Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Gettysburg National Military Park  CSPAN  September 8, 2019 10:55am-12:01pm EDT

10:55 am
of the gettysburg radel field. she is the author of on a great battlefield, the making, management and memory of gettysburg national military park. this hour-long talk was part of the annual summer conference hosted by the gettysburg college civil war institute. good morning, everyone. happy father's day. we are going to open this morning with a longtime contributor. currently an assistant -- a teaching assistant professor in the department of history at oklahoma state's university. a specialist in military history in general. she has a full publication resume for the most important aboutnd the most recent
10:56 am
the making management and memory of gettysburg national park. published in 2013 by the university of tennessee press. biographyworking on a that will hopefully be published by the university of north carolina. she is a veteran faculty member here, many of you have been on her chores which are outstanding. it is our pleasure to welcome jen to speak about her book on the creation of the gettysburg national park. thank you.
10:57 am
thank you for that kind introduction. can you hear me ok? myyour more excited than 8:00 a.m. western civilization class. happy father's day. i hope my dad is watching this in maryland. i'm super excited to talk to you about my book, the history of the gettysburg national military park. traditionally when i do this talk it is more of a roundtable. i asked people how many have been to gettysburg and people raise their hands. how many have been to gettysburg? fielde veterans of this and this conference which is terrific. time withspend some you this morning talking to you about the history of the
10:58 am
gettysburg battlefield. i like to preface this talk with a comment about how i got interested in this topic. to see howsign people come to the topics or book projects they are working on. doing an internship here at gettysburg national military park. i spent 12 weeks on the battlefield giving tors to thousands of people from around the country and around the world. i was interested in history at that time but i did not know i wanted to be a civil war historian. internship turned into eight more summers of working for the national park service at gettysburg and defined my professional career. or highrgraduates school students in the audience listening to this, do an
10:59 am
internship. there is no experience like it. auburn and ifrom was talking to my dissertation of what ibout a topic wanted to write on. after you complete all your coursework your dissertation is this culminating project of something original. was sitting in his office one day and i said i had an idea for the dissertation. i was sitting in his office is that i have an idea for my discipline dissertation. i'm going to do something on gettysburg. that has never been done before. i want to talk about the battlefield and the history of the landscape. you guys are gettysburg experts. think of all of the books you own on gettysburg -- just books. not articles, not magazines. just monographs. how many books do you think have
11:00 am
been written on this three-day battle? >> not enough. [laughter] prof. murray: hey, that keeps me in business. it keeps all my cwi colleagues in business. thank you for buying our books. just monographs, just monographs, there are at least 6000 books written on 72 hours of american history. 6000. you can think of them -- campaign studies, books on the first day, books on the third day, books on geography, books on horses, books on flowers -- you get the idea, right? books on geography. so i wrote book 6001. and my book is an exploration of the history of the battlefield. the national park service owns 70 sites, manages 70 sites that are civil war-related. and they are as diverse as the battlefields from gettysburg to antietam to vicksburg to sites like clara barton,
11:01 am
frederick douglass, and none of these sites are as special or poignant as gettysburg. and we can agree on this. dr. gallagher and pete talked about this two nights ago. how this place resonates so deeply in america, the mystic chords of memory. national park service here at gettysburg records a million visitors each year. it is the most popular civil war site in the entire nation. for many people, this three-day battle and this landscape defines the american civil war. so, what i was interested in was not the battle, but how the battlefield has been preserved over time or how it has been managed. the questions that i asked in my dissertation and ultimately my book were, if you could visit gettysburg in the 19, what would that
11:02 am
battlefield look like? if you could visit in the 1940's, during the second world war, what kind of interpretive experience would you get? how did the national park service commemorate gettysburg in the 1960's? what did tourism look like in the 1950's? how has preservation philosophy changed over time? how has the nexus of fact and interpretation and fiction and myth, how have they blended together? what does that look like? what i want to do with you all today is take you on the greatest hits of my book. that is what my students like. they like the greatest hits. we will start with july 1863 and we are going to move through 150 years of history and look at how this battlefield has changed. it is not static. the landscape is not static. our memories of the battlefield and the battle are not static. this landscape evolves over time, significantly. if you look at the photograph on
11:03 am
the top right, that is an aerial view of the area, the peach orchard, july the second. one of the most commercialized areas in the 1940's and 1950's. the image on the left should be familiar to many of you. perhaps you had the opportunity to go up in the old tower that was put up in the 1970's. how the battlefield has been commercialized and how it has changed over time. one of the questions i reconcile with, or try to reconcile, is what makes gettysburg different? this battlefield is different than antietam. it's different than chickamauga. it's different than perryville. it's different than shiloh. this battle, producing 51,000 casualties in three days, is the bloodiest conflict in american history. the man in the slide is a soldier here from the fifth massachusetts, who was wounded in the fight at gettysburg. his name is john chase. he was wounded by exploding shrapnel.
11:04 am
he got hit at least 48 times. he loses his arm and his eye in the process. 51,000 casualties. making the battle of gettysburg the bloodiest of the civil war. for many men, gettysburg becomes the defining point in the american civil war. this is the battle that defines their experiences. and you see that play out in the years after the civil war, during the commemorative era. unprecedented carnage. this should be a familiar photo. this is the farm showing the devastation, the impact on the civilians. over 10,000 horses and mules die here in this battlefield. the men, union and confederate soldiers, are buried where they fell. shallow, trench graves, something like this. and finally, when the fight is over, when the guns and the artillery fall quiet, northern
11:05 am
newspapers start to record, reflect on the battle of gettysburg, and the headline in "the philadelphia inquirer" just days after the fight at gettysburg says, "waterloo eclipsed!" we have seen this headline more than once before. it is important to think about the comparisons northerners are making in 1863. they are comparing the battle of gettysburg to waterloo. a fight in 1815 that completely changed the landscape of western europe. a fight that brought permanent consequences. this puts a lot of expectations on george gordon meade and the union army to completely destroy lee as they are pursuing him down to the potomac river, but the northern public just days after gettysburg think this is a battle unlike anything else they had ever seen. about 7000 men, union and confederate combined, are killed
11:06 am
during the three-day fight. about 3000 die later from their wounds. they are left on the battlefield, as i mentioned, in graves like this where they are laid to rest. the northern pennsylvania governor comes to gettysburg near the end of the month and he takes a carriage ride touring, if you will -- i hate to use that word, but that is what he does. he rides around the battlefield. and the governor of pennsylvania is so appalled that the union men who sacrificed their lives, gave the last full measure of devotion, are buried in such primitive ways. so the governor of pennsylvania initiates the idea for a permanent burial ground for the union dead. and you know the next step in this story. when the state of pennsylvania purchases ground on cemetery hill to set aside as a final resting place for those who gave
11:07 am
their lives that the nation might live. and months after the battle, in november, a very cold fall pennsylvania day, about 20,000 spectators come for the dedication of the soldiers national cemetery. abraham lincoln comes up from washington, d.c., to deliver, as you know, a few appropriate remarks and consecrate this battlefield in a way no other civil war sites have been consecrated. he attaches to it through the use of the gettysburg address, a meaning to this landscape different than any of the other civil war battlefields. local gettysburg residents immediately realize the fight in their farm fields is worth preserving. so, the history of the gettysburg battlefield follows
11:08 am
three very clear phases. three different preservation entities have held responsibility, stewardship for this battlefield. you guys know this. the first is the gettysburg battlefield memorial association which take hold in 1864 and manages the gettysburg battlefield until 1895. and in 1895, the u.s. war department steps in, gives federal backing to the gettysburg battlefield and manages it until 1933 when president franklin roosevelt signs an executive order to transfer stewardship from the war department to the national park service. what i am going to do this morning is walk you through a slide or two, walk you through the war department
11:09 am
in a few slides, but this is the focus of my book. looking at the gettysburg battlefield in the 20th century so you get a sense, a flavor, a taste of what this landscape looked like in the 20th century. what it looked like over the last 150 years. one of the local entrepreneurs or investors of the gettysburg battlefield is a man named david mcconaughey. probably a familiar name to a lot of you. mcconaughey is a local lawyer. in august of 1863, just a month, six weeks after the fight is talking about preserving the battlefield. there could be no more fitting and expressive memorial of the throughout brower and -- heroic valor and triumphs of our army than the battlefield itself. so mcconaughey gets together with some prominent locals in the town of gettysburg and they
11:10 am
establish the gettysburg memorial association. this is monumental. this is 1863, he is writing this. 1864, the gbma is established. this is the nation's first american civil war preservation association. think how revolutionary this is. the fighting out west, the civil 1864. war is still going on. hard, bloody fighting is yet to come, but people in gettysburg think this battlefield is worth preserving, so they organize and they preserve 522 acres. this is a historic photograph on the field of pickett's charge. we are standing on the union lines in this photograph, looking west toward seminary ridge. the gbma is going to purchase over 500 acres of land. mostly the land they preserve is lines on the union army.
11:11 am
cemetery ridge, where meade's army held. they don't do well in preserving land along seminary ridge. confederate battle lines. they get over 500 acres. the gbma will also oversee the erection of the first monuments and memorials on the battlefield. this is a cool historic photograph. you can recognize the monument, right? that is the soldiers national monument in the national cemetery. if you look in the background, you can see some of the early configurations of the soldiers national cemetery. the gbma oversees the early monument placement. they oversee the early road construction, about 20 miles of park road will be laid during their tenure, and they do a good job. 1864 to 1895. but they are hampered. they have constraints. the biggest constraint is fiscal. they don't have a lot of money
11:12 am
to preserve land. in the latter decade of the 19th century, the gbma appeals to the war department and the war department steps in and assumes control of gettysburg national military park. the timing here is opportune. if you think about what is going on in the united states in the latter part of the 19th century, the failures, problems of reconstruction, unfilled promises in reconstruction, social-political issues, discord, racial issues, the entrenchment of jim crow. the war department steps in and preserves five civil war battlefields. chickamauga and chattanooga in 1890. antietam in shiloh in 1894. 1890.
11:13 am
gettysburg becomes preserved on federal status on february 11, 1895, and i bet you know the individual who initiates or spearheads the legislation to make gettysburg a national military park. that's right. dan sickles, george meade's friend. right? dan sickles. and the last is going to be vicksburg. we all at the civil war institute talk about books you all should read. like i tell my students and they are like, ok, i am writing it down, dr. murray. read david blight's "race and reunion." it has a beautiful conversation, an important conversation, on how civil war battlefields or national memories are created. in "race and reunion," he talks about reconciliation. and battlefields like gettysburg are tangible manifestations of reconciliation. so, the war department preserves these battlefields first and foremost as a memorial to the
11:14 am
men who fought there. and the battlefields, gettysburg particularly, the iconic union victory becomes a place where union veterans and confederate veterans can meet. you have seen some of these historic photographs before. you know some of these stories. this is a photograph on east cemetery hill of union and confederate veterans. this is april 29, 1893. i have overlaid some of the names. you can recognize these. general longstreet standing very prominently in the center. to his right is e.p. alexander. the governor of pennsylvania, william mahon, the famous confederate general. they are coming to gettysburg to reconcile, to bind the nation's wounds as lincoln says in his second inaugural.
11:15 am
these battlefields are opportunities for union and confederate veterans, northern and southern whites, to push the divisive issues of the war behind them. so if you could drop yourself into one of these conversations, you would hear these men talking about the fight at little round top or the fight at east cemetery hill, the tactics and the strategies, the generals, the soldiers, the officers, camp life, the miseries of campaign, but you would not hear them talking about the divisive political and social issues. they are not talking about secession. they are not talking about reconstruction. they are not talking about jim crow. they are not talking about the failure of equality for african americans, newly freed men. that is important. you know that. but that becomes important through the 20th century. battlefields as tangible landscapes, the power of place, manifestations of reconciliation
11:16 am
permeates our national discourse through the 20th century. it permeates our national discourse through the 20th century. and in 1913, one of the grand reunions of the civil war occurs here in gettysburg. 50 years later, about tens of thousands of union, confederate thousands of union, confederate veterans will camp on the field of the battle, and they will talk and share stories and reminisce. the president of the united states, the one in the center, woodrow wilson, the first southern born president since the civil war, born in stanton, virginia, comes to gettysburg. they call this a peace jubilee. and all across the battlefield are echoes of stories of valor, bravery, of heroism, of courage.
11:17 am
of the union and confederate soldiers. one of which, i will give you an example. this is the governor of virginia. he is here 50 years later. william hodges man. and he gives a very typical reconciliationist address. "we are not here to talk about the origins of the war," he tells "we are here to talk about the battle." you have seen these images before. you can imagine what these union and confederate veterans would be saying to each other. this is probably the most iconic image of civil war memory. clasping hands across the area where they fought at pickett's charge 50 years ago is a reconciliation of the civil war. so, that war department era,
11:18 am
that david blight reconciliation, devoid of causes, devoid of consequences, permeates america's interpretation of the civil war. it permeates america's consciousness of what the battle of gettysburg was all about, what it was fought over. and that stands the test of time to today. you know this. it stands the test of time through the 20th century. so in the 1920's, let me show you a few other photographs. in the early part of the 20th century, through the 1910's and 1920's to 1933, i said the war department uses the battlefield first and foremost as a landscape to commemorate the men who fought there. but the war department also uses the battlefield in utilitarian ways. and one of the greatest examples of this is using the battlefield for military explorations. and this is a cool photograph.
11:19 am
this is west point class of 1902. at the high watermark. and you can see they laid their caps out in front of the high watermark, all the west point cadets here. if you look to the top left, the men wearing civilian clothes are some of the park commissioners. gettysburg in the war department era is preserved and managed by three park commissioners. two are union veterans and one is a confederate veteran. they are photographed here. later, you can look at photographs of west point cadets, and you can see dwight david eisenhower visiting. and omar bradley visiting gettysburg. the war department brings these young cadets here and they talk about leadership, they talk about lessons learned, what it means to be a good general, how to fight a successful campaign. that is part and parcel of the war department era.
11:20 am
and into the early part of the second decade of the 20th century, the war department is going to use gettysburg in a very utilitarian fashion. this is a photograph, and some of you are familiar with this, during the first world war, the great war, the u.s. war department establishes camp colt at gettysburg. camp colt is a tank training facility and it is established on the fields of pickett's charge. this is a photograph. look at the tank in the center. tank training on the fields of pickett's charge. if you ever wondered why dwight david eisenhower has such an affinity for gettysburg, eisenhower is the captain of camp colt. he is here from 1917 until the closure of the camp, training young tank officers before they go over to western europe.
11:21 am
imagine being the park commissioners, one of those guys in civilian clothes i showed you in the last image. the park commissioners are veterans. they fought at gettysburg. and they are looking across the landscape and they see world war i tanks roaming across the fields of pickett's charge. you can just imagine them pulling their hair out. and because army officers or tank commanders at camp colt need some luxurious accommodations in the fields of pickett's charge, right in front of the angle, right where armistead and the confederates crossed in 1863, do you know what the war department builds for these camp colt officers? >> a swimming pool. prof. murray: they build a swimming pool. imagine looking across the fields of pickett's charge in front of the stonewall, imagine
11:22 am
a massive concrete swimming pool. they are furious about this swimming pool. and when the war is over, they keep writing, are you guys going to fill this in? are you going to take care of this swimming pool? here is an example of how the war department views gettysburg as a utilitarian landscape. it is something to be used. arekamauga and chattanooga the same. they are used during the spanish-american war, but this is one of the more egregious examples of utilitarian use by the u.s. war department. camp colt. so, the big change in the war department and the national park service occurs in 1933. and one of the things that struck me when i was writing the dissertation and researching as a grad student, as a phd candidate, is how much contemporary events influenced the management of gettysburg. the history of gettysburg does not occur in a vacuum. this place is not managed or
11:23 am
preserved in a vacuum. social, political, economic events influenced this. and this is a great example. when the u.s. war department transfers ownership of gettysburg to the national park service, it's 1933. what is going on in 1933? the great depression. 25% of americans are unemployed. bread lines, severe economic -- unprecedented economic plight and now the national park service assumes control of 57 historic sites, including gettysburg. the national park service is not a new agency. just 1916 it has been established, so three years ago . the national park service commemorated its centennial. it has been in existence since 1916, but they have not managed historic sites. think about some of the early
11:24 am
park service sites. it is yosemite, yellowstone out west, recreational. now the park service comes in and manages historic sites including gettysburg. they get control of over 2000 acres at gettysburg at this time. and unlike today, the national park service did not have a uniform management philosophy. so much of how a park like gettysburg was managed depended on the local superintendent. the man on the left is the first national park service superintendent. his name is james mcconaughey. james mcconaughey is a harvard graduate. he has a degree in landscape architecture. so when mcconaughey comes to gettysburg, his management philosophy is to manage the park, preserve the battlefield as a beautiful landscape.
11:25 am
if you read through the gettysburg times newspapers in the 1930's, the park is encouraging visitors to come to gettysburg to look at flowers. come visit devils den and look at the beautiful spring foliage. come visit little round top and look at the beautiful fall foliage. mcconaughey thinks that the monuments are an impediment to these beautiful flowers. today in the 21st century, that makes us cringe, but that is standard park service procedure here. in 1933, the national park service takes over. it is the great depression and all those new deal agencies you had to memorize in high school -- you remember your teacher giving you the long list -- it's the tva, the ccc, the wpa. this is coming back, right? ironically, gettysburg in the great depression sees unparalleled, unprecedented boom, and it's the creation of the modern infrastructure of the park that we see today.
11:26 am
gettysburg is going to host two, two civilian conservation corps camps. remember, this is the program that roosevelt, it's his brain child to put young men to work, ultimately over two million young people will be ccc employees until the program is terminated in 1942. one of the ccc camps is down the confederate line where the amphitheater is at, stop six on the battlefield today. i still associate places with stops on the battlefield. this is mcmillan woods, one of the other camps. so gettysburg hosts two of these camps. other civil war parks do as well. other state parks host ccc camps. it's not uncommon. but what i found interesting, and what does make gettysburg's ccc camps in the 1930's unique is who is working there. and those of you up front, if
11:27 am
you take a good look at the picture and the individuals in it, what do you notice about the ccc workers? they are african-american. now, that in itself is not unique particularly. shiloh national military park hosts an african-american ccc camp in tennessee, in the 1930's. gettysburg is different. the enrollees are african-american, but roosevelt is going to sign off in making gettysburg a test case that not only are the enrollees african-american, but so is the supervisor. so instead of being under the control of a white supervisor, much like the usct organization, gettysburg is going to see a black superintendent. his name is frederick slade, and he arrives here in 1936. until 1942, hundreds of african-americans toil on the gettysburg battlefield, doing stuff like this. you all probably use this particular facility before, i
11:28 am
bet, right? i know i have. you recognize it? that is the comfort station bathroom by the pennsylvania memorial. they're building modern infrastructure. when you go out route 30, out by the first aid field, the bathroom there, that is built in the 1930's. that's what the ccc workers are doing. they're beautifying monuments, upkeeping monuments. they're protecting or building or upgrading roads. they're doing a lot of the modern infrastructure. here they are in the soldiers national cemetery painting the lafayette fence. remember the one that was first in washington, d.c., the lafayette fence? lafayette fence is moved to the hill, and then it's going to be placed in between the soldiers national cemetery and the evergreen cemetery. here they are upgrading it. so if you could drop yourself in the gettysburg battlefield in 1930's, you would
11:29 am
see a very active, engaged park, one that is becoming more modern, reflective of what we see and enjoy today. and then comes what ends the great depression. not the new deal, but the second world war. when i was reading through the 1940's, this period of the park, i was wondering how the world war ii generation would use or relate to gettysburg. december 7, 1941, the nation is torn from its isolation sentiment and the u.s. is going to be propelled into the bloodiest war that the world has ever seen. and president roosevelt is going to make use of civil war battlefields. when president roosevelt promises that the united states would be an arsenal of democracy, he needs scrap metal to produce the liberty ships. where does some of that scrap metal come from? it comes from civil war
11:30 am
battlefields. chickamauga, chattanooga, vicksburg, they all donate. gettysburg will donate 18 tons, 18 tons of civil war ornaments, monuments, placards, decorative material, canon balls, to the scrap drive by 1942, 18 tons. during the second world war, when you need scrap to build stuff like the liberty ship, again, the federal government looks to gettysburg and the civil war parks and begins to disassemble some of their commemorative landscapes. one of the most interesting documents i read -- you know, being in the archives some days is just incredibly laborious, but you find these gems of a document. one of the best documents i found in the 1940's during the second world war was this fear that the war would become so total that the gettysburg battlefield would have to completely, systematically
11:31 am
disassemble its commemorative landscape. meaning the national park service superintendent wrote an itinerary that prioritized all of the monuments on the gettysburg battlefield, if the war became that bad, we are going to melt them down. now, you can think in the 1930's, 1940's, some of the monuments that you would want to be preserved at gettysburg, which one would you pick and say if the war comes that bad, do not melt down these monuments? which ones would you want the park service to preserve at gettysburg in pennsylvania? >> virginia. [laughter] prof. murray: virginia is heard from today. mead. i'd want the mead monument preserved for sure. what about the pennsylvania monument? seems to make sense. what about the lincoln speech monument? those are the ones you would think would be preserved, and you can read this itinerary in the very last category of monuments not to be melted down, not to be melted down,
11:32 am
because they're so important. the park service listed three. one of them was virginia. first confederate monument that goes up in 1917. the second one was north carolina. a monument that's sculpted by the same individual that does mount rushmore, so it had artistic merit. and the third monument is the state of alabama. so the national park service's priority, if the war becomes so cataclysmic that they have to disassemble the monuments, the most monumental civil war battlefield, is to save the three confederate state monuments. they justify this because of the monuments artistic merit. we know the war doesn't become that bad, but think about disasempling the gettysburg commemorative structure, think about what the veterans would have said about that, how important those monuments were to them at the time they erected them. so visitation to gettysburg in the 1940's trickles. of course, roosevelt and the
11:33 am
u.s. government puts all sorts of constraints, gas rationing, it makes it really hard to travel. so the visitation is pretty low. if you could come to gettysburg in the early part of the 1920's, -- 1940's, mostly what you would see of people touring the park are officers. this is a cool photograph. they're standing at the meade memorial, and you can see to the back left the zeigler grove tower, the war department tower. that one is torn down in the 1960's to place the other building. but that's who would be visiting here, such as these men. the battlefield again becomes a training ground. here they are practicing for chemical warfare on the fields of pickett's charge in october of 1943. gettysburg is also going to host a german prisoner of war camp. i don't have a photo of that, because i've never seen one. if any of you have seen a photograph of the german p.o.w. camp, i would love to see it. gettysburg hosts hundreds of
11:34 am
german prisoners of war here. many of them go to work in the apple orchards. this area is lucrative, so lucrative for apple production, the german prisoners of war are going to do that kind of work. so utilitarian. but what are americans thinking about gettysburg, about the battle, in the 1940's? one of the things that became really evident to me, that really struck me, is how popular abraham lincoln is in the 1940's. lincoln sees ebbs and flows of popularity. he starts to become really popular again in the 1930's, and he becomes incredibly popular in popular discourse in the 1940's, during the second world war. and you will see lincoln and the gettysburg address being used, maligned, for all sorts of propaganda or patriotic purposes. here's the propaganda u.s. war department encouraging men to enlist with the line of the gettysburg address, "we shall
11:35 am
highly resolve that these men shall not have died in vain." gary wills writes a great book on lincoln and the gettysburg address. his speech is the shortest. it's 272 words, it's over in two minutes. but wills argues in his book on lincoln and the gettysburg address is that what makes lincoln's gettysburg address so phenomenal is that it's timeless. that subsequent generations of americans can read the gettysburg address and breathe whatever life they need to into it. so it's not surprising in the 1940's when millions of people are losing individual liberties around the world, and millions of people are falling to totalitarianism or nazism or fascism all around the globe. it's not surprising that americans look to the gettysburg address and they see it emblematic of government,
11:36 am
democracy, government of the people, by the people, shall not perish from the earth. so during the second world war, americans look at gettysburg for inspiration. they study this battle. they read the gettysburg address. and they think about the sacrifices made here in 1863, and they use them to propel or to motivate themselves in the second world war. so history and gettysburg becomes relevant, it becomes tangible. it pervades our popular consciousness. and by 1945, at a cost of, what, 60 million people around the world, the second world war is over. and hundreds, tens of thousands of american g.i.'s come home. and the baby boom generation with tourism picks up, and gettysburg becomes a place that
11:37 am
people start to visit in the thousands. after the second world war, into the 1950's, gettysburg becomes incredibly popular. this is the birth of modern commercialization. take a look at this photo. you'll recognize some of the places here. this is the first field. you can see the john fulton reynolds' monument. the buford monument on the left. this is route 30 looking towards town. you can see it littered with commercialization. americans are visiting sites that they find inspirational, patriotic. and when you visit sites, the national park service needs to create the infrastructure to support them or businesses need to create the infrastructure to support them. so gas stations will come on the battlefield. hotels, motels come on the battlefield. this is the peacelight inn. it goes up in the post-world war ii era. you can see the peace light in the middle.
11:38 am
after you're done talking about alfred iverson and the first day's fight, you can have a refreshing cocktail, some seafood, hopefully not seafood, beer, on the first ace field. now, we look at stuff like this today and just cringe, because we are all really staunch preservationists, but this is common. and during the 1950's, the united states sees a surge in the civil war popular interests, civil war round tables. many of you are members of civil war round tables. they see their genesis and their surge in the 1950's, reenacting becomes popular, the north-south skirmish association is formed in the late 1950's, and all eyes during the civil war centennial are going to turn to gettysburg. when i talk about the civil war centennial, do not forget this occurs simultaneous to the civil rights movement. so as americans are commemorating or celebrating the
11:39 am
civil war, it's also a period of unprecedented social, racial unrest in the united states, but particularly in the deep south. that's the freedom riders in anniston, alabama. so while many parks host centennial commemorations, none will be as monumental, as pinnacle, as gettysburg. so what's going on in gettysburg in the 1960's? the south sees a surge of interest in the gettysburg battlefield and will create, erect, and dedicate monuments. so all the controversy we have today about confederate monuments, the lee memorial in charlottesville or new orleans, any of this discourse about civil war monuments, it's imperative to understand the era in which they were erected. the gettysburg monuments, confederates, except for virginia, alabama, and north carolina, mostly go up in the 1960's and 1970's. this is a georgia monument. the individual on the right is the governor of georgia, and
11:40 am
this monument goes up in september of 1961. they are very much civil war centennial memorials. you would see pageantry like this. you would see the president of the united states coming to visit gettysburg. this is president kennedy and his wife to the right doing a tour of the battlefield with the colonel. here at little round top, vice president lyndon baynes johnson shows up, former president dwight david eisenhower shows up. this is the place to be for the civil war centennial. and for over two weeks, gettysburg hosts parades and pageantry all through the town. the national park service is prepared to meet the onslaught of visitors with a beautiful new museum. if you look to the right, the middle of the photo, find the circle object, that's the cyclarama building, which the national park service debuts in march of 1962.
11:41 am
and you can see all those little white specks are cars, thousands. we always gripe about parking. i can't get a good place to park by the visitor center. see, it's the same. [laughter] prof. murray: it's the same. gettysburg is going to see over two million people, two million people come to gettysburg during its centennial year. and the battlefield is used as an occasion to commemorate, to celebrate, reenactment, but it's also an occasion where governors and dignitaries can talk about the contemporary civil rights movement. so here, the governor of new jersey, who's laying a wreath at one of the new jersey monuments on cemetery ridge, uses this occasion, his oration, to talk about the unfulfilled promises of the american civil war. in 1963, he's telling, reminding listeners that the civil war was not fought to
11:42 am
preserve the union, white, or jim crow, but it was fought for liberty and justice for all, flying in the face of something like woolworth woolworth's counter north carolina. so they're tying the civil rights movement, lincoln's new birth of freedom, to the civil war centennial. that's a northerner. the most prominent southerner to come to the gettysburg battlefield to lay a wreath and deliver oration is george wallace. george wallace comes to gettysburg in early july, and he will lay a wreath at the alabama memorial, and he also gives a short speech at the south carolina memorial. think about the timing. george wallace, governor of alabama, just two months ago at this time had delivered a speech flying in the face of racial integration. remember that save alabama has
11:43 am
-- remember that the state of alabama has two land institutions, big schools. i'm a graduate of the better one. [laughter] prof. murray: he's delivering a speech at the other -- i can see c-span, like the tuscaloosa ratings are just going down right now. they just bottomed out. he's delivering a speech about segregation, and now here he is at gettysburg delivering a speech about constitutionalism. he talks about states' rights, very typical of what you would expect of george wallace. but if you could visit the battlefield and take a tour, you would have an interpretive experience that really was no different than those union and confederate veterans shaking hands in 1913. the park service talks about the battle, the tactics, the men who fought, the soldiers, they're not talking about divisive issues, because that's an narrative that makes americans comfortable. it's sanitized, but it is comfortable. then, then it explodes.
11:44 am
so i want to go through the last bit of time that i have and talk to you quickly about the latter years of the 20th century, into the 21st century. in the late 1990's, the national park service gets a new superintendent, probably a familiar face to many of you, dr. john latschar. he has an idea that the national park service at gettysburg should start talking about those divisive issues. instead of avoiding them, this is an opportunity to have important conversations about what those men were fighting for in 1863. latschar has a ph.d. in history. he's also an army veteran. he is going to be aided with congress in 2000, mandating that federally managed civil war sites include a discussion of slavery. so whether you're at fort sumter or gettysburg or frederick douglass' house, the national park service now has an obligation to have some conversation about causes of the civil war, including slavery, in its exhibits.
11:45 am
and for a narrative, since 1863, that avoided that deliberately, you can imagine how cataclysmic this change in interpretation is. and that comes to fruition with the opening of the new visitor'' center. you've all been in there. you know what i am talking about. this building opens in 2008, and you can go into the new visitors' center now, go through the museum, and you can get a discussion of slavery, you can get a discussion of reconstruction. you'll get a full picture of the war's political, cultural, economic issues, and the battle, of course. but this is so different than what we've seen the veterans establish themselves. so when it comes out for public conversation, tens of thousands of americans recoil that places like gettysburg is going to be talking about slavery. one of the most famous opponents to that is jerry russell, a prominent member of an arkansas political group who says that if
11:46 am
you talk about slavery at civil war sites, his words, "it would be a cosmic threat." a cosmic threat. the national park service opens this plan to talk about slavery for public consumption, and over 4000 people in about a month and a half, two months, write in to national park service, public record, telling the national park service their thoughts on how slavery should be included in this conversation. they're all public record. that is some of the funnest stuff i got to go through. it's so revealing to see how americans view gettysburg. so the national park service has two plans in the latter part of the administration, the slavery inclusion in the new museum, it -- which is so controversial it allows the landscape rehabilitation almost to fly under the radar. this is a neat photograph. this is the construction of that tower. you can see how close it was to the soldiers national cemetery. this goes up in the middle part
11:47 am
of the 1970's. bruce calls it an abomination. people complain when it goes up. it's an intrusion, it's too close to the national cemetery. they complain when it goes down. [laughter] prof. murray: that's the recurring gettysburg theme, right? what's lincoln say, you can't please some of the people all the time. it goes down july 3, 2000, and it allows the national park service to kick off this period of rehabilitating the battlefield. you all have experienced this. so now, you can see what the battlefield closely looked like in 1863, but golly, was this controversial. the individual on the top says that gettysburg is not an arboretum, it is not a bird sanctuary, so restore it to how it looked in 1863. another person on the bottom says visitors don't care if gettysburg looked like it did in 1863 or not. but the national park service pushes through a plan to rehabilitate the battlefield to its close approximation of how the union and confederate
11:48 am
soldiers saw it in 1863, july. and you've seen some of this. you can stand here at the new york artillery battery. these are smith guns and doubles. you can look across the field to where the confederates attacked, and you would say, how can they fire through the thick wood lot? then the national park service clear cuts it, and it's amazing. now you can see clear lines of fire. i worked for the national park service during this time, and it was amazing. i could so much better interpret the battlefield when i could explain to visitors the landscape you're seeing is pretty accurate to what the soldiers saw in 1863. clear-cut the area down by devil's den. there's one of the 1930's restrooms, so they clear cut it, and that thing sticks out like a sore thumb, so awful. but what do they do with it then? tear it down. so the battlefield over the last 20 years has seen some dramatic changes, arguably the most dramatic changes in its entire history.
11:49 am
this museum, which the park service acquired in the 1970's, the old rosensteel museum, became the park service visitors center, across from the national cemetery, was torn down. it closes in april of 2008, and then is torn down a year later. we all can sort of finally -- fondly remember the electric map. i know, right? i miss the electric map and the exhibits. the cyclorama building is torn down after the centennial, sesquicentennial after the 150th, allowing us to see the area of zeigler's grove unimpeded, except for pickets buffet, right? [laughter] prof. murray: are you ready for it, the old park service joke, just charge it? [groaning] prof. murray: i know, it never goes well, does it? it didn't go well for pickett either. let me leave you with the words of someone whom we've talked about before, joshua lawrence chamberlain.
11:50 am
"gettysburg is a place unlike any other. this battlefield, this landscape, 6000 acres, is acreage like nothing else. it's a place that's so powerful. so powerful." and in joshua lawrence chamberlain's estimation, this is a photograph. he said in great deeds, something abides. on great fields, something stays. i think we all echo that sentiment, even in 2019. thank you all very much. i appreciate it. [applause] prof. murray: we've got some time for some questions. come up to the mic. >> yeah, i can't think of the man's exact name, but eisenhower's secretary of the interior decided that everyone
11:51 am
who came to gettysburg needed to find a mini ball. and so at night, state and local -- low security prisoners went out to the battlefield and they seeded the battlefield. with that being said, and portending -- pretending the policy that you can't take anything out does not exist, is there any way, if you see a mini ball on the battlefield, that you could tell if it's 1863 or 1953? prof. murray: i will answer that briefly. you're right. the policy about taking stuff out of the battlefield is not permitted. the law enforcement folks, who i am good friends with some of them, get people who apparently take things from the battlefield, and then mail them back to them with like this apology. they feel guilty. so don't take anything off the battlefield, jesse, even if
11:52 am
eisenhower said it was ok. [laughter] >> first of all, thanks for the presentation. you really showed us how after the triumph over adversity, they got the fruits of victory, and they didn't stop to do other things. for instance, there was a national hockey league back then, they wouldn't waste time talking about the stanley cup playoffs. they'd be working with victory. with camp colt, all we hear about is eisenhower. have you found any other famous officers who went through camp colt? for instance, patton was a tanker. did he go through camp colt, or any other famous names? prof. murray: that's a great question, al, and i hope brooke simpson is working on the graham biography as we speak. so the question to your answer is no. the short answer is no. eisenhower seems to get all the acclaim. i haven't seen anyone else prominently figured here at gettysburg, but there's a new
11:53 am
book on gettysburg world war i, mark snell wrote it, and it's terrific. it talks about the impact of world war i on the battlefield to the civilians with influence -- influenza and how the landscape changed, all the problems associated with that. i suspect, if you want to know a little bit more, look into mark snell's book. he would be well suited to answer that. thank you for that question. >> in john browne's body, steve vincent bene took a jab at commercialism at gettysburg by saying you take this tour, go past the strange monumental men, and then it's buy to buy a paper weight and hope you don't break it on your way home. just how early did commercialism really become a problem that people paid attention to at gettysburg? prof. murray: commercialism starts in july of 1863. [laughter] prof. murray: we know this. even as the armies are retreating from the field, local residents are coming and they're starting to collect objects. that's how the rosensteel museum, now the national park
11:54 am
service museum, is established. it is collected of materials right after the battle of gettysburg. even in the 1880's, latter part of the 19th century, it prominently figures as a tourist site. the springs hotel, union and confederate veterans are coming, doing very much touristy things. there are dance halls, all sorts of trolley lines that crisscross through the battlefield, making it accessible, making it a tourist destination. we lament that in the 20th century. the home sweet home hotel that used to sit on the field of pickett's charge, we lament that, but that has always been a story of gettysburg. that has always been a part of the history. thank you for your question. >> yes, it's always a continuum, and as you say, there's some things you realize later that shouldn't have been done and have been rectified. so what things do you think are happening right now that you think in the future we're going to say, why did we do it that way and should be changed? prof. murray: that's a great question. i think now the preservation
11:55 am
philosophies are reversible. that's sort of what guides the park service, not to do anything that would be permanent. so the changes or the modifications they're making now, if in time, 50 to 100 years, it's seen as being antiquated, that can be changed. i think the philosophy of managing the landscape to how it looked at the time of the battle is remarkable. that is remarkable. that sets the trend for other civil war sites to do the same. that gives us a much richer interpretive experience. thank you for your question. >> hi. could you please comment on how monuments, past and present, are chosen or allowed to be chosen to be included onto the battlefield. prof. murray: that is a great question with a little bit of a complicated story. the gbma sets up what is called a line of battle rule.
11:56 am
that monuments that go on the battlefield have to be placed on the line of battle. and you see violent debates and disputes about this. the 15th alabama wants to erect a monument up on little round top. his brother dies there on july 2. but the line of battle rule permits -- does not allow him to do so. you can see monuments very systematically where they are placed, they have to go through approval for location. they go through approval for inscription and design. all very methodical. the national park service has a moratorium that no more monuments will be erected on the gettysburg battlefield. it is the most monumented battlefield in the american civil war and all of american history. that is a great question with a lot of political intrigue behind that. i will be around so if you did not get a chance to ask me a question, please come and see
11:57 am
me. you were great. have a great sunday. thank you all. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: this is american history tv on c-span3. each weekend, we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. >> this sunday on american history tv, the historian talks about his book on the american automobile in which he chronicles the history and argues against driverless cars. here is a preview. head, the top of your
11:58 am
when would you say the automobile was established? 1900, 1910? very specific years. want to give me a month? you got it. there you go. i'm going to prove you all wrong. anyway. the question is not so much birth as adoption because it is born many times. the real questions i have are two. one, not why was it invented, but why was it adopted? why did it succeed when it did? also, what was it really? we think you get in the car and go. it is a machine for getting places, transportation devices. when driverless car people think about it, that is what they think about it. they are not talking about how it will sit in your driveway so
11:59 am
your kids can learn what it was like to be around an automobile. that is kind of a strange question. but, what is an automobile? i think you would be surprised to learn driverless cars have been invented many times. thought about and technology described in the 1930's, tested in the 1950's, and proven quite viable by government testing in the 1990's. two things are important about that. again, we had them. why didn't we pursue them? and it turns out, as you look at it more deeply, we can say they were driverless cars, but they were very different from the driverless cars coming up. ok? we will look at what those driverless cars were like and what they are like today. you are all wrong. the automobile was invented in
12:00 pm
1672. >> learn more about the history of u.s. automobiles sunday at 6:00 and 10:00 eastern. you are watching american history tv, only on announcer: next on lectures in history, stony brook university professor paul kelton taught a class about abraham lincoln and native americans. he talked about the dakota wars in minnesota which resulted in 38 executions, the removal of the navajo, and the 1864 sand creek massacre. prof. kelton: so, good afternoon everyone. thank you. today's lecture will be on abraham lincoln.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on