(Gettysburg, Pa.) - For three days in the summer of 1863, quiet Pennsylvania fields and hillsides witnessed the largest and bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. Now, 150 years later, as Americans remember and commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg and the turning point in history that it embodies, 21st-century technology will help record numbers of people experience the unique learning experience that the battlefield offers. To mark the occasion, the Civil War Trust, the nation's largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, has launched a suite of exciting multimedia offerings designed to deepen public understanding of both the battle and its dramatic political and social consequences. All of the Trust's Gettysburg-related content is available to the public at no charge through the organization's website at www.civilwar.org/gettysburg.
"The amazing technology available today enables us to make history come alive like never before," said Trust president James Lighthizer. "Things like GPS and smartphones, in particular, help enhance the experience of those who are able to make it to Gettysburg in person. But with our exciting series of multimedia applications and programs, it is possible to take a meaningful tour of the battlefield from the privacy of your own home."
Leading the pack is the Trust's Gettysburg Battle App™ guide - part of a growing series of popular GPS-enabled tours of significant Civil War battlefields for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Like its predecessors, the Gettysburg Battle App™ guide features a detailed, GPS-enabled map that includes a wealth of virtual signs and other points of interest. Within this extensive offering are videos from top historians, primary source audio recreations, detailed accounts of the battle, modern and historic photos, and a detailed set of reference materials.
Covering the entire battlefield in depth, the new Gettysburg Battle App™ guide represents a significant expansion from the 2010 product produced by the Trust, which focused on Devil's Den and Little Round Top. Users can now take 4 separate sub-tours that cover 48 virtual signs and more than 50 additional points of interest. Detailed information on the format and specific capabilities of the Gettysburg Battle App™ guide, and the 11 other titles in the series, is available at www.civilwar.org/battleapps. It can be downloaded directly from the App Store or Google Play.
The Trust is also excited to announce the release of its newest animated interpretive offering - the Gettysburg Animated Map, which provides the viewer with an exciting way to learn more about the context of entire 1863 campaign. More than just a diagram that shows the movements of Union and Confederate troops, this multimedia show includes gripping battlefield imagery, live action footage and detailed battlefield maps. Once you are done watching all the action, you can engage the map's "Explore" mode to learn more about key landmarks on the battlefield. This new Gettysburg Animated Map was produced in conjunction with Wide Awake Films, Inc., a leader in Civil War battlefield animation and video presentations and contains clips from filmmaker Jake Borritt's latest effort, The Gettysburg Story. Watch the Gettysburg Animated Map at www.civilwar.org/learn/maps/gettysburg-animated-map
The Trust's Gettysburg in 3-D photo presentation, co-sponsored by the Center for Civil War Photography, pays homage to technology of the Civil War era by allowing modern audiences to view period images as their ancestors did. An estimated 70 percent of all Civil War documentary photographs were shot as "stereoviews," making them the 19th Century equivalent of our blockbuster 3-D movies. Seeing Civil War images as they were intended to be experienced brings them to life and, through their depth and texture, helps the modern viewer feel more fully immersed in the past.
In the coming days Trust members will receive in the mail a special commemorative edition of Hallowed Ground, the organization's award-winning membership magazine, but the public at large is able to explore featured content online at www.civilwar.org/hallowedground. A selection of articles cover the history of preservation efforts at Gettysburg - from the initial push to create the Soldiers' National Cemetery in 1863, to the Trust's current acquisition projects in conjunction with the National Park Service. A limited number of additional hard copies of this commemorative publication will be available in Gettysburg during the anniversary through a Trust partnership with Main Street Gettysburg. All proceeds will benefit preservation and heritage tourism initiatives in the community.
As we proceed through the 150th anniversary period in the coming days, the Trust anticipates launching additional Gettysburg content, including the Gettysburg 360 panorama. With its 15 stirring images-in-the-round, this unique project is the next best thing for those who can't make it to Pennsylvania in person for the anniversary. Produced alongside technology partner Regal 360, the latest entry in the battlefield panorama series contains a wealth of clickable points of interest that lead to historian videos and other resources designed to bring the historic landscape to life. All of the detailed panoramic images are linked together, so it's possible to travel, virtually, from McPherson Ridge to the town square, from the heights of Little Round Top to the craggy rocks of Devil's Den, and from Culp's Hill across the fields of Pickett's Charge.
In the summer of 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in its second invasion of the North. As the Union Army of the Potomac pursued, President Abraham Lincoln, placed Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade in command. Elements of the two armies collided west and north of the crossroads town of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, with Union cavalry slowing the Confederate advance until the infantry arrived in force. Ultimately, however, the outnumbered Yankees fell back to the hills south of town. On the afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a major assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge. On the Union right, demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill. Although the Confederates gained ground, the Union defenders still held strong positions by the end of the day. The battle's climactic moment occurred the next day, with a dramatic 12,000-man assault against the center of the Union line - Pickett's Charge. The unsuccessful attack forced Lee's bloodied army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. As many as 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the three-day battle. Four months later, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for Gettysburg's Soldiers National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address. Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg at here.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 853 acres at Gettysburg. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.