For approximately 40 years, the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College has hosted a premiere annual summer conference bringing leading historians and public audiences together for lectures, battlefield tours, small group conversations, and roundtable conversations about the Civil War era. Sessions, lodging, and meals are held on the 200-acre college campus, with many customizable packages available.
The 2024 CWI Conference will feature a wide range of topics, including:
• Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
• Lincoln, race, and American immigration
• atrocity during the Civil War
• General Benjamin Butler
• interpreting race at Civil War sites, relics of Gettysburg
• the Irish and southeastern native peoples during the war
• the 1913 Gettysburg reunion
• soldiers’ experiences of Antietam
• the naval battle of Hampton Roads
• the Civil War in Missouri
• politics in the Army of the Potomac
• the slave trade
• …and more!
In addition to touring the Gettysburg battlefield, participants will have the opportunity to visit a variety of other nearby battlefields and historic sites on tours that will explore:
• the 1864 New Market Battlefield
• the civilians of Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown
OR to combine a half-day of focused classwork with a half-day out on the battlefield. These new and highly popular “hybrid” tours will focus, in-depth, on topics such as:
• Civil War photography and the archives of the Adams County Historical Society
• the fight of the Union 3rd corps
• Artillery at Gettysburg
• the S. Regulars at Gettysburg
• John Buford at Gettysburg
• the John Brown and Civil War sites of Chambersburg, PA
• field hospitals and Civil War civilian sites of Frederick, MD
• a mini-“staff ride” exploring the evolution of American warfare and leadership through the lens of leadership at Gettysburg!
Participants who may prefer a shorter, more physically active conference experience can also choose to sign up for our “Active Track” package, featuring a combination of Friday and Saturday morning lectures and a day and a half of walking-intensive tours of the Gettysburg battlefield on Saturday and Sunday with historian Timothy Orr, exploring the actions of the Union 2nd Corps at Gettysburg!
This conference will also offer five of the popular Saturday evening tours of the Gettysburg battlefield exploring some of the various controversies and commonly overlooked elements of the battle and its aftermath, such as:
• General Daniel Sickles and the plight of the Union 3rd Corps
• Perry’s Floridians, Wright’s Georgians, & the “real high tide” on July 2nd
• Benner’s Hill and the fight for the Union right flank
• Opposing Marylanders at Gettysburg
as well as a photographic tour exploring the preservation and evolution of the battlefield.
Attendees will also have an opportunity to participate in the ever-popular “lunch-in” and “dine-in” small-group discussions with CWI faculty.
This year, we are also pleased to offer to our youth attendees (under the age of 18) and their families a special evening tour led by Dr. Peter Carmichael on Saturday, June 8th! Dr. Carmichael will lead a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield focusing on the letters of soldiers who fought here and discussing how they expressed their varied experiences of battle through writing. The tour will make several stops along the battlefield and will feature several group discussions of soldiers’ letters. This special tour will offer our youngest attendees a forum to learn, ask questions, and talk about the battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War with Dr. Carmichael and other young people in a smaller and more intimate forum, as well as to explore first-hand the actual battlefield sites discussed in the soldiers’ writings.