2023 Gettysburg Reenactment: A Thrilling Historical Bucket List Event
A Gettysburg Reenactment in June adds to the regular July anniversary event.
Thousands of Civil War enthusiasts will converge in Gettysburg, Pa., in 2023 to witness one of the two Gettysburg Reenactments as part of the 160th Battle of Gettysburg anniversary.
This guide, written by a local, will help you navigate this historic anniversary event in Gettysburg, and decide which of the two Civil War reenactments you want to see.
Read on to discover what each of the Gettysburg reenactments offer, as well as to expect, what to pack and where to stay and eat.
Make your plans early because you don’t want to miss the opportunity to witness the 160th Battle of Gettysburg anniversary!
Visiting Gettysburg in May instead of July? Check out the Gettysburg Memorial Day events.
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Where Are The Two Gettysburg Reenactments In 2023?
The non-profit Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) hosts the Gettysburg Reenactment each year at the Daniel Lady Farm, just east of Gettysburg.
This Gettysburg Reenactment is always held on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which occurred on July 1, 2 and 3 in 1863.
This year the Civil War Battle Reenactment will be held on June 30, July 1 and 2.
The second Civil War reenactment is being hosted by Patriots of the Civil War Association (PCWA), another non-profit organization that raises money and awareness to protect Civil War-related sites.
This Battle of Gettysburg Reenactment will take place June 23-25 at 1289 Blackhorse Tavern Road, which is about four miles west of Gettysburg.
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Why Attend a Civil War Reenactment
Speaking from experience, there is no better way to visualize or experience history than to see it unfold right before your eyes.
In addition to the actual Civil War battle reenactments, (which are narrated so that you understand what is happening on the field), these events also give you the opportunity to talk to the soldiers, and feature numerous presentations about the Civil War era.
You can even go shopping at the sutler stands for Civil War era and modern goods!
Plan to spend the day because there are activities, talks and demonstrations that you won’t want to miss.
Which Gettysburg Reenactment Should I Attend?
You may first want to check the availability of hotel rooms before you purchase tickets to either event. June and July are busy months, so hotels fill up fast.
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If by chance you can’t find a hotel room close by, there are also campgrounds near Gettysburg that offer RV hookups, cabins, cottages, and tent camping.
Both of the Gettysburg Reenactments in 2023 will take you back in time with Civil War battle engagements, demonstrations and talks.
In addition to the actual battles, there is so much to learn by walking through the Civil War camps. You can talk to the soldiers about their weapons, how they cook, where they sleep, etc.
Both Gettysburg Reenactments will also have “sutlers” which are Civil War era stores that sell a variety of items from hand-sewn clothing and flags to old-time candy and reproduction weapons.
The Daniel Lady Farm Gettysburg Reenactment
The annual Gettysburg reenactment is held at the 146-acre Daniel Lady Farm, which borders the Gettysburg National Military Park at Benner Hill.
This farm was the actual site of artillery placements and infantry preparations for the Confederate attack on Culp’s Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
The house and barn then became a field hospital, and you can still see the initials of soldiers carved in the wood of the barn and blood stains that remain on the floors in the house.
The house and barn are open during the Civil War reenactment, which provides additional opportunities to take a step back in time.
This Gettysburg reenactment will have bleachers near the “battlefield” this year so spectators can sit during the battle reenactment.
Because this Gettysburg reenactment takes place near the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, you can expect crowds of people in Gettysburg, which can cause traffic slowdowns.
What You’ll See At this gettysburg reenactment:
- Battle Reenactments: (Of course!) They will have one major battle each of the three days corresponding with the three days of the original battle
- Cavalry Demonstrations: Learn about the uses and tactics of horse cavalry units.
- Sharpshooter Demonstrations: See what it took to be considered a sharpshooter during the Civil War.
- Domestic Demonstrations: Explore how civilians lived and how the battle impacted their daily life.
- Living History: Learn about a variety of Civil War topics, including medicine, games, clothing and more.
- Children’s Activities: Doll making and tea parties, period candy, period games.
- Speakers Tent: Various topics throughout the day like Civil War spies, women in the Civil War, etc.
- The Daniel Lady House Museums: Tour the house and barn set up like Civil War hospitals. (See the certified blood stains still on the floors).
Gettysburg Reenactment Tickets (Daniel Lady Farm)
TICKET PRICES FOR ONE DAY:
Adult General Admission: $25
Adult General Admission with Bleacher Seat: $45
Child General Admission: $15
Child Admission with Bleacher Seat: $35
TICKET PRICE PACKAGE:
3 Day Adult Admission with Bleacher Seat: $130
3 Day Ault General Admission (no Bleacher): $70
3 Day Child Admission with Bleacher Seat: $100
3 Day Child General Admission: $40
Parking is free.
Pros of the Daniel Lady Farm Gettysburg Reenactment
- Located on a historic site that was used as a staging area during the Civil War and a field hospital.
- Organizers have experience running Civil War reenactments
- Lots of extra programs and presentations, as well as house and barn tours
- Proceeds go to the upkeep, maintenance and preservation of the Lady Farm.
Cons of the lady farm gettysburg reenactment
- Accommodations may be hard to find
- Gettysburg will be crowded on the anniversary weekend
- Be prepared for traffic back-ups
The Black Horse Tavern Road Reenactment
The Gettysburg Reenactment hosted by the Patriots of the Civil War Association is a new event, so it’s hard to comment on what the event will be like.
According to their website, they want to “provide both spectators and reenactors with a unique and historic event.”
They already have 21 educational sessions planned (as of January) and more than 15 sutlers (Civil War-era shops) signed up to attend.
They also have lots of food and beverages for purchase including: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, pulled pork BBQ, Italian sausage, pit beef, pit ham, french fries, fresh fruit, water, sodas, lemonade, hand rolled ice cream and snow cones!
Pro Tip: Since there are no bleachers, make sure you bring a lawn chair or blanket!
What you’ll see at this gettysburg reenactment
- Battle Reenactments
- Educational Events for everyone from kids to Civil War enthusiasts
- Living History Demonstrations in education tents on topics like 1860s photography and the Sanitation Commission.
- Dedicated Children’s Area will include scavenger hunts with a sweet treat at the end.
- They plan to have authors, historians and even a few “big names” to provide presentations.
Gettysburg Reenactment Tickets (Black Horse Tavern Road)
TICKET PRICES FOR ONE DAY
General Admission: $25 (ages 15 and over)
General Admission Children : $10 (ages 9-14)
Children 9 years and younger are free
TICKET PACKAGE DEALS:
2-day Adult Ticket: $40
3-day Adult Ticket: $60
This fee will help the landowner recover his fields after the event. Note that parking includes a commemorative program with $5 discount coupons to local restaurants and discounted hotel stays.
Pros of the Black Horse Tavern Road Gettysburg Reenactment
- Since it’s being held a week before the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the crowds will be a little lighter and hotel rooms may be easier to find.
- Smaller events can offer a better opportunity to take your time and talk to the living historians.
- Ticket prices are cheaper
- All proceeds go to the preservation of Civil War-era historical sites.
cons of the black horse tavern road reenactment
- New event so no way to judge the organization.
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What Happened At The Battle Of Gettysburg?
The Battle of Gettysburg pitched Major General George Meade’s Union Army of the Potomac against General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
The Battle was important because it stopped a Confederate invasion of the North. However it was not decisive enough to end the war.
If you’d like to get a good visual of what happened, you can watch the movie Gettysburg before your visit.
Short Synopsis of the Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg took place over three days (July 1, 2 and 3 in 1863). Interestingly, the Southern troops arrived from the North and the Union troops from the South.
On July 1: Confederate forces moved into Gettysburg from the west and the north, and drove Union forces back through the streets to Cemetery Hill. During the night, reinforcements arrived for both sides.
On July 2: Lee struck the Union left flank at the Round Tops, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard, and then attacked the Union right at Culp’s and East Cemetery Hills. The Federals retained Little Round Top and repulsed the attack on the right.
On July 3: The Confederate infantry was driven from Culp’s Hill in the morning. In the afternoon, after a preliminary artillery bombardment, Lee attacked the Union center. Pickett’s Charge momentarily pierced the Union line but was driven back with severe casualties.
On July 4: Lee began withdrawing toward Williamsport on the Potomac River. His train of wounded stretched more than 14 miles. (You might want to read about the only battle to take place in two states that happened during the retreat: The Battle of Monterey Pass)
How Do Civil war Reenactments Work?
If you’ve never attended a Civil War Reenactment before, you might not be sure how they work.
First, plan to arrive early because there is plenty to do on site! You don’t want to get stuck in traffic which is easy to do when trying to get to a Gettysburg reenactment.
Before you arrive, make sure you check the full battle reenactment schedule so you don’t miss something that you really want to see.
Leave plenty of time to wander through the camps and talk to the soldiers. You will be amazed at how much you can learn from the reenactors themselves.
Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes based on weather conditions. The battle reenactment, soldiers’ camps and parking are all located in fields, so if it has rained before the event, nice shoes are not recommended to walk through the wet grass and mud.
What To Take To The Gettysburg Reenactments 2023
The temperature statistics can be a little deceiving if you are visiting Gettysburg, Pa., during the summer months—especially July. It is hot, humid and sticky.
Make sure you wear appropriate attire to the Gettysburg reenactment, like:
✅ Wear light-colored clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
✅ Don’t forget sun block, sunglasses, hats and water.
✅ Be aware of deer ticks if walking in high grass.
To reiterate above, wear comfortable walking shoes. The distance from the parking area, the battlefield and the different encampments can be quite far over uneven terrain.
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Staying hydrated is another important element to having an enjoyable time at the Gettysburg reenactment. Water is sold on site, but it is a good idea to bring a Sports Water Bottle to help keep your water cold.
Splice also makes a convenient Collapsible Water Bottle if you want something convenient for packing.
I am also a big fan of Cooling Wrap Towels that you put around your neck. I’ve used them to go horseback riding in 90-degree weather and it really helps to keep you from overheating.
Lastly, you will do a lot of walking and will definitely appreciate having a chair to sit down on, especially during the actual battle reenactments. I found this Bottle-Sized Compact Chair that you can carry in your hand or stick in your purse.
FAQs About The 160th Anniversary Battle of Gettysburg Reenactment 2023
When is the 160th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg Civil War Reenactment?
There are two Gettysburg Reenactments in 2023 to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. They will be held June 23-25 and June 30-July 2.
Are Pets allowed at the 2023 gettysburg reenactment?
Pets are not allowed at the Gettysburg Reenactments and it is better to leave your furry friends home anyway. The gunfire is very loud, and the hot weather in Pennsylvania is not safe for pets.
Other Questions About the Gettysburg Reenactment
Can I bring a stroller?
Yes, you can bring a stroller, but keep in mind that the encampments and parking are in fields so it will not be easy to push.
Should I purchase my tickets in advance?
It is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance to avoid wait times upon entering the venue. Also, the price at the gate at the Lady Farm Reenactment is more than the online price.
Can I Tour The Gettysburg Battlefield?
Yes, you can tour the Gettysburg National Military Park Battlefield during your stay in Gettysburg. You can walk, ride bikes, rent a Segway, or drive your own car using a self-guided tour.
You can also get a good overview of the Battle of Gettysburg with a two-hour Bus Tour.
If you’re into ghost hunting and want to explore on your own, read about the most haunted places in Gettysburg.
Of course, if you want to go on a guided ghost tour, you can do that too.
What Hotels Are Near The Gettysburg Reenactment?
There are a wide variety of hotels in Gettysburg, as well as a number of historic Bed and Breakfasts.
Gettysburg Hotel: Downtown Gettysburg; Walking distance to restaurants, pubs, museums and shopping. About four miles from both reenactments. Haunted
Super 8 by Wyndham: Budget hotel with great reviews. About three miles to Lady Farm reenactment. Less than six miles to Blackhorse Tavern reenactment.
Inn at Lincoln Square: Very highly rated historic inn located on Lincoln Square. Close to everything. Each floor has a bedroom (some with multiple beds) and full kitchen. About four miles from both reenactments.
Brafferton Inn: Highly rated downtown Colonial historic Bed and Breakfast. Terrace and garden area. About four miles to both reenactments.
Roundtop Campground 2-BR Cottages: Pool. Kitchen. Pet friendly. Located at a campground with lots of activities. About five miles to both reenactments.
There are also VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) listings where you might be able to find a good deal.
Check around if you’re looking for pet friendly hotels or you want to compare the best hotels with a pool.
What Restaurants Are Near The 160th Reenactments?
There will be food trucks at both reenactments if you want to grab a quick snack.
The Daniel Lady Farm is only a few miles east of downtown Gettysburg, where there are restaurants on every corner of Lincoln Square.
You can find fast food restaurants by jumping on Route 15 (less than a mile away) and heading north one exit to Route 30. Turn left at the light for Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Starbucks, and others.
The Blackhorse Tavern Road battle reenactment is a few miles west of Gettysburg. You can take the Fairfield Road/Rt. 116 east into town. Turning left at Baltimore Street will take you to downtown restaurants.
Turning right will take you to some nice restaurants on Steinwehr Avenue as well as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Wrap-Up of the 2023 Gettysburg Reenactment Events
Gettysburg has long been considered the best Civil War reenactment because of the number of living historians and Civil War reenactors it draws to take part.
Since this is the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Reenactment 2023 will also likely be the largest Civil War reenactment in the country.
In addition to the Civil War reenactments, you will also want to leave enough time to explore the museums in Gettysburg.
While you’re in Gettysburg, make sure you check out Gettysburg historic sites no one ever sees and romantic things to do in Gettysburg.
If you can’t make it to one of the Gettysburg reenactments in 2023, don’t worry. There are still plenty of things to do and see in Gettysburg. Check out the best time to visit Gettysburg Battlefield to find the perfect time to plan your visit.
Planning to visit other Civil War destinations? Pick up a copy of the Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide (More than 500 sites).