1 July 2013

Historical highlights "Gettysburg"

July 1st 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg started and then lasted 3 days. Over 50,000 killed making it one of the worst battles of the war. Today is the 150th anniversary.
I start with this comment and will continue on with my tour.

We arrived in Gettysburg and a tour of the Gettysburg visitors centre. We first saw a film about the battle and about what happened in Gettysburg not just the battle but after the battle and up to when Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. At the top is a Cyclorama painting that is a 360 degree depiction of Pickets charge and a film. It lights up the different parts of the cyclorama as it tells the story of the charge. The picture is so good and it felt like you were there. Knowing and hearing how Picket loses most of his division is so sad and I have to say I had tears watching and listening. It is amazing.

We had time in the gift shop which just happened to have several school groups also there so was really noisy and busy. 

That night we went to the Farnsworth house for an evening meal and entertainment. The house has over 100 bullet holes which you can still see in the wall. The entertainment was a visit by President Lincoln who told us about his life and his involvement at Gettysburg. The guy who played him was amazing and it was such a great meal and night.

In the morning it was a tour of the battle field. We saw the statue of the one civilian Mary Virginia "Jennie" Wade who was killed while making bread. Then it was a tour of the battle field. We got a guide who was so excited to have adults as there were to be 102 tour buses with many being school children. We drove past many of the land marks the guide asked if any had seen Gettysburg the Movie which I have many times and showed us some of the building mentioned.

Our first stop was at the monument to General Lee.   I had my photo taken but they cut half of General Lee off so I put both photos up. Yes the wrist by this stage was hurting so much I had the back slab back on. We then went up to Little round top where the north held the line and repelled the confederates. It was the end of the line. We saw the rocks the confederates had to climb over and they were rugged, big and sharp. Many who were shot didn't die from being shot but from falling on the rocks. At Little round top we heard the chilling fact that often over the cannon fire and gun fire the sound they could hear was the crunching of bones from the wounded and dead. Seeing the area and the numbers who were there you can understand how this could happen and while its an awful fact it really made it real. 

The above photos are at Little Round Top and the first shows the rugged terrain. The second is me and a cannon (I tell you I want to be a cannoneer!)  We then head of to the middle of the line. This is where Pickets charge happened. In the film I had a real soft spot for Lewis Armistead. He was from Virginia and quite a character. We saw the spot he was shot and there was a monument where he was mortally wounded. (He died from his wounds a couple of days later). I though oh great I will get to take a photo of the site but no we didn't get out here! I did take a photo from the bus.
The small monument I think is where he was wounded. 

This ended the tour we came back to the visitors centre and then we left for our next port of call. I could have spent hours if not a whole day just looking at the monuments and the different areas. Gettysburg was the one place I was really wanting to visit and I am so glad I got to see it. I would love to go again to see more. Being there we get to see where the battle happened but we also get a feeling of what the towns folk had to deal with after. The battle took 3 days then they moved on leaving the dead and wounded. The towns people had to deal with this. The weather was hot , humid and then rained so it was oppressive and dealing with dead and decaying bodies was not easy.

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