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Khirad On August - 13 - 2010

Gettysburg. I trust most people know the history.

The Train Station, where Lincoln arrived before the Gettysburg Address.

The Eternal Light Peace Memorial. In 1938, the last great reunion of Union and Confederate veterans took place, during which President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated this monument to all soldiers whom fought at Gettysburg, and, In the Civil War as well. By this time, only 65 soldiers were left who had fought at Gettysburg, though the overall attendance of veterans was 1,845. Here is the archival video. [sound cuts in and out]

John F. Kennedy, when he went to Gettysburg, made a special point of coming here. He and Jackie stepped out of their car near this point. There is a flame, though it is not seen in this picture.

Another view. I love this period’s style. There’s an Art Deco feel to this, I think.

Shultz House. The tour guide said he’d been in it and there’s a famous blood stain still in the wood flooring on the second floor. Passing another house he related a story of a haunting (Gettysburg must have the most ghost tours per square mile) reputed to have a glowing blue orb emanate in the wee hours of the morning from the windows. Some years later, he said he met the owner of the house, whom often fell asleep watching TV, when it would go to a blue screen after programming ended.

From Little Round Top [Union], looking towards Devil’s Den and Round Top [Confederate].

General Warren, looking towards the Wheatfield. Our view is of Cemetery Ridge, I think.

A few from the museum. If you’ve been to Gettysburg, well, in 2008 they opened a fabulous new Visitor Center and Museum, moved the Cyclorama there and feature a video narrated by Morgan Freeman (that’s another thing about these big East Coast historic sites, lot’s of star power which seems out of place almost).

Entering the Visitor Center. My man Abe.

The flag we now most commonly refer to as the Stars and Bars is actually the second naval jack, or extended battle flag, at a 2:1 ratio, of the original battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. This, the first flag of the Confederate States of America (well, not this one) is what is rightfully called the Stars and Bars. The official flag by the time of the Battle of Gettysburg would have been the Stainless Banner, though. As you can imagine, this one caused some confusion in battle.

By the way, remember the Georgian Flag controversy? well, Georgia got the last laugh. Apparently they got away with this because the actual Stars and Bars 1) isn’t tied with the Segregationist and Civil Rights era and, 2) I doubt most people know what the actual Confederate national flags looked like.

I know I’ll take heat for this, but I’ve always had a thing for Confederate Officer’s uniforms (infantry having no uniform, of course, reflecting the class structure of the CSA). My favorite is the Artillery uniform. This isn’t an endorsement of the CSA, just an aesthetic quirk I have.

So okay, I confess, I did think this was really cool. Robert E. Lee’s gauntlets, on loan from the Museum of the Confederacy (which itself will be in a later post).

The Confederate line of battle, of course.

Confederate Avenue.

I’d be guessing on this. I could give a general guess, but you can just take it as a general scene. I’m pretty confident this is Union territory, though.

All right, any Civil War buffs out there? I need help in remembering these now…

This one I know. This is Pickett’s Charge, viewed from Seminary Ridge.

The last photo is taken from the site of the Virginia Monument. All of the horse’s hooves are grounded, of course, for it is General Lee. (the so-called “hoof code” is largely coincidence, though)

The base. In front of the monument someone, or some group had placed a small Bonnie Blue flag in the ground next to the warning sign of hefty fines and consequences should anyone disturb the monument. I found it odd that it was not a Virginia flag, as on the monument itself. It was one of the only times I saw the Bonnie Blue used on my trip. I do mention this, as the flag nerd I am, because it looks like an innocuous flag. So innocuous, that you may have not noticed it flying in the midst of Gadsden yellow in some pictures of Tea Parties.

Anyone have a fear of heights? The Longstreet, or Eisenhower Tower (so called because one can view the Eisenhower farm from it). This is the last of three towers standing, which were built by the War Department, to study the battle. It was built near General Longstreet’s headquarters, as the name would suggest.

Views from the tower. Looking towards the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For the next two (and I took more), here is a very helpful labeled panorama map.

Okay guys, I know where my eyes immediately are drawn, but if you’ll look to the man to the right, you will see the face of George Washington. Remember, this was seen (or sold as) the “Second American Revolution” by the South. The Confederate Seal shows this most effectively.

This is the one statue to the CSA as a whole. Dwarfed by the state monuments – fittingly. This sits upon a column engraved with all the states of the Confederacy, the name of the last surviving Confederate veteran (died in 1959, believe it or not, at 117), and on the base reads (in capitals, of course), “heroic defenders of their country • their fame shall be an echo and a light unto eternity”. Well, they were never ones for understatement, now were they?

Rose Woods or Round Top?

General William Wells, Medal of Honor recipient. Taken for no other reason but it was striking. Just one of the many statues that pop up in the most unlikely of places at Gettysburg. This is deep in Round Top. I’m guessing there’s a great story here because this is a Union General deep in Confederate territory.

Little Round Top, looking towards Devil’s Den, a few hours after the first shot above. The sun filtering through in the late afternoon was eerily beautiful.

91st Pennsylvania monument. We’re looking towards Wheat Field, Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge again (though I really feel like I’m winging this).

“The Castle” monument of the 44th New York regiment.

The 20th Maine monument.

I’ve given up trying to guess… (should have taken notes)

The largest monument, fittingly, is the Pennsylvania Memorial.

I waited, and waited and waited to get a shot without any people up top. Earlier this group of guys were just hanging out over the ledge, would walk away for a second and come back. Aargh. Pet Peeve. In the end though this family just walked up as I’d finally had a clear shot, but it almost works out in its own way to demonstrate perspective of the enormity of the monument.

A view from the top.

Gettysburg National Cemetery.

The New York Monument, which I just found incredibly elegant.

Soldiers National Monument at the spot where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The cemetery was wonderfully empty, as it was evening and the light was fading.

Closeup.

I loved this story. This is Penelope. It was fired in front of the newspaper office, which was the local Democratic Party’s organ, after every Democratic victory (which was very frequent). After too much gunpowder in 1855, the cannon ruptured. This is Penelope memorialized in front of The Compiler‘s old office.

One of a few pockmarked Civil War era buildings. I love the satellite dish.

The statue of Lincoln is pointing to the window above the door. This is where he stayed the night before giving the Gettysburg Address. My hotel was right across the street. When first entering Gettysburg and looking for parking, I by pure chance parked right in front of this building.

75th Anniversary reunion. Because, this is what it should all be about [sorry, it opens up its own window on its own].

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1byof4IAHk

*I found this is a handy site for identifying monuments, etc.

www.gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/index.php

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

13 Responses so far.

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  1. GirlOutWest says:

    I just want to say how much I have enjoyed the pictures and tales from back East. The civil war is fascinating…sad but so interesting at the same time. I’ve loved your pictures from the Capital and that whole area. I’m sorry to say that I’ve never been to that part of the country except to visit relatives in WV which is lovely in it’s own right but what a shame to be so close to the Capital and not get there. I will make there sometime of that I’m sure.
    Thank you again.

  2. choicelady says:

    Thank you, Khirad! I was there when the old Visitors’ Center was still in existence, and I’d love to see the new one. I found the experience of the battlefield(s) simply overwhelming, but the lighted display made sense. It could not and did not dispel the, yes, creeping perception of massive loss and futility. I’m a Yankee through and through with a great grandfather that attended GAR reunions pratically until his death -- met Pres. and Mrs. Taft at one of them -- but it all seems SO awful, so unnecessary. And for me it’s indisputable that Confederate cannon fodder -- lower class artisans and farmers -- died to preserve the plantation system, period. So terribly wrong.

    I was also at Manassas which has less evocative power, but it was there I encountered a young man who sneered when he said that compared to the Civil War the losses in Iraq were nothing. I said that may be true due to vastly better medicine and different forms of warfare, but I bet it was precisely the same for the families of those who’d died. He did not care. It was sheer numbers, and people meant nothing. I guess that’s why we HAVE wars. Those who cannot suffer and empathize with the individual losses keep on creating or supporting those losses.

    Went also to Appomattox -- the beginning, middle, and end. It was terribly poignant. I respect Robert E. Lee greatly, though I cannot see how an anti-slavery man could have supported the Confederacy, but he was a good human being.

    BTW -- the religious right wants to elevate Stonewall Jackson as the best and most revered figure in US history. Why? He brought Christianity to his slaves and obeyed orders. In their eyes that makes Stonewall the best America EVER had to offer -- better than Jefferson, Franklin, Lee, anyone. Gnaw on that awhile…it’ll make you sick.

    Thanks for memories. For me the essence of Gettysburg is the cemetery. It’s beautiful, but the sheer numbers are daunting. The very quiet of the land where so many lie just overwhelms after awhile. Amazing -- and awesome in the fullest sense of the term. I loved all your photos of the whole area but especially those. Thank you!

  3. escribacat says:

    Another great set of pix, Khirad. I’m probably just making it up but I can sense the ghosts.

  4. dildenusa says:

    Great pictures. US Route 30 going through downtown Gettysberg and Pennsylvania is known as Lincoln Highway. Before Interstate 80 was built, it was the main east -- west highway across country. More heavily traveled than Route 66.

  5. javaz says:

    Have you ever been to the Lincoln Memorial and/or Lincoln Library?

    Both are also worth visiting, and the Lincoln Library is probably one of the best presidential libraries that we’ve ever seen.

    And if you are out that way, Truman’s Library isn’t all the far away and also worth visiting.

    • Khirad says:

      No, the closest I’ve been on the ground to Illinois is Des Moines, not counting the layover in O’Hare on the flight to D.C.

      That’s another trip sometime…

      • javaz says:

        When you were there in Gettysburg, didn’t you almost imagine the battles?

        Couldn’t you almost feel the past?

        We were in a motor home back then, so we didn’t get to tour the museum and I thank you for the pics, but didn’t you feel the memories?

        I remember we parked at one spot near trees so that my husband could take pics, and I sat there imagining the battles and then when my husband got back into the RV, he asked me if I felt it, too.

        They do re-enactments on the fields and there are numerous stories of when they are out there in tents that they can hear the tin cups rattling and horses hooves and the cries and moaning from the dead.

        I’m into all the ghost stories but didn’t you feel it when you were there?

        I don’t know how anyone could visit a massive killing ground and with all the monuments and not feel something.

        • Khirad says:

          This is a serious question to me. I’m actually disturbed with myself.

          I definitely felt a repressed spiritual residue, but was largely numb to it.

          I think it was a defense mechanism so as not to become overwhelmed.

          I felt a tinge, but it was only a few muted flashes of muffled feelings which were able to pass through the chinks of my emotional armor and padding -- its impact blunted.

          In an overall, abstract sense, yeah, there was a morose awe to it all. But I was never quite as absorbed as I had prepared myself to be. I sort of, I guess, had a dissociative episode.

          I was viewing everything, through my camera and through my guide, and through reading signposts, and keen on the other living tourists -- so as not to fully ‘be there’.

          Was there still an unsettled feeling to the ground, though? Yes. Definitely. But it was like something at a subsonic level. Something you register, but can’t consciously identify.

        • bitohistory says:

          J’avaz, They used to have a tower there that you walk up. On each of the four sides they had descriptions of battles, hills, fields in each every direction.
          I certainly could feel the battles and the many deaths. One really felt the meaning of “hallowed ground” as Lincoln called it in his speech.

          • Khirad says:

            The Park, I learned, actually views tearing that down as a great victory.

            They also got a gas station razed, and are replanting the peach orchard -- which is just grass, now.

            The tower I mentioned, though, does the same thing.

            Also, the Park Service acquired a bell tower in town used by the Union which serves for a view from the North’s vantage point.

            • bitohistory says:

              Well, I’m not surprised they tore it down. The tower in your photos looks much more substantial- and higher. The vegetation is quite a bit different than I remember. Perhaps it has grown since 1968. :-)

              Great job again, Khirad. I have taken a vacation thanks to you. Truly appreciated!!

  6. javaz says:

    Incredible photographs, Khirad.

    I waited for them all to load and it took a bit of time but finally!

    Gettysburg is very moving to visit and your photographs do it justice.

    I think you could be correct about the ghost tours.
    We bought a book of local ghost stories from there and they were interesting and some chilling.

    Thank you for sharing your great experiences!

  7. kesmarn says:

    Wonderful, wonderful as always, Khirad! Must dash to get ready for work, but I didn’t want to leave without saying thank you. This is a fabulous series and a tremendous addition to PlanetPOV history.

    More later…


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