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Another place on the bucket list checked off - Gettysburg Battlefield


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Finally got to check off visiting the Gettysburg battlefield from my bucket list. For anyone remotely interested in the (US) Civil War or the battle specifically, you have to find a way to visit this place. The park is massive, the National Park Service has gone to great lengths to ensure that the area is as close as possible to the way it looked right before the battle.


You can get a tour bus, drive your car to the various major points or do what I did and get a good quality topo map, put some water in your ruck and start walking. I did 16 miles over two days and it was fantastic. 

 

Below is the far-left flank of the entire Union army on 2 July, located on Little Round Top. It was anchored by the 20th Maine.   I was the only person in these quiet woods and to be honest, it was a bit unnerving. Hard to believe that according to the books I've read about the battle, those rocks you can see were "covered in blood" during some of the fiercest fighting of the battle.   Close to being overrun, the 20th Maine fixed bayonets and charged downhill from this point.  They turned back the Confederate assault but took severe casualties in the process.   

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One last picture from my visit.  Taken from the peak of Little Round Top.   To the far left is Devils Den, close by is The Slaughter Pen and the area below is known as the Valley of Death.   

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Truly hallowed ground.

 

BTW, if anyone is interested in this battle, the movie "Gettysburg" is particularly well done but the ultimate source on the battle is the book "The Killer Angels" by Jeff Shaara.   An amazing read. 

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Everywhere you walk is potentiay where someone was killed, wounded, or a target. I stood there and thought of the men charging up that hill. Drive down Confederate Road and look at the guns. Learn about Gettysburg in 1 day; spend the rest of your life studying it.

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Posted (edited)

Devils Den and Little Round Top are to be closed for about seven months for rework starting May/June 2022.  If you want to visit the park, I would suggest you postpone until after construction is finished unless, like John, you’re going there this weekend.

 

Gettysburg is my favorite place.  I relocated to PA so I could be closer to this iconic landmark.  I’ve been going since 2003 (140th anniversary) and have wandered around the various fields, town, and sites this place has to offer.

 

What many people don’t realize is that Gettysburg is not just the National Park property.  There are multiple battlefields that make up the Gettysburg battle on each of the three days; most of which are Park property but not all (yet).  The battlefield encompassed the entire town, as well as the Park proper and other areas such as Sach’s Bridge (key crossing for some of the second days Confederate troop movements).

 

Ill be spending time there (it’s only 30 miles from my home) this July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  I go every year and every year I learn new material about the battle.

 

The movie, while great entertainment and is generally accurate, leaves out a lot of information/ events (understandably so) but makes some mistakes in the events timeline.  I haven’t watched it this year yet but if you do make it to Gettysburg this year, the Farnswoth House Tavern has a display of all the actors uniforms from the movie; it’s really something to see.  I was fortunate enough to briefly meet Stephen Lang (who played General Pickett)  in the tavern one year when he was giving a battlefield talk at the visitors center.  He still had a shaved head from his role in the movie Avatar.

 

This is one of my favorite places on the battlefield, key position of the 9th Massachusetts Battery on July 2nd, 1863; the Abraham Trostle farm. Also the position of General Sickles Headquarters... the marker of where a cannonball took his right leg all but off from the knee down, is just to the left, outside the picture.

 

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Edited by Juggernut
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17 minutes ago, Juggernut said:

Devils Den and Little Round Top are to be closed for about seven months for rework starting May/June 2022.  If you want to visit the park, I would suggest you postpone until after construction is finished unless, like John, you’re going there this weekend.

 

Gettysburg is my favorite place.  I relocated to PA so I could be closer to this iconic landmark.  I’ve been going since 2003 (140th anniversary) and have wandered around the various fields, town, and sites this place has to offer.

 

What many people don’t realize is that Gettysburg is not just the National Park property.  There are multiple battlefields that make up the Gettysburg battle on each of the three days; most of which are Park property but not all (yet).  The battlefield encompassed the entire town, as well as the Park proper and other areas such as Sach’s Bridge (key crossing for some of the second days Confederate troop movements).

 

Ill be spending time there (it’s only 30 miles from my home) this July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  I go every year and every year I learn new material about the battle.

 

The movie, while great entertainment and is generally accurate, leaves out a lot of information/ events (understandably so) but makes some mistakes in the events timeline.  I haven’t watched it this year yet but if you do make it to Gettysburg this year, the Farnswoth House Tavern has a display of all the actors uniforms from the movie; it’s really something to see.  I was fortunate enough to briefly meet Stephen Lang (who played General Pickett)  in the tavern one year when he was giving a battlefield talk at the visitors center.  He still had a shaved head from his role in the movie Avatar.

Spot on.   I made it just in time, I would have been heart broken if I finally got there just to find that Little Round Top was closed.    I spent two days wandering on foot.   If I had been down in PA longer (I was sent down for a few weeks for work), I would have also taken a third day to visit the Culp's Hill battlefield.    The entire area is fantastic, in Gettysburg itself, there are multiple brick homes that still have scars from being hit with musket balls.   Another great feature - everything is free (unless you want to visit the museum at the visitor's center), even the parking.   

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That would be the worst sort of wrong.

I bought the cd to play on the self guided tour. Very tough to listen to with the decriptions of the battle, the crash of cannon, the ebb and flow of lines of men, hundreds of men engaged, screams, shouted commands...

Sorry, I'm getting worked up just sitting here. Also one of the most haunted places in the US.

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5 hours ago, LSP_Mike said:

That would be the worst sort of wrong.

I bought the cd to play on the self guided tour. Very tough to listen to with the decriptions of the battle, the crash of cannon, the ebb and flow of lines of men, hundreds of men engaged, screams, shouted commands...

Sorry, I'm getting worked up just sitting here. Also one of the most haunted places in the US.


Yep, and I bring my K2meter, IR video camera, and camera when I’m there at night.

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That entire area from Gettysburg down the Shenandoah into Virginia will take your breath away.  So much happened there that made us the nation we were until just recently.  The whole area is soaked in history and tradition and you simply cannot help but feel it when you walk those hallowed grounds.  My son, now a lieutenant colonel and squadron commander, is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.  The VMI Corps of Cadets fought as a single maneuver unit during the Civil War, taking a Federal artillery battery during fierce fighting and an uphill charge.  Several cadets were killed.  Every year during the graduation pass in review, when the corps adjutant calls for his report most company commanders respond with the traditional “All present or accounted for,” the cadet commanders of the companies who lost cadets in that battle respond with, “Cadet Smith and Cadet Jones.  Died on the field of honor, Sir.”  Few of the parents and visitors know and even fewer expect it.  I promise you that in the absolute silence that follows, there is not a dry eye anywhere on the post.  I am moved even to this day.  I don’t know what it is about the American Civil War - other countries have endured similar agony - that so enraptures us, but it does, no matter what your politics are.  Maybe it’s because, like any big family, we disagreed, we argued, we fought, then we got over it.  The price in blood and treasure was enormous, but we became a better place for it.  At least for a while.

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