Sunday, May 23, 2010
We are camped within the battlefield known as Gettysburg. The campground is the Artillery Ridge Campground and was part of the battlefield. This is our third time visiting the battlefield. It is a famous and frightful place that cannot and should not be forgotten. There have been many volumes written on this battle, so I shall not go into any detail here, but have included a very short reference at the end of this entry.
This battle is often referred to as the turning point of the war. Up until this point two years into the war,1863, the North has not performed very well and missed many opportunities to gain an early end to the struggle. Indeed, until this battle, General Lee had not lost an engagement where he commanded the forces of the confederacy in the field.
It is a bit ironic that the turning point of the struggle would come in a battle that neither side had planned or was really prepared for. General Lee had been engaged in the first real invasion of the North in the war, hoping that in bringing the horror of war to the Union that the Federal Government would seek a negotiated peace. They met at Gettysburg by accident and in the end both sides sent their maximum resources to the struggle. The result was a bloody struggle that would result in the most casualties of any battle of the war. Depending on whose numbers you use, there were between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties.
This National Battlefield Park has the largest number of monuments of all such parks. The pictures in this blog will show just a few of the over 1500 in the park. I should mention that the largest of these is the Pennsylvania monument, which lists every soldier who took part in the battle. It remains a living monument in the sense that if someone new is discovered that took part in the battle their name is added and in some cases names have been removed. if it was discovered that they were not actually at the battle.
More to follow in the next blog.