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The Gettysburg Electric Map

The Gettysburg Electric Map

The complete story of the Battle of Gettysburg, as told in the "Electric Map" program which began in the 1930's, brought up to date with 3-D graphics.  This DVD also contains extra full-length featurettes, including the 75th anniversary "Veterans' reunion at Gettysburg" film from 1938, and two more Gettysburg interpretive films from the twentieth century. (DVD)

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Gettysburg Electric Map


See how the Gettysburg Battlefield has been
interpreted in film in the twentieth century



 1930s: "They Met at Gettysburg"


This film was produced by the Division of Motion Pictures of the National Archives and Records Administration and features rare footage of the 1938 reunion of Civil War veterans at Gettysburg. Some 8,000 veterans of the war were still alive in 1938 and about 20 percent, or 1800, made it to Gettysburg for the 75th anniversary of the battle there. Scenes include the dedication of the Peace Light Memorial by President Roosevelt, the veterans encampment and parades in downtown Gettysburg.


1940s: The Gettysburg Electric Map

Gettysburg Electric Map


The Gettysburg Electric Map was a large terrain map, which remained in operation for almost eighty years at Gettysburg National Military Park. The original map was researched, designed and constructed in the late 1930s and featured electric lights of red and blue to represent the positions and movements of Union and Confederate armies. When the visitors center was moved in 2008 the map was placed in storage. This program is based on the original electric map concept and uses “electrical lights” in the same manner. The map is three-dimensional and was computer generated from the original terrain map. Photographs, graphics and combat action have been added to enhance the viewing experience. The narration is an adaptation of the original script for the electric map from 1938 and the program is narrated by John O’Grady.


1950s: Esso Gas
"Travel USA: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania"

Travel USA: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


ESSO stands for Eastern States Standard Oil, a brand name for Standard Oil of New Jersey, one of the companies formed when “Standard Oil” was broken up in 1911. It was renamed Exxon in 1973, and is now Exxon Mobil. In the 1950s and 60s ESSO produced road map travel guides called “Travel USA” and, in cooperation with the National Park Service, produced a number of destination films featuring parks in the eastern US where ESSO had most of its gas stations. This film is an excellent example of the style of these films and the way the battlefield was interpreted at the time as a tourist attraction.


1970s: "Walt Whitman and the Civil War"

Walt Whitman


"Walt Whitman and the Civil War" was one of a series of programs called “Anyone for Tennyson?” The series was produced for Public Broadcasting in the late 1970s and featured a “poetry quartet” of dramatic performers reciting poetry in places related to the poetic themes. Each program included a well-known guest star, and the Gettysburg-Whitman piece featured actor Richard Kiley, famous for his Broadway role as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and as a narrator in many documentaries. Gettysburg was chosen for the Whitman-Civil War poems and the program was shot on location at the park in 1976.