Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gettysburg, Day 2 - Battlefields

After visiting the museum and visitors center, we went on a driving tour.  We bought the CDs for the tour and will likely have to go back soon as we didn't complete the entire tour.  Someone had to get out at every stop making the first half of our tour last over 3 hours - the entire tour was a recommended 1.5-2 hours.  The kids, Nana and I were done so our tour guide/driver - aka Jake - agreed to stop the tour and head back to the campsite.

We got lots of good pictures though!  Hopefully I remember enough about the sites that I can tell you a smidge about them.  But the best is to see it for yourself.  So here's the plug for Gettysburg...
Go visit the incredible historical site.  There is much to see and learn.  It's AMAZING!

To be honest, the majority of the prominent battle fields are still just fields.  The first picture is of the area where it all began.  This is just past the McPhereson barn, which still stands as a landmark for all to see.  I believe I took the second picture from the Eternal Light Peace Memorial.  The large memorial is to remind us that we are now a united people, no longer divided.

One of our stops had the fences along another area of fighting.  There were also cannons lining the street. 
This area was actually starting to show the different state memorials.  Each state is represented showing their part of the war and their contribution of men and bloodshed.

I'm not sure what this memorial is because I didn't get out of the van at this stop.  You could ask Jacob - he likely knows! :)
This is the Virginia Memorial.  It has a statue of Robert E. Lee on his horse. 
The large open field to the east is where the last Confederate assault of the battle known as "Pickett's Charge" occurred on July 3.

We happened upon a Confederate camp.  Two of the soldiers let the boys take a picture with them.  These soldiers are from the Virginia 28th out of Bedford. 

The troops head out to the field.
We learned that the Union troops had matching uniforms, but most of the Confederate troops had a hodgepodge of wear.  If they needed new boots or a new coat, they would take it off of a dead soldier. 
They demonstrate marching as a troop onto the field.  Their colors are staked signifying Confederate soldiers.
A demonstration of shooting.  The soldier shooting in this photo is a woman.  There were many women that fought in the war, but had to keep their identity hidden.  Most troop leaders wouldn't have minded a woman as long as she was a good soldier.  But if captains found out she would surely have been dismissed.

Here is the view from Little Round Top.  In the upper left of the picture you can see a rocky area known as Devil's Den.  The rocks in the area were used for protection for the various soldiers.
The boys posed for us.  Travis was being silly and couldn't do a normal pose.

To Cemetery Hill...
As we were walking up the hill to enter the cemetery, you could see the flags waving over the knoll.  It's hard to tell but the bottom flag was a Confederate flag.

The memorial is the center of all of the soldier's graves from the battles in Gettysburg.
This is the spot that President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address.
It's our guess that the wreathes that adorn the monument are left over from Memorial Day two weeks ago.

If you look closely you can see ridges in the grass.  Those ridges are where stones are laid as markers for all of the soldiers that died.  I now wish I had stood at the monument and took a picture down so that it could be seen better.

Overall it was an incredible day.  I was never one to be into history, so dates and names don't stick with me.  But it was incredible to see the fields where so much carnage took place.  I guess I never really thought of the ins and outs of why the Civil War took place.  I can see why the south fought to keep the rights of slave labor.  But I can also see why the north wanted freedom for all.  Thankfully the war ended the way it did and that we all have the freedom to do as we please.  Had the south won, we still wouldn't be United States.  It happened like is should so that we could all have our own chance at freedom and life.

1 comment:

Life Happens said...

Looks like you guys had a great camping trip! How fun!