November 5, 2012 – Gettysburg – The Battlefield, Cyclorama, and Museum

It has been many, many years since we have been to Gettysburg and I have to say that the new visitor center is very impressive.  We were greeted by:

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After purchasing our combo tickets we headed to the museum.  The museum starts by telling the story of the Civil War thru the Battle of Gettysburg and beyond.  We were only in the museum for about 20 minutes and then headed to our bus tour of the Battlefield.  Our tour guide took us thru town first to orient us on how/direction all the troops (both sides) converged on this area.  From there we headed to McPherson’s Ridge where Day 1 of the battle was fought.

(I am not going to do a lot of history here – just some of the facts that impressed me.)

This is McPherson Farm on the ridge:

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The Union Guns:

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Many of the cannons on the battlefields are original and are pointing the way they would have in the fights.  We were told how to distinguish the original from the reproductions – I will have a picture later.  However, the wheels and shelf that the barrel sits on are all reproductions.

For me, standing there and just imagining the fighting all around was an emotional experience.   The town is less than a mile away.  Many of the towns folks had left but there were still quite a few here.  Some of these boys fighting on opposite sides knew each other.   All I can say is Oh My!

From there we went to Seminary Ridge, where most of the Confederate Soldiers gathered.   On our way there, we were told about all the monuments in Gettysburg area – over 1200 of them.  Initially they were put there by the veterans of the Civil War – Union.  No Confederate Monuments were allowed for quite a few years and then only state monuments first.

Here is more information:



This is the North Carolina Monument which was designed by the same person who did Mount Rushmore.  The faces of the monument were taken from photos of actual soldiers.

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Pickets Charge Monument:

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This is the view from Little Round Top – Day 2 of the Battle – notice the monuments:

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From Little Round Top – Devils Den and the Slaughter Field:

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Our group at the top:

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One of the monuments at the top of Little Round Top is 140th New York which features Colonel O'Rorke's likeness in bronze, with the nose rubbed bright by those wishing to draw on his courage. (Yep, I rubbed his nose.)

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One more last picture of the Battlefield today:

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From there we went to the Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It was done by French artist Paul Philippoteaux and purchased by the National Park Service in the late 1940's.

More info at:


This Cyclorama depicts Day 3 of the Battle of Gettysburg:

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The rest of the day we spent in the museum.

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There is so much information in the museum – we were on overload. 

As we came around one corner, this wall of photos just took my breath away – it is actual photos of those killed in the Battle of Gettysburg – both sides.

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This is just so hard to wrap my brain around:

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And so is this:

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Think about this – all those wounded and dead.   This does not include the thousands of horses who were also killed or wounded.   This is July in Pennsylvania – hot and humid.  Some of the bodies were not removed for days.  Oh my!

What a emotional day!



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