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The Battlefield Of Gettysburg: My Visit

Updated on June 12, 2017

Summary of the Historical Battle Of Gettysburg

Many would agree that one of the famous and notable battles in the Civil War would be the Battle of Gettysburg. You will also hear from historians that this iconic confrontation that lasted for three days is also known as the turning point of the Civil War. Beginning July 1st and ending July 3rd, Gettysburg battle was a bloody and tragic event that many refer to as a slaughter of many soldiers. In fact, it was the largest number of casualties noted during the war.

The famous historic figure, General Robert E. Lee led a group of Confederates into the Gettysburg territory. Waiting for Confederates on defense was the Union led by Major General George Meade. Meade was going to try to stop Lee and the Confederates from invading the rest of the Union that were camped out in the North.

For three days on 1863 in July, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was a spot that many years later history would call a tragic battle that left many soldiers dead, and many more injured. For three long days there was total blood shed and pain and suffering accompanying these brave soldiers who fought for what they believed was right.

My Visit To Gettysburg, PA.

Growing up I was never really interested in history until one college course finally got me interested. Though, I have always been more intrigued in the time frame of World War 2, my trip to Gettysburg sparked my curiosity about the Civil War. The Civil War plays a huge role in American History. So many lives lost.

My first reaction when we drove up to the entrance of the Gettysburg Battlefield Park was that it was bigger than I imagined. I did not realize just how much area the battlefield covered. And to think, most of the traveling was by foot.

We first began our journey in the main building on the parks property. We watched a documentary about the battle of Gettysburg. It was then that I realized I wanted to learn all I could about this historic time event in our countries history.

The Cyclorama

At first when I heard that we were going to the Cyclorama next, I was very curious as to what exactly it was. After we watched the documentary, we headed upstairs to the top of the building. When we first pulled up to the building, I was wondering what exactly was in the circular dome like structure attached to the main building. Well, I found out and it took my breath away.

The cyclorama is a three dimensional like painting that is stretched all the way around the top of the building. The painting was done by French artist Paul Phillipoteaux. He painted this large realistic image of the attack known as Pickett's Charge. This attack was an attack on the Union troops on the third day of the infamous Battle of Gettysburg. The original painting was completed in the year 1883. Since then, this painting has moved and restored a few times. This Gettysburg Cyclorama is now displayed at the Museum in Gettysburg, PA.

What blew me away about this masterpiece was how realistic is was. The display has been put together so well that sometimes you lose focus on where the props end and where the painting begins. When observing this artwork, it does feel like you are looking at a three dimensional painting. And to think that this original work of art is over 200 years old. The talent and care that is put towards this painting is amazing. The detail in this cyclorama is just wonderful and is one I will remain a part of our American History.

The Museum

Second part of my visit consisted on the walk through the numerous artifacts and displays in the Gettysburg War Museum. Many of the artifacts on display were the actual artifacts used during the famous battle. In the main area of the museum you can look at the evolution of fire power that was used during the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. From riffles to hand guns, to large cannons and even different types of knives, you can start your museum journey at this location in front of the movie theater.

After viewing the documentary and viewing the Cyclorama, next we headed through the maze of countless artifacts and historic facts listed on each display. Some of the displays showed you different attire that was won during the Civil War. It also showed you the different uniforms that went to the Confederates and the Union troops. The museum displays also described which uniforms went with each rankings and military groups that were involved in the Battle of Gettysburg.

It was a unique and wonderful experience to see all of these displays for myself. To how far we have come in the line of warfare weapons. Loading these weapons was not any easy or convenient task to do. It seems like after observing these guns and cannons, it seems like you better have great aim because you put yourself in a vulnerable situation if you miss on the first shot.

The Battlefield

Last spot to explore on my visit, the battle grounds. First off I will say that the location is set with a beautiful back drop of the Appalachian Mountains. You can drive around to see all the monuments, or you can travel by car. The great part about this park, is it has some great trails that explore deeper parts of the battlefield.

We decided since it was a bit chilly outside we would drive around looking at the monuments and get out at the more popular sites. There are many great sites to explores. Little Round Top, Big Round Top, Devil's Den, Peach Orchid, Culp's Hill, the Wheatfield and Cemetery Hill are just a few of the more popular areas to explore and read about. These sites are the more familiar places where major battles within the battle took place.

If I had to choose, I would say that both Round top sites were my favorite to explore. you can see majority of the battlefield park as well as rows and rows of mountains. It was amazing to see the vantage point the Union had when camped out at both Round Tops. You could see from almost every angle where the Confederate troops may attack from. You almost can feel the presence of those soldiers when looking from Big Round Top. You can almost imagine the Battle of Gettysburg happening right in front of your eyes.

My Final Thoughts

After getting the opportunity to visit the battlefield of Gettysburg and learning more about the Civil War, I am now ready to learn more about this and many other conflicts and battles that took place. This is a major historical event that I feel weighs heavy in American History. I am so thankful I was able to visit Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This historic piece of land and stunning small town has a lot of offer both history enthusiasts and people who just love getting outdoors.

Have you been to the battlefied of Gettysburg, PA.?

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