At this time, no Academy is planned.  Academy sessions are schedule in years in which the National Park Service plans to offer the LBG Qualification Process.  At this time, due to the difficulties brought about by the global pandemic and the uncertain state of visitation, no process can be expected at least through the end of 2022.


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 125-plus members have spent a lifetime of study and every day are out teaching people the significance of this 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 greatest battle of the war and the period of reconstruction following the war will find some topic of interest contained in this course.  It is designed such that each session is a self-contained topic. One can pick and choose a specific topic or opt to enroll in the entire program (subject to availability). We have incorporated many of the suggestions and recommendations of our 2015 participants to improve this year’s edition. Each session will be taught by one or more veteran licensed guides who specialize in the study of  that topic. All represent a wide range of guiding experience.

Comments from some past participants of the ALBG Academy:

“…extremely helpful.”

“…topics were great…”

“…there was a tremendous amount of information stuffed into each class.”

“…the classes were of great value to my study preparation for the exam.”

“Overall I would recommend the Academy to anyone interested in Gettysburg.  We were very fortunate to have such a wide variety of expertise available to lead the classes.”

Disclaimer:  The Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide qualification process is conducted periodically by the National Park Service under authority granted it in the Code of Federal Regulations. Though the Licensed Battlefield Guide Academy would certainly help provide a base of information of value to anyone contemplating sitting for the exam, it is not solely 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 perceive the need to license additional guides.

Test Prep Program:  The Gettysburg National Military Park periodically announces a Tier 1 written part of the licensing process will be offered.    Years ago the ALBG began a series of classes designed to assist individuals interested in taking the written test.  For several test cycles the Harrisburg Area Community College took over the program as part of their Continuing Education program.  When the Gettysburg campus of HACC eliminated the Continuing Education Department, ALBG opted to continue the test-prep program on its own.  Now we have decided to move our focus from purely test prep to a program of  interest to a much wider audience yet it is still ideal for anyone who may be considering the test when offered as it will be this coming December.   The process of becoming an LBG is more than simply sitting for and doing well on a written examination.  Accordingly, the NPS, in conjunction with LBG representatives, did a complete overhaul of the program to better examine a wide-variety of skills – not simply a strong factual knowledge.  This process continues to be refined and evolve. For more information on the licensing process visit this link: 2015 Test Program.

Location: The Academy will begin in mid-July, 2017 and runs through mid-November ending the weekend before Remembrance Day (November 18, 2017). No session will be held the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.  All indoor classroom sessions are held Saturday mornings at the Gettysburg Heritage Center (former Wax Museum) on Steinwehr Avenue,  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  They  run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Sessions that have field programs or associated with them or extended sessions, will break for lunch and then reconvene in the classroom, on the battlefield or in the town for the extended program.  The field programs will last for two hours from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The instructors may, at their option, offer less time in the classroom and more in the field. Such changes will be announced during the session but in no instance will be less than the five instructional hours planned.

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

For Information or to register:  For questions of additional information contact the webmaster.  Click the “Register” link to register and pay using a credit card.  



Not sure what a Licensed Battlefield Guide actually is?  How did guiding actually come about?  You really don’t know much about the nuts and bolts of guiding?  How much money can you make?  Are there any pitfalls to guiding? What hurdles must I jump in the process of becoming an LBG?  These questions and many, many more will be answered with our two special pre-Academy sessions, held this coming July.

As a result of our inaugural Academy program, held in 2015, a number of suggestions and recommendations were received from participants.  An excellent one was to take material covered during our last session and move that to the beginning.  A common comment was “I wish we knew this before we took all the Academy classes.”  To accommodate that request these pre-sessions will deal with two main themes:  the development of guiding at the Gettysburg National Military Park since 1863 AND the process of becoming a Licensed Battlefield Guide. Not sure if you want to sit for the 2017 Exam?  Not sure if you want to attend any of the Academy programs?  Sign up for one or both of these to help you decide.


7/22/2017 – Pre-Session 1: History of Licensed Battlefield Guiding at Gettysburg

Instructor: Fred Hawthorne, Academy Program Manager, 2017

The Licensed Battlefield Guide program at the Gettysburg National Military Park is both unique and of long standing, having recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.  In this session we will look at the development of this “Peculiar Institution from its earliest days in the post war era up through the modern day.  Many of the traditions we have on the guide force today – uniforms, badges, the “two hour” tour, our professional ethics, all developed during the past century.  If you are considering a career as a guide – it is good to know the background of how we became what we are today!


7/29/2017 – Pre-Session 2: The LBG Examination Process

Instructor: Fred Hawthorne, Academy Program Manager 2017

This December, the National Park Service has announced that it will be starting another Licensed Battlefield Guide examination process.  Though it is constantly being refined and modified a multi-level examination process has become the new norm. This session will describe the entire licensing process and explain the purpose of each.  The successful candidate is one who is more than simply a walking encyclopedia of the battle but has a wide variety of communication and interpersonal skills.  We will describe those skills and give some hints and tips for preparing for all aspects of the exam process.



8/05/2017 – Session 1: Causes and Early Months of the American Civil War (Through the Peninsula Campaign.)

Instructor:  Dave Hamacher, LBG

Our Licensed Battlefield Guide’s American Civil War Academy kicks off with an in-depth study of the many issues that led to the 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.




8/12/2017 – Session 2: The Homefront in the American Civil War

Instructor:  Dave Hamacher, LBG

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.



8/19/2017 – Session 3: The War Continues: The Thousand Mile Front to Confederate High Tide

Instructor:   Eric Lindblade, LBG

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 list 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.



8/26/2017 – Session 4: The Evolution of Tactics, Weapons and Organizations (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:   Chris Rebmann, LBG

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 tactics of all three branches of service.



9/09/2017 – Session 5: Battle of Gettysburg – the “Meeting Engagement: July 1” (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Tony Nicastro, LBG

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 classroom 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.



9/16/2017 – Session 6: Battle of Gettysburg – “Longstreet’s Assault on the Union Left: July 2” (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Ed Suplee, LBG

This session will be a comprehensive overview of the Confederate assault on the left flank of the Union army on 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’s 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.



9/23/2017 – Session 7: Battle of Gettysburg – “Culp’s and Cemetery Hills: July 2 & 3” (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Charlie Fennell, LBG

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.


9/30/2017 – Session 8: Battle of Gettysburg – “Afternoon Fighting of July 3” (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:   Chuck Burkell, LBG

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.



10/7/2017 – Session 9: Human Interest Stories of the Battle of Gettysburg (EXTENDED – ADDITIONAL CLASSROOM / FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Deb Novotny, LBG

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.


10/14/2017 – Session 10: The Retreat from Gettysburg through the Overland Campaign

Instructor: Joe Mieczkowski, LBG

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 and the rise of Ulysses Grant to overall Union command will be looked at.  Finally the commencement of the  Union grand strategy in May of 1864  under the direct control of General-of-the-Army Grant  will result in great simultaneous campaigns in both Virginia and Georgia.



10/21/2017 – Session 11: The Aftermath of the Battle & the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Roy Frampton, LBG

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.



10/28/2017 – Session 12: Town of Gettysburg: Before, During and After the Battle. (EXTENDED – FIELD PROGRAM)

Instructor:  Mary Turk-Meena, LBG

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 from 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.



11/4/2017 – Session 13: The End of the Civil War and the “Reconstruction” of the Union (EXTENDED – AFTERNOON SESSION)

Instructor: Dave Donahue, LBG

Grant’s campaign at Petersburg to cut the vital supply lines supporting  Richmond 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 reconstructing 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.




11/11/2017 – Session 14: The Development of the Gettysburg National Military Park (EXTENDED – AFTERNOON SESSION)

Instructor: Fred Hawthorne, LBG (Program Manager).

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.

An additional short session will be held at the conclusion of this session to review upcoming multi-tiered licensing process.  Questions will be answered on all phase of the exam process or any Academy questions that you may have.


Updated: March 1, 2021