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Gettysburg: Part One

After living in Pennsylvania for almost 25 years without visiting Gettysburg, we finally made the trip. There was a dusting of snow that weekend on the battlefield and the cemetery, which lent the right emotional tone -- a chill in the heart.

I am by no means a military historian, so I refer you to The Gettysburg National Military Park Virtual Tour: The Story of the Battle of Gettysburg for details on the battle which pitted the Union's Army of the Potomac, commanded by General George Gordon Meade, against General Robert E. Lee's Confederates (fresh off victories in Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville) from July 1 to 3, 1863. Gettysburg was a turning point in the war; the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy" turned into a Union victory which ensured that Lee's Army of Northern Virginia never again invaded the North.

As we drove through the farmlands that were once a battlefield, we got a more immediate sense of the Confederates' dilemma than we could get through history books alone. When you are standing on the low wooded ground that was the Confederate line of battle, looking at open fields in front of you as the 12,000 soldiers did at the start of the doomed Pickett's Charge, then follow the road uphill so you are on the high ground the Union had, you realize the Union could simply point their cannon down at the Rebels and pick them off. It's not hard to understand who won.

It's also easy to become a fan of Lee, who was an amazing general and well worth learning more about.

If you get the chance to see Gettysburg for yourself, do it. It will truly make history come to life.

General Robert E. Lee, mounted on "Traveller":

President Eisenhower's Gettysburg farm. He liked to give his guests tours of the battlefield.

A couple of shots from the Union high ground, Little Round Top, looking over the "Valley of Death":

Devil's Den:

The outcome:

This ground will always hold sad memories...

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
I was there many moons ago and need to go back. I'm thankful that all the land is sacred. great pics.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )