Gettysburg Seminar Papers

GETTYSBURG 1895-1995:
The Shaping of an American Shrine


On February 11, 1895, President Grover Cleveland signed into law the legislation establishing Gettysburg National Military Park. However, the effort to preserve this famous battlefield had begun many years before Gettysburg became a national park. One month after the battle, in August 1863, Gettysburg Attorney David McConaughy advocated the purchase and preservation of battlefield landmarks. He wrote, "there could be no more fitting and expressive memorial of the heroic valor and signal triumph of our army than the battle-field itself, with its natural and artificial defenses, preserved and perpetuated in the exact form and condition they presented during the battle." McConaughy's efforts led to the creation of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, which played a major role in the preservation and memorialization of the battlefield.

Today, Gettysburg National Military Park is administered by the National Park Service, which continues the preservation efforts begun in 1863. As the Superintendent of this National Military Park, I realize that this Battlefield is truly one of the crown jewels in the National Park System. My goals for the park Centennial and the years ahead are simple; we will be working hard to preserve the resources under our care. Secondly, we will be working to serve our visitors, the many who visit from around the corner in Gettysburg, and the hundreds of thousands who travel here from around the globe.

Dr. John A. Latschar
Gettysburg National Military Park

March 1995

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