ALBG Fall Seminar:

Playing by the Rules?  How Gettysburg Commanders Tested Military Theory

September 7th to 9th, 2018


The ALBG is pleased to announce our annual Fall seminar for 2018: Playing by the Rules? How Gettysburg Commanders Tested Military Theory.  Traditionally our seminars have focused on who, what, where, and how.  We have often ignored the why of what happened here.  For this seminar we will specifically focus on why commanders did what they did. By analyzing military theory in practice during the 19th century, including tactics put forth by such luminaries as Dennis Hart Mahan and Napoleon’s lieutenant Antoine Henri, Baron de Jomini, we will attempt to gain a better understanding of why certain decisions were made during the Battle of Gettysburg.

2018 marks the 50thanniversary of Women in Guiding at Gettysburg.  In 1968, the National Park Service lifted its previously enforced restriction on women being allowed to guide at Gettysburg National Military Park.  In celebration of the fifty women who have served as Licensed Battlefield Guides in fifty years, this fall seminar will be brought to you by some of those female guides and our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Carol Reardon.

Officially, our seminar will close on Saturday afternoon, but we are happy to offer a special bonus Sunday morning program for those who are still in town, a program about the theory of medical practice during the American Civil War.


Friday, September 7   (Evening Program)

Dr. Carol Reardon: Battle Analysis, 1863-style: William Conant Church and the rise of THE ARMY AND NAVY JOURNAL

In August 1863, New York journalist William Conant Church took over editorial control of a new publication he named THE ARMY AND NAVY JOURNAL. Each weekly four-page issue went beyond the usual reporting of the military news by expanding into critical analysis of military policy and the conduct of the war. Civil War scholars have been slow to appreciate the keen insights of Church and his correspondents, who often based their commentaries on a solid foundation of nineteenth-century military theory. This talk will center on their coverage of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Doors open at 6:30 with snacks available.  Lecture begins at 7 pm.


Saturday, September 8

8:15 am  – Buses depart.   Program 830 am to 11:00 am over at Culp’s Hill.

LBG Ellen GonsalvesDid Bad Staff Work Contribute to the ‘Impracticability’ of the Implementation of Ewell’s Orders at Gettysburg?

Dennis Hart Mahan, “Old Common Sense,” was the renowned Professor of Civil and Military Engineering and the Art (or Science) of War at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point from 1824 until 1871. As such he taught 93% of the corps and division commanders at Gettysburg. He also had very definite ideas about the importance and performance of military reconnaissance. General Ewell’s staff were not professional soldiers. Did this fact- and their performance – further cripple Ewell’s performance on the Confederate left at Gettysburg?

Lunch (Provided)  11:30 am to 12:15 pm.  Program 2 follows 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm from Seminary Ridge.

LBG Mary Turk-MeenaThe Lee/Longstreet Disagreements

Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet came to Gettysburg with similar backgrounds – West Point trained; lifetime military officers; combat veterans – and having collaborated through most of the first 2 years of the Civil War.  Despite these common experiences and a common goal, their disagreements at Gettysburg are legendary.  What military theories was each man relying on to support such different strategic/tactical approaches?  We’ll explore the Lee/Longstreet disagreements at Gettysburg through the lens of accepted 1860s military theory.

Program 3 – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm from the Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Ridge artillery lines.

LBG Christina Moon: “Shatter the Enemy’s Line”: Jomini, Gibbon, and the July 3rdArtillery Action

In his seminal work The Art of War, Baron De Jomini lays out 13 principles for the use of artillery in battle.  Using these principles, we will analyze the disposition of both Union and Confederate artillery both preceding and during Pickett’s Charge and compare and contrast Jomini’s principles to those set out by John Gibbon in his artillery manual published just four years prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.  Was it all sound and fury? Or was there method to the madness?


Sunday, September 9   (Optional Program)


LBG Stacy Kilts: History Offers not only Contextual Perspective but also Enlightenment

The theory of warfare doesn’t end on the battlefield. The casualties left behind require as much care and planning as the battle itself.  In this program we will discuss how the theory of medical care evolved from before the Civil War through its end.  Through individual vignettes, we will see that care was more remarkable than cruel, more pragmatic than butchery, and that these evolutions made on both the medical and nursing fronts propelled patient care forward.

Program will take place at 9 AM at the George Spangler Farm.

Click to Register



In the event it becomes necessary for you to cancel your registration please be aware of the following policy:

  • Cancellations must be received in writing.  The date of receipt of the written cancellation will determine the amount of refund based on the following;
  • Registrants will receive a 100% refund if the cancellation is received 60 or more days prior to the opening day of the scheduled seminar.
  • Participant cancellation received 45 to 59 days prior to the opening day of the seminar results in the forfeiture of 25% of the registration fee.
  • Participant cancellation received 8 to 44 days prior to the opening day of the seminar forfeit 50% of the registration fee.
  • No refund will be given for participant cancellation received 7 days or less before the opening day of the seminar.


100%: On or before July 11

75%:   July 12 to July 26

50%:   July 27 to August 31

0%:     September 1 and after.