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Friday, June 28, 2013

150 Years Since The Battle Of Gettysburg

A Union artillery piece sits atop a ridge above the field of Pickett's Charge, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Gettysburg, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP)

A Union artillery piece sits atop a ridge above the field of Pickett’s Charge, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Gettysburg, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP)

In 1863, 150 years ago, Union and Confederate forces settled into camps just outside a small town in Pennsylvania named Gettysburg.

From July 1st to July 3rd they fought, and at the end of three days, the casualty count was more than 51,000.

Over the next few days, thousands of tourists will visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, to learn about the battles there and take in the events the park is holding to remember what happened there.

“The next time you go to a large football game, or large basketball game, look at the stands around you, because that’s about equal to the number that were lost,” park historian John Heiser told Here & Now.

But how do you balance tourism and respectful remembrance of one of the bloodiest moments in American history?

One way the park aims to do that is by not staging reenactments.

“We sponsor ‘living history’ programs on the battlefield — these are volunteers who come dressed as Union and Confederate soldiers and are very much experts in the field of what soldier life was during the Civil War,” Heiser said. “But we don’t sponsor opposing units, opposing fire, on hallowed ground.”


  • John Heiser, historian for Gettysburg National Military Park.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735081 Max Mueller

    I’m a big fan of Here & Now. But I was saddened to listen to this report on the reconciliation of Confederates and Union soldiers without any mention about what they had fought so fiercely for (or against). Your report shows that the old adage is true: the North won the war. But in changing the memory of the war from one of emancipation to one of reconciliation, the South won the peace. 

    (read David Blight’s wonderful book on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Race-Reunion-Civil-American-Memory/dp/0674008197)

  • Susan

    Personally, no. But here in alabama it’s never really over. Just returned from MA and am struck by the differences: drivers in MA are overwhelmingly courteous to each other and here,well, the anger is still palpable- try to merge into traffic and others speed up to cut you off. And then there are all the dogs and boys named Forrest-and that’s with two ‘r’s to honor the founder of the kkk

  • Elizabeth Scherfee

    150 years ago today my great great uncle John Sherfy and his family had to evacuate their  home (the Sherfy House) on the Emmetsburg Road in Gettysburg due to the intense fighting taking place there. They were the owners of the Sherfy Peach Orchard which was destroyed during the heated battle. It brings the battle alive to remember these brave people who returned to a bullet-ridden, ransacked house on July 7, 1863, their barn burned to the ground and 14 bodies of both confederate and Union soldiers on the property. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    the problem is they start by taking peoples 30 round magazines next they will want to take their cannons

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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