It’s natural to ask what can we gain from this ‘old war’? … You can read [history] in a book, but when you actually walk the field, it rams home into your head and stays there

In an earlier episode of A BETTER PEACE, Learning Strategy by Walking the Ground, Andrew Hill and Len Fullenkamp talked about the value of staff rides. In this follow-up discussion, Christian Keller and Jacqueline E. Whitt focus in on battlefield staff rides covering the U.S. Civil War. Carlisle, Pennsylvania is near several key Civil War battles, including Gettysburg and Antietam, now preserved as historical sites administered by the U.S. National Park Service. These sites allow visitors to visualize the stories of the battle and analyze the tactical and strategic decisions made by leaders on both the Union and Confederate sides. Christian and Jacqueline discuss the best way to approach visiting a Civil War battlefield to get the most out of the experience — preparing for the visit through reading and study; walking the ground; and post-visit reflection.



Christian Keller is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College. Jacqueline E. Whitt is Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense.

Photo: Battlefield cannons arrayed at Antietam National Battlefield Memorial.

Photo Credit: Original photo uncredited from, public domain. Modified by Tom Galvin.

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