Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 10 Battles to Choose in Gettysburg

1. Watch the Film at the Visitors Center to get a background on the landscape you are about to see. You can also acquire or pick up any tickets you may have ordered in advance.On your way in stop for a photo op with Mr. Lincoln. Go to see the Cyclorama also found at the visitors center.  The art work and the depiction of the sights and sounds of the Battle of Gettysburg will give you a vivid  description of what happened on July 1, 2 and 3 in 1863.  This year marks the 150th Anniversary.








2. Take a Tour.  There are several offered and can be purchased at the visitor's center or online.We opted for the a private tour with an Association of Licensed Battlefield GuideMr. James Tate escorted us around the battlefield and pointed out all the hot spots as well as some personal experience. He grew up in Gettysburg and was in the field as a young boy, the day President Roosevelt came for the dedication of the Eternal Light Peace Monument in 1938. He also showed us where his ancestor Solomon Tate, bugle boy for Company B was laid to rest on Cemetery Hill.


3. Make sure to find the location and the times of the Park Ranger Tours.  They are located at various times and places throughout the day.  They are free and they are great.  We took one at Soldiers Cemetery it was fabulous and FREE. Some of the unique things I learned from taking this tour is they do not know the exact spot where Lincoln delivered his speech and Lincoln was not the key speaker that day.  Also the remarkable story about how the identity of one of the unknown soldiers was discovered.  There were many unknown soldiers.  Some are identified merely by a number. Amos Humiston was killed at Gettysburg, he died clutching the photograph of his three children.  That is how he was later identified and the Philadelphia Inquirer helped in that search.







4. There are many museums throughout the town. Unfortunately, I only saw the one at the visitors center. It is a good one, make sure you spend some time there. I would have liked to have seen the wax museum, and also July 1, 2013 Gettysburg's Seminary Ridge Museum is scheduled to open.  The Seminary building was turned into one of the largest hospitals for both north and south civil war soldiers.  That should be a good museum to check out.



5. Walk the length of Baltimore Street from the Jennie Wade Museum all the way down to Lincoln Square and tour the David Willis House when you get there.  It is where Lincoln stayed when he came to town and delivered the Gettysburg Address. Check for days and times to tour these sites.

McClellan House where Jennie Wade, the only civilian casualty was killed.


David Willis House

6. Read all the way markers and plaques on the buildings as you walk along Baltimore Avenue to get a feel for the town. Observe the buildings with the civil war plaques.Those buildings were standing and survived the bloody war. The town was just as heavily impacted by the fighting yet only one civilian was killed. The heavy burden of dealing with all the wounded and the dead fell to the town's people. Any building that has a plague was there during the battle.  There are a lot of plagues throughout the town.  It is a location that preserves the memory of those who fought there and the spirit of those who died.





7.Catch a sunset atop the Pennsylvania Monument and also climb the monument and get a sense of where all the battles took place by reading the compass markers up there.










8. The entire Gettysburg National Park has over 1,320 monuments.  They all have a special significance and meaning. You can't possibly see them all in one visit but you will want to. Stop at the Eternal Light Peace Monument and pay your respects. "Peace eternal in a nation united". The figures represent the North and the South and the Eagle means united in strength. This is the one place you really get the message, we can not survive in a nation divided.




9.  Have dinner in town. My recommendations the Farnsworth House for dinner, try the spoon pudding.  The portions are huge so share if you can. The Dobbin House Tavern for lunch, they are famous for the French Onion Soup.




Spoon Pudding at the Farnsworth House
Dobbin House Tavern French Onion Soup
10. I always recommend a Bed and Breakfast and we stayed out of town in Chambersburg, PA at the Inn at Ragged Edge with a special history all its own.  It was built by Colonel Moorhead Kennedy and the architect was Frank Furness. Frank Furness was also a decorated civil war hero. Look at this house design. It is just one more of the architectural marvels he built. It is even more gorgeous inside. I loved the window and the view from the top of one of the landings.  It made me want to take the stairs more often.  One of the reasons, I would choose a bed and breakfast over a hotel is of course the food but also meeting other guests and sharing conversations about things they have seen in the area and learning about the areas they came from. I think the Inn at Ragged Edge is 10 stars!




There will be two civil war reenactments this year gettysburgreenactment.com on July 4-7th and bluegraygettysburg.com June 27-30th.  The actual date of the original battle took place on July 1, 2,and 3. I suppose you can change the date but you can not change the outcome, too many lives were lost. If you ask me this is a most disturbing and thought provoking souvenir.



It will be packed in Gettysburg in the upcoming weeks and reservations may be hard to come by but there might still be time to book for the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in November and the fall foliage is just beautiful in Pennsylvania at that time of year. Gettysburg is a place all Americans should visit. It should have taught us a lesson, north, south, black, white, blue, gray, red, blue, the colors are red, white and blue.

What do the colors on the flag signify? explanation found at USFlag.org.
White signifies purity and innocense
Red hardiness and valor
Blue signifies diligence, perseverance and justice.


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