The Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides 2009 Gettysburg Seminar:
Brigades at Gettysburg: Profiles of the Famous and the Forgotten
September 11-13, 2009
The oldest professional guide service in America proudly announces its annual autumn seminar. This year we will be presenting the stories of several hard fighting but often-neglected Gettysburg brigades. The weekend includes special in-depth walking tours with experienced battlefield guides, Friday night reception, two breakfasts and two lunches, Saturday night banquet, maps and materials, and more.
Friday, Sept. 11th:
Reception at Gettysburg’s historic G.A.R. Hall.
The Pennsylvania Reserves: Into the Valley of Death (Power Point presentation by Guillermo Bosch)
It can be fairly argued that the greatest threat to Little Round Top came after the 20th Maine’s famous bayonet charge. In a much less famous attack that evening, McCandless’ brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves, with Gettysburg natives included in its ranks, helped stem the tide of McLaws’ seemingly invincible division as it rolled inexorably toward a breakthrough. In a moment that was perhaps as perilous as any faced by Meade’s army that day, the Pennsylvania Reserves performed a valuable service for their country, for which they have received little, if any credit to this day. Guillermo Bosch will discuss the actions of the Reserves on the fateful evening, as well as the unusual and impressive history of an organization that two years before, no one in the Union Army seemed to want.
Saturday, Sept. 12th:
The Bogus Bucktails: Stone’s Brigade on July 1st. (Rich Kohr)
Colonel Roy Stone’s three Pennsylvania regiments entered combat for the first time on July 1st, 1863. After conducting an epic defense of McPherson’s and Seminary ridges that afternoon, the brigade had lost over 800 of its 1,300 soldiers, the third-highest percentage of any Federal brigade at the battle. Stone’s troops had also gained an enviable reputation as fighting men that would sustain them through the rest of the war. No one knows the history of the Bucktail Brigade better than Rich Kohr. Rich will discuss that history, beginning with the recruitment of the regiments and their experiences prior to Gettysburg, and culminating in a detailed exploration of their role at the battle.
“We stood there to be shot at, and that was about all we did”: Brockenbrough’s Brigade at Gettysburg. (George Newton)
When the performance of Confederate units at Gettysburg is evaluated, Col. John Brockenbrough’s Virginians consistently rank dead last. How did this brigade, which had fought splendidly in many previous engagements, turn in such dismal performances during the summer of 1863? George Newton will scrutinize the actions of this unit on July 1st and 3rd and attempt to answer that most persistent and perplexing of questions: What went wrong with Brockenbrough’s brigade?
Lunch on the battlefield.
“Many fell along this line”: Semmes’ Brigade at the Rose Farm. (Dave Richards).
On the evening of July 2nd, Gen. Paul Semmes led his 1,300 Georgia veterans into battle on George Rose’s farm; in under two hours, he and over 400 of his men were casualties. The photographs taken of the dead of the brigade remain to this day some of the most memorable of the entire war. Yet for all that, mystery still shrouds the actions of Semmes’ Brigade on that bloodiest of Gettysburg days. Dave Richards is an expert on this part of the battlefield and his walk will cast long-overdue light on this excellent – but much neglected – command.
Saturday night banquet followed by Q & A with the guides.
Sunday, Sept. 13th:
“The heaviest skirmishing I ever witnessed”: Orland Smith’s Brigade and the Defense of Cemetery Hill. (Stuart Dempsey)
Few brigades actively engaged at Gettysburg have attracted less attention from historians than the one commanded by Col. Orland Smith. Smith’s regiments constituted the only significant formation of organized infantry on the field when the Federal defense north and west of town collapsed on July 1st, and they maintained their positions in the shadow of Cemetery Hill until the end of the battle. During that time they were involved in some of the bitterest skirmishing of the war, sustaining heavy losses in the process. Stuart Dempsey will conduct this tour, highlighting the key role – and neglected story – of Smith’s brigade in the defense of Cemetery Hill, including visits to parts of the battlefield long since altered by development.
In the eye of the storm: The Philadelphia Brigade at Gettysburg & Beyond. (Charlie Fennell).
The Philadelphia Brigade was one of the most unique of the Civil War. Originally organized in New York, recruited in Philadelphia, representing California, it was the brainchild of a Senator from Oregon. Mustered into service as the “California Brigade,” its first experience in combat came at the Ball’s Bluff debacle. Reclaimed by Pennsylvania, the brigade was the only one in the Army of the Potomac to carry the name of a city. At Gettysburg, the Philadelphians were destined to hold the now famous Angle in the eye of the storm known to history as Pickett’s Charge. While its most significant contribution to the Union victory was its desperate defense of Cemetery Ridge, other elements of the brigade fought in forgotten actions on other parts of the field. Long after the guns fell silent, some of its veterans clashed again, in what would become Gettysburg’s most significant monument controversy. Charlie Fennell will introduce the Philadelphia Brigade and chronicle its battles during and after the war.
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Price for the weekend: $310.
Discount for early registration (before June 1): $280.
For additional information or to register online, visit:
ALBG Seminar, P. O. Box 4152, Gettysburg PA 17325
Mail-in Registration Form:
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Checks should be payable to “ALBG Seminar.”
For credit card payment, register on our website.