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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Visiting the Monuments at the Gettysburg Battlefield

Gettysburg National Military Park - Gettysburg Battlefied
The Gettysburg Battlefield is part of Gettysburg National Military Park located in Pennsylvania. The national park encompasses many different things, including the battlefield, museums, cyclorama and more.

My travel feature today will focus solely on some of the monuments that we visited while taking a tour through the Gettysburg Battlefield. You can find information on the other attractions by visiting the Pennsylvania sections here on our blog.
Gettysburg National Military Park - Gettysburg Battlefied

The Battle of Gettysburg started on July 1st in 1863 and continued for three long & bloody days. The main battle started on July 1st with Confederate troops attacking Union troops on McPherson Ridge, west of town. The Federal forces held their position until they were over-run and pushed back to Cemetery Hill, south of town.

On July 2nd, the battle lines were drawn and the battles continued. This is the day that General Lee ordered an attack against both Union flanks which practically destroyed Little Round Top and left the field littered with dead and injured soldiers. Their cries could be heard from miles away.
Gettysburg Battlefield -7th Michigan Infantry Monument
7th Michigan Infantry Monument
July 3rd was just as bloody as the previous day, when General Lee's artillery opened a 2-hour bombardment of the Federal lines on Cemetery Ridge and Cemetery Hill. The loud bangs from the cannons and guns could be heard for miles. This is the day that 12,000 Confederates crossed open fields toward the Federals and attacked them. This particular attack is called Pickett's Charge. Over 5,000 soldiers died within the first hour of the attack and the Battle of Gettysburg was over.
Gettysburg Battlefield - Commands Honored Memorial
Commands Honored Memorial
Above is just a very brief history of what occurred during those three days. I invite you to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park website to learn more, or better yet...plan a visit to Gettysburg to learn about it first hand. This is a great educational attraction for adults and families to enjoy!
Gettysburg Battlefield - 8th Pennsylvania Calvary Monument
8th Pennsylvania Calvary Monument
When taking a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield you can pay a fee and have a guided tour or you can do a self-tour. I highly recommend that you pick up a map at the Gettysburg National Military Park which outlines the route you should take, gives you information on the monuments you'll see, observation towers along the way and so forth. 
Gettysburg Battlefield Observation Tower
Gettysburg Battlefield Observation Tower
We did a self-tour and started at the recommended point and first arrived at McPherson Ridge. During the summer season, you'll find a second information center located here where you can pick up a tour map, get information and use the public restrooms. During the winter season, it's closed and you'll have to visit the main center at the National Military Parks Museum & Visitor Center located off Baltimore Pike.
Gettysburg Battlefield - General Meade Monument
General Meade Monument
Gettysburg Battlefield - General Meade

After McPherson Ridge you'll head on over to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and then onto Oak Ridge which has a really cool observation tower. You can park your car and walk up all of the steps of the observation tower and get some beautiful views of the surrounding area. If you're in physical shape, I highly recommend it.

We then headed to the North Carolina Memorial, then down to the Virginia Memorial and onto Pitzer Woods. If you're looking for a place to park, so that you can get out and do a little walking, you'll find free parking in this area located at the Amphitheater. 
Gettysburg Battlefield - Tammany Regiment Monument
Tammany Regiment Monument
The next area you want to head to is Warfield Ridge where you'll find a picnic area if you brought along some lunch. There is parking at the ridge and you can get out of your car and walk around if desired. 

You'll then head onto South Confederate Avenue and you'll drive through Big Round Top and head towards Little Round Top. There are signs along the entire route to help guide you along your way. After passing through Little Round Top, you'll come to The Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Plum Run. These are stops 9, 10 and 11 on the marked route. 
Gettysburg Battlefield - Pennsylvania Memorial Monument
Pennsylvania Memorial Monument

Spot number 12 is where you'll find the famous Pennsylvania Memorial (shown above). You can park your car and get out to walk around to see a lot of the monuments and memorials that are in this particular area. In addition, if you're in good physical health, you can climb the stairs of the Pennsylvania Monument to the top and get a gorgeous view of the area. We could see Seminary Ridge, Wheatfield Ridge, Little and Big Round Top, Cemetery Ridge and beyond! Well worth the step-climb if you can do it! 
Gettysburg Battlefield - Vermont Infantry Monument
Vermont Infantry Monument
We parked in this area and got out and did quite a bit of walking. There are a ton of monuments and memorials in this particular section of the park and the best way to see them is to walk! Sure, you can stay on the road and drive, but then you can't read all of the information plaques & signage that goes along with them. 
Gettysburg Battlefield - The Angle Monument and Memorial Area
Gettysburg Battlefield - The Angle
One of my favorite areas to see was an area they call "The Angle" which sits right beside an area called the "Corpse of Trees". While visiting "The Angle" you'll get a gorgeous view of Seminary Ridge and the Virginia Memorial which sits across the field. The view here was breath-taking and was one of my favorite areas on this side of the Battlefield tour. 

After spending an hour or so in that particular area, we then headed on to Soldiers' National Cemetery to finish up our self-guided driving tour. I previously covered Soldier's National Cemetery here on our travel blog and you can visit that particular post if you would like to learn more.
Gettysburg Battlefield - 1st New York Light Artillery Monument
1st New York Light Artillery Monument
This was the third time in 30 years that I took a tour through the Gettysburg Battlefield and every time I go...I learn more and more about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. It's a fantastic learning opportunity and I always feel very humble after seeing it. Thousands of men (and women too) fought and lost their lives to help our nation become what it is today. 

Note: Photos are in no particular order. All photographs are clickable! Double-click on each photo to have it automatically open up in a new window & in an enlarged size. We keep our photos mobile reader-friendly. Thanks!

1 comment:

jopb said...

There are so many different things to see at Gettysburg. It would be fascinating to walk around the actual battlefields and look at the different monuments.