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The Licensed Battlefield Guide Academy: 

                                                                 Gettysburg and the American Civil War

The Academy:  The Licensed Battlefield Guides of Gettysburg are among the foremost experts on this crucial period of American History. Many of our 130-plus members have spent a lifetime of study and every day are out teaching people the significance of the great Battle.  This Academy - an outgrowth of our old test-prep program - has been designed to appeal to a wide audience.  Anyone with an interest in learning more about the era leading up to the American Civil War, the war itself, the great battle of the war and the period of reconstuction following the war will find some topic of interest contained in this course.  It is designed such that each session is a self-comtained topic.  One can pick and chose specific topics or opt to enroll on the entire program.  Each session will be taught by one or more licensed guides who specialized in the study of  that topic.

Disclaimer:  The Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield guide qualification process is conducted periodically by the National Park Service under authority granted in the Code of Federal Regulations. Though the ALBG Academy would certainly help provide a base of information of value to anyone contemplating sitting for the exam, it is not exclusively designed to prepare one to take the guide exam.  Anyone with an interest in the period will find the course of value. We have no advanced knowledge of  when the Park Service will decide to offer an exam.  That announcement will be made by the National Park Service at such time as they find the need to license additional guides.

Old Test Prep Program:  At this time the Gettysburg National Military Park has not announced any future exams and consequently no date has been set. The last exam was held Saturday, December 1, 2012. In recent years it has been offered fairly regularly.  Prior to 2000, it was offered when needed sometimes with as much as five years between dates. In order to help prospective candidates prepare for the exam the ALBG first offered a Guide Prep series in conjunction with the Harrisburg Area Community College in the early 1990's.  ISeveral years ago  HACC closed most of its Continuing Education office under which this program was offered.  ALBG decided to continue the test-prep program on its own.  Now we have decided to move our focus from Test Prep to a program of  interest to a much wider audience.

Location: The Academy will begin in August and run through mid-November, 2015.  All indoor classroom sessions will be held Saturday mornings at the Gettysburg Heritage Center (former Wax Museum) on Steinwehr Avenue,  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  They will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Sessions that have field programs associated with them will break for lunch and then reconvene on the battlefield or in the town for the field program.  These field programs will last for two hours from 1p.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost:  The cost for each of the seven indoor sessions is $30 per person.  A session that has a corresponding outdoor companion program is $45 per person. There are eight of those.  Each session may be purchased individually by clicking the respective link below.

Discount:  If one were to purchase the entire test-prep program the cost for all 15 sessions would be $570.  If you would like to purchase the entire series at one time we offer a discounted price of $515 per participant (approximately $34 per session).   This discount can only be used if you register on or before  August 8, 2015.

For Information or to register:  Click the Session number for additional information. Click the "Register" column to register and pay using a credit card. 


Session #1$30 - Click to Register
Session #2$30 - Click to Register
Session #3$30 - Click to Register
Session #4$45 - Click to Register
Session #5$45 - Click to Register
Session #6$45 - Click to Register
Session #7$45 - Click to Register
Session #8$45 - Click to Register
Session #9$30 - Click to Register
Session #10$30 - Click to Register
Session #11$45 - Click to Register
Session #12$45 - Click to Register
Session #13$30 - Click to Register
Session #14$30 - Click to Register
Session #15$45 - Click to Register
To Register for the Entire Series$515 - Click to Register

8/08/2015 - Session 1: Causes and Early Months of the American Civil War (Through the Peninsula Campaign.)

Instructor:  TBD, 

Our Licensed Battlefield Guide's American Civil War Academy kicks off with an in-depth studyof the many issues that led tot he outbreak of the Civil War, the key leaders involved and the many different solutions put forth to resolve the Nation's difficulties. The failures of these solutions and the leadership of the time resulted in war and for the first two years both sides had successes and failures. This session will look at the early phases of the war, both eastern and western theatres, through the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days' Battles of June of 1862.

8/15/2015 - Session 2: The Homefront in the American Civil War

Instructor: TBD

A good understanding of the Civil War era requires some knowledge of how the war impacted the home front, north and south.  This session will examine how war was waged on this critical front including the many and varied roles women and freedmen / former slaves played.  The raising and feeding of large citizen- armies, the treatment and care of  thousands of wounded and prisoners,  and the implementation of the draft on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, were all equally  important as the movement of the armies in the field.  

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 2

8/22/2015 - Session 3: The War Continues: The Thousand Mile Front to Confederate High Tide

Instructor: TBD

As the Civil War continued with the great Confederate offensive in the summer and fall of 1862 the fighting became bitter and bloodier.  Battles at  Second Manassas, Antietam, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were all added to the lit of vicious battles fought between men of north and south.  The commencement of the great campaigns of Vicksburg in the west and Gettysburg in the east in the spring and early summer of 1863 brought the war to a crises. The amateur soldiers and primitive organizations of 1861 had been forged into modern armies and those armies were poised to fight it out. This session deals with the crucial nine months of the war prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 3

8/29/2015 - Session 4: The Evolution of Tactics, Weapons and Organizations (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

"Jomini," "Hardee's Tactics," "Napoleon's Maxims;" all of these and many more were topics of discussion around campfires and tents of officers, both north and south, as the citizen-soldiers struggled to master the jargon and knowledge of the professional soldier.  The war as it continued saw the older Napoleonic-style tactics begin to give way to a more effective one based on the development of modern weapons and more effective cannon. How troops moved to how far a Napoleon cannon actually fired to the transition of cavalry's role in battle are all topics of interest in this session as we watch the war grow from a clash of amateur armies to the forging of large, well-trained and veteran war machines.  This session will include a field program to help illustrate common tactice of all three branches of service.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 4

9/05/2015 - Session 5: Battle of Gettysburg - the "Meeting Engagement: July 1" (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

This session will be a comprehensive overview of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg and its consequences. It will include the movements of the key units of both armies as well as major personalities involved.  The clasroom program in the morning will be followed by an associated field program which  will review the terrain over which the July 1st battles were fought.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 5

9/19/2015 - Session 6: Battle of Gettysburg - "Longstreet's Assault on the Union Left: July 2" (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

This session will be a comprehensive overview of the Confederate assault on the left flank of the Union army the afternoon of July 2nd. It will include the movements of the key units of both armies: elements of James Longstreet’s Confederate First Corps and Dan Sickles Union Third Corps as well as supporting units involved in the action. An associated field program in the afternoon will continue the discussion on the actual terrain over which the Battle was fought from Little Round Top through the center of the Cemetery Ridge line and points in between.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 6

9/26/2015 - Session 7: Battle of Gettysburg - "Culp’s and Cemetery Hills: July 2 & 3" (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

Often taking second place to events occurring on the southern part of the battlefield, the defense of Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill were equally important to the final outcome of the Battle. This session will be a comprehensive overview of the fighting on the Federal right flank. It will cover both the July 2nd attack on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill by elements of Richard Ewell’s Confederate Second Corps as well as the Union counterattack and heavy fighting on the morning of July 3rd on Culp’s Hill. Affiliated actions on Power’s and Wolf’s Hill will be considered. An associated field program will continue the session in the afternoon with a look at the actual terrain involved.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 7

10/3/2015 - Session 8: Battle of Gettysburg - "Afternoon Fighting of July 3" (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

The fighting on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg will be the focus of this combined classroom / field session. The great Confederate infantry assault on the afternoon of July 3rd that has come to be known as Pickett’s Charge will be examined and we will also look at the cavalry fighting both east and south of Gettysburg later that afternoon.  An associated field program on the infantry assault will continue the session on the actual terrain.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 8

10/10/2015 - Session 9: Human Interest Stories of the Battle of Gettysburg

Instructor: TBD

A battle is fought by human beings. The area where a battle is fought often contains innocent human beings unfortunate enough to be trapped by the struggle of the armies. Thus stories of the unique experience of these soldiers and  civilians put flesh on the bones of dry battle facts, figures and statistics. This session looks at the facts behind some of the cherished and the little-known human interest stories related to the campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg. Oft told myths and stories will be discusses. Some will be debunked. Others verified.  

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 9

10/17/2015 - Session 10: The Retreat from Gettysburg through the Overland Campaign

Instructor: TBD.

This session looks at the movements of both armies in the weeks immediately following the battle of Gettysburg and the withdrawal of Lee's army to Virginia. The impact of the battle on the armies will be examined as well as the surrender of the crucial river port city of Vicksburg at the same time.  The move towards the great western battle of Chickamauga in September, Chattanooga an the rise of Ulysses Grant to overall Union command will be looked at.  Finally the commencement of the  Union grand strategy in tMay of 1864  under the direct control of General-of-the-Army Grant  will result in great simultaneous campaigns in both Virginia and Georgia.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 10

10/24/2015 - Session 11: The Aftermath of the Battle & the Soldiers' National Cemetery (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD

While the war continues, Gettysburg is left to cope with the aftermath of the bloodiest battle ever to occur in North America.  This session will examine the cleanup of the area immediately following the battle, including the treatment and transportation of the thousands of wounded men.  We will look at the problem of the dead and dying, their burial on the battlefield and the subsequent development and dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, including the 26-hours of President Lincoln’s visit in November.  We will also discuss the exhumation and reburial of the Southern battle dead after the war. An extensive tour of both the National and Evergreen Cemeteries will take place following the classroom session.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 11

10/31/2015 - Session 12: Town of Gettysburg: Before, During and After the Battle. (FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor: TBD.

The Battle of Gettysburg takes its name from the county seat of Adams County and any study of the Civil War and the Gettysburg campaign of necessity must include the actual town that gave its name to the great battle. This session will look at  the growth of Gettysburg from a small crossroads community to county seat and major American Battlefield to today’s home town of a national treasure.  It will look at the personalities involved as well as the historic structures that remain for the town’s earliest days.  A portion of the program will be devoted to how the citizens of the town coped during the time the armies surrounded them. A  field program consisting of a tour of the town is planned to help the student become familiar with key landmarks of the community

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 12

11/7/2015 - Session 13: The End of the Civil War and the "Reconstruction" of the Union

Instructor: TBD

Grant's campaign at Petersburg to cut the vital supply lines supporting  Richond and to starve out Lee's veterans coupled with Sherman's capture of Atlanta and the March to the Sea culminated with the final campaigns of the war and the surrender of the Confederate armies in the spring of 1865. But the war's end does not end the story. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln only complicates the difficult issue of reconstructibg both the political and social systems of the defeated south. This session looks at the final days of the war and the many years of struggle ahead up to our present time. The consequences of our nation's bloodiest was continue to haunt us today.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 13

11/14/2015 - Session 14: The Development of the Gettysburg National Military Park

Instructor: TBD

What we know today as the Gettysburg National Military Park did not simply spring into existence.  It is the product of a century and a half of development. Its transformation continues to this day. This session will examine the development of the Gettysburg Battlefield from 1863 through the present with a look at the many individuals and groups responsible for preserving, developing and marking the Park. Emphasis will be placed on the how the monumentation of the Battlefield came about with information on the building and significance of many of the key memorial structures on the field today.

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 14

11/21/2015 - Session 15: The History and Realities of Battlefield Guiding - Extended Academy Wrapup Session

Instructor:  TBD

This session will explain how guiding at Gettysburg evolved in the years after the great battle through the implementation of licensed guiding in the early part of the 20th Century.  It will look at the guiding tradition as it evolved under the auspices of the War Department and then the National Park Service both here and at other National Parks in the system.  A panel of LBG's  will then convene to  field a wide variety of questions on any of the topics presented in the Academy as will as  discuss any topic of interest to the participants. 

CLICK TO REGISTER SESSION 14

CLICK TO REGISTER FOR ENTIRE ALBG ACADEMY

All indoor classroom sessions will be held on Saturday morning at the Gettysburg Heritage Center (former Wax Museum) on Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  They will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Sessions that have field programs associated with them will then break for lunch and reconvene in the afternoon for the field program.  These field programs will last for two hours from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. 

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