Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Photo: Lincoln at Gettysburg

Statue of Lincoln at Gettysburg National Park

Statue of Lincoln at Gettysburg National Park


When asked why it's so important to walk the battlefields to understand our history, Ed Bearss, Civil War Historian and perennial favorite Smithsonian Journeys Study Leader, puts it this way:

To understand what happened, you must know the lay of the land. To know the configuration of the land, where the high ground and the low ground is, where there are woods and open fields, what type of cultural features existed (houses, orchards, roads, etc), and how this affected what the officers planned and what they saw. More important, the lay of the land influenced the rank and file, whether they lived or died, and for the Generals, whether they won or lost.

Click here for more of our interview with Ed, and here for more information on our Civil War tours.