Click here for 100.7 WFLA's Optimum Health, Naturally
The name echoes through the annals of American history.
Gettysburg. A small town in south-central Pennsylvania is not easy to get to and it's not easy to get from. That reality was not lost on me as we ventured to the stage of the bloodiest battlefield in our nation's history. Nor was it lost on me that those who died were not foreign invaders, but citizens of a new, young nation.
There is a sadness that comes with a visit to Gettysburg. No matter what "side" you might think yourself affilated with it is impossible to not be moved by the gallantry of men on both sides who fought for their beliefs.
Still, it is the immensity of the actual site that inspires. The City of Gettysburg is a charming town, but how it handled the preservation of the battlefield with the help of the National Park Service is genius. There are three basic ways to tour the battlefield. You can purchase a CD that takes you on a driving tour (yes, you drive regardless); you can pay a fee to have an actual guide commandeer your vehicle and take you through the park offering private anecdotes, etc.; or you can wing it.
We chose the first option due to time constraints. Were I to do this again, I would take the time and hire the guide. The insights I overheard from those who went with the guide were amazing.
The tour leads you through the three days of battle. There are markers exactly where men died. The expanse of the field gives way to "the high ground" captured by both sides; spots where artillary or men gave earth reluctantly. There's the farm where two brothers, immigrants from Germany and fighting on opposite sides, saw each other. One was dead by the end of the day.
But, for me the best stop was Little Round Top, the location of one of the great moments of the battle...Col. Joshua Chamberlain's bayonet charge. The link tells you more than I could ever spell out in this space. From this vantage point one can see Seminary Ridge where ten-fifteen thousand Confederate troops appeared from the forest line to confront the union troops.
I could go on and on (and look for some photos from our trip now that my journal entries are complete). I do need to add that you need to being your stop at the Visitor's Center and whatever you do, purchase tickets to see the Gettysburg Cyclorama. It is nearly impossible for me to describe.
All in all, our History Tour was an amazing week-long adventure. I hope you enjoyed it through my eyes and words.