Since I have so many pictures and our trip was similar in schedule to the 4 day battle (not much fighting on Day 4) , I decided to breakdown my Gettysburg visit thread into 4 days as well. The first two shared here , the third and fourth with their own thread in this forum.
We talked on the way home yesterday about how much we did on our trip from dawn to dark during our 3+ Summer days there and how days were this long then as well (7/1-7/4)….it then kind of hit home to me how much fighting, killing and destruction can be done over that same short time period when you bring thousands and thousands of troops together for just one purpose.
Day 1, the day of arrival
Like many of the union soldiers we arrived on the scene late on the day 1 after a long but highly different trip, what took us five hours took them??? Also, for them many of their brethren already met their fate, but for us it just cut down on the Day 1 options. We decided not to head to the battlefield for on Day 1 as dark approached, but instead settled into our “ base camp” and planned out our next three days using local resources and help from this site. Our HQ for the trip was the Wyndham in Gettysburg, As a travel note, It gets a good recommendation from us although it had a power outage while we were there that knocked out the elevator and the room AC, but no fault of their own. It is a few miles from the battlefield on a 100 acre campus with lots of open space that keeps you off the beaten path a little. It was dog friendly which we actually had no use for this trip , but was new, clean, and had a great pool. Food right there in the complex was too expensive for this family of five. But for $189 a night, it was a nice place to lay out your bedroll and relax.
Like many of the new arriving soldiers as the sun came up , we found ourselves in a place we have never been and kind of thrust ourselves right into the center of town. All roads leading to the center of town, it is a little confusing with all the roads meeting there but is also a reason the battle got fought there. We met with our drive around guide Jim at the Museum at 11AM and the trip had a lot more structure and purpose after that, especially once we learned the lay off the land. Although quite limited with 2 hours with Jim, I do recommend this as he gives you tips and info you just can’t get from a CD tour or guide book. He also told me to stick to seeing the park on weekends to the early morning and late evening as it has more meaning and the proper feel and I think that tip made the trip for us as the pictures will illustrate some on Saturday, Day 3, luckily this was Friday and not bad yet with crowds. So here we go…
Joe got in some aiming practice of a cannon in the front yard of the museum as we waited for our tour to start.
Our first stop with the guide was Seminary ridge and the lookout tower seen in the movie Gettysburg . Interesting that of the 4 scenes it is in on the movie, only one is the actual lookout, the others are a set created to match it just a few miles away. The guides friend got it after the movie was over, but it did not hold up to the elements well. Truthfully I did not get many pics now though as I was still getting use to someone else driving my truck, like watching a new guy dance with your girlfriend, LOL and I was really all ears at this point. Off to where day One fighting occurred.
The Day 1 front lines, and a pic from the spot where the first General of the battle was shot and killed very early on , PA’s own General Reynolds died right near here early in the Day 1 fighting.
Then over to Day 2 and near the site overlooking Pickett’s charge and the site of General Lee’s monument.
The charge took place from right to left out in front of this cannon coming up out of the hollows to the right.
And Lee’s monument was just incredible in size and detail .
Joey armed with his new sidearm got lost in the moment of battle and because of the detail ….
The tour then took us to Little roundtop, and Cemetary Rridge and many other places in which we just took notes of for a return visit this weekend. I got so involved in what was being said and knew I had 2 days to come back and take pics so I kind of put my camera away and just listened and made mental notes to be the guide without one.
Based on the guide’s advice we planned for a sunset return trip to the battlefield that evening …and we were not disappointed. Back about 7:30 or so we went over to the area around the only monument there that celebrates peace and not war on the battlefield with an eternal flame burning. And to the west the sun went down as scheduled. Absent of crowds and slight breeze blowing you were truly given the perfect setting to reflect on our country’s war. I wondered around and just kept looking at the sunset and thought about how the soldiers must of prayed for darkness so the fighting would cease for the day, they did not fight at night as chances were to great of shooting your own…I am sure they were glad to see it approach, but for so many was this view their last sunset??
I’ll shut up now and just let you share that peaceful moment..
Day 2 ends, we survived but are extremely tired and hungry.
Please move on to the Day 3 and Day 4 threads.