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Gettysburg



  • Leon Hadar: The Arabs Will Have Their Gettysburgs

    Leon Hadar, senior analyst at Wikistrat, a geostrategic consulting group, is the author of Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East.This month Americans marked the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, an event seen by many historians as a decisive victory for the Union and a turning point in the Civil War.Indeed, hope among the leaders of the Confederacy for diplomatic recognition by Britain and other Europeans powers dissipated after the Union victory at the battle. While Great Britain remained neutral during the U.S. Civil War, Confederate leaders planned to secure independence through a strategy of drawing Britain (and France) to their side through diplomatic support and military intervention....In a way, any British effort to end the Civil War before Gettysburg would have changed the course of that war, and, by extension, American history. In such a counterfactual scenario, there wouldn’t have been a United States. And the historical narrative of the nation (or two nations) would have been quite different from the one being taught in American schools today, which is based on the notion that the Civil War amounted to a birth of the nation and that the abolition of slavery was necessary, if not inevitable.



  • Beware Civil War relics

    GETTYSBURG, Pennsylvania (REUTERS) - With 250,000 visitors expected to converge on the Gettysburg battlefields this week, historians and antiquarians say the 150th anniversary of the clash that defined the United States (US) Civil War has prompted an increased interest in Civil War relics - and an apparent uptick in the thefts and faking of conflict memorabilia.While there are no national statistics about thefts of war mementos, museums and law enforcement officers around the nation have reported a range of incidents involving the plundering of Civil War artifacts.The thievery even extended to the current Gettysburg re-enactment, where criminals made off with a trailer containing war items valued at US$10,000 (S$13,000) in Frederick County, Maryland, last month....



  • At Gettysburg, a battle of history vs. modernity

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Like thousands of other re-enactors, Eric Mueller honors the sacrifices of soldiers in the Civil War by going to great lengths to live as they did — sleeping beneath a canvas sheet suspended on wooden posts, eating hardtack and salt pork, carrying 60 rounds of ammunition in a cartridge box and a backpack, and marching long distances in heavy woolen tunics.But in the interests of safety and perhaps a little comfort, Mr. Mueller, 40, allows modest divergences from the 19th-century soldier’s life.Last week, for example, Mr. Mueller packed in his knapsack two sweet potatoes and two small onions, foods that he conceded may not have been in season in southern Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863, and so would not have been available to Civil War troops even if they had tried to forage them from nearby farms.Still, he subjected himself to discomforts like not washing for a week and squeezing his six-foot frame into a 5-foot-8-inch-long tent that he shared with another re-enactor. Mr. Mueller, a civil servant from Hawaii, said he stayed “reasonably dry” during four nights of camping out on Cemetery Ridge in the heart of the Gettysburg battlefield....



  • Lincoln mastered wisdom of unsent letter after Gettysburg

    Abraham Lincoln, remembered 150 years after a “decisive” battle of the U.S. Civil War, could have excelled in modern-day Washington politics, one of the pre-eminent scholars on the American president says.“He would be tech savvy, he would lose the beard, he would have some cosmetic surgery, he would make an asset of his height,” historian Harold Holzer said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “He was so smart about working with the press, getting the press to work in his behalf, giving out exclusives, and he would have mastered any medium.”As one measure of Lincoln’s political prowess, Holzer recited an often-told tale of Lincoln thinking twice before dispatching a letter upbraiding his general who defeated the enemy at the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point for the Northern victory in the Civil War. It was a precursor to the dilemma of hitting the send button on a regrettable e-mail....



  • Robert Hicks: Why the Civil War Still Matters

    Robert Hicks is the author of the novels “The Widow of the South” and “A Separate Country.”FRANKLIN, Tenn. — IN his 1948 novel “Intruder in the Dust,” William Faulkner described the timeless importance of the Battle of Gettysburg in Southern memory, and in particular the moments before the disastrous Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, which sealed Gen. Robert E. Lee’s defeat. “For every Southern boy fourteen years old,” he wrote, “there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon.”That wasn’t quite true at the time — as the humorist Roy Blount Jr. reminds us, black Southern boys of the 1940s probably had a different take on the battle. But today, how many boys anywhere wax nostalgic about the Civil War? For the most part, the world in which Faulkner lived, when the Civil War and its consequences still shaped the American consciousness, has faded away.Which raises an important question this week, as we move through the three-day sesquicentennial of Gettysburg: does the Civil War still matter as anything more than long-ago history?...



  • Ron Radosh tears into Doris Kearns Goodwin for Gettysburg speech

    Ron Radosh writes for PJ Media.This week our nation remembers the battle that raged at Gettysburg 150 years ago. It was a carnage in which thousands were killed in three days of fierce fighting. Had the Union troops not won, an outcome that was not a sure thing when the fighting began, the future of our nation would have been quite different than it is today.......My wife and I watched it [Doris Kearns Goodwin speaking at Gettysburg] two nights ago, and were stunned at what we heard. Goodwin barely mentioned Gettysburg, except for a perfunctory acknowledgement at the start of her comments.Instead, those in attendance were forced to listen to a self-absorbed, narcissistic and politically correct bromide about how Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg was important as a precursor to  LBJ’s support of the Civil Rights Bill, the fight for gay marriage, the  “women’s liberation” movement of the 70’s, and of course, the need for a female president, after numerous references to Hillary Clinton, Kearns Goodwin’s obvious choice.



  • David Brooks cites Allen C. Guezlo in op-ed column

    David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for the NYT.Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. In his eloquent new account, “Gettysburg: the Last Invasion,” the historian Allen Guelzo describes the psychology of the fighters on that day.A battlefield is “the lonesomest place which men share together,” a soldier once observed. At Gettysburg, the men were sometimes isolated within the rolling clouds of gun smoke and unnerved by what Guelzo calls “the weird harmonic ring of bullets striking fixed bayonets.” They were often terrified, of course, sometimes losing bladder and bowel control. (Aristophanes once called battle “the terrible one, the tough one, the one upon the legs.”)But, as Guelzo notes, the Civil War was fought with “an amateurism of spirit and an innocence of intent, which would be touching if that same amateurism had not also contrived to make it so bloody.”...



  • Allen C. Guezlo: Twilight of the Confederacy

    Allen C. Guelzo is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. He teaches at Gettysburg College.Looking back 20 years after it was fought, Alexander Stewart Webb declared that the Battle of Gettysburg “was, and is now throughout the world, known to be the Waterloo of the Rebellion.” Certainly Webb had earned the right to judge. He was in command of the Union brigade that absorbed the spearpoint of the battle’s climax on July 3, 1863, the great charge of the Confederate divisions commanded by George E. Pickett. “This three days’ contest,” Webb said, “was a constant recurrence of scenes of self-sacrifice,” especially “on the part of all engaged on the third and last day.”One hundred fifty years later, one might imagine that Alexander Webb was suffering from a touch of middle-age myopia. The word “Gettysburg” is still powerful enough to be recognized by even the most indifferent grade-schooler as a big-box event in American history. But does it deserve to stand beside Waterloo?

  • The Terror of Being Black at Gettysburg

    by Kevin M Levin

    For the unknown number of African Americans rounded up by the Confederate army, who called Gettysburg and the surrounding region home, Union victory mattered little. For them a new birth of freedom would have to wait just a little longer.



  • Goodwin: Gettysburg is unique among battlefields

    There are lots of other battlefields in America, but there is just something extra special about Gettysburg.Historical Author Doris Kearns Goodwin suspects the combination of the battle and Abraham Lincoln coming here four months later contributes greatly to its uniqueness....



  • Debunking the Myths of Gettysburg, 150 Years Later: Historian Allen Guelzo

    For something that happened 150 years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg still generates its share of controversy. And myth, according to historian Allen Guelzo, “grows like weed out of controversy.”Guelzo, a professor of history at - appropriately enough - Gettysburg College, is the author of the recently published “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.” He spoke with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein about the battle and his book – an exhaustively researched and detailed dive into the pivotal fight of the Civil War.Among the myths of Gettysburg that Guelzo debunks is that the battle was an accident – that Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac merely happened upon each other in the hills of South Central Pennsylvania. “No, it was not really an accident,” said Guelzo. “At least not more of an accident than any battle in the Civil War was.”


  • The Battle of Gettysburg at 150

    by David Austin Walsh

    Hancock at Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup. Credit: Wiki Commons.The Battle of Gettysburg marks its 150th anniversary this week (so does the Union victory at the siege of Vicksburg, but good luck seeing anything about that in the media).To mark the occasion, we've assembled a list of resources -- digital collections, books, and news stories -- about the battle and the Civil War that are worth closer examination.And of course, please share your favorite Civil War books in the comments! We're pretty well read here at HNN, but considering that the amount of works published on the Civil War easily numbers in the tens of thousands, we certainly haven't read (or even heard of) them all!Digital Resources



  • MN regiment charged into history in 1863

    In the smoky twilight outside Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, several regiments from Alabama were fighting their way down a slope into a rocky creek bed. Union soldiers were fleeing in front of them. The Confederates were almost at their goal -- to completely break the Union line and take a battery of big guns a few hundred yards away at the top of another slope called Cemetery Ridge. But out of the smoke, a line of Minnesotans came running toward them, firing and charging with leveled bayonets. Two major Civil War anniversaries are coming up this week. Given the choice between visiting Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa., there was never any question of where dignitaries from Minnesota would pay their respects. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, may have been more important to defeating the South, and several thousand Minnesota soldiers were part of the siege that preceded the city's surrender.



  • New map may explain Lee's decisions at Gettysburg

    GETTYSBURG, Pa.—On the second day of fighting at Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee listened to scouting reports, scanned the battlefield and ordered his second-in-command, James Longstreet, to attack the Union Army's left flank.It was a fateful decision, one that led to one of the most desperate clashes of the entire Civil War—the fight for a piece of ground called Little Round Top. The Union's defense of the boulder-strewn promontory helped send Lee to defeat at Gettysburg, and he never again ventured into Northern territory.Why did the shrewd and canny Lee choose to attack, especially in the face of the Union's superior numbers?While historians have long wrestled with that question, geographers and cartographers have come up with an explanation, by way of sophisticated mapping software that shows the rolling terrain exactly as it would have appeared to Lee: From his vantage point, he simply couldn't see throngs of Union soldiers amid the hills and valleys....



  • Re-enactors and spectators descend on Gettysburg

    An army of visitors a quarter million strong, including legions of Civil War re-enactors, is converging on Gettysburg, Pa., to mark the 150th anniversary of the nation's bloodiest battle, a three-day clash that helped turn the tide of the war.Areas surrounding the town of 7,000 in southern Pennsylvania are being transformed into battlefield scenes, complete with an outdoor field hospital where hundreds of people acting as surgeons will pretend to triage people acting as wounded soldiers, all while period-dressed guides explain the scene."It's our Olympic moment," said Andrea DiMartino, a coordinator with the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, which stages re-enactments each year. Over four days, the group expects 60,000 to 80,000 spectators, who will pay $40 a day to view the action from stadium seating or from their own blankets or lawn chairs. This year, the group also is offering, for $13, a live broadcast of a re-enactment of Pickett's Charge to be viewed on a computer, tablet or smartphone.The tourism agency for Adams County, Pa., expects the surge of visitors to inject $100 million into the region's economy....



  • Civil War historian makes Gettysburg his focus and his home

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — The wheat had been flattened in the somber field where the dead Confederates were lined up for burial in 1863.Forty-four bodies, some with their legs tied together to make them easier to carry, had been gathered by their comrades. But there was no time to dig the graves, and this was how the photographers found them, laid out on the trampled ground.William A. Frassanito, the reclusive historian of Civil War photography, is standing in the woods just outside the field at sunset, explaining how he located this spot after it had been lost for more than a century.It’s quiet now, except for the cooing of mourning doves and the lowing of cattle that graze in the knee-high grass....