Battlefield Interpretation

I planned to spend most of today writing, but the weather is so nice here in Gettysburg that I decided to spend a couple of hours on the battlefield. I spent most of my time along Confederate Avenue. Our first stop is the North Carolina Monument: Would be nice to see a reference on this Read more

A good friend of mine who is a historian with the National Park Service offered this observation the other day: The present debate over Confederate iconography will, over time, fundamentally alter the place battlefields hold in America’s historic and cultural landscapes. He’s absolutely right. It’s hard to believe that the question of whether the National Read more

Over the past few days I’ve been going over student reflections from last week’s Civil War battlefields trip. There is simply no substitute for taking students to historic sites. The learning that can be accomplished and the connections to the past that can be forged at such places trumps all of the bells and whistles Read more

Last night I returned from five days of battlefield stomping with thirteen wonderful students. I was hoping to write a few more blog posts, but I simply didn’t have enough time between the driving, walking and just trying to enjoy those few moments of downtime. All in all the trip reminded me of why I Read more

At the beginning of the Civil War neither side was willing to accept volunteers and/or draft African Americans into their respective armies. For the United States that process only began in fits and starts in 1862 before it commenced in earnest following the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. For the Confederacy Read more

My first visit to Gettysburg came after the destruction of the National Tower on July 3, 2000. I was reminded of it earlier today while reading Jen Murray’s, On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2012. Jen does a fabulous job of exploring the controversy surrounding the construction Read more

Jen Murray’s new book, On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2012, is full of surprises. Yesterday I shared a paragraph from Jen’s book on a plan to hide some of the battlefield monuments with shrubs and other vegetation. I think most of you will be even more Read more

I love exploring the many monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield. While they were intended to commemorate the events that took place in July 1863, the monuments ultimately tell us much more about how the veterans and Americans decades later chose to remember their actions and the broader meaning of the war. It is with this Read more

We’ve all done it. At one point or another in driving home the scale of death during the Civil War we’ve taken the number representing the percentage of Americans who died and applied it to our current population. When doing so we arrive at a number somewhere around 7 million. This is suppose to help Read more