Library U

Library U Presents
GETTYSBURG: THREE DAYS IN JULY
Saturdays: September 29, October 6 & 13
10 - 11:30 AM - Bainbridge Public Library - Free
 
The Civil War battle of Gettysburg took place over three hot summer days - July 1 to July 3, 1863 - around the small market town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It began as a skirmish when the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia collided with the Union Army of the Potomac. By its end, the battle involved an estimated 160,000 Americans. It is widely regarded as a turning point in the Civil War, although the conflict would continue for nearly two more years. But the Union victory there, and the South’s surrender at Vicksburg on July 4, marked the beginning of the Confederacy’s slow slide into defeat.

On three consecutive Saturday mornings, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Bainbridge Public Library, Larry Kerr will present a slide talk detailing the political, diplomatic, strategic, and tactical elements of the battle along with the human stories that make Gettysburg such a powerful part of America’s memory.

Here’s what’s in store: 

September 29: Prelude to Battle.  We will first explore the key strategic challenges faced by the North and South in the summer of 1863, and then examine Robert E, Lee’s march north into Pennsylvania. We will close with a discussion of the battle’s initial engagements between Johnny Reb and Billy Yank.  
 
October 6: Lee Rolls the Dice. We will examine the savage fighting of July 2 in a non-technical but rather detailed way, with emphasis on the human stories now part of our national mythos. The roles of women and black Americans in the battle and the larger conflict will be surveyed as well. 
 
October 13: Charging into History.  We will begin our final program with a study of Pickett’s Charge and the other key engagements of the battle’s final day. We will also discuss Lee’s withdrawal to the Shenandoah and the rise of Ulysses S. Grant. Finally, we will consider the Gettysburg Address and the lasting meaning of those three terrible days.  
 
Larry Kerr is a retired U.S. diplomat and military historian. Since moving to Bainbridge Island in 2006, he has presented slide lectures on World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and World War II to packed houses at the Bainbridge Public Library and other venues. 
 
Library U is a program of the Bainbridge Public Library that offers a variety of lifelong learning opportunities throughout the year. Although Library U courses are free (with donations appreciated), space is limited – please come early for the best seats, and enjoy refreshments while you wait for the program to begin. More information by emailing .   
 
Photos: Larry Kerr. Courtesy photo, "The Battle of Gettysburg, PA. July 3, 1963.” The U.S. Library of Congress.

Larry Kerr
Larry Kerr
Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg