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Spotlight: Gettysburg National Military Park and Sesquicentennial

Spotlight: Gettysburg National Military Park and Sesquicentennial

Commemorate the most well known battle of the American Civil War, June 29-July 7, 2013

Gettysburg The Pennsylvania Monument was dedicated in 1910 and beautifully honors those soldiers who served in Pennsylvania units at the battle. (NPS)

"…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it..." Excerpt from the Gettysburg Address - Abraham Lincoln

What You’ll Find

Events and activities, July 1-3, 2013, marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, perhaps the most well-known and studied battle of the American Civil War. The battle was a turning point; the Union’s victory ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North. This region is steeped in history and is the site of the war’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. Gettysburg was also inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.

This year, you’ll find a series of events from special ranger programs, troop demonstrations and programs, tours, children’s activities and more to commemorate the anniversary. Download the Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Commemorative Events Guide.

Getting There

The military park is located near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with the Visitor Center located at 1195 Baltimore Pike. Visit the park’s directions page for details.

Stay Here

Visit the Gettysburg Convention Bureau’s website to find accommodations in town and nearby.

Try camping at Cactoctin Mountain Park, in Maryland, less than 20 miles from Gettysburg. Reserve a spot for yourself or a group at Camp Misty Mount or at one of the Adirondack Shelters.

Make Sure You

Stop by the Family Activities Tent, July 1-4 near the Visitor Center to check out hands-on opportunities, a living history stage, or try infantry, cavalry and artillery drilling stations, a soldier pastimes circle, a dress-up photo booth, or visit the “Ask a Ranger” desk and listen to costumed staff share their stories about Gettysburg.

Don’t miss the restored Gettysburg Cyclorama, a massive oil-on-canvas painting and a unique park feature.

Try This

Tour the park! For a self-guided driving tour, pick up a copy of the Official Map and Guide at the Museum and Visitor Center, or use the licensed battlefield guided service.

Test your communication skills! Compose and send messages between two signal stations with the Union Signals Group under the command of Samuel Foster.

Bike around the battlefield or ride your horse (or contact a local outfitter or guide) on one of the bridle trails.

Be one of the first visitors to the new Seminary Ridge Museum opening July 1, 2013.

Join others Saturday, July 6, 2013 at the Shriver House Museum and in the streets of Gettysburg to watch Confederate sharpshooters fire their rifles from the attic window of George and Hettie Shriver’s home. Learn first-hand what occurred during those three days of terror and what townspeople dealt with in the aftermath.

Don’t Forget

Collect a commemorative Gettysburg quarter depicting the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry monument and find the monument in the park!

Attention Kids!

Earn a special Junior Ranger Patch and Keepsake Identity Card Photo Frame throughout 2013 by completing the Junior Ranger activity book.

During the nine-day commemorative events (June 29-July 7), Junior Rangers can earn a keepsake identity card of one of six different Gettysburg soldiers and civilians.

In addition, kids can collect Civil War Trading Cards during their visit to Gettysburg and at other Civil War parks. Check out other children’s activities.

Try out the Civil War soldier activity on the NPS Web Rangers website.

Get Started

For more trip planning information, history and stories, visit the Gettysburg National Military Park’s website.

You can find other commemorative places, activities and events by visiting Pennsylvania’s Civil War 150 website.

If you would like to learn more about the Civil War and find other sites to visit, make sure to check out our Scout Out Civil War Places and Events Go List.

Did You Know?

Designed for middle school educators, the Gettysburg Address Educator’s Conference – August 12-13, 2013, offers teaching strategies, new techniques, an extensive resource book and renewed enthusiasm for this pivotal speech. View the conference brochure and discover more teacher planning information.