Two New Tutorial Videos

by fifer1863 on October 13, 2015

Just a quick post to share two new videos that I created.

The first video is based on some recent online discussion about creating overlays to find the location of original images.  This video shows how you can take an modern photograph and then overlay an original and some tips for aligning the images.

The second video is a tutorial on one of my favorite apps, Snapseed.  This app allows your students to create terrific, high-quality images right on their iPads:


Be sure to check out all of my videos at: 


Two New Gettysburg Rock Carving Videos

by fifer1863 on April 7, 2015

Family Fun Finding Rock Carvings in Gettysburg National Military Park

The kids had the Monday after Easter off and it was a beautiful day so we packed a lunch and headed to Gettysburg for the day.  While there, we did a lot of walking around Devil’s Den, Little Round Top and the Wheatfield.  We also found some rock carvings.

The first one is the “PB Rock” which is located directly across from the monument to the Irish Brigade.  Here is a video to tell you all about it:


As we were driving around we decided to look for a carving that we had never seen before.  This one is located on the first day’s fighting at the McPherson Barn.  It is also very hard to see.  Here is a video of CJ telling us all about the carving:

Here is a close up of the carving and I used Skitch to highlight the lettering

McPherson Barn








So, spring has sprung!  Get out there and enjoy the weather and explore your favorite battlefield.  If you are heading to Gettysburg, be sure to pick up your copy of The Complete Gettysburg Guide by JD Petruzzi.


Using GIMP to Colorize Civil War Era Photos

by fifer1863 on October 14, 2014

Bringing Civil War Photos to Life with Color

As you know I am a huge fan of having students use primary sources in the classroom.  This is especially true when comes to using photographs from the Library of Congress.  I have blogged about using images in the past.  I have also crated videos on finding photos from the Library of Congress, Creating Then and Now Images and Using Them  with Google Earth.

The Civil War in Living Color!

Here is a new way that you and your students can work with photographs in your classroom.  As you know, photographs from the Civil War era are in black and white.  Well, while the image may be in black and white, the original subjects certainly were in full color!  The following is an image of John Burns who is the only civilian to fight in the Battle of Gettysburg.


And here is the same photo of John Burns that I have colorized.

John Burns Colorized


Using the free photo editing software GIMP, I have taken a once boring, black and white image and brought Mr. Burns to life with a little bit of color.  Using a process of adding layers and layer masks, you are able to bring the images to life.  Have your students research clothes, weapons, landscapes, etc.  Have them think about a picture and what color an object or person might be an why.  This gets them thinking about an image and then creating something entirely new based on their research.

How To Video:

Here is a video on how you can colorize your own Civil War photos:



If you try this, take a moment and let me know either here on the blog, on Facebook or via Twitter.


Google Earth and Devils Den

September 23, 2014

Using original photographs and Google Earth to Explore the Battle of Gettysburg In an effort to continue my exploration of original Gettysburg photographs using Google Earth, I have created a new video on exploring some of the famous locations in Devil’s Den.  Be sure to check out my Rose Woods video and other videos on my […]

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Fort Morgan video

February 21, 2014

Fort Morgan, Alabama Found this neat video on Fort Morgan that I thought I’d share. Enjoy!  

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Gettysburg Vodcasts

July 15, 2013

“Middle School Students Create Vodcasts about Civil War History in Gettysburg” By Shuan Butcher, Director of Communications — Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership Now that the dust has settled from the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, how doe the stories continue to be told for and by the next generation of leaders, historians, […]

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The First Shot of the Battle of Gettysburg

July 2, 2013

We had the unique opportunity to be invited to join author JD Petruzzi at the First Shot Marker that commemorates the start of the Battle of Gettysburg.  What made it extra special was that we were there, on that spot where 150 years ago Marcellus Jones fired that first shot of the battle. So CJ […]

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Antietam YouTube Videos

September 13, 2012

With the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam you might want to go check out their YouTube Channel and learn more about the battle. Here is one that provides an overview of the events of September 17, 1862:  

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Hearing the Civil War: Music of the Civil War

July 25, 2012

Various types of music played key roles throughout the Civil War from the fife and drum to the bugle calls which rallied the soldiers and directed them on the parade ground and in battle. There were sentimental and patriotic songs which soldiers sung in camp in order to pass the time while remembering the homes […]

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Gettysburg Rock Carvings with Sarah

March 23, 2012

It was a beautiful here in central Pennsylvania last weekend so we decided to head to Gettysburg for the day.  In addition to packing a lunch, we grabbed my copy of The Complete Gettysburg Guide and my Flip video camera and set off.  As you know our family goal is to learn something new every […]

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Gettysburg Rock Carvings with Josh

March 22, 2012

It was a beautiful here in central Pennsylvania last weekend so we decided to head to Gettysburg for the day.  In addition to packing a lunch, we grabbed my copy of The Complete Gettysburg Guide and my Flip video camera and set off.  As you know our family goal is to learn something new every […]

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An Interview with Gary Adelman

March 12, 2012

Here is a short video I did with Gary Adelman who is the Director of History and Education for the Civil War Trust.  I shot this video a while back and just found it so I thought I would share.      

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Civil War Card Games – Faro

March 7, 2012

I filmed this video last summer in Gettysburg and never got around to editing it and uploading until now.  In the video the soldier is showing us how to play Faro which is a period card game. According to Wikipedia, Faro came to the US in the 19th century to become the most widespread and popularly […]

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Teaching the Civil War Podcast Episode 15 – YouTube and the Civil War

March 1, 2012

      Thanks for staying subscribed to my podcast and I hope you enjoy listening. In this episode I talk a bit about how you can use YouTube to teach and learn about the Civil War Feedback on the show? email me at Follow Me on Twitter Music is by Mark Ferguson and is […]

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History Channel Movie on Gettysburg

May 21, 2011

On Monday, May 30, 2011, the History Channel will air a new Civil War film on Gettysburg.  This film is produced by Tony and Ridley Scott.  The trailer for the movie looks good so this is something that I am looking forward to watching.  If you are teaching the Civil War at this time of […]

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More Videos on the Internet

March 12, 2010

Today, I am sharing some links to some additional videos available via the Internet. Antietam – Civil War Artillery Demonstration (1:31) Firing a Civil War Musket (:44) Civil War Battle Reenactment, Spokane, WA (4:15) PBS: The Civil War (5 videos of various lengths) Shiloh Reenactment (14:08) The Civil War (14:37) The Civil War at Home […]

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More Videos on YouTube aka Civil War Music Videos

October 24, 2009

I have found a few more videos on YouTube that I would like to share with you. The first two were done by Tapsbugler (those familiar with the hobby will know who this is) and the first video is Field Musicians of the Civil War and the second video is Brass Bands of the Civil […]

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More Gettysburg YouTube Videos

September 26, 2009

Here are a few more short videos related to the Battle of Gettysburg for you to view: Three related to the story of Wesley Culp, Jack Skelley and Ginny Wade: Story about Spangler’s Spring: Just another great way for you to bring subject matter experts into your classroom. Enjoy

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Gettysburg Done in Legos?

April 12, 2009

Well, 145 years ago the Battle of Gettysburg was raging and would become what some would call the turning point of the Civil War. Recently, I was bored and started searching around YouTube for Gettysburg related videos and came across the following video and just had to share. I present, The Civil War: Gettysburg Day […]

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Teaching the Civil War with YouTube.

March 21, 2009

I have to admit right up front that I am not a big user of YouTube.   I have viewed some clips that people have sent me but I’m not a regular user. That being said, someone sent me a link the other evening to a video of a Civil War Fife & Drum group playing […]

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