Gettysburg Seminar Papers

The Fate Of A Nation


The third day at Gettysburg will forever be defined by Pickett’s Charge despite the seven hours of fighting at Culp’s Hill that July 3 morning, the heavy skirmishing around the Bliss farm, the major cavalry action east of Gettysburg, and the ill-fated attack by Farnsworth’s brigade that afternoon. Important as the other actions were, the great attack upon the Union center was the decisive moment of the battle for up to this point its outcome, and therefore that of the Pennsylvania Campaign as well, hung in the balance. It is this event, Pickett’s Charge, the planning, the bombardment and attack, its consequences to both armies and its place in the memory of the Civil War, which dominates the papers of the 2008 Gettysburg National Military Park Seminar on the July 3 battle. This in part reflects a continuing effort to understand this event and the decisions that caused it, and also the weight it continues to carry in Americans memory of the battle.

This is the third in a series of four seminars that are examining the campaign, each day of the battle and the battle’s aftermath. Each of the people contributing papers to this book either currently work in some capacity for the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park or have done so in the past.

A special thanks goes once again to Evangelina Rubalcava for her work in managing all the logistics of the seminar, to Chris Little, our superb copy editor, and to John Heiser, for his splendid maps.

We dedicate this volume to the memory of Rebecca A. Lyons and Gregory A. Coco, two former rangers who gave much of their lives to Gettysburg and did so much to further public understanding of what the battle and this place means. Becky helped illuminate our understanding of the people who found their homes and farms in the path of the battle, and no one can ever do serious research on the battle’s aftermath or field hospitals and not consult Greg Coco’s research. The good work that they both contributed will live on here for many years to come.

D. Scott Hartwig,
Supervisory Historianv February, 2010

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