Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield - Part 2

This is the cover of the driving tour book/CD combination we got at the Visitor's Center ($25). The package is well worth the price and really brings the battlefield alive. The Tour follows the battle from the onset through the final charge at Cemetery Ridge and fills in a number of details about the participants.

Cody and I continued our tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield and continued to greatly enjoy learning about the battle and the people involved. We found that going to the park in the morning worked great since we were before the big tour busses (and LOTS of school kids on field trips). We toured until about lunch, then went back to the coach.

This is the largest monument on the battlefield and is dedicated, appropriately enough, to the men from Pennsylvania. There are tablets surrounding the monument that have each soldier's name, rank and unit engraved and this really brings home how many people were involved.

This monument is dedicated to the Massachusetts Volunteer Sharpshooters who were heavily involved during the entire battle. Located at Cemetery Ridge, these soldiers were directly involved in repelling the famous "Pickett's Charge" by the Confederate forces

Rick was very impressed by the motto engraved at the bottom of the monument -- this pretty well sums up our belief in trying to put our faith in God, but do all we can to be prepared.

This barn was standing during the battle, and yes, that is a cannon ball hole. This was near Gen. Daniel Sickles headquarters which was overrun by the Confederate forces (he had established this command site in contradiction to the orders he was given). Right next to the barn is a monument denoting the exact spot where Gen. Sickles was hit in the leg with another cannonball. He survived the battle and entered Congress where he helped create the Gettysburg Battle Field park.

There are many magnificent Confederate monuments as well, such as this one commemorating the Alabama forces involved.
Cody was most impressed with this monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee. Located where Pickett's Charge began, this pays homage to Lee's dedication to his native state of Virginia. Lee was a graduate of West Point before the war and lived at his estate in Arlington, VA -- yes, now the site of Arlington National Cemetery. After Lee resigned his US Army commission to join the Confederates, remaining senior officers in the US Army urged Congress to confiscate Lee's estate for non-payment of taxes ($92), since Lee had not personally come to pay them in 1864 (Lee's agent DID show up to pay them, but was refused). To ensure that Lee could never again return to the estate, the property was used as a Federal Cemetery. An interesting aside -- in 1877, Lee's heirs sued the US government for improper seizure and in 1882 won the case. Lee's heir then sold the estate back to the Government since the cemetery was already established. Seems like politics really don't change very much!

Cody was surprised to see this much more modern monument dedicated to Tennessee soldiers. Erected in 1982, it is the last Confederate monument placed in the park.

Looks like photo dog is bushed. Here, Cody wonders what if must have been like firing this cannon in the Devil's Den area. Surrounded with large rocks and cliffs, the casualties were very high on both sides as a result of the heavy fighting.

A visit to Gettysburg is a very moving experience and well worth a few days to go back to early July, 1863.

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