Gettysburg, PA

The camp we are working at is located about 24 miles from Gettysburg.
It took us three visits and we still did not see everything!

The first time we went there, we went to the visitors center,

where we toured the museum, watched the movie and saw the original Battle of Gettysburg cyclorama, which measured approximately 377 by 42 feet….longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story building. It lit up as the story is told, highlighting specific scenes.

We got an audio-guided tour CD to describe the stops along the battlefield, (which we highly recommend getting!) but by the time we were through at the visitor center, it was too late to start the tour, which they estimated would take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When we did take the tour, it took us 6 hours!!

One Sunday after church, we went over to Gettysburg to visit the town itself.
The many shops were fun to visit, and some even felt like museums since they were full of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia.

Notice the cannon ball in the chimney of this home in town. I just happened to see it as we were driving by!

We finally made it to the battlefield on Friday.
Seeing and hearing about each of the battles fought on these grounds, it was easy to imagine the battle on 25 square miles surrounding the town over a three day period, from July 1 to July 3, 1863. During this time, 51,000 were dead, wounded or missing.

The following are the highlights of our tour:

The battle started at McPherson’s farm;

McPherson’s Ridge;

Eternal Light Peace Memorial, dedicated in 1928 by President Franklin D. Roosevel, with a crowd of 200,000 attending;

Oak Ridge;

Views from the Observation Tower looking southwest to the town of Gettysburg;

and looking southeast to McClean house and barn;

where Union soldiers were ordered to the barn and surrounding areas to flush out Confederate sharpshooters. Union Corporal Rudolf Schwarz was heading to the barn when he spied Confederate prisoners being taken to the rear. One of the men he caught sight of was his own brother, fighting with the Southern troops near Oak Hill. The two men embraced, then parting, the Confederate brother was escorted to the rear. Later that afternoon, the Union soldier, Corporal Schwarz, was killed in action.

Pickett’s Ridge, lined with 3 miles of cannons, as it was on the day of the fight;

NC Memorial, whose sculptor suspended his work on the Mt. Rushmore presidents in order to make this one;

Virginia Memorial, with General Lee riding his horse, Traveller;

Pitzer Woods with the Louisiana Memorial and the

Mississippi Memorial;

Another Observation Tower gave us views of the Eisenhower home, the only one they owned. He planted 50 trees lining the driveway, one for every state.

Warfield Ridge;

Little Round Top;

Trostle Farm, with the cannonball hole in the barn (just below the right diamond);

Pennyslvania Memorial, dedicated in 1910 at a cost of $182,000, and required 1,252 tons of cut granite. The base contains 34,500 names, every Pennsylvania soldier present during the Gettysburg campaign;

The copse of trees, the Union side of Pickett’s charge, also referred to as the “High Water Mark”, the apex of southern military achievement during the war.

It is a sobering drive through all of the memorials. My pictures and comments are not enough for you to get the full effect…. it is one of those places where you have to go yourself.

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