Jessie Wheedleton is currently working as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. She was raised in nearby York, Pennsylvania. Prior to her interest in the battlefield, she graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 2009 and spent several years working as a Deckhand and later Watch Officer for Sea Education Association. Students opting for a semester at sea would find themselves in a rigorous sail training course designed to teach them seamanship and leadership in addition to their academic coursework. In between sea semesters, she began working at Gettysburg in the summers. There she was inspired by many battlefield enthusiasts whose passion for the story of the battle inspired her to pursue a future leading tours as a Licensed Guide. She began the testing process in December of 2015, passing the written exam and interview, but failing the practical exam. Restarting the process in 2017, she placed first in the written exam and finally succeeded in the final stages. When Jessie received her license in 2018, it coincided with the 50th anniversary of women guiding at Gettysburg. She was given the badge number of the first woman licensed in 1968, Barbara Schutt, who passed away in 2016.
Jessie exchanged the life at sea for a home in Gettysburg near the battlefield with her husband and dog. She keeps busy guiding through all seasons on buses, cars, Segway’s and bicycles. Recently she started a stained-glass business specializing in civil war battle flags to help fill the winter months. Jessie has developed several specialized talks and tours focusing on the stories of artillerists in the battle, perhaps because the operations of a gun crew bear some resemblance to that of a tall ship sailor.
Our faculty is made up of instructors and guides, many of whom are licensed battlefield guides. Instructors and guides are chosen for each session based upon the identified goals of the group.