Friday, August 31, 2007

Gettysburg, PA Aug. 24 - 29

There have been many book and movies about the Civil War battle at Gettysburg. Until, however, you walk the grounds, see the battlefields, understand what and how that battle was played out, well, they are just books and movies.
Words on this blog could not begin to explain what it is like to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park. It is an 18 mile auto tour that traces the three-day battle in chronological order. Starting on July 1, 1863 to the turning point of "Puckett's Charge" when the Confederates made their last attempt to break through the Union lines (and failed) and General Lee retreaded his army.
Each of the 16 stops has monuments and memorials for the different regiments from both sides of the war. There must be over 1000 markers for something that happened, a particular soldier or group/command/flank (L or R), etc. What we found interesting was the sobering atmosphere of everyone present as you walked around the battlefield sites. Even children could tell that something really bad had happened here and seemed to really take it all in right along with the adults.
While it was very interesting to read the scriptures on all the memorials, the one that caught Mary by surprise was the Minnesota Memorial. She remembers the history lessons in school about the Civil War but she never remembers anyone talking about the Minnesota regiment that helped play a very decisive roll in the final days of battle. It seems that when the Confederates made that last charge (Puckett's Charge) it was the Minnesota regiment that cut through and separated the left flank. This put some of the Confederates (to the very far left) isolated and under fire from the Minnesota regiment and the rest of the Union flank still holding their line. This is even mentioned in a presentation at the Visitor Center as a big decisive move of the battle.
A tour of the National Cemetery also has a memorial for Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address given on November 19, 1863.
If you ever have the time, make sure you visit Gettysburg and give yourself 3 or 4 days to really see it all.
You will want to also go to President Eisenhower's home and ranch. By today's standards for a presidential retreat, the house is not that big. The kitchen is very small and very 50's.
Included in our trip to Gettysburg was a visit from Fred & Sally, real estate clients of ours and a visit from a high school buddy of Jerry's, Elek and his wife Dorris who toured the area with us one day.
From Gettysburg it is off the the mountain cabin in Northern Pennsylvania to be with Mary's sister Lavern and husband Bob. We will be "dug in" for the holiday weekend.