I’m writing this post from my mother’s home in Virginia after visiting family in Pennsylvania and touring the Gettysburg battlefield for two days. We have officially “done Gettysburg”. And with all the Civil War programs showing now (on History Channel), I’m about “civil-warred-out”. But my dear bride is a Civil War buff, of sorts. She’s read so many books on it and the military leaders that ran the battles, that this trip is just a “visual aid” for whay she already knows. Seeing the terrain first hand has brought realism to the mental pictures painted in literary accounts.
I was most taken by the view from atop “Little Round Top” where Chamberlain and his men from Maine held out past their ammunition. Here’s the view. The rocks in the valley at left center are called “Devil’s Den, named by local folks for a large snake believed to nest there. The area just left of that is called “The Slaughter Pen”, named by journalists and reporters who arrived days after the battle to see corpses covering the ground there so close to one another, a person might cross the area without touching ground.
Incidentally, had I pointed the camera to the right, you would see the infamous “Peach Orchard” owned (in 1863) by the Sherfy family. Some of their decendants are long-time friends of mine.
The 3-day battle at Gettysburg was horrendous, leaving around 8,000 dead and over 40,000 wounded. The carnage was incredible. It was surely a “blood atonement” for the sin of slavery. Yeah, I said it.
While we’re here, Deb wants to visit Antietam as well. I don’t know if I want anymore battlefields, but this trip is my 5-year anniversary gift to Deb (and I’d rather have battlefields than battles!) (hahahaha)
One more thought – HUMIDITY! Man! I guess I have acclimated to the desert. I grew up in this, but I sure don’t miss it. I got worn out just sightseeing. Imagine what those wool-clad soldiers felt in 1863. Of course with mini-balls, shot, and cannon balls flying, humidity was their least concern.