WELCOME to the internet guide to the Witness Trees of Gettysburg. On this site, you will find:
*100 Witness Trees*
*Every tree supported by photographic evidence*
*Colorful maps to make finding trees easy*
*Precise then-and-now pictures*
*Each tree named after a hero – mostly unknown – of the battle*
The Witness Tree status of every tree on this website is supported by photographic and mathematic evidence. Consequently, you will be able to examine the evidence for each and every tree presented herein, and judge for yourself if you agree whether any given tree deserves to be definitively called a Witness Tree.
Main Map: find the trees!
This does not mean that these are the only witness trees in Gettysburg; rather, these are the only trees whose status is supported by evidence beyond their size alone.
For those of you who are new to the concept, a Witness Tree is a still-living tree that is old enough to have been alive during the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought in the small cross-roads town of Gettysburg, PA, on July 1, 2 and 3, 1863. Hence, witness trees by definition include any tree that is at least 160 years old.
Proof of Old Trees on the Battlefield
More Proof of Old Trees on the Battlefield
Acknowledgments: Gratitude for Those who Helped
Greg Gober: Godfather of Gettysburg’s Witness Trees
How Can There Be So Many Witness Trees in Gettysburg?
The entire concept of a Witness Tree is one that carries a lot of emotion to a surprisingly large number of people. As the only surviving living links to the greatest battle ever fought on American soil, these trees touch many Americans deeply and personally. To be able to rest your palm on a Witness Tree, or hold a leaf or acorn or nut from a Witness Tree in your hand, is to be able to literally touch a living entity that was also touched, seen, and even shot at, by thousands of young American men, north and south, on those suffocatingly hot July days 160 years ago.
We understand that there may be a great deal of skepticism regarding the number of, or even existence of, 160+ year old trees at Gettysburg. In several recent YouTube videos, highly respected veteran historians of the Adams County Historical Society and the American Battlefield Trust both suggest the number of witness trees in the park to number in the 12-15 range. Compounding the bias is the fact that the National Park Service, which oversees the Gettysburg National Military Park, has never formally studied the presence of Witness Trees on its own property, and, when pressed, representatives have never admitted to believing that there were any more than 12-20 Witness Trees extant.
It is my hope that after spending just a few minutes perusing this site, that you too will be convinced that not only are there scores – or even hundreds – of Witness Trees on Gettysburg’s hallowed ground, but that almost all of these trees were substantial, often fully mature trees, and not just seedlings or saplings, as many people hold.
But – if you are a skeptic – may I suggest you start your investigation here.
Enjoy the website.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: all text and modern photographs on this website are Copyright © Peter Lukacs and www.GettysburgWitnessTrees.com 2023. If you wish to use or reproduce any material from this website in very small doses, please make sure to attribute such material as follows: “Image / text courtesy of Peter Lukacs and www.GettysburgWitnessTrees.com”. For more extensive borrowing, please contact me for permission. Reproduction of any images that are attributed on this site to any of the following also require special permission: (1) Boardman Photographic Collection; (2) Adams County Historical Society; (3) Tim Fulmer; (4) Joe Maroney.