Gettysburg National Military Park

In February I spent two weeks in York, PA on business. While there most of my time was filled with work related activities. Wanting to take a break, I took the advice of several coworkers and visited Gettysburg National Military Park one Saturday. Eight hours after arriving at the park I sat down for dinner at a local restaurant. I could have easily spent another day. There is so much material available about the battle that I will not provide a description here. Rather, I will post pictures and try to describe my impressions of the museum and battlefield.

Visiting the Museum at Gettysburg Battlefield is a must visit. Plan to spend some time there, the displays are instrumental in understanding the battle. The Park Service hosts lectures on a wide range of topics connected to the Civil War. During my visit I attended a lecture by Matt Atkinson, titled “The Controversial Court Martial of John Fitz Porter.” Ranger Atkinson was brilliant. The lecture was both informative and entertaining. History lovers of any age would enjoy their experience.

Exhibits are designed to both inform on the battle’s events, but also to connect you to the humanity of it’s participants. I recommend you view the Cyclorama. The painting is remarkable in its own right, but also helps to understand the battle. One of the pictures I have posted is a wall of images, photographs of people who participated in the battle. That wall of faces is something I thought about as I later toured the battlefield.

From the Museum:


Gettysburg Cyclorama




Gettysburg Museum

From the Battlefield:

Artillery Barlow Knoll
Artillery at Barlow Knoll
Railroad Cut
The Railroad Cut
Confederate Line Seminary Ridge
Confederate Line Seminary Ridge
Virginia Memorial
Virginia Memorial
Little Round Top to Devil's Den
Looking from Little Round Top into the Devil’s Den
NW from Little Round Top
Looking NW, Across the Battlefield from Little Round Top
Brig. General Warren's Monument
Monument to Brig. General Warren, Little Round Top
The Wheatfield
The Wheat Fields
Confederate High Water Mark.JPG
High Water Mark of the Confederacy
Pennsylvania Memorial
Pennsylvania Memorial

Unfortunately, I was unable to upload the video I shot  looking across the battle field from the Confederate artillery positions on Oak Hill. It is from there and from Little Round Top that you get an idea of the battle’s scale. The front was a mile long. Looking across the open fields from artillery placements, remembering the wall of faces, I was stuck by the enormity of it. How terrible were the sights, the sounds, and the smells?

I will review the rest of the trip in a separate post. This should stand alone.

Link to a map of the Battle Field:

(All Images by History Present)

Author: historypresent

History Understood in Its Present

29 thoughts on “Gettysburg National Military Park”

  1. It’s been decades since I was last there. Since then, I learned that I have ancestors who fought there. One was captured and spent the rest of the war in Andersonville. I need to go back–especially after seeing this post.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He survived (although his mother did not recognize him when he returned home; he weighed only 90 pounds). He had a career working for the Census in DC. I have worked for them several times, which seems kind of neat when I think of it


  2. I love Gettysburg, especially in the “quiet” times when no one seems to be around. Many years ago, I toured the battlefield at such a time. It was a very cold evening; snow was in the air. Most of the victors had fled the park seeking the warmth of indoors. I walked among the stones of Devils Den and stood at the overlooks of Little Round Top, listening to the wind whistle and watching the snow swirl. And, when I closed my eyes, I could almost hear the voices of those who fought and died there more than 150 years ago.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The day I went started very cold. It was not crowded in the morning. I took more time than most touring the battle field. Though very few were around when I was at Oak Hill, the crowd was thick when I was at Little Round Top. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A moving place, indeed. Have only read about it and never visited. Nothing brings the reality and futility of war, any war, home to me like descriptions of battle scenes and the horrid loss of life on both sides. For such a rational product of evolution, we have such a long, long way to go before we find just solutions to social/idealism problems. Thanks for poking my (our) consciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did catch your post. You are correct, prep work certainly pays dividends. Without an amount of foreknowledge concerning such a significant event, we cannot appreciate that event’s nuances. Although I could not fully comprehend the battle’s scale until I looked out from Little Round Top or Oak Hill; prep work allowed me to better appreciate command decisions, troop movements, and military objectives. Thank you for commenting, please do frequently. I enjoy your blog and look forward to reading more.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In 2011 I did a tour of several Civil War battlefields ending with Gettysburg. It was, by far, the most developed. We took the bus tour, and the driver did an amazing job of impressing us with more than just facts and figures but actually transporting us with the feel of being there. While most of the battles were fought in the South, this battle brought the Civil War home to northerners. They realized that they, too, were fighting for their families and their way of life. To see the size of the battlefields and match that with the numbers of bodies and burials that needed to take place boggled our minds. What a tragic time in our history. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

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