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I have most graciously allowed by BMC and BFC space on my web site. They have chosen to document their Gettysburg experiences. It’s a major topic in our house...

A few snaps. My BMC and BFC have been to Gettysburg about 15 times in the past 5 years. My BMC has always been interested in history, but ever since he saw Ken Burns’ Civil War series and they both saw the movie, Gettysburg, and their first visit to the battlefield—they really turned into Civil War buffs (or nuts, as the case may be—’member how I got my name!).
Anyway, they consider it their cannonsecond home and everyone who knows them thinks they are nuts ’cause they keep going on vacation a couple times a year to the same place. But they like it so much ’cause they feel comfortable, like putting on an old pair of slippers—the people are so friendly, it’s so historical, the scenery’s beautiful, the food’s great, there are lots of antique stores...and yet, there’s something else that keeps pulling them back...
Trostle Farm.

This is the Trostle Farm. Notice the black shell hole in the top triangle of the barn. Union General Daniel Sickles used the farm as his headquarters during the battle and lost his right leg by a cannonball. In the mid-1890’s, as a Congressman from New York, he proposed the Sickles Bill which established the battlefield as a National Military Park.

Thank you General Sickles.

Pennsylvania Road TripLately they’ve been driving there since they don’t have to be too careful packing and can bring back whatever they want, even if it doesn’t fit in a suitcase. One time (September, 1998) they even took their bikes! They last went in April. It’s about a 12 hour drive from Chicago.
Breezewood  PA
My BFC last September in Breezewood, PA with their bikes—next stop: Gettysburg!
When they arrive at night, they know they’re near Gettysburg when they start seeing candles in the windows of some homes. It’s an old Pennsylvania Dutch tradition that tells travelers that they can find shelter and hospitality if needed. Eternal Peace Light Memorial--NightEternal Peace Light Memorial--Day They know they’ve really arrived when they see the flame from the Eternal Peace Light Memorial on the battlefield (this monument was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the battle). The center of town, the Circle, is only a few minutes away.
View from Little Round Top.
View looking North (towards the town)
from Little Round Top, site of fighting
on July 2, 1863.
Three SoldiersMcPherson's Barn Gettysburg is the most visited and famous battlefield in the Park Service, and is 25 square miles. The Park Service has put up lots of narrative markers, on the battlefield and in the town, which explain what happened at those sites. Twenty-nine states (18 Little Round TopCannonsnorthern and 11 southern) had regiments at the largest land battle in North America on July 1-3, 1863!
The Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee, unexpectedly encountered Cavalry of General George General Robert E. LeeGeneral George MeadeMeade’s Army of the Potomac on the northwest outskirts of town on July 1. Ironically, the Confederates attacked from the North and the Union attacked from the South. By the end of the first day, General Lee’s forces pushed the Union Army through the town and south to Cemetery Ridge. The Confederates had control of Seminary Ridge, a few miles west and parallel to Cemetery Ridge.
Virginia Memorial
This is the Virginia Memorial with a statue of General Robert E. Lee on his horse, Traveler, located on Seminary Ridge. General Lee is facing General Meade’s statue on Cemetery Ridge.
General George Meade
This is General George Meade’s monument
on Cemetery Ridge, facing west toward
Seminary Ridge and General Lee’s statue.
It’s as if these two generals are still
commanding their armies.
On July 2, the Confederates attacked the Union flanks but were unsuccessful. The third day of battle became the turning point of the war when General Lee sent General George Pickett’s division across the mile long open field which separates the two ridges to attack the center of the Union line (Pickett’s Charge). This charge was a tragic error and most of the 15,000 who attacked were killed or seriously wounded. After this day, the remaining battles of the War took place on Southern soil.
BFC - Pickett's Charge.
This is the field  where Pickett’s Charge took place. Sometimes small bands of reenactors can be seen making the march across this field carrying their regimental flags. One time, my BMC and BFC also made the march. They were both overwhelmed with the courage the Confederate soldiers must have had to attempt this attack, all the while facing Union cannons ahead of them.
The 29 states which sent men to this battle later put up monuments to honor them. One of the more famous Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is on Little Round Top—it honors the 20th Maine, led by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.20th Maine Monument. Visitors to this monument, as well as other monuments, leave pennies (with Lincoln’s face up), notes, flowers, and flags to honor their ancestors, or just to honor the heroics of the men who fought at this battle. TheMemorial to General Armistead. only Confederate monument on the Union side of the battlefield is to General Lewis Armistead. The monument is located at an area called The Angle on Cemetery Ridge, near the High Water Mark. (Read more about it at your local library.) According to my BMC and BFC, it’s a rather poignant site—there in the middle of Union territory, a monument with Confederate flags.

Visitor's CenterIf you’re a new visitor to Gettysburg, you can go to the Visitor’s Center and make an appointment for a tour with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. They will drive you in your car around the battlefield and town and explain the details of the battle.

When my BMC and BFC first went toLutheran Seminary Gettysburg, their Guide knew they had seen the movie and tailored the tour to their knowledge of the battle. He even took them off theNicki and Cupola! battlefield to show them areas where the movie had been filmed. One of these places was the home of the person who had purchased the plastic cupola (replica of the cupola on Betcha they know Ted!top of one of the Lutheran Seminary buildings) from the movie company after filming. The plastic cupola is used as a gazebo in the yard!

Licensed Battlefield Guides go through rigorous Highwater Marktraining and must pass a detailed exam—part of the exam is to take instructors on an actual driving tour of the battlefield.

If you’re planning a trip to Gettysburg, my BMC and BFC highly recommend the services of these General Hancock Monumentprofessionals. After the tour, the Guide told my BMC and BFC, “You’ll be back—maybe not soon, but, someday. Something will keep pulling you back!”

An interesting story...One time when my BMC was photographing in the woods by Pickett’s Field, he came BMC in woods by Pickett's Field.across a note held in place with a rock on a log. Curious, he went to see what it was. It was a present day love letter to General Richard Garnett, who was killed during Pickett’s Charge. The note was written by a female admirer of his. My BMC read it and felt very uncomfortable, as if he had unintentionally read a private diary. He respectfully placed the note as he had found it.
This is just one example of how moved visitors are when they visit Gettysburg. Being there and knowing what happened, makes it very easy to imagine the battle unfolding in front of you, and if you imagine hard enough... you go back in time...and feel that at any moment soldiers will come out from behind a grove of trees and ask, “Who goes there?”
Devil's Den and Little Round Top
My BMC and BFC are always trying to figure out why they need to keep going back to Gettysburg. It’s a hard thing to explain but must have something to do with the feeling they have when standing on hallowed ground. Maybe this is the “something else that keeps pulling them back.”

Cemetery Gate
This is the entrance to the town’s Evergreen Cemetery, as it looked
after the battle. The Union Army’s
right flank commanded this area on
July 2-3, 1863 and battle scars are
still evident on some grave stones.

Jenny Wade
Remarkably, only one Gettysburg civilian was killed during the battle—Jenny Wade is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Entrance to Evergreen Cemetery.
My BMC at the Evergreen Cemetery entrance as it looks today. This cemetery is adjacent to the National Cemetery where President Lincoln gave his speech.

National Cemetery post card
An early postcard of the National Cemetery. The 3,555 Union soldiers are buried in semicircular sections by state around the Soldiers’ National Monument.

National Cemetery-detail
The graves of the unknown soldiers
are grouped into three sections next to
the state grave plots.

BFC-National Cemetery
My BFC, heading toward the Soldiers’ National Monument. During 1868-1873, a variety of trees from around the country were planted. Today these large, old trees give the Cemetery a sense of peaceful beauty.

Tree in cemetery.Cannon in National Cemetery.Tree in National Cemetery.
This cannon is located in the National Cemetery—notice the dent caused by a direct hit. That’s Evergreen Cemetery beyond the fence. The fence, by the way, originally surrounded LaFayette Park, across from the White House, in Washington DC. The fence was put up here to separate the two cemeteries.
Wow!! I’m really kinda understanding this whole Gettysburg thing much better since my BMC and BFC supplied me with these facts and reminiscences. Maybe they will take me there someday!

Hurry back BMC and BFC!

First I gave my BMC and BFC a page on my web site, then they wanted a whole section about Gettysburg! But, it’s cool stuff—check it out. Be sure to turn out your lights when you read about their ghost experiences! And don’t forget to email me or my BMC and BFC to let us know what you think.
Last updated: August 2000
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