Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gettysburg - a Notable Address

Skipping ahead a bit,

we stopped in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

on our way home from Philadelphia

(not to worry, those posts will come;

just thought I would keep the wars together).

Of course a visit to

is in order.

Of course,

one could simply drive around the area

and see the many monuments on one's own.

But to truly get a sense of the history and import

of this place,

one should first visit the Visitor Center.

This certainly has changed since we were last here

twenty-two years ago.

A large photo of the town from that fateful date.

Another enlarged photo.

Please note that I am not a Civil War buff.

One of those in our household is more than enough.

I much rather prefer Revolutionary War history.

So please enjoy the following photos with

minimal interference from me.

Ah, I know this one:

musical instruments.



More guns.


Hand guns.


This is a miniature version of the famed

Gettysburg Cyclorama,

a 360 degree painting that is 22 feet tall and 359 long.

It is estimated that it was originally 42 feet tall

and 365 feet in circumference when it was originally

painted in the 1880's.

A Confederate soldier's uniform.

A Union soldier's uniform.

Cannon balls.

Typical gear carried by a Union soldier.

Typical gear carried by a Confederate soldier.

Confederate soldiers tended to carry less equipment

than their Union counterparts.

The Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago

our fathers brought forth on this continent,

a new nation, conceived in Liberty,

and dedicated to the proposition

that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war,

testing whether that nation,

or any nation so conceived and so dedicated,

can long endure.

We are met on a great battle-field of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field,

as a final resting place

for those who here gave their lives

that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper

that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate

-- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow --

this ground.

The brave men, living and dead,

who struggled here, have consecrated it,

far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note,

nor long remember what we say here,

but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather,

to be dedicated here to the unfinished work

which they who fought here

have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here

dedicated to the great task

remaining before us

-- that from these honored dead

we take increased devotion

to that cause for which they gave

the last full measure of devotion

-- that we here highly resolve

that these dead shall not have died in vain

-- that this nation,

under God,

shall have a new birth of freedom

-- and that government of the people,

by the people,

for the people,

shall not perish from the earth.

This was the model of the battlefield,

complete with electric lights - and dust - that was in use

when we were here twenty-two years ago.

After grabbing a Licensed Battlefield Guide,

our bus headed out to tour the area in and around


Our tour started at Cemetery Ridge.

Union Forces held Cemetery Ridge.


in warfare,

you want to hold the high ground.

The high ground is good.

It is much easier to shoot down than

to shoot up.

Plus, you can see much farther.

The battle began July 1, 1863.

The Parks Service is trying to return the area

to how it was in 1863.

And that does mean removing trees in some

areas and planting trees in others.

There are approximately* 1,328 monuments,

markers and memorials at Gettysburg.

*Approximately. Your government at play.

Don't pin them down, folks.

They don't appreciate that.

The only civilian casualty at Gettysburg

was a young woman named Jenny (or Ginnie) Wade.

While most of the townspeople fled at the first

sign of battle,

Jenny stayed to help her sister with her newborn baby.

A bullet came through two doors and hit her in the back.

Naturally, the house where this occured is now

a tourist attraction.

This is the home where President Abraham Lincoln

stayed when he came to give his few remarks

after the keynote speaker, Edward Everett, had said his fill

at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery.

Later, Mr. Everett wrote to President Lincoln

that he only wished that he could have

said in two hours what President Lincoln

had managed to say in in those two minutes.

High praise indeed from a man who was

widely regarded as a great orator of the day.

A note on the horses.

It was an unwritten rule at Gettysburg

that any statue of a rider on a horse

follow the "rules."

If one hoof is off the ground,

the rider was wounded in battle and may or may not

have died from his wounds at a later date.

If two hooves are off the ground,

then the rider died in battle.

If all four hooves are on the ground,

then the rider survived the battle.

Only one equine statue at Gettysburg

breaks that "rule."

(More on that later.)

So, we know that this rider died at Gettysburg.

This barn was pressed into service as a field hospital

during the battle.

A wounded soldier had an almost three times
better chance of surviving on the field amid the fighting

rather than in the hospital.


Seminary Ridge.

This is a Lutheran Seminary, hence the name.

The Confederate Forces held Seminary Ridge.

After the battle,

this building was used as a hospital.

It was reported that doctors would toss

the amputated limbs out the first floor

corner windows (nearest front)

and that the pile reached to the window sill.

After the battle ended,

the rains came.

Several wounded men then drowned

in the basement of this building.

This is the equine statue that broke the rules.

Longstreet was neither wounded nor killed in this battle.

Evidently, this statue caused quite the furor

when it was unveiled.

Little Round Top.

The Devil's Den.

Riding up Little Round Top.

See why the high ground is important?

Col. Strong Vincent held this hill against the Confederates.

I can see for miles and miles.

The largest memorial we have seen at Gettysburg.

This is near where the battle finally ended on

day three,

July 3, 1863.

The final stop of the tour was the Soldiers' National Cemetery.

The Masonic Memorial.

Friend to Friend

A Brotherhood Undivided

"Union General Winfield Scott Hancock

and Confederate Lewis Addison Armistead
were personal friends and members of the Masonic Fraternity.

Although they had served and fought side by side

in the United States army prior to the Civil War,

Armistead refused to raise his sword

against his fellow Southerners

and joined the Confederate Army in 1861.
Both Hancock and Armistead fought heroically

in the previous twenty-seven months of the war.

They were destined to meet at Gettysburg.
During Pickett's Charge,

Armistead led his men gallantly, penetrating Hancock's line.

Ironically, when Armistead was mortally wounded,

Hancock was also wounded.

Depicted in this sculpture is Union Captain Henry Bingham,

a Mason and staff assistant to General Hancock,

himself wounded,

rendering aid to the fallen Confederate General.

Armistead is shown handing his watch

and personal effects to be taken to his friend,

Union General Hancock.

Hancock survived the war and died in 1886.

Armistead died at Gettysburg July 5, 1863.

Captain Bingham attained the rank of General

and later served 32 years in the

United States House of Representatives.

He was known as the "Father of the House."

Shown on the wall surrounding this monument

are the names of the States whose soldiers

fought at the Battle of Gettysburg.

This monument is presented by

the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge

of Free and Accepted Masons

of Pennsylvania and dedicated as a memorial to

the Freemasons of the Union and the Confederacy.

Their unique bonds of friendship enabled them

to remain a brotherhood undivided,

even as they fought in a divided nation,

faithfully supporting thee respective governments

under which they fought.

Dedicated August 21, 1993

by The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge

of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity

of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania

And Masonic Jurisdiction There unto Belonging."

I do encourage you to visit this most sacred of American


Gettysburg was the largest and bloodiest battle

to ever take place in the Western Hemisphere.

The Union suffered 23, 049 casualties

while the Confederates lost an estimated 28,000 men.

In addition, 5,000 horses were killed

and 569 tons of amunition were expended.

Many thanks to my dear husband

for some of the outdoor photographs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the trip through the Gettysburg battlefield.