On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Aug. 01, 2016 7:00 PM EDT Training Camp Military Appreciation Day The first M&T Bank Stadium practice will take place on Monday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. This practice – free and open to all fans – coincides with the Ravens’ annual Military Appreciation Day. Approximately 3,500 special seats will be reserved for active service members and veterans who present valid military identification upon check-in at the stadium.
  • Sat., Aug. 06, 2016 6:00 PM EDT Training Camp Fireworks Night On Saturday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m., the second M&T Bank Stadium practice will showcase the organization’s third-annual Fireworks Night, an event highlighted by post-practice autographs for children and a fireworks/laser show.
  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 5:00 PM EDT Countdown To Kickoff Party Presented By Miller Lite Grammy Award®-nominated rock band 3 DOORS DOWN will perform at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff Party Presented by Miller Lite on Friday, Sept. 9 at Maryland State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Open to all ages.
  • Mon., Oct. 03, 2016 5:00 PM EDT A Purple Evening A Purple Evening is back! Join Purple on Monday, October 3rd for on-field drills, player appearances and autographs, giveaways, and much more! Tickets will go on sale soon. Check Purple-Just for Women on Facebook for the latest club and event information.
  • Sun., Oct. 23, 2016 7:30 AM EDT Purple Away Game Trip Up the Jersey Turnpike we go! Hit the road with the Purple Club on Sunday, October 23rd to watch our Baltimore Ravens take on the New York Jets for a 1:00 p.m. game at MetLife Stadium. Don't miss your chance to join the only NFL women's fan club to travel into unfamiliar territory!
  • Sat., Dec. 10, 2016 2:00 PM EST Army vs. Navy Football Don't miss one of the greatest events you can ever attend! The Army-Navy Game presented by USAA returns to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, December 10, 2016

News

Print
RSS

Ravens Cancel Practice For Gettysburg

Posted Jul 24, 2013

The Ravens went to the Civil War battlefields for a history lesson and much more.

 
The Ravens learned about teamwork, bravery, leadership, honor and sacrifice Wednesday.

And that was all before lunch.

Head Coach John Harbaugh surprised his team with a morning meeting announcement that they were going on a field trip to the historic Civil War town of Gettysburg, Pa. Practice was cancelled.

The Ravens’ entire rookie class, a handful of coaches and some veterans who had already reported to training camp – including quarterback Joe Flacco – gleaned lessons from an entirely different battlefield.

“I’ve never really been into history like that,” rookie linebacker Arthur Brown said. “But like our leaders were saying out here, it relates to what we do as football players.

“What I got from it is what it takes to win a battle, to overcome adversity and keeping the big picture in mind. Keeping the focus on the common goal and achieving that goal.”

Harbaugh is a major history buff. His summer vacations are often to American landmarks. His messages to the team frequently include quotes from some of the world’s greatest leaders.

This year, on the eve of the start of full-practice training camp, the Ravens head coach wanted to show his players the lessons first hand.

The team was guided by a couple of Gettysburg historians and six members of the Maryland Army National Guard. They took the Ravens around the different scenes of the three-day battle, explaining what happened, why it happened, and how it related to them.

On July 1, 1863, at the battle on Culp’s Hill, Marylanders split into the northern Union and southern Confederate sides clashed against each other. It was a lesson in what it takes to have a “warrior’s heart,” stated Chaplain Col. Sean Lee.

On Day 2, the Confederates attacked the Union’s flanks. Although the northerners suffered heavy losses, they held their ground on the rocks of Little Roundtop. By the end of the battle, an officer told Union General George G. Meade that he must be pleased with the result.

“In the name of common sense, why?” Meade asked.

“Because, General, the enemy has hammered us into a strong position which you cannot easily whip us out of,” his officer said.

Harbaugh looked around at his players as they nodded in agreement. Having their backs against the wall is a position the Ravens have often found themselves in and will someday again.

On Day 3, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, emboldened by two days of good results, decided to attack the Union’s center despite urging from his top officers that it was a mistake. He ordered 12,000 infantry across a long open field, only to be blasted by the Union on the famous Pickett’s Charge. It was the decisive blow in the battle, and forced the Confederate’s retreat the next day.

“It was a good example of how a general, a leader, a coach, has to listen to people that are giving them input,” Col. Sean Casey told the team. “What a gutsy move by Lee, but a huge failure.”

Lt. Col. Amy Bennett chimed in, talking about the valor the Confederates had shown, even in defeat.

“The handful of survivors that made it was luck. The other guys had a death sentence and they knew it,” Bennett said. “But they committed and they did it anyway because that was what was expected to take care of each other, even if it meant death.”

Harbaugh talked up the tour guides and military members as much as possible throughout the day. He was immersed in the history, asking questions about their tactics and thought process.

Like wide-eyed students, the players soaked up the lessons. They chatted amongst themselves, shocked by the sacrifice and thinking about their own position, as they are about to embark on their own challenges in the 2013 season.

Like the Union, who was fighting on their home turf of Pennsylvania, the Ravens will have to turn away many attacks if they are going to defend their Super Bowl title.

And the lessons of this day in Gettysburg National Military Park will not be lost.

“Leadership out here is like leadership on the football field and in the trenches,” rookie wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard said.

“Not looking to your left and your right, and just trusting each other definitely applies to the football field. It’s about believing in your next door neighbor, your teammates, to have your back.”

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos