The Civil War’s Forgotten Decoration Day: Gettysburg Winter Lecture

Here’s Dan Welch, Education Programs Coordinator for the Gettysburg Foundation, giving an outstanding lecture on the first “Decoration Day,” the forerunner to Memorial Day.

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this lecture.  Dan also did a great job handling the questions at the end.



  1. Interesting that there was a question from the audience about whether the 127th NY, which abused the freed blacks, was an “Irish regiment.” Dan Welch correctly answers that while it included some immigrants, it was not an ethnic regiment. The Staten Island regiment included Long Islanders, New York City men, and upstate farmers. Only a small percentage have identifiably Irish last names.

    I have noticed that some folks have created an Irish “Other” in which Northern racism can be assigned to a group of outsiders, the Irish.

  2. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    No offense, Al, but you failed to note that Dan also ran over his time limit. Seems to me you shouldn’t give one guy a pass and criticize another. A 1:22 isn’t that much less than an 1:40. As for the presentation, I thought it was great even though I have read a good deal on the Charleston Race Track “Memorial Day” celebration. Not sure how some battlefield guides wind up being great presenters such as Dan while others don’t. Guess if I knew the answer to that I would have turned all the teachers I worked with over the years as an administrator and student teachers at Central Michigan University into “liquid gold.” And I would have patented the formula and made millions. LOL One of the guys I knew at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids years and years ago had this theory. For many years he was a guide at Antietam. He told me once that the N.P.S. puts too big a premium on knowing the facts — the battlefield, the generals and the positions. “Where was the 74th Pennsylvania?” or “Where’s the monument with the dog?” Some of them, he said, just aren’t very good speakers but they do the best they can with what they have.

    1. You’re adding the question and answer time to the presentation time.

      1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

        You’re right. My bad!!!

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