2016 Gettysburg Anniversary Day Two

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Today’s events began with a truly outstanding battle walk conducted by John Hoptak, following the 12th New Hampshire on July 2, 1863. John handed out photographs of 206 members of the regiment, along with biographical information about each soldier to the audience. By holding up photographs, we were able to see how much of the regiment was made up of kids 21 years old and less, how much was made up of those 21-35, and over 35. We also were able to see how much of the regiment was married, had children, and held various occupations. It was a terrific visual reference to learn about the makeup of a Civil War regiment. We then followed the regiment’s route as it marched along with the rest of the Third Corps on Daniel Sickles’ ill-fated movement to the Emmitsburg Road ridgeline.

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We had about 300 people on the battle walk, and in the photo above you can see the long line of folks making their way to the next stop.

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For one part of the battle walk, John formed the crowd into a battle line to represent the 12th.

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I also took some time to head over to the Sacred Trust book talks to listen to Professor Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College in his presentation, “Did Robert E. Lee Commit Treason?” Spoiler alert: “Purely on the merits, he did commit treason against the United States.” I’ll post the lecture once it comes out on YouTube.

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The next battle walk was another terrific one. Chris Gwinn talked about Regis de Trobriand’s brigade in its deployment from the Stony Hill and the Wheatfield, all the way to the 40th New York’s movement to the Valley of Death.

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This was another really good day. Tomorrow I plan to do Sacred Trust lectures and perhaps some real-time programs.

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2 comments

  1. Shoshana Bee · · Reply

    A few questions come to mind:

    1. It was fortunate that this year the commemorative fell during the weekend. When it falls in the middle of the week, do they move the events to the nearest weekend.

    2. Is there not enough time in the day to separate the presentations from the battle walks?

    3. 300 people on a battlefield walk — really?!!! This seems untenable! Does the ranger have to wait a long time for the flank to catch up in order to start talking?? Wow. (I was grumbling about 50+ people being a mob)

    1. 1. They will sometimes have Sacred Trust on the weekend, but the anniversary programs on the battlefield are held on the actual anniversary days.
      2. The Sacred Trust lectures go from 9:30 to 4:30, so no, if they’re held on the same day they aren’t separated.
      3. Really. On the 150th we had thousands of people on a battle walk. We did the Last March of the Iron Brigade with about 4,000 people. They had 15,000 people for the Pickett’s Charge walk, which was more than the number of soldiers who participated in the actual charge.

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