"There ought to be an APP for this!"

The Battle of Gettysburg is the most written about, studied and debated battle of the Civil War; and the battlefield itself the most visited.
Standing on the battlefield, accompanied by a Licensed Battlefield Guide, perhaps you've listened intently as the Guide first points to spots on a printed map and then gestures to distant points in different directions, all while narrating the movements of the regiments and batteries over 158 years ago. As you attempt to mentally visualize the action, you say to yourself, "There ought to be an APP for this." Now there is - and this is IT! As you read comprehensive books and essays detailing the fighting minute by minute, you intently study a map within. You read on, the soldiers and guns fight on, retreating, advancing. You flip back to the map and try to visualize the movement described. This happens again and again as the fighting continues and the "map" becomes less and less relevant with each turn of the page. You mumble to yourself, "There ought to be an APP for this." Well, now there is - and this is IT! Take this APP to the Battlefield on your i-Pad or portable device. Use it while you listen to that audio CD. Use it while you read the narrative on the Auto Tour roadside markers. Use it to supplement the battlefield guide's narrative. Use this APP as you read (or re-read) any of Harry W. Pfanz's renowned books: "Gettysburg - The Second Day" , "Gettysburg - The First Day" or "Gettysburg - Culp's Hill & Cemetery Hill" and follow the action minute by minute, sentence by sentence, page by page, as the author documents the battle.

About - The APP


The battlefield animation currently encompasses July 1, 1863 (Day 1) from 6:00 am the 1:30 am the next day; July 2, 1863 (Day 2) from 4:00 am thru Midnight and July 3, 1863 (Day 3) from 4:00 am thru 6:00 pm. Individual infantry and cavalry regiments, skirmish lines, detached companies, and artillery batteries, battery sections and individual guns, all from a database of over 1600 military units, have been meticulously positioned on the battlefield map at 5-minute intervals called “Ticks”. Then the software “animates” the movement of each unit from “point A” to “point B” to “point C” and so on, as the end user initiates the animated advance thru the “Ticks”.


On most “Ticks” there are between 600-700 historical placements; a total of over 430,000 positioned units in the APP’s database. Their positions are based primarily on the narratives published by Harry W. Pfanz in his three books: “Gettysburg the First Day”, “Gettysburg the Second Day” and “Gettysburg: Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill”. For Day 3 Jeffry D. Wert’s book “Gettysburg – Day 3” was the primary narrative used.  Secondary sources include “Gettysburg, July 2: The Ebb and Flow of Battle” by James A. Woods; and “The Artillery of Gettysburg” by Bradley M. Gottfried.


In addition to the narratives mentioned above, the times and positioning of the units are rooted in an additional 6,000+ documented references, with movement extrapolations derived from those key components.


Unit commanders, from Corps down to Regiments & Batterys, documented on every Tick, including replacements when the original is wounded, killed or captured.

View the detailed Demo Video/Tutorial to experience how to navigate anywhere on the battlefield, to any key location, at any time of the day; watch the units move from outlying locations and engage. See the casualties mount and the scale unit sizes decrease.

About - The Tool

We fondly call it “The Getty Tool” and it was developed exclusively for this and future Napoleonic War (Civil War) battle animation projects.

The software extensively uses “point & click”, “drag & drop” technology to allow placement of each unit on the underlying satellite view of a battlefield. Any battlefield! Change the underlying map, the dates/times, and the names of the units, and The Tool can be used to create an animated APP for Shiloh, or Antietam, or Fredericksburg, or any other battle!

Additionally the software leaves 100% of the unit position data in a perpetual fluid state. Any segment or component of the animation can be tweaked, refined, copied, moved or deleted by authorized users. Since the nature of any commentary on a Civil War battle is virtually always open to debate, and the search for fact a never ending pursuit on the Internet, the Gettysburg APP can be indefinitely edited accordingly.

Collaborators Wanted

New Facts and Information   The Internet is an endlessly deep source for researching historical fact. But the reality is that only so many “rabbit holes” can be explored. Add in the fact that frequently, Gettysburg authors describe approach routes, timings and even the engaged units differently. Perhaps this Gettysburg APP has missed the mark with a battle scenario extrapolation of “fact — to full animation”. If, after using and studying the APP, you have information/fact that will help correct the what’s been modeled, feel free to contact us.

Other Battles: Organizational Champions  The “Tool” behind the APP can be used to animate any Civil War battle. Merely change the underlying map, the list of engaged units and the days/times of the battle. If, after reviewing the work done thus far on the Gettysburg App, there is an organization or an individual interested in beginning an independent APP for another key battle, feel free to contact us.

Virtual Reality Champions   The virtual reality possibilities are limitless. Imagine putting on your “goggles” and seeing the chaos of the entire battle. We have all the data points, across 3-days of fighting. If you’re an interested virtual reality company, feel free to contact us.

Pass It Forward   Hopefully we’ve instilled a sense of excitement about what you see here. Please feel free to use any means to pass on news of our Battle Field Animation project(s). Share our Website URL with your friends and associates.


Archer, John M. Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg Maury Books, 2015; East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg Thomas Publications 1997; “Fury on the Bliss Farm at Gettysburg”, Maury Books, 2015

Desjardin, Thomas A. The Battlefield at Gettysburg (Map), The Gettysburg Foundation, 2011

Gottfried, Bradley M. The Artillery of Gettysburg Cumberland House Publishing, 2008; The Maps of Gettysburg – An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3-July 13, 1863, Savas Beatie, 2013

Imhof, John D. Gettysburg Day Two – A Study in Maps, Butternut and Blue, 1999

Laino, Phillip Gettysburg Campaign Atlas, Gettysburg Publishing, 2014

Shultz, David L. and Mingus, Scott L. Sr. The Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of Cemetery Ridge on July 2, 1863, Savas Beatie, LLC, 2015

Spruill, Matt Summer Thunder – A Battlefield Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg, The University of Tennessee Press/Knoxville, 2010

Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg – Culp’s Hill & Cemetery Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 1993; Gettysburg – The Second Day, The University of North Carolina Press, 1987; “Gettysburg – The First Day”, The University of North Carolina Press, 2001

United States War Department “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 27”

Wert, Jeffry D. “Gettysburg – Day 3”, Simon & Schuster, 2001

Woods, James A. Gettysburg , July 2 – The Ebb and Flow of Battle, Canister Publishing, LLC, 2012

Thanks! The Development Team