Gettysburg’s Winter Lecture Series covers D-Day, Michigan, Mill Springs, and more!

07 December 2023- Featuring some of the best rangers, historians, and authors from across the country, the nine-week Winter Lecture Series returns to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center for 2024!

The Winter Lecture Series is held at 1:30 pm on weekends in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center from January 6 through March 3, 2024, unless otherwise noted.

Seating is available on a first come – first serve basis. Free tickets will be available the day of the program at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Schedule is subject to change.

All programs will be recorded by our friends at Addressing Gettysburg and will be posted to their YouTube Channel at youtube.com/@addressinggettysburg. No live stream will be available.


Saturday January 6 – “All This is Monument Enough” – Sickles and the New York Monument Commission (NYMC)
Ranger Matthew Atkinson, Gettysburg National Military Park
Daniel E. Sickles – General, Politician, Defendant, Ambassador, War Hero, and Commissioner of the NYMC. This program will explore the life of Dan Sickles in the post-war years, his struggle to maintain his reputation as the hero of Gettysburg, and his efforts to create and memorialize a battlefield.  

Sunday January 7 – If These Things Could Talk: The Naval Edition
Ranger Karlton Smith, Gettysburg National Military Park
Ranger Karlton Smith will highlight some of the outstanding objects from the park’s collection, with a focus on naval artifacts and the stories behind them.

Saturday January 13 – The Heavens Meet Earth at Gettysburg: Design of Sacred Spaces
Ranger Troy Harman, Gettysburg National Military Park
Join Ranger Troy Harman and examine how Gettysburg battlefield monuments and their landscaped spaces formed a sacred bridge between the battlefield and otherworldly places. 

Sunday January 14 – If These Things Could Talk – Treasures from the Collection of Gettysburg National Military Park
Ranger Tom Holbrook, Gettysburg National Military Park
Take a journey back in time and explore the fascinating stories behind selected artifacts from the museum collection of Gettysburg National Military Park.

Saturday January 20 – The Great Crusade at 80: Eisenhower, Gettysburg, and the Legacy of D-Day
Ranger Daniel Vermilya, Eisenhower National Historic Site
Eighty years after Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “great crusade” in Europe, what is the enduring legacy of D-Day? For Eisenhower, the meaning of D-Day was indelibly linked with Gettysburg, a place where he spent much of his life. Eisenhower saw these two iconic battles as sharing similar lessons and legacies. From battlefield visits to reunions and even televised specials, Ike spent his post-WWII years reflecting on these lessons and legacies. Explore how Dwight Eisenhower—a general and a president—actively shaped and remembered the lessons of Gettysburg and D-Day. 

Sunday January 21 – Wolverines at Gettysburg: Michigan Soldiers in the Battle of Gettysburg
Wayne Motts, Gettysburg Foundation
Did you know that nearly 4,000 Union soldiers from the state of Michigan fought at Gettysburg? Over 1,100 of these men were killed, wounded, or captured fighting on Pennsylvania soil in the Civil War’s greatest battle. Join historian and author Wayne Motts of the Gettysburg Foundation as he explores the stories and contributions of Michigan men at Gettysburg.

Saturday January 27 – Major General George Sykes: The Life and Service of Gettysburg’s Least Known and Most Elusive Corps Commander
Ranger John Hoptak, Gettysburg National Military Park
Ranger and historian John Hoptak will profile the life and military record of Major General George Sykes, commander of the Fifth Army Corps at Gettysburg. Despite Sykes’ contributions at Gettysburg, he remains a relatively obscure general officer. This program will illuminate his service on and off the battlefields of the American Civil War.

Sunday January 28 – “If I ever get back to you I will live a different life;” The life and letters of the Iron Brigade’s John Pardington and his wife Sara
Dr. Peter Carmichael, Civil War Institute Gettysburg College
Join Dr. Peter Carmichael, the Fluhrer Professor of History and the Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, for this fascinating examination of the correspondence between John Pardington, an enlisted man in the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and his wife. In this revealing correspondence, the experience of the common soldier on the front lines comes to life and reveals the important connections between the battlefield and the home front.

Saturday February 3 – “A Brilliant Victory”: The Fight to Preserve the First Significant US Victory of the Civil War
Ranger Andrew Miller, Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument
Declaring armed neutrality to avoid allegiance to either side at the beginning of the Civil War, the Commonwealth of Kentucky was ironically teetering towards civil war itself. Pro-Confederate state troops began training while US-backed home guard units organized to oppose them. After Confederate forces invaded the state and voided that neutrality, both US and Confederate forces began to maneuver for controlling this vital border state.
On January 19, 1862, US troops encamped around Logan’s Crossroads (present day Nancy, Kentucky) were surprised by a large Confederate force that was intent on their destruction. A combination of the misunderstanding of the disposition of the US forces in the area, miserable winter weather, and the emergence of George H. Thomas as a successful battlefield leader led to the rout of the Confederate forces out of eastern Kentucky. Speaking for President Abraham Lincoln, the new Secretary of War Edwin Stanton wired a message stating that the Battle of Mill Springs as “a brilliant victory.” This first significant US triumph, in tandem with the victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, enabled the large scale forward movement of US military power deep into Tennessee, pushing the Confederacy on its heels at the beginning of 1862.

In 1992, the Mill Springs Battlefield Association began a large-scale effort to preserve these historic, hallowed grounds before the National Park Service took over management in 2019 as the 421st national park site.

Saturday February 3 – Special Walking Tour: African American Servicemembers Buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery
This special program will begin at 3:30 pm at the Taneytown Road Entrance of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Please dress appropriately for winter weather. In the event of inclement weather, this program may be postponed. 

In all of America’s past conflicts, African Americans have served bravely and faithfully in the uniform of the United States despite being historically denied the most basic rights of citizenship from the very nation they served and fought—and in many cases died—to defend. In commemoration and observance of Black History Month, rangers from Eisenhower National Historic Site and Gettysburg National Military Park will lead a special walking tour/program in the Gettysburg National Cemetery highlighting the lesser-known and lesser-told stories of African American servicemembers therein laid to rest. Visit the graves and learn the stories of African Americans who served in the Civil War and who gave their last full measure of devotion during the Spanish-American War, World I, World War II, and Vietnam. 

Sunday February 4 – Presidents and Gettysburg
Richard Goedkoop, Historian & Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park
This program will highlight and illustrate Presidential speeches, visits, and letters at Gettysburg and on the battlefield after Abraham Lincoln’s seminal address. Twenty-six Presidents have come to Gettysburg to comment or to reflect on its lasting legacy in American history. All took a memory with them and left their portion of history behind.

Saturday February 10 – Biology on the Battlefield: Natural Resource Management at a Historic and Cultural Park
Chris Davis, Biologist, Gettysburg National Military Park
Visitors come to Gettysburg National Military Park to experience the rich American history and cultural significance of one of the most important battlefields of the American Civil War. Part of the Gettysburg experience includes witnessing the diverse and ecologically complex mosaic of natural and agricultural systems that compose the backdrop of the park landscape – ecosystems that are actively managed by National Park Service staff and volunteers. Join park biologist Chris Davis for an overview of natural resources management at the park, and a discussion of the unique challenges and opportunities of performing this type of work in the context of a historic and cultural park.

Sunday February 11 – No Lecture (Superbowl Sunday)

Saturday February 17 – Abraham Lincoln in the Archives: “New” Sources, New Questions
Michelle Krowl, Library of Congress
In 1936, historian James G. Randall posed the question, “Has the Lincoln theme been exhausted?” Scholarship over the subsequent fourscore and seven years have answered the question with a resounding “no,” and interest in Abraham Lincoln continues to be robust. Michelle A. Krowl, curator of the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, will discuss how newly available primary source materials and the proliferation of digital tools now allow different questions to be asked, and answered about the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, and the world in which he lived.

Sunday February 18 – Inclement Weather Date if Needed

Saturday February 24 – Harriet Tubman: In Her Own Words
Living Historian and Performer Janice Curtis Greene, Co-sponsored by Lincoln Cemetery
Janice Curtis Greene will mesmerize audiences with her portrayal of the life of Harriet Tubman historical program highlighting Harriet Tubman’s journey to freedom. Learn of the tragedies and triumphs of this American hero from childhood through old age. Janice has received the Harriet Ross Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award, performed several times at the Harriet Tubman Visitor Center in Cambridge, MD and traveled nationwide with her fascinating portrayal of this famous Maryland hero.

Sunday February 25 – “I Dread the Thought of the Place” – A Conversation on the Craft of History with D. Scott Hartwig
Join historian and author D. Scott Hartwig for a wide ranging conversation on writing, the craft of history, and his new book, “I Dread the Thought of the Place” – The Battle of Antietam and the End of the Maryland Campaign. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Saturday March 3 – Camp Letterman: Life and Death at Gettysburg’s Largest Field Hospital
Ranger Christopher Gwinn, Gettysburg National Military Park
Between July 20 and November 19, 1863, over twenty thousand wounded Union and Confederate soldiers were treated at Gettysburg’s Camp Letterman, the largest field hospital established following the Battle of Gettysburg. Discover what life was like for the patients and medical staff, who suffered, toiled, and sacrificed at this now vanished location. 

Sunday March 4 – Inclement Weather Date if Needed

 

Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects, and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at www.nps.gov/gett

Eisenhower National Historic Site preserves and interprets the home and farms of the Eisenhower family as a fitting and enduring memorial to the life, work, and times of General Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, and to the events of far-reaching importance that occurred on the property. Learn more at www.nps.gov/eise