Exactly 147 years ago to this date â€“ well, not EXACTLY, but thereabouts â€“ the Confederate and Union forces fought a bloody battle, which came to be known as The Wheatfield Battle. The battle, also called The Harvest of Death, was fought on July 2, 1863, and is acknowledged as the turning point in Civil War history that saw many heroic stories and legends emanate from both sides.
Though argument still rages over who won the battle, each year, scores of people descend into Gettysburg to recreate Civil War history, more specifically, The Wheatfield Battle, and celebrate four days of gaiety with a lot of bonhomie thrown around. This year was no different, as Civil War buffs had four days of absolute fun indulging or watching mock reenactments of the battle coupled with merry making and learning about history at the same time. Many couples even exchanged sacred vows in these four days, making this yearâ€™s festival more special to the people of Gettysburg and to themselves.
Also check out Wexford Pennsylvania – the Wexford PA website.
If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow afternoon in Gettysburg Pennsylvania, you should go see Commanders: Strong Vincent and the Battle for Little Round Top. This is an educational event that begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitors Center. It will be the best hour you’ll ever spend.
In case your Battle of Gettysburg history escapes you, here’s a little bit about Strong Vincent that you should know.
He was a lawyer who served in the U.S. Army during the Civil War and fought alongside Col. Joshua Chamberlain at Little Round Top. Chamberlain is the one who gets most of the glory for the victory at Little Round Top, but it was Vincent’s vision and ability to see an opportunity that put Chamberlain there. In fact, Chamberlain was subordinate as regiment commander to Vincent who was the commander over 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Chamberlain’s 20th Maine was a subordinate unit.
Vincent gave the order to Chamberlain to defend the left flank of Little Round Top while he went off to defend the right flank. During the course of the battle, Vincent was wounded and subsequently died from his wounds. Vincent was awarded for his bravery in the battle with a promotion but he died before he ever knew of it.
Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitors Center is located at 1195 Baltimore Pike in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Be sure to spend an hour there tomorrow afternoon and experience Strong Vincent and Little Round Top in a unique way.
If you’re planning a visit to Gettysburg Pennsylvania in February 2009, keep in mind two local museums as must sees: Shriver House Museum and David Wills House.
The Shriver House Museum tells the story of civilians during the Battle of Gettysburg. The house was built just before the war started and sat vacant, except for several families of wild cats, until 1996 when the house was rebuilt and research went underway to discover the story of this old structure. You’ll definitely want to visit this museum on Friday and Saturday, February 13 and 14. The Shriver House Museum will host a Restoration Tour on both dates at 7 p.m.
Just a few blocks away, in downtown Gettysburg, David Wills House will host its grand opening on February 12, 2009 in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday.
David Wills invited Abraham Lincoln to stay at his house when the president came to Gettysburg to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln finished writing his speech in the David Wills House guest bedroom. You can learn more about that story by visiting the David Wills House and taking the grand opening tour on February 12.
You may first know Jeff Shaara for his cooperative effort with his father Michael Shaara; together they brought the Civil War into comfy chairs all across the country. The two partnered to renderÂ the thrilling Civil War trilogy: “Killer Angels,” “Gods and Generals” and “The Last Full Measure.”
Maybe books aren’t for you, but you’ve sat through all 261 minutes of Martin Sheen’s Gettysburg, or you’ve memorized all the lines to General Stonewall Jackson’s first brigade speech in the 2003 prequel Gods and Generals.Â Either way, Shaara’s ability toÂ weave history into fiction has been capturing audiences for over a decade. In his newest novel, “Steel Wave,” Shaara trades Longstreet andÂ Gettysburg forÂ Eisenhower and Omaha Beach as he uses his pen to recapture the Allied invasion of France on D-Day 1944.
You cannot miss this opportunity to meet Jeff Shaara at the Gettysburg Gift Center on Thursday, November 20 and Friday, November 21. From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Jeff will oblige history buffs and fiction freaks alike, adding his autograph to his recently released WWII novel.
The Gettysburg Gift Center is located in the Gettysburg Museum,Â 297 Steinwehr Ave. For more information you can call the museum at 717-334-6245.
Well, it’s Veteran’s Day and I’m sure we have plenty of veterans that visit Gettysburg every year. We have plenty of veterans buried here.
The U.S Civil War is one of the bloodiest wars in history. Ever since this historic moment in our nation’s history, we have honored our veterans in a very special way. Today marks that day. While Veterans Day was not observed officially until November 11, 1919 to commemorate the day that ended World War I, Americans have always honored its fallen heroes. Initially, President Woodrow Wilson named the holiday Armistice Day. In 1921 Congress officially declared the day a federal holiday.
President Dwight Eisenhower, who retired to Gettysburg after leaving the Oval Office, changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 to include veterans who served in World War II and the Korean Conflict. In 1968 Congress passed a law changing the date of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. In 1975 it was changed back to November 11 again. The law took effect in 1978 and observance of Veterans Day has been on November 11 ever since.
Gettysburg Blog honors America’s veterans on this day.
Gettysburg built its new visitor center and museum and restored the Cyclorama, but now the National Park Service is involved in a lawsuit over the old location of Cyclorama. They want to demolish the building while Recent Past Preservation Network located in Virginia wants to keep it.
A public hearing is taking place right now in Washington to hear comments from the public about the Cyclorama’s future.
The former building of the Cyclorama is itself considered historic and that’s the reason the Virginia-based group wants to preserve it despite the National Park Service’s desire to restore the area to its Civil War era beauty. This is an interesting twist to the fight over preservation of historical landmarks. The question is, which value should take priority: Federal desires to preserve past history or local desires to preserve more recent history?
I didn’t realize that George Will, a popular conservative columnist for The Washington Post, had written a column honoring the new Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center. But he did.
He said some pretty striking things in that column, some of them politically charged, others of them socially on target, and all of them historically enlightening. Among the gems are:
- In 1863, 11 major roads converged on this town. Which is why history did, too.
- Recently, a Gold Star mother finally visited Gettysburg, after driving by it often en route to visit the Arlington, Va., grave of her son, who was killed in Iraq. She was especially moved by these words from a Gettysburg newspaper published four days after the battle: â€śEvery name … is a lightning stroke to some heart, and breaks like thunder over some home, and falls a long black shadow upon some hearthstone.â€ť Gettysburg still stirs, but not as it used to, or should.
- Ours would be a better nation if boys and girls of all regions, and particularly the many high school and even college graduates who cannot place the Civil War in the correct half-century, could be moved, as large numbers of Americans used to be, by the names of Gettysburg battlefield sites, such as Devilâ€™s Den, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Culpâ€™s Hill and Little Round Top, instead of being like the visitor here who said it is amazing that so many great battles, such as Antietam and Chickamauga and Shiloh, occurred on Park Service land; and another visitor who doubted that the fighting here really was fierce because there are no bullet marks on the monuments.
- Ten years ago, this column asserted that disrespect for the national patrimony of Civil War battlefields should be a hanging offense, and said: â€śGiven that the vast majority of Americans have never heard a shot fired in anger, the imaginative presentation of military history in a new facility here is vital, lest rising generations have no sense of the sacrifices of which they are beneficiaries.â€ť
Each of these snippets is a verbatim passage from George Will’s column and they leave me with a thought: Americans are forgetful, ignorant, and nonchalant about their common history. That is why we need such places at the Gettysburg Battlefield and its associated monuments. The preservation of our national heritage is more than honor. It’s a privilege, and the people of Gettysburg are proud to be a part of that. I am too.
When French painter Paul Philippoteaux and his team of 20 assistants created the cyclorama that depicts Pickettâ€™s Charge and the Battle of Gettysburg back in the 1880s, I’m betting they didn’t know that at one time it would need restoration work and that it cost $16 million to do it. But that is the case.
The art work is being paid for by Congress and will be re-unveiled at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center and Museum on September 26. The restoration project has been three years in the making. The new visitor center was opened in April, but no celebration took place at that time because planners wanted to wait untilt he Cyclorama was finished. It’s about 99% completed, they say, and they are now gearing up for the grand re-opening. If you’re in town that weekend, stop by.
Enjoy this video footage of a Gettysburg reenactment:
A tragic accident has a 17-year-old Gettysburg reenactor in the hospital following a shot in the foot by another reenactor. Initially the accident was reported as a self-inflicted wound. Further investigation revealed it to be a case of another young reenactor fooling around and shooting the 17-year-old in the foot.
Here are the details as I understand them:
- Said 17-year-old said he wanted to be shot while defecting to the Union Army
- Another reenactor obliged him
- As the 17-year-old was feigning death, the shooting reenactor fired a glory shot intended to bypass the foot of the “dead soldier
- The shot missed its aim and hit the 17-year-old’s foot
- No real bullets were used; rather, the blast came from a blank in a Civil War era musket rifle
Several things strike out at me over this incident. No. 1, youthful reenactors, no matter how well trained they are in the use of their weapons, still need supervision. Secondly, gun safety is important for everyone – even reenactors and the real soldiers they represent. Thirdly, never aim a loaded weapon (even one loaded with blanks) anywhere near another person’s body part. Playing around or not, accidents happen. Don’t be stupid.