We woke up on Saturday morning to raindrops, overcast skies and cool temperatures. The forecast for the next week looks exactly the same every day…rain/thunderstorms/clouds. The rain for Saturday was not supposed to start in earnest until later in the afternoon, so we decided to take a chance and go for it. We headed to Gettysburg. The way we looked at it, the weather wasn’t perfect so maybe it wouldn’t be crazy busy. Because it wasn’t a school day, we didn’t run the risk of end of school year trips like we did in Hershey
The drive to Gettysburg took a little over an hour. We started at the Visitor’s Center where Abe greeted us right outside the door.
We had decided to go with the recorded auto tour, so after wandering through the visitor center and book store, we took our CD tour out to the Jeep and headed for stop #1. The auto tour on CD guides you through 16 stops and gives you information at each stop making it feel like you’re really there. Sounds great right? As Rick was driving to stop #1, I popped the first CD in the CD player and waited. Nothing. It said track 1 but nothing else. It wouldn’t fast forward, rewind, nothing. I tried CD #2. Same thing. Now, to the best of our knowledge, neither of us can remember ever using the CD player in the Jeep! The Jeep does not give a nice, quiet, smooth ride so it’s rare we even play the radio It needs to be turned up so loud to hear that it usually is not worth the effort. But, I digress. Here we were, about to start the tour and the player with all our directions would not work. What to do? We could have gone back to the Visitor Center and tried to purchase a bus tour or rent a guide for the day but instead, we decided to try it on our own. We had a brochure showing the different stops, a map to guide us and a sketchy idea of why this was a stop. We figured if it didn’t work, we could come back and go to plan B.
It worked surprisingly well. I know the tour would have been much more informative with the CD, but there were so many markers available at each stop that we really didn’t lack for information.
(We doubled checked the CD when we got home and it played perfectly in another player so guess we’ll need to see about replacing the one in the Jeep…or not)
The Battle Of Gettysburg began just west of McPherson’s barn.
The battle began on July 1, 1863 and ended on July 3, 1863. In those 3 days, the Union army lost 23,000 men (killed, wounded, captured or missing) while the Confederate army lost as many as 28,000.
Seventy Five years later, on July 3, 1938, over 1800 Civil War Veterans, both Union and Confederate, joined together to dedicate the “Eternal Light Peace Memorial” on Oak Hill. Their average age was 94. I think that’s amazing.
There is an eternal flame burning from the top that did not show up in the photo. The wind kept blowing the flame sideways and after several attempts to capture it, I had to give up.
North Carolina Memorial
There were hundreds upon hundreds of memorials, markers, monuments, statues and plaques. If you were to stop and read each one, it would take you weeks to tour this battlefield.
The auto tour concluded at Gettysburg National Cemetery.
The site of the Gettysburg Address
This part of the cemetery was fenced off and no one was allowed in.
Head stones of soldiers from WWI and WW II
The Unknowns. There were literally hundreds of these markers and they all had a number, their only identification.
The tour took us over 4 hours and 24 miles. We could easily have spent many times that and still not seen everything. We will have to go back another time to take in the museum and some of the other attractions. If you ever have the opportunity to come, especially if you’re a Civil War buff, this is not to be missed. There’s something special about walking through the battlefield. It’s almost like being a part of history.
The weather didn’t improve, but never got any worse either. I think I enjoyed the tour a little more because it was cooler rather than a hot sunny day and it did appear it kept some people away although there were still plenty there
We headed into downtown Gettysburg to grab a bite to eat before heading home. We decided on the Lincoln Diner, only because it was the only restaurant we could find that had any open parking! Scary, right?
Not to worry, the food was fantastic!
With full stomachs we waddled out to the Jeep and headed home
We’ll be leaving this area on Tuesday and traveling 80 miles east to spend a few days in Lancaster County.
Have a good week and thanks for stopping by.