Gettysburg Seminar Papers

Abraham Lincoln, David Wills and the Soldiers' National Cemetery


John S. Heiser— A native of Raleigh North Carolina, Heiser has been with the National Park Ranger since 1976, first as a seasonal ranger at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park before coming to Gettysburg National Military Park in 1980. While at Gettysburg, his appointments have included positions as a seasonal ranger interpreter, assistant to the chief park historian, draftsman, and Facility Management Specialist in the Structures Preservation and Maintenance Division. In 1997, Heiser transferred to the Division of Interpretation and Visitor Services at Gettysburg as historian, managing the park’s research library, answering visitor requests, and providing research support to park staff and Licensed Battlefield Guides.

John Hoptak— Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Mr. Hoptak has a Master's Degree in History from Lehigh University and since 2006 has been employed as a seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service, serving at Antietam National Battlefield and Gettysburg National Military Park. A lifelong student of the American Civil War and the author of several books, Hoptak's principal area of interest and study is the Civil War history of his native Schuylkill County, with a special focus on the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. He currently resides near Gettysburg with his wife and daughter.

Nicholas Redding— A native of Buffalo, New York, Mr. Redding attended Shepherd University, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History, with a concentration on the Civil War and 19th Century America. Mr. Redding previously served as a seasonal Park Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park, and was a staff member for the Civil War Trust from 2007 to 2012, where he successfully directed their efforts against a proposed casino near the Gettysburg battlefield. For two years, Mr. Redding was the Executive Director of Long Branch Plantation, a historic site and working farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and then accepted a position as Executive Director of Preservation Maryland.

Karlton D. Smith— A graduate of Shepherd (College) University with a Bachelor of Arts in Park Administration, Mr. Smith has been a Park Ranger-Interpreter at Gettysburg National Military Park since 1990. His prior National Park Service appointment was at Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia and he has conducted historical interpretation with the National Park Service since 1986. Mr. Smith has contributed to the past Gettysburg Seminars and is a published author in other Seminar proceedings. The past-President of the Cumberland Valley Civil War Round Table, Smith and his wife Cheryl Sobun live in Mont Alto, PA, along the historic route of Jubal Early’s advance through south-central Pennsylvania in June 1863.

Charles Teague— Mr. Teague received a B.A. from Gettysburg College, M.A. from Southern Baptist Seminary, and J.D. from Cornell. He is a retired Lt. Colonel, with assignments to Air Force Security Police and Army Military Police, as well as having been a Judge Advocate. He is the past president of Historic Gettysburg Adams County, Inc., and the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable. For many years he served as Chaplain for the Gettysburg Police Department. Mr. Teague is compiler of “Gettysburg By the Numbers” and has been a presenter for many military, educational, and history groups. He currently resides in Gettysburg and is in his 13th season as a Park Ranger in the Division of Interpretation at Gettysburg.

Dan Welch— With experience as the Education Programs Coordinator for the Gettysburg Foundation, the non-profit partner of Gettysburg National Military Park, as well as a seasonal Park Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park for six years, Mr. Welch is currently a primary and secondary educator with a public school district in northeast Ohio. During his time at Gettysburg, he led numerous programs on the campaign and battle for school groups, families, and visitors of all ages. Most recently, Welch took part in Gettysburg National Military Park’s special 150th Anniversary Programs, as well as the annual Mid-Winter Lecture series. Welch received his BA in Instrumental Music Education from Youngstown State University, and is currently finishing his MA in Military History with a Civil War Era concentration at American Military University. Welch has also studied under the tutelage of Dr. Allen C. Guelzo as student in the Gettysburg Semester at Gettysburg College. He currently resides with his wife, Sarah, in Boardman, Ohio.

Robert Wingert— A native of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Mr. Wingert graduated from Chambersburg High School in 1968 and attended Shippensburg University, graduating in 1972 with a Bachelor in Education. He went onto receive a Master’s Degree in Education in 1975 and was a Special Education teacher for 40 years with the Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12, in central Pennsylvania, retiring in 2012. Wingert became a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg in 2000, specializing in personal tours by car, horseback and the recent Segway battlefield tours. “I have always enjoyed history, especially military history,” he confesses, with interests in reading, miniature wargaming and Civil War reenacting. He is also a proud member of the local Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Camp #112. James Anthony Felix, his great-great-grandfather, was a native of Gettysburg, a Civil War veteran and one of the early Licensed Battlefield Guides active in the park during the 1920’s.

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