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Monday, June 23, 2014

Gettysburg and Beyond

We took a road trip just before Father's Day. Our destinations were historical Gettysburg, PA and then onto Lancaster, PA for a family get together.. 
Our decision to visit to Gettysburg National Military Park, also called the Gettysburg Battlefield came after we had  "prepped" a bit by watching Gettysburg, the 1993 epic (just under 4 hour) film that focused on this significant Civil War battle.

The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863 was a major turning point in the Civil War. The Union Northern Army of the Potomac's victory ended the Southern Army of Northern Virginia's second invasion of the North. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee concentrated his army around Gettysburg on the approach of Union Gen. George G. Meade’s forces. 







Gettysburg was by far the bloodiest battle of the entire war with over 50,000 killed. To this day, it remains the single bloodiest battle ever fought on U.S. soil. 

Touring sites that previously were just names we had read or heard about including: Devil's Den, McPherson's Ridge, Seminary Ridge, Big Round Top, Little Round Top, Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill we tried to imagine the battles fought there. We viewed Cemetery Ridge where the infamous and ill-advised Pickett's Charge with  heavy casualties ended the battle. 


We walked through the Soldiers National Cemetery, burial site for the Union dead, the site is in the anchor of the Union battle line and includes a portion of the battlefield. The cemetery served as the inspiration for the Gettysburg Address delivered by President Abraham Lincoln's on November 1863 here. It is also the burial site for U.S. soldiers from other wars.

This was a first time visit for and we found it to be a somber experience especially on the very rainy days we were there. We took a guided bus tour the first day, then a self-guided auto tour, stopping at many of the memorials and viewpoints a second time. 

We started at the Gettysburg NMP Visitor's Center run by the U.S. National Park Service. It has exhibits featuring battle relics, inter-active exhibits, and a resource center which provides computerized information on soldiers who served at Gettysburg and elsewhere. The center features A New Birth of Freedom narrated by actor Morgan Freeman and the restored Gettysburg Cyclorama depicting the fury of Pickett's Charge. There is an entry fee for museum admission, the film, and the sight and sound cyclorama. (More about this amazing artwork in a future post.) FYI, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands, Golden Age and Golden Eagle passes are not accepted for admission. There are discounts for active military, seniors and youth (6-12 years) AAA members, and children under 6 years are free.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a Father's Day weekend in Lancaster, PA visiting with daughter and son-in-law, Coleen and Paulo and grand puppy Lola.
Also, the trip involved a steam train ride (no surprise) which Grenville will happily post about later.

13 comments:

William Kendall said...

It's beautiful terrain, with so much history infused into it. I've got a particular interest in that war, and someday I have to walk that ground for myself.

Daisy said...

It must have been interesting to see all those places you had read about. Those are nice family photos from your Father's Day visit.

A Quiet Corner said...

Ahhh...the old steam engine...:)JP

Blackberry Lane said...

So happy you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for sharing the awesome photos. I look forward to reading about the train trip.

Sandra said...

a great way to spend Fathers day and that battle field is beautiful today. hard to think all the blood that was shed there.

NCmountainwoman said...

We love Gettysburg. It really brings the awful nature of war to one's heart. Especially poignant to us is the NC monument. NC lost more soldiers in the battle than any other state.

L. D. said...

Living smack dab in the middle of the US makes it seem like a dream to see Gettysburg. We do have graves of soldiers from the civil war. I have never seen the cemetery photos before now. It is a somber visit I am sure.

Emma Springfield said...

I have been studying the Civil War for a lot of years. The loss of life in most battles is horrifying but Gettysburg was the worst. My daughter took her children there for vacation a couple of years ago. It left a lasting impression on them too.

Doris said...

So happy you enjoyed seeing Gettysburg. It's been awhile since we've been there. Must go again soon. Ellen loves climbing the fire towers...I, on the other hand, cannot even make it up one flight!! I feel best with both feet on the ground...
Nice pictures of you with family. So sorry we couldn't arrange a visit this trip...next time!

Elaine said...

We visited Gettysburg on a couple of sunny September days, and it was still somber. Just looking at the photos makes me feel somber.

Looks like you had a good visit in Lancaster, and even a steam train ride! A little bit of history, a little bit of family, and a joy ride--all the makings of a successful trip.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Been to Gettysburg several times and I don't care to go again. Have visited many battlefield sites, but Gettysburg weighs heavily on me when I'm there. I couldn't get all the way through the museum. Had to get out of there PDQ.

Linda said...

I've been there a few times. Love the restored Cyclorama!

Anvilcloud said...

It's quite the place. Glad it ended it a good Fathers Day.

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