. It was, as one Confederate staffer later recalled, "[A] moment of supreme importance to us, more evidently critical to us now than it would seem to anyone then..." Ranger Bert Barnett will lead this hike that chronicles the situation on Cemetery Hill at the conclusion of the first day of battle.
Meet at Taneytown Road Gate, Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Park at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

Real Time Programs

These 30 to 45-minute programs provide a brief overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time they occurred, 155 years ago.

9 am - 9:30 am
The Battle Begins – John Nicholas

Meet at the West End Guide Station. Park on Stone Avenue.

2:30 pm – 3:15 pm
Gen. Rodes Attacks – Philip Brown

Meet at the Eternal Peace Light Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 2. Park at Auto Tour Stop 2.

3:45 pm – 4:15 pm
Last Stand of the Iron Brigade – Brian Henry

Meet at McPherson Ridge, Auto Tour Stop 1. Park along Reynold’s Avenue.

5 pm – 5:45 pm
The Prisoner of War Experience – Jarrad Fuoss

Meet at the Edward McPherson Barn. Park along Stone Avenue.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods

Over the anniversary of the battle, Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 155 years ago. Held at 8:30 pm at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

General Lee Decides to Fight It Out: His Thoughts, Plans, and Actions Between the End of Combat on July 1 and His Attacks on July 2.
The Confederate army tumbled unexpectedly into heavy fighting on July 1, and it wasn't until late that day that Lee himself assumed direct command of the field. The successes then prompted Lee to continue the offensive in a more intentional and calculated way the next day. Ranger Chuck Teague will venture into the head of Marse Robert as he strives for ultimate victory at Gettysburg.
 

Special Programs - Monday, July 2

Battle Walks


These special 2 to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent, and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

The South was preoccupied with the Lost Cause after the War that included how Longstreet lost the Civil War at Gettysburg. His alleged tardiness in attacking the Union left and left-center over a two day period caused many in the South to imagine what would have happened if the attack had been made at sunrise. At the very heart of this debate was Captain Samuel Johnston Sunrise Reconnaissance on July 2, 1863. Ranger Troy Harman will breakdown Johnston's Reconnaissance hour-by-hour with its many revelations.
Meet at the Longstreet Observation Tower, West Confederate Avenue. Park on West Confederate Avenue.
The Peach Orchard was the center of the stage for some of the heaviest infantry and artillery fighting of the Civil War. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel as we cover this critical terrain with an easy walk to the “six” corners – the four corners of the orchard plus jaunts south to the Rose Farm Lane and north to the Sherfy Farm. Absorb the drama and emotion of this intense part of the battle and the larger strategic issues that make the Peach Orchard the pivotal point of the battle.
Meet at the Peach Orchard, Auto Tour Stop 10 on Sickles Avenue. Park along Sickles and United States Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.
Circumstances of July 2 led to a crisis on the Union right. Now a lone Federal brigade stood in the path of a massive Confederate assault. Follow Ranger Dan Welch and discover the story of the defensive stand of George Sears Greene's Federal brigade, the Union reinforcements sent to his aid, and the herculean efforts of the Confederate infantry in their assault of July 2, 1863.
Meet at the Culp’s Hill Observation Tower, Slocum Avenue. Park on Slocum Avenue.

Real Time Programs


These 30 to 45-minute programs provide a brief overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time they occurred, 155 years ago.

8:30 am – 9:15 am
Lee and Meade Plan for Battle – Angie Atkinson

Meet at the North Carolina Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 4. Park on West Confederate Avenue.

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
The Third Corps Advances – Daniel Vermilya

Meet at the Peach Orchard, Auto Tour Stop 10. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

4:15 pm – 4:45 pm
The Battle for Little Round Top – Bert Barnett

Meet at the Warren Statue on Little Round Top, Auto Tour Stop 8. Park on Sykes Ave.

5 pm – 5:30 pm
Those Awful Rocks: The Battle for Devils Den – Brian Henry

Meet at Devils Den. Park on Crawford Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

5:45 pm – 6:15 pm
With Col. Cross and the 5th New Hampshire – Savannah Rose

Meet at the Wheatfield, Auto Tour 9. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

6:30 pm – 7 pm
Barksdale Attacks! – Karlton Smith

Meet at the Peach Orchard, Auto Tour Stop 10. Park on Sickles Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

7:30 pm - 8 pm
Charge of the 1st Minnesota – John Nicholas

Meet at the Pennsylvania Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 12. Park along Hancock Avenue.

8:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Night Fighting on East Cemetery Hill – Chuck Teague

Meet at the Hancock Equestrian Statue, East Cemetery Hill.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods


Over the anniversary of the battle, Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 155 years ago. Held at 8:30 pm at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Colonel Sharpe and the Bureau of Military Information
The Bureau of Military Information, organized by Union General Joseph Hooker, was a small, yet important, group of men that were able to infiltrate the Confederate army, gather knowledge, interrogate prisoners and complete covert operations to ensure victory for the Union. Join Supervisory Ranger Angie Atkinson and discover the history of the BMI as well at its use during the Gettysburg Campaign.
 

Special Programs - Tuesday, July 3

Battle Walks

These special 2 to 3-hour programs explore key episodes and phases of the battle and involve significant hiking and walking, occasionally over rough terrain. Water, headgear, sun protection, insect repellent, and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

It was the point of the Union fishhook, the hill that anchored the Union’s right flank at Gettysburg, assailed in the darkness of the second day and secured only after a seven hour-long bloodletting the following day. Did a series of Union misjudgments and a commander’s attention turned elsewhere almost give this key hill to the Confederates on July 2 and 3, 1863? Or did the Confederate commander lose his grip on the hill by his own errors in judgment? Join John Heiser, Gettysburg NMP historian, for a walk and discussion of the key players and fateful decisions in the drama that was the Battle for Culp’s Hill.
Meet at Stevens Knoll, Auto Tour Stop 14 (East Cemetery Hill). Park on Slocum Avenue.
During the final attack at Gettysburg, perhaps no other unit was placed in such a precarious position as Davis' Brigade. Abandoned on their flank, they marched forward to certain destruction in a crossfire hurricane. Walk the field on the anniversary as Ranger Matt Atkinson relates the final moments of this tragic band.
Meet at the North Carolina Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 4. Park along West Confederate Avenue.
The brutal assault upon the Union center on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg put a dubious capstone on an unparalleled concentration of human carnage. In the terrible aftermath of battle, eyewitnesses wrote about the dead and wounded as well as the scarred landscape. Cartographers documented burials while photographers and sketch artists captured battlefield scenes on glass plates and paper. Join Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman and Tim Smith for an energetic circuit around Cemetery Ridge, the Angle, the Emmitsburg Road and more. Fighting, photos, fences, flies, and farmhouses are just some of the topics to be covered. This hike will involve roughly 1.5 miles of walking on sometimes uneven terrain.
Meet at General Meade’s Statue, North Hancock Avenue. Park along North Hancock Avenue.

Real Time Programs

These 30 to 45-minute programs provide a brief overview of key moments during the Battle of Gettysburg at the time they occurred, 155 years ago.

9:45 am – 10:15 am
Lee and Longstreet at Odds – Troy Harman

Meet at the Peach Orchard, Auto Tour Stop 10. Park on North Sickles or United States Avenue. Do not park on Wheatfield Road.

10:30 am – 11:15 am
Clash of Cavalry: East Cavalry Field – Chuck Teague

Meet at the Ranger Program Sign on Confederate Cavalry Avenue. Park on Confederate Cavalry Avenue.

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm
The Cannonade – Bert Barnett

Meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5. Park on West Confederate Avenue

2 pm – 3:30 pm
“A Desperate Thing to Attempt:” Pickett’s Charge Hike – Dan Welch

Meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5. Park on West Confederate Avenue

3:45 pm – 4:30 pm
The High Water Mark – Savannah Rose

Meet at the High Water Mark, Auto Tour Stop 15. Park on Hancock Avenue.

6 pm – 6:30 pm
The Last Full Measure – Philip Brown

Meet at the Rostrum, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Park at Auto Tour Stop 16, the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

Campfire at Pitzer Woods

Over the anniversary of the battle, Park Rangers will host hour-long presentations, offering unique perspectives on the events of 155 years ago. Held at 8:30 pm at the Pitzer Woods Amphitheater.

Voices from the Battlefield, July 3
The setting of the sun on the evening of July 3, 1863 marked the end of the Battle of Gettysburg. Those fortunate enough to have survived the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War would begin to piece together their memories, actions, and impressions. Join Ranger Chuck Teague and examine the story of July 3 through the recollections of those who lived to tell the tale.

Last updated: June 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone:

(717) 334-1124

Contact Us