Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation are pleased to co-sponsor the returning Sacred Trust Talks & Book Signings event at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center on July 1, 2 and 3, 2022. Talks will be presented from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. with evening talks from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. Sacred Trust 2022 features five talks each day in an event tent on the front lawn and one talk each evening in the theater inside the Museum & Visitor Center. All the talks are free, and the evening talks are ticketed for theater seating. Authors will be signing books in the main lobby inside the Museum & Visitor Center with books available for purchase during the event.
The Sacred Trust 2022 event commemorates the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg featuring renowned authors, historians and National Park Service Rangers presenting talks on the American Civil War and its cultural impacts, leadership lessons, true stories and myths, and elements of those historical events still relevant today. The event complements other activities at the Museum & Visitor Center, including Gettysburg National Military Park’s special battle anniversary programs. Sacred Trust 2022 talks will include presentations by the following scheduled speakers.
Friday, July 1, 2022
- 9:30 a.m. – “Behind the Scenes - The Making of Gettysburg’s Lost Love Story” by Licensed Battlefield Guide, Historian, Author and Leadership Consultant Jeffrey J. Harding: Harding details key findings from his book Gettysburg’s Lost Love Story - The Ill-Fated Romance of General John Reynolds and Kate Hewitt. Harding recounts what first drew him to the mystery surrounding Kate Hewitt’s true fate and highlights the ensuing journey that led him and his research associate, Mary Stanford Pitkin, down the path of discovery. In this special “behind the scenes” presentation, which was prepared expressly for the Sacred Trust event, Harding shares research insights and select images pertaining to this remarkable story of heroism, tragedy, sacrifice and perseverance.
- 11 a.m. – "Civil War Soldiers and the Psychological Trauma of War" by Binghamton University Professor of History Dr. Diane Miller Sommerville: The physical damage suffered by Civil War soldiers has been well documented. Less understood has been the emotional and psychological impact of the war on its participants. Sommerville will address the challenges historians face when attempting to explore cases of war trauma, a phenomenon that was not yet known or recognized in the 19th century. Despite this, abundant records from the era – asylum patient histories, newspaper accounts, service records and coroners’ reports – make abundantly clear that psychic injuries afflicted many Civil War soldiers, hindering readjustment to civilian and family life.
- 1 p.m. – “Weapons of the Weak: The Underground Railroad and How the Most Powerless People in the United States Caused the Civil War” by Gettysburg College Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies Dr. Scott Hancock: Many Americans likely associate the Underground Railroad with exciting stories of Black women and men who, with the help of Black and White Allies, escaped from the clutches of slavery. We are less familiar, however, with how important those stories were to White Americans in the North and South in the years leading up to the Civil War. Hancock lays out how the stories of the Underground Railroad were indeed quite dramatic—even more so because they reveal how and why the nation fought such a devasting war and continues to struggle to tell a more complete story of that war.
- 2:30 p.m. – “Civil War Photo Sleuthing: Past, Present and Future” by Virginia Tech Associate Professor of Computer Science and (by courtesy) History Dr. Kurt Luther: People have struggled to identify unknown soldiers and sailors in Civil War photos since even before the war ended. Luther traces the 160-year history of Civil War photo sleuthing, showing how the passage of time has magnified some challenges, and also unlocks exciting new possibilities. Luther will show technologies like social media, facial recognition and digital archives allow us to solve photo mysteries that have eluded families and researchers for a century and a half.
- 4 p.m. – “All That Mortals Could Do: The 107th Ohio at Gettysburg” by Sam Houston State University Associate Professor of Civil War History and History Department Chair Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan: The 107th Ohio was one of six ethnically German regiments mustered from the Buckeye State. Hailing from a politically divided region, the men weathered two devastating battles, the scourge of nativism, inconsistent support from home, and the ordeal of life in camp and on picket. The regiment's costly deployment at Gettysburg helps us to interrogate the physical, psychological and emotional demands of Civil War soldiering – as well as key themes like courage, cowardice and the will to endure.
“Moving and Fighting the Army of the Potomac During the Gettysburg Campaign” by Lexington, Kentucky Award-winning Writer and Attorney Kent Masterson Brown: Brown discusses what it took to feed, shoe, clothe, equip and arm 91,000 officers and men and what it took to feed, harness and shoe 60,000 horses and mules, not to mention what it took to supply the army with the necessary ammunition for all the branches of service (infantry, cavalry and artillery) and to be prepared to care for, and to care for, thousands of sick and wounded as well as thousands of prisoners of war. Brown covers what General Meade did to address matters, and what happened to make those efforts, in large measure, unsuccessful.
Saturday, July 2, 2022
- 9:30 a.m. – “General, They Are Coming” by Civil War Historian and Author Jeffry D. Wert: The Union assault of the Confederate Mule Shoe in May 1864 at Spotsylvania resulted in more than a 20-hour struggle. To the combatants, nothing compared to its duration and the proximity of their opponents. Wert will chronicle the fighting, which is based on his new book The Heart of Hell.
- 11 a.m. – “After the Peach Orchard” by Licensed Battlefield Guide and Author James Hessler and Licensed Battlefield Guide, Author and Gettysburg Foundation Leadership Program Manager Britt Isenberg: The historiography of the battle’s second day is dominated by the Union Army’s defense of Little Round Top, but the day’s most controversial actions occurred around Joseph Sherfy’s Peach Orchard along the Emmitsburg Road. Co-authors of the book Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard, Hessler and Isenberg discuss the aftermath of the fight. What happened after the last shots were fired? What did the Sherfy family experience when they returned to their devastated farm? How did competing veterans’ interests influence our memory of the battle for the Union left? Finally, how has battlefield preservation reclaimed this hallowed ground?
- 1 p.m. – “Hood’s Texans at Gettysburg and Beyond” by University of Southern Mississippi Professor of History, Center for Digital Humanities Director and USM Dale Center for the Study of War & Society Senior Research Fellow Dr. Susannah J. Ural: Ural will open with an exploration of the leadership and initiative that the men of Hood’s Texas Brigade demonstrated during the Gettysburg Campaign. Ural will expand into a larger discussion of the brigade throughout the war to understand what made them one of the Confederacy’s most effective units.
- 2:30 p.m. – “Gettysburg’s Leadership Lessons – Then and Now” by Licensed Battlefield Guide, Author and U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) Tom Vossler: Using his 2020 book Battle Tested! Gettysburg Leadership Lessons for 21st Century Leaders as a guide, Vossler discusses those enduring leadership principles and lessons exhibited by select Gettysburg battle commanders that still have relevance today.
- 4 p.m. – “Devil’s Den: The Best Stories of Gettysburg’s Strangest Place” by Licensed Battlefield Guide, Author, American Battlefield Trust Chief Historian and Center for Civil War Photography Vice President Garry E. Adelman: Known for mythical tales of sharpshooters and ghosts, Devil’s Den was in fact a fierce battleground for which more than 5,000 men fought. But by 1895, Devil’s Den had evolved into a popular tourist attraction where visitors danced, drank and had their photos taken. Preservation eventually won the day, but not before a lifetime’s worth of stories were told by those involved. Adelman covers the horrific fighting, the historic photos and the impressive geology.
“An End or Beginning: Lee’s Army after Appomattox” by University of Virginia John L. Nau III Professor of the American Civil War and John L. Nau Center for Civil War History Director Dr. Carrie E. Janney: Appomattox has long served to mark the end of the American Civil War. Yet closely examining the spring and summer of 1865 reveals a far more contentious, uncertain, ambiguous and lengthy ending to the American Civil War than previously understood. It underscores the complexity of decisions made by the US army, civilian authorities and soldiers from Lee’s army, as well as the unintended consequences of those decisions.
Sunday, July 3, 2022
- 9:30 a.m. – “Hugh Reid Miller” by National Park Service Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park Matt Atkinson: Politician, lawyer, judge and member of Mississippi’s Ordinance of Secession Drafting Committee, Hugh Reid Miller served as Colonel of the 42nd Mississippi at Gettysburg. Mortally wounded during Pickett’s Charge, his death began an odyssey to bring his mortal remains back home…during wartime.
- 11 a.m. – “Twilight of the Blue & the Gray: The Last Reunion of Civil War Veterans at Gettysburg” by National Park Service Ranger and Chief of Interpretation and Education at Gettysburg National Military Park Christopher Gwinn: Seventy-five years after the Battle of Gettysburg, 1,845 Civil War veterans, Union and Confederate, white and black, gathered together on Gettysburg's hallowed fields one last time before passing on into history. Discover the stories of the veterans who attended and the history behind one of the most mythologized events in Gettysburg’s storied past with Gwinn’s presentation.
- 1 p.m. – "The Hard Core: The U.S. Regular Army at Gettysburg" by Gettysburg Foundation Board Member and Retired Military and Civil War History Professor Dr. Carol Reardon: The professional soldiers of the U.S. Army contributed to the Union victory at Gettysburg in a variety of ways. In combat, in command and in a myriad of key support roles, Regulars set high standards for the volunteers to emulate and paid for their valor in blood.
- 2:30 p.m. – “Victory Summer 1863: Camp Nelson and the Gettysburg Campaign” by National Park Service Ranger and Chief of Interpretation at Camp Nelson National Monument Steve T. Phan: By July 1863, U.S. military forces were on the ascension following the dramatic victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Tullahoma. In the Western Theatre, the Armies of the Cumberland and Ohio were tasked with delivering the final deathblow to the Confederacy with offensives into East Tennessee and Georgia. Camp Nelson, a massive U.S. Army supply depot in Central Kentucky, fueled the armies, who aimed to end the war by year's end.
- 4 p.m. – “From Gettysburg to the Titanic: One Gettysburg Veteran and His Story from the Battlefield to the Atlantic Ocean” by Licensed Battlefield Guide, Historian, Author and Gettysburg Foundation President and CEO Wayne E. Motts: Motts presents in public for the first-time the complete and true story of a Union soldier at Gettysburg who fought in the battle and later died as a passenger on the ill-fated ocean liner the Titanic.
“Robert E. Lee and the Pursuit of Perfection” by Princeton University Council of the Humanities Senior Research Scholar Dr. Allen C. Guelzo: Robert E. Lee was often characterized as remote and not given to self-revelation. But that was part of a lifetime pattern, cast by the long shadow of his father, Light-Horse Harry Lee, in which Lee was driven to pursue perfection, independence and security. Only at the end of his life, as president of Washington College, did he bring these pursuits into harmony.
Free public tickets are required for the evening talks. Tickets are offered singly for each evening talk online on a first come, first serve basis with a limit of four tickets per transaction. Tickets have sold out and are no longer available.
- July 1 Tickets: SOLD OUT
- July 2 Tickets: SOLD OUT
- July 3 Tickets: SOLD OUT
Individuals are encouraged to transact early to obtain tickets. Tickets are limited to four tickets per transaction. To obtain free tickets for the evening talks, visit GettysburgFoundation.org on the select dates as outlined. A complete schedule of talks and book signings are available at GettysburgFoundation.org/Sacred-Trust.
Get tickets for July 1, 7 p.m. Talk SOLD OUT
Get tickets for July 2, 7 p.m. Talk SOLD OUT
Get tickets for July 3, 7 p.m. Talk SOLD OUT