As I have mentioned a few times in this latest vacation series, we learned a lot about the Civil War on this trip. On our first days, in VA, we learned about the Confederates and their take on the war. In Gettysburg, we were in the northern part, and got a completely different view. As with all history, there is never just one version of what happened. In the case of the Civil War, as is probably true with most things, both the North and the South were both fighting valiantly for their cause. Both sides suffered greatly, and both sides lost many brave men.
We started the day off bright and early at the Gettysburg Museum. We saw a short film on the war and then went to a re-enactment, then briefly toured around the museum, seeing what we could before taking a guided tour of the battlefields. It was all fascinating. We learned so much.
President Lincoln and I having a heart to heart conversation.
The Confederates are in gray and the Union Soldiers are in blue.
I wish we had more to time to really see and appreciate everything the museum had to offer, but we were on a tight schedule. We had a timed tour and then we had to head back to the airport to fly home. We were in Pennsylvania and we needed to get back to Dulles Airport, around Washington D.C. The museum was very nicely done and offered a great presentation. Maybe next time, I will get to fully appreciate it as should be done.
The weapons of war.
The brass and how to tell who was who.
The musical instruments of the war.
Some of the artists’ depictions of the actual battles.
Fortunately I have never actually experienced the pangs of war. I hope I never have to either. Both sides always have “nicknames” for the opposition. I guess it makes it less personal that way, which makes it easier to do what needs to be done. The Union Soldiers were called “Billy Yanks”. The Billy Yanks were the Federal Army and were slightly more prepared than the Johnny Rebs of the South.
The Confederate Soldiers were called “Johnny Rebels” or “Johnny Rebs”.
Though neither side were “living the life of luxury” at all. Both sides were barely getting by. This is an officer’s tent. As you can see, it is very sparse indeed. The troops were lucky to have tents at all. Many did not even have shoes, and they were short on all basic needs, including ammunition and armory.
A wall of honor and remembrance to the fallen.
After rushing through the museum, we headed out to meet our park ranger who lead the tour of the battlefields. He was very informative and knowledgeable, and had a great sense of humor. He made the tour very interesting as well as very informative.
General Meade took a modest farmhouse and transformed it into his headquarters.
The battlefields of Gettysburg. Though the war continued for almost two years after the battles of Gettysburg, this was a very significant turning point in the war. Had the Union Soldiers not won here, the United States as we know it today, would be vastly different, if even existent at all. We all owe a great deal to these brave men who fought so valiantly here, on both sides. This was one of the bloodiest and most deadly battles of the whole Civil War.
This is where the Confederates lost in defeat, with devastating losses of their troops. This battlefield was the turning point of the war.
And because of the battles fought here, and the brave men who gave their all, with many sacrifices made on both sides, this is who we are today. God Bless America, and may this banner forever wave.