155th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg ~ Special Events July 1, 2 & 3


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.

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

Battlefield in a Box: An Overview

Lincoln and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery

Care of the Wounded

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

Mystery History Guest

Join the Army!

Civil War Storytime!

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.

June 30 - Determination and the Civilians of Gettysburg

July 1 - Leadership and the 6th Wisconsin Infantry

July 2 - Courage and the 12th New Hampshire Infantry

July 3 - Pickett’s Charge!



National Park Records Release


National Park Records Release
by Chris Kolakowski
Emerging Civil War

     The National Park Service this week released decades of park records for public search and use. Their press release reads as follows:

     The National Park Service (NPS) today unveils a newly launched public website: pubs.etic.nps.gov that is making more than 32,000 NPS records available to the public. Academic researchers, students, history enthusiasts, educators, and the like will discover a multitude of collections. For example, the collection contains such important documents as the original drawings of the main immigration building at Ellis Island National Monument, a  concessionaire shop in 1933 at Muir Woods National Monument, and historical documents of Alcatraz Island.

NPS created the site to accommodate the public’s need to access NPS drawings and documents in a convenient, user-friendly, digital way. Users looking to draft historical studies, project planning, or studying natural and cultural resources will now find a plethora of robust resources at their fingertips. “Our collections represent the National Park Service’s commitment to the preservation of unique places and resources held for future generations by documenting our past, present, and anticipated endeavors,” said Ray Todd, Denver Service Center Director. “The public can now easily discover a treasure trove of American history with just a few clicks on their computer keyboard or mobile device.”

The Technical Information Center (TIC) at the NPS Denver Service Center (DSC) is the oldest and largest information system in the National Park Service. TIC is the central repository for proper retention, access, and disposition of NPS records that include drawings, specifications, scientific, and technical reports. The Denver Service Center works closely with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to deposit required NPS records for preservation.

For more details, visit the public eTIC website at pubs.etic.nps.gov. 

I spent some time this weekend going through the site, and the search function is easy to use. A lot of old park plans are there, including several 1940 plans for the battlefields which were overtaken by the Second World War.

Over two-thirds of the national parks are historic in nature, covering the colonial period into the 21st Century. This database is an important resource and will no doubt be of much use.

The Battle of Falling Waters 1863: The End of the Gettysburg Campaign ~ June 9



Historian George Franks will present his research on the Battle of Falling Waters. Franks has made extensive use of first-hand accounts, detailed maps, period drawings and photographs to breathe life into the crucial yet little remembered end of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Saturday June 9 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM | Pay-what-you-please
Pry House Field Hospital Museum

18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756

Living History Weekend at the Museum of Civil War Medicine - May 26-27


Living History Weekend at the Museum of Civil War Medicine - May 26-27

Join us on Memorial Day weekend May 26-27, 2018 for a special living history event at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine featuring the Blue and Gray Hospital Association.

Members of the Blue and Gray will be in the Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room describing the medical history of America’s bloodiest conflict. Dressed as members of the Confederate Army’s medical department and armed with period medical equipment, the unit brings a unique perspective to understanding the conflict which helps bring Civil War medical care to life. The living history presentations are included with museum admission and FREE for Museum members.

Saturday and Sunday May 26 - 27 | 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Delaplaine Randall Conference Room
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
48 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701





 On May 19 and May 20, 2018, Friends of Camp Geiger will sponsor their 10th Lehigh Valley Civil War Days, at the Whitehall Parkway Recreational Area on Church Street in Whitehall, PA. 

Event opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.  Jackson’s flank attack at Chancellorsville, which took place in May 1863, will be featured (the only known reenactment of the Chancellorsville Battle to take place this year).  Jackson’s assault on the 11th Corp, in particular Northampton County’s 153rd PA regiment, forced the Union to retreat.

The local reenacting group that portrays the 153rd PA Volunteers will be featured in this battle.  The battle will be reenacted on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.  A battlefield lecture by Jeffrey Stocker author of We Fought Desperate”: A History of the 153rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment will precede the battle.

On Sunday, a reenactment of the battle of the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania will take place at 11:00 a.m. Trench battles demonstrating the changing face of war will also be held each day along with behind the scenes tours of the trenches during breaks in the fighting.

Military camps, a field hospital, displays on the US Sanitary Commission, Victorian parlor past times, children’s games, and a recruitment center will be among the offerings held daily.  Lectures, a Victorian fashion show and period music will be offered at the Lyceum.  The event closes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Admission is free for spectators.  Food is available.  Donations to benefit Civil War battlefield preservation will be accepted.  On Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. a period dance and concert will be held.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Weather permitting; a rifle firing demonstration is planned after the concert.

Please do not wear period attire or bring weapons to the event unless you are a registered participant.

For information and directions, please visit their website at
or call Neil Coddington at (610) 837-7403

Camp Geiger.jpg

Free Admission and daily programs offered at the David Wills House in Gettysburg this summer


Free Admission and daily programs offered at the
David Wills House in Gettysburg this summer

 Gettysburg, Pa. – Beginning June 9 through the summer season, Gettysburg National Military Park will welcome visitors to the David Wills House on Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg for free.

No other location is as closely associated with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as the David Wills House except the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. The three-story brick house served as the home of David and Catherine Wills before and after the Battle of Gettysburg and was occupied by President Abraham Lincoln the night before the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln finished composing his Gettysburg Address in the second story bedroom the evening of November 18, 1863.

Museum exhibits at the David Wills House tell the story of the Wills family, the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the significance and legacy of the Gettysburg Address.

 “We want the David Wills House to be part of every visit to Gettysburg,” said Chris Stein, Acting Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. “The themes of the Gettysburg Address continue to be an inspiration to all Americans especially in times of crisis. The National Park Service museum in the home provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the carnage of Gettysburg and the legacy of the American Civil War.”

From June 9 to August 12, David Wills House admission will be free, with added staffing by National Park Rangers, interns and Living Historians.  Park Rangers will offer a daily program at 3 p.m. called, “Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: Downtown History Hike.”  The Ranger-guided walk will explore the impact of the battle upon the Gettysburg community, walk in the footsteps of President Lincoln, and visit the room where he completed the Gettysburg Address. This 75-minute program begins and ends inside the David Wills House.

In addition, park staff will be on site to share the story of the David Wills family before, during, and after the battle, the role of Wills in the creation of the National Cemetery, and highlight Lincoln’s visit and the crafting of the Gettysburg Address.

 “The Wills House is a tangible symbol of the residents of Gettysburg working together to heal their community after the battle,” said Matthew C. Moen, president of the Gettysburg Foundation. “Visitors cannot help but reflect upon Lincoln’s presence and timeless words at Gettysburg that blended humility with commemoration.” 

The David Wills House is managed and operated by the Gettysburg Foundation. Throughout the summer, the Gettysburg Foundation will continue to staff the front desk, provide visitor services and information, and manage the sales area.

Starting on August 13, 2018, the fees will again be charged.  For more information about hours and fees go to:  https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/david-wills-house.htm

History's Headlines: The Red River Campaign

History's Headlines: The Red River Campaign
Posted on WFMZ.com our own: Frank Whelan
Updated: May 07, 2018 06:49 PM EDT


No one saw it happen.

It was late February, 1864. The screw steamer “Charles Thomas,” carrying the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, was just pulling into the dock at Algiers, a small village opposite New Orleans. They had had a relatively pleasant voyage since they had left Key West, returning from garrison duty at Fort Jefferson where they had been guarding Rebel prisoners.

“Just as the steamer was preparatory to our landing,” wrote a member of the 47TH, “a fatal accident happened.” A recruit sitting on one of the hatches either fell or jumped between the ship and the gangplank. “Before a boat could get to him either from the steamer or from the land he was drowned,” the soldier wrote. The victim’s body was quickly caught by the current and drawn out into the Mississippi until it disappeared from view.

The rest of the men were in shock. The victim, recognized from the initials FK on the visor of his cap, was fished out of the water. Frederick Koehler of Luzerne County had made no attempt to cry out “man overboard” or anything else. At least one soldier writing home to his family, said, “Some think he wanted to do it because he was so depressed.”

The tragic death of Frederick Koehler was to be the 47th’s introduction to the ill-fated Red River Campaign of March/April 1864, one of the most botched episodes in the Civil War. It began with high hopes of seizing Shreveport, Louisiana and a lot of cotton along with it. The Navy was to send ironclads up the river providing support for a land army that it was presumed would “whip” the Rebels. The Confederate troops, commanded by General Richard Taylor, ironically the son of the late former U.S.  President Zachery Taylor, were not expected to put up much of a fuss.

Union commander Major General Nathaniel P. Banks had his eye both on glory- he was hoping a victory would carry him to the White House- and making a tidy sum from captured Confederate cotton. Admiral David Dixon Porter, one of the most skilled officers in the U.S. Navy, wanted to show the power of his new ironclads. He also so had his eye on cotton. And Lincoln was hoping it would spilt Texas off from Louisiana, possibly making it the first state to re-enter the Union.

The 47TH had been raised in Allentown in 1861 by Col. Tilghman H. Good. They had fought a number of battles in South Carolina and Florida before being assigned to act as garrison troops and prison guards over U.S. forts in the Florida Keys. It was understood that they would be headed back east before the end of April to join Grant’s Army in Virginia.

The 47th was one of two infantry divisions that formed... Click here to read the entire article

Jewish Americans in the Civil War


Jewish Americans in the Civil War


Mark Jewish American Heritage Month with NMCWM volunteer Brad Stone as he examines the important roles that Jewish Americans played during the Civil War on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 7 PM in the Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The museum doors will open at 6:30 PM. This is a “pay-what-you-please” event. *Note: a previous email sent out listed an incorrect time.

The program will feature an overview of the many contributions Jewish Americans made to both sides of the struggle and reveals the strong influence that surrounding social forces had in shaping Jewish communities’ views towards slavery and secession.

The Jewish community had an enormous impact on many aspects of the war – everything from the design of the Confederate flag to the abolition of flogging in the U.S. Navy. Their contributions continue to affect us today.  This pivotal point in U.S. history in many ways forever established the Jewish American community as a key element in the fabric of American culture.

Brad Stone has had a long career with the federal government as a senior public relations executive dealing with a wide variety of public health issues. This experience included leading the public relations operations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He currently combines his interest in the Civil War and medical history by volunteering as a docent on a regular basis at both the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD and aboard the U.S.S. Constellation in Baltimore Harbor.

Visit www.civilwarmed.org or contact Jake Wynn at jake.wynn@civilwarmed.orgfor more information.

Thursday May 10 | 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room

48 E Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701

Tourism to Gettysburg and Eisenhower Parks creates $92 Million in Economic Benefits

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 6.16.24 PM.png

Tourism to Gettysburg and Eisenhower Parks creates $92 Million in Economic Benefits

Report shows visitor spending supports 871 jobs in local economy

Gettysburg, Pa. – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,089,800 visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in 2017 spent $68.1 million in communities near the two parks. That spending supported 871 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $91.8 million.

“Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Chris Stein, Acting Superintendent. “We are delighted to share the stories of these places and the experiences they provide.”

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the support of our partners at the Gettysburg Foundation, Destination Gettysburg, and many other organizations, businesses and neighbors, and we are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” added Stein.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

To learn more about national parks in Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to https://www.nps.gov/state/pa/index.htm.

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 6.11.47 PM.png

Explore Four Battlefield Structures During “Doors Open Gettysburg” On May 5

 The McPherson Barn will be one of four Civil War-era buildings at Gettysburg National Military Park that will be open to the public on May 5

The McPherson Barn will be one of four Civil War-era buildings at Gettysburg National Military Park that will be open to the public on May 5

NPT Staff on April 24th, 2018
National Parks Traveler

The third annual Doors Open Gettysburg event offers an insider’s look at the preservation and history of four of Gettysburg National Military Park’s magnificent battlefield structures. This free event is held during National Historic Preservation Month in cities and towns throughout the United States and internationally.

On May 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the National Park Service, in cooperation with the Civil War Trust, will open four historic structures on the Gettysburg battlefield to the public for a rare look at buildings ranging from newly restored to those in need of repair. Visitors will be able to explore the recently restored National Cemetery Lodge; the Edward McPherson Barn; the Jacob Hummelbaugh House; and thanks to the participation of the Civil War Trust, the interior of the Mary Thompson House, used by General Robert E. Lee during the battle.

Doors Open Gettysburg highlights the park’s important historic preservation mission and the stories these buildings can tell,” said Chris Stein, Gettysburg's acting superintendent. “This event is a great opportunity for our community and park visitors to learn more about Gettysburg and how we take care of these resources.”

The buildings that are scheduled to be opened are:

Edward McPherson Barn: A landmark on the First Day’s battlefield and used as a field hospital and aide station. Park along Stone and Meredith Avenue.

Jacob Hummelbaugh House: Used as a field hospital and rallying point on July 2, 1863. Confederate General William Barksdale died and was temporarily buried in the yard. Park in designated areas along Pleasanton Avenue.

The Gettysburg National Cemetery Lodge: This recently restored structure served as the original headquarters of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Park in the National Cemetery Parking Lot on Taneytown Road and walk through the cemetery to get to the gatehouse or park in metered spots along Baltimore Pike.

“Lee’s Headquarters” – Mary Thompson House: Rehabilitated and restored by the Civil War Trust, this famous battlefield landmark was used by Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the battle. Park in the designated lot at Mary Thompson House.

Please note that the buildings are not wheelchair accessible. No tickets or reservations are necessary for Doors Open Gettysburg. The event is free.