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Park Ranger Speaker Series

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The Interior Library is proud to present a series of programs on the background and history of sites of interest in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as subjects highlighting the history of the United States.  The 45-minute programs, presented by National Park Service Rangers, are held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building

To register for a future Park Ranger Speaker Series program, please click here. For more information about our Park Ranger Speaker Series programs, please contact the Interior Library by phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at

Additional Park Ranger Speaker Series programs will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check this page regularly for changes or updates.
The Battle of Mobile Bay
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Through the early morning mist of August 5, 1864, a fleet commanded by Admiral David G. Farragut attempted to pass though the Confederate defenses which guarded Mobile Bay.  The bay was a lifeline of the Confederacy to the outside world.  The forces defending the bay were well aware of the dire consequences if the fleet entered and commanded entry and exit to its waters.  The resulting battle proved of paramount importance to the blockade proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861.  The aftermath of this battle firmly cemented Farragut's name as one of our nation's legendary naval officers.

We invite you to join Park Ranger Brad Berger as he discusses the Battle of Mobile Bay.  This Union victory, extensively covered by the Northern press, was a significant boost in Abraham Lincoln's bid for re-election three months after the battle.

Please note: This program will be held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building's Rachel Carson Room, located in the building's basement level next to the cafeteria.  For directions, please contact the Library staff via phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at

Battle of Mobile Bay

A Pretty Team! - Rascality and Stupidity: Refighting Gettysburg
Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

To what famous Civil War figures did contemporaries apply the words “rascality” and “stupidity” and for what reasons? Certainly, the battle actions around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania produced great bloodshed but they also generated an unabated, fierce storm of debate. Many historians rightly aver that veterans spilled more ink than blood defending Gettysburg. Washington, D.C. certainly played a huge role in that fight as Gettysburg figured prominently in the minds of political figures who sought answers as well as scapegoats. High-ranking Union general officers came to the nation’s capital to defend their actions and answer accusations of incompetence, cowardice and potential treason. Come listen to tales of rascality and stupidity as we demonstrate that Washington, D.C. always provided a stage for venom and vitriol.

We invite you to join Park Ranger Michael T. Kelly as he discusses the enduring struggle to interpret the Battle of Gettysburg—even after 150 years.