Greetings again from Gettysburg!
I haven't been on the blog as much this year, simply because things are so busy right now. In the past few weeks, I have developed and given five new programs, and in the week ahead, I need to finish preparing my programs and interpretation for the Gettysburg 150th. Things are really starting to kick into high gear at Gettysburg. The crowds are growing, the town is getting busier, and the reenactors are starting to appear everywhere.
Note: As I have explained a million times to visitors over the past week alone, reenactments are not allowed on Park Service property. We still welcome reenactors to stop by on their way to and from their separate events though.
As of today, we are six days away from the 150th beginning. June 30th is the big kick off event with numerous dignitaries and special ceremonies. One week from today is July 1, the first day of the battle. Thus, time is moving right along.
The park has been doing a series of videos to mark the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg campaign, much as Antietam did last September. I was fortunate enough to take part in one of these, which you can find here.
As far as what I will be doing for the upcoming 150th anniversary events at Gettysburg, I am quite excited. On July 1, look for me around the Visitor Center providing the battle overview programs and the Civil War soldier talks. On July 2, you can find me along Cemetery Ridge, and the Key Moments station discussing the fighting between Hancock's Second Corps and Richard H. Anderson's division. Specifically, I am looking forward to talking about Ambrose Wright's brigade going against John Gibbon's division, as well as the advance of the 106th Pennsylvania to the Codori farm. On July 3, I have the privilege of taking part in the Pickett's Charge commemorative walk. My friend and colleague Ranger Chris Gwinn and I will be leading Garnett's brigade as we walk across the fields of Pickett's Charge 150 years to the moment from when it occured. On July 4, I will be in the Soldier's National Cemetery talking about commemorations and remembrances of the battle.
If you asked me to pick what I would want to do for the anniversary, this would be it. I am extremely excited, and blessed, to have this job and to have the opportunity to take part in these events. The interpretive staff at Gettysburg is tremendously talented, and I look forward working with my colleagues here during the upcoming onslaught of visitors, media, reenactors, and all the national attention that the 150th anniversary of the biggest and bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil will bring. After all, it is only six days until this whole thing gets under way...
Our Country's Fiery Ordeal
A blog about the American Civil War, written and maintained by historian Daniel J. Vermilya, author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (History Press, 2014) and James Garfield and the Civil War (History Press, 2015)
Dedicated to my great-great-great grandfather, Private Ellwood Rodebaugh, Company D, 106th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, killed at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.
"And may an Overuling Providence continue to cause good to come out of evil, justice to be done to all men where injustice has long prevailed, and finally, peace, quiet, and harmony to come out of this terrible confrontation and our country's fiery ordeal." -- Albert Champlin, 105th Ohio, Diary entry of June 19, 1864 (Western Reserve Historical Society)