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Beyond the Bio: Gettysburg historian Scott Hartwig

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Jun 25, 2013 4:00 AM
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Photo by Gettysburg National Military Park

From left, Gettysburg NMP Superintendent Bob Kirby with awards recipients Norman Paul and D. Scott Hartwig. Hartwig received an award for taking the lead in designing and planning Gettysburg’s 150th battle anniversary interpretive programs.

(Gettysburg) -- For nearly 34 years, Scott Hartwig has worked for the National Park Service - spending most of that time telling the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.

His interest in the Civil War began as a child, when he came across a 1963 copy of Life Magazine that featured the three-day clash in Gettysburg.

But on his first visit to the battlefield before starting the seventh grade, Hartwig got a critical fact wrong about one of the Union's most storied military units, while shooting a children's film.

"I remember I thought I knew a lot about the Civil War," Hartwig says with a smile. "We came out to Gettysburg and we actually filmed out here, and I remember talking to a Park Ranger here, and telling all of the kids who were with me on this about the exploits of the 21st Maine on Little Roundtop. Of course, the Park Ranger told me, there was no 21st Maine."

The regiment Hartwig meant to reference is the 20th Maine, which legendarily repeled Confederate attacks on the southern end of the Union line during the second day of the battle.

As part of our Beyond the Bio series, Hartwig tells witf's Craig Layne how relating stories of the three-day battle to visitors is almost like acting.

In the video below, Hartwig talks about his involvement in telling the story of the Civil War battle over more than three decades at the park.

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