Friday and Saturday Conference Tours

The 2024 Annual Conference

Schedule and speaker lineup are subject to change.
American Battlefield Trust Event

Friday, April 26

 

Artillery's Effect at Gettysburg

A lost brother, an out-of-body experience, civilians in danger, and a very special rock.  This tour will rely heavily on stories like these to color the complete story of the role of artillery throughout the battle.
Sites Included: Oak Hill, High Water Mark, Cemetery Hill, and more. 
Walking Level: Please expect up to one mile of walking. The tour will focus on as many positions as possible and will only require short walks from the bus, but the paths taken may be grassy or uneven.
Guide: Jessie Wheedleton

 

Confrontation at Gettysburg: A Comprehensive Tour

The largest battle in the American Civil War culminating in over 50,000 casualties took place on south central Pennsylvania soil during a fight lasting 3 days. This tour will discuss the overall campaign objectives, strategies and tactics during the fighting unfolding the story chronologically. We will visit the main portions of the battlefield as we study the decisions and actions of key participants.
Sites Included: Oak Hill, Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, High Water Mark.
Walking Level: Please expect less than one-half mile of total walking with this tour.
Guide: Chris Army

 

Fight for ‘Commanding Ground’: Meade, Sickles, Lee, and Longstreet-July 2 

The battle at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, is remembered primarily as one fought for control of Little Round Top on the Army of the Potomac’s left flank. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s massive attack intended to gain the Emmitsburg Road for use as an artillery position to support an envelopment of the enemy’s flank. Meanwhile, scheming Union General Daniel Sickles misinterpreted (or disobeyed?) his orders and disrupted both Lee’s attack and the intended defense of his commander Major General George Meade. What followed was Gettysburg’s bloodiest and most controversial fighting, as the action spilled into areas now known as Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and the Peach Orchard.

Join Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide, award-winning author, and Battle of Gettysburg Podcast co-host James Hessler as we take a deep dive on the second day’s battle in all its horror, heroism, and controversies. Command decisions made here influenced action across the battlefield and into July 3. We will assess Meade’s intentions, Sickles’s actions, Lee’s objectives, Longstreet’s performance, and the impacts on the battle’s outcome and historiography.
Sites Included: Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, and more.
Walking Level: Please expect up to one mile of walking on this tour.
Guide: Jim Hessler 

 

Gettysburg: Advance and Retreat 

The bloody struggle that occurred in Gettysburg during the first three days of July 1863, has cast a wide shadow over the other lesser known events that occurred in the area prior to and after the battle.  Join Historian Timothy H. Smith as we explore other sights in Adams County, Pennsylvania associated with the Civil War.  Learn of Jeb Stuart’s Raid in October of 1862, Jubal Early Raid through the area on June 26 and June 27, 1863, and the skirmishing that occurred along the confederate Retreat route on July 5 and 6, following the battle.
Sites Included: Cashtown, Caledonia State Park, Marsh Creek, and more.
Walking Level: Please expect one mile or less of walking on this tour.
Guide: Tim Smith

 

No Period More Glorious: Exploring Cavalry Operations at Gettysburg

Over the course of three days in July 1863, men in blue and gray locked in brutal combat on the rolling fields of south-central Pennsylvania. While the infantry grappled in such places as the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield and Culp's Hill, the mounted forces of the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac engaged in vicious fighting on the periphery of the main battlefield. From John Buford's stand on the ridge’s northwest of town on July 1 to Jeb Stuart's clash with David Gregg and Elon Farnsworth's immortal attack following Pickett's Charge, the cavalry etched their own stories into the Gettysburg annals. Join Dan Davis, the Trust's Senior Education Manager, and Licensed Battlefield Guide Billy Griffith, as we explore the mounted operations related to the Battle of Gettysburg. We'll visit McPherson's Ridge, East Cavalry Field and other sites related to some of the overshadowed episodes of one of the most critical engagements in American history.
Sites Included: East Cavalry Field, McPherson's Ridge, South Cavalry Field 
Walking Level: Please expect up to two miles of walking on this tour.
Guides: Dan Davis & Billy Griffith

 

The First Day’s Field in Five Stops 

Although it opened the battle and is among the top five costliest days of the Civil War, Gettysburg’s First Day still stands in the shadow of the two days that followed. Lacking the iconic hills of the second day and the fame of the massive attack on the third, the First Day has often been relegated to a delaying cavalry action, when in fact it was a brutal and confusing, daylong fight that many participants termed the worst fighting they had ever seen.   Join the Trust’s chief historian, Garry Adelman, and deputy director of education, Kristopher White, at five key stops as he lays out the action that pitted four Confederate divisions against two Union corps and the resultant and pyrrhic Confederate victory that left Union forces holding the heights south of Gettysburg.
Sites Included: McPherson's Ridge, Oak Hill, Barlow's Knoll, and more.
Walking Level: Expect up to 150 yards of walking at each stop, mostly on paved or hard grassy surfaces.  A few optional longer walks will be offered.
Guides: Garry Adelman & Kristopher D. White


The Third Day at Gettysburg 

It was a day filled with drama, high humidity, and thousands of casualties. July 3, 1863, stands in the annals of Civil War history as "the" turning point of the American Civil War to many Civil War buffs. From the slopes of Culp's Hill to the rolling terrain of East Cavalry Field to the Angle along Cemetery Ridge, Union and Confederate soldiers grappled for hours with the outcome of the battle in the balance. Join President Emeritus and Historian of the Gettysburg Foundation and Licensed Battlefield Guide Wayne Motts as he leads you through the highs and lows of what was the decisive day at Gettysburg. 
Sites Included: North Carolina Memorial, High Water Mark, East Cavalry Field, and more. 
Walking Level: Please expect up to two miles of walking over rolling and sometimes uneven ground.
Guide: Wayne Motts
 

The 11th Corps at Gettysburg: July 1, 2, 3, 1863

To some, they were a cursed corps. To others, they were the "Flying Dutchmen." In reality, they were placed in unenviable positions on battlefields from Second Manassas to Chancellorsville to Gettysburg, and not always led by the best that the Union Army had to offer. The 11th Corps are perhaps the most overlooked corps in the Army of the Potomac. While they were driven from their position on July 1, there is far more to that story, and the story of the corps at Gettysburg. Join Licensed Battlefield Guide and 11th Corps expert Stuart Dempsey for an in-depth study of the 11th Corps at Gettysburg. 
Sites Included: Barlow's Knoll, East Cemetery Hill, and more. 
Walking Level: Please expect less than one mile of walking on rolling terrain and uneven ground.
Guide: Stuart Dempsey

 

Saturday, April 27
 

Artillery's Effect at Gettysburg

A lost brother, an out-of-body experience, civilians in danger, and a very special rock.  This tour will rely heavily on stories like these to color the complete story of the role of artillery throughout the battle.
Sites Included: Oak Hill, High Water Mark, Cemetery Hill, and more. 
Walking Level: Please expect up to one mile of walking. The tour will focus on as many positions as possible and will only require short walks from the bus, but the paths taken may be grassy or uneven.
Guide: Jessie Wheedleton

 

America’s Highest Military Honor: The Medal of Honor at Gettysburg

The Medal of Honor is the United States' highest award for military valor in action. And while over 150 years have passed since its inception, the meaning behind the Medal has never tarnished. Etched within are the very values that each Recipient displayed in the moments that mattered—bravery, courage, sacrifice, integrity. A deep love of country and a desire to always do what is right. A distinguished award presented only to the deserving, the Medal tells a story of its own.

Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Col. Doug Douds, USMC, Ret., as he weaves the story of the battle and the stories of the men who earned the Medal of Honor through their selfless acts at Gettysburg.

Sites Included: McPherson's Ridge, Trostle Farm, High Water Mark, and more. 
Walking Level: Less than 1 mile of walking on flat surfaces. 
Guide: Col. Doug Douds, USMC, Ret

 

Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner 

With the abdication of Napoleon in the spring of 1814, Great Britain refocused its efforts on the conflict raging in North America. The British high command decided to launch a major offensive in the Chesapeake. After landing in southern Maryland, a British army routed an American force at Bladensburg before burning Washington, D.C. With the initiative firmly in hand, the British set their sights on Baltimore, the third largest port in the United States. The coming battle would help determine the outcome of the war and give birth to the National Anthem. Join Dan Davis, the Trust’s Senior Education Manager and Emerging Revolutionary War historian Phil Greenwalt as we explore the Battle of Baltimore. We will visit North Point, Fort McHenry and other sites related to one of the most famous campaigns from the War of 1812, America’s forgotten conflict.
Sites Included: North Point, Fort McHenry, Federal Hill, and more.
Walking Level: Roughly 1 mile of walking on uneven surfaces. 
Guides: Dan Davis & Phill Greenwalt

 

From Boulders to Orchards: The Bloody Second Day

It began with a hot skirmish fight in the woods followed by the largest close-action artillery “gunfight” of the Civil War. All of this led to the largest infantry attack of the Battle of Gettysburg – half again larger than Pickett’s Charge – over what was described as the worst ground they had ever seen. The tour will cover the brutal, climactic fighting for the Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, the Stony Hill and the Peach Orchard sector – fighting that decided the outcome of the battle and touched on larger strategic issues for the entire war.

Despite the closure of Little Round Top, the tour will visit every acre of the most crucial ground for July 2. Bus access is forbidden in the Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield and South Warfield Ridge so there will be extensive walking along paved roads to reach these areas.

Tour leader Ralph Siegel has been a part-time Licensed Battlefield Guide since 2004 with a special concentration on July 2nd actions and artillery. He is co-author with LBG Mike Vallone of “Peach Orchard: A Gettysburg Battlefield Guided Tour.” He wrote about the Peach Orchard in the October 2022 edition of “Hallowed Ground” magazine.
Sites Included: The Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Seminary Ridge
Walking Level: Please expect up to one mile of walking on rocky and uneven terrain with this tour.
Guide: Ralph Siegel 
 

Gettysburg: A Comprehensive Tour 

Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Eric Lindblade for a comprehensive tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. With stops at McPherson’s Ridge, Oak Hill, Barlow’s Knoll, Culp’s Hill, Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and Cemetery Ridge we will follow the course of the three day battle with discussions focusing on the command decisions, controversies, and experiences of those who fought at Gettysburg.
Sites Included: McPherson’s Ridge, Oak Hill, Barlow’s Knoll, Culp’s Hill, Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, and Cemetery Ridge. 
Walking Level: Less than 1 mile of walking on flat surfaces. 
Guide: Eric Lindblade


Hiking the Fishhook

There is no better way to see a battlefield than on the ground where it happened and there is no better way to understand the second and third days at Gettysburg than hiking the length of the Union Fishhook—if you can make it! Join the Trust’s chief historian and licensed battlefield guide Garry Adelman (with special guest Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith) for a reprisal of the epic hike he has led at Trust Gettysburg conferences since 2009.  This hike takes participants to and relates the fighting, photos, myth, and legend at the scenes of all the famous fights south and east of Gettysburg including Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top (if reopened).
Sites Included: Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top (if reopened).
Walking Level: This tour is only for those able to walk nine miles in roughly seven hours and stand a good deal more. Surfaces range from paved to rugged trails.  Many find a portable stool helpful.
Guides: Garry Adelman & Tim Smith


Key Sites and Key Moments at Gettysburg 

The story of Gettysburg is indelibly linked to the places and the people associated with the battle. From Dan Sickles forward movement to the Peach Orchard to A.P. Hill's failure to grasp the unfolding battle on July 1. It is the people and the places that continues to draw history buffs from around the world to this small Pennsylvania town. 

Walk through the "Whirlpool of Death" in the Wheatfield. Stand at the High Water Mark. Visit the site of John Buford's delaying action. Take in craggy rock covered Culp's Hill. Learn how these places, and others, played host to high drama and helped to shape the outcome of the battle. Join American Battlefield Trust Deputy Director of Education Kristopher White, and Licensed Battlefield Guide Billy Griffith as they tie these sites and stories together.
Sites Included: McPherson's Ridge, Culp's Hill, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, the High Water Mark. 
Walking Level: Please expect up to 1.5 miles of walking along uneven paths sometimes containing rocks or boulders.
Guides: Kristopher D. White & Billy Griffith 


Saving Lives: Gettysburg's Battlefield Topography & Military Hospitals

You've studied the Gettysburg landscape as fighting ground, now learn to see the topography through the eyes of doctors and medical staff seeking to save lives in July 1863. Join Sarah Kay Bierle (American Battlefield Trust) and Codie Eash (Seminary Ridge Museum) for a unique tour, taking a closer look at Civil War medical practices, field hospital locations, and stories of loss and survival. You'll spend the morning touring the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland, and then explore soldiers' health during the Gettysburg Campaign as we return to Pennsylvania for an extended bus tour of Union and Confederate field hospital locations.

Sites Included: National Museum of Civil War Medicine, the George Spangler Farm, and more.
Walking Level: Please expect up to 1.5 miles of walking on flat surfaces and standing in museum settings.
Guides: Sarah Kay Bierle & Codie Eash

 

The Work Was Hellish: Culp's Hill at Gettysburg

The struggle for Culp's Hill may be the most important fight at Gettysburg and yet it is the least visited and understood.  As one participant related after the war, "Gettysburg won the war.  George S. Greene won Gettysburg.... The battle was at no other time so nearly lost as it was in that emergency when old George Greene and his men did the impossible and saved the day that won the war." Culp's Hill was among the first acquisitions where according to David McConaughy, "the artificial and natural defenses saved the Union."  Come with us and look through this window to the past and discover this all but forgotten gem of the battlefield of Gettysburg.
Sites Included: Benner's Hill, Culp's Hill, East Cemetery Hill, and more.
Walking Level: Please expect up to one mile of walking with this tour.
Guide: Dr. Charles C. Fennell, Jr.