September 21, 2019 by Mel
Today really starts the final leg of our adventure. It has gone by ssooooo fast, I can hardly believe it.
After breakfast we headed to the Visitors Centre as we had tickets for the film, museum and cyclorama. If you ever visit Gettysburg, this is an absolute must. The museum was full of items recovered from the war many actually attributed to named soldiers and officers.
The film is like many others on the battle but was very much about the slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation and its effect after the war. The film was narrated by Morgan Freeman.
After the film we went into the Cyclorama. This is a large round room with an oil painting surrounding the walls of the third and final day of the Gettysburg battle. The painting merged into real scenery on the ground which adds to its realism. The story is told with lights flashing through at various points. It is certainly a breathtaking spectacle.
After a brief snack we started on the Auto tour. We had bought he CD last week in preparation for these few days. We had a choice of 2 CDs. One narrated by a park ranger and one narrated by Stephen Lang. Well of course we had to go for the Stephen Lang version.
Summary of the First Day of the Battle of Gettysburg
In the early hours of July 1, 1863, Gen. A. P. Hill directed his corps of the Army of Northern Virginia to make a reconnaissance in force toward the town of Gettysburg.
Just after 7AM Confederates of Gen Henry Heth’s division encountered Union cavalry under Gen. John Buford posted just west of Willoughby’s Run. Heth’s men pressed their attack only to discover that the Federal horsemen had been reinforced by tough veteran troops of the Army of the Potomac under Gen. John Reynolds.
In a vicious and bloody struggle, the Yankees rushed to fend off the Southern assault, making their stand along Willoughby’s Run and on McPherson’s Ridge. In spite of the staunch Union resistance, the Confederates had the advantage in terms of numbers and position. As the day’s battle wore on, more Confederates under Gen. Richard S. Ewell arrived from the north, threatening the Federal right.
Compelled to retreat, the Yankees fell back through and around Gettysburg and reformed on high ground to the south and east of town
We left the visitor centre and headed out to the first stop. Before we got there we passed the statue of Doubleday.
Then the first stop was McPhersons Ridge. This area saw action from many notorious names of the civil war, Buford, Heth, Reynolds and Doubleday. It even saw civilian action. 69 year old John Burns was so enraged that his town was being invaded he joined the battle, firing from behind a tree until he was wounded. He was later known as “the civilian hero of Gettysburg.”
We then followed round to Oak Ridge. As a result of the fighting on Oak Ridge and the subsequent Union retreat to Cemetery Hill, the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers suffered many losses. They had thought one such loss included their beloved mascot, a dog named Sallie. Sallie had in fact guarded the dead and wounded of her regiment at Oak Ridge where she was found tired and hungry after the battle.
Before continuing on with the tour we took a slight detour to see the memorials of the Iron Brigade (Lee’s favourite Brigade).
We then ventured off to take a look at the Headquarters of Gen. Robert E Lee. The inside photos are through the windows as the house is locked up.
Next we continued back on the tour on to the North Carolina Memorial and on to the Virginia Memorial. It was here that we saw the Monument of Robert E Lee. The monument faces looking over the battlefield.
We then continued to the Monument of Longstreet.
As a final stop we climbed to the top of the observation tower (way too high for my liking !!!) to look over the battlefield.
After our tour of Day 1 we travelled into the town where Lee picked up a couple of books and Jamie picked up some more Star Wars comics. I went into the sweet shop and picked up some chewy spearmint sweets. Cast your mind back to the 80’s, I’m hoping these are going to be like Pacers.
We had to go back to Mr G’s Ice Cream shop having promised Michelle (the lady in the picture) last week that we would come back. The ice cream here is really nice and creamy, proper homemade ice cream.
After a bit of a walk around we got to the Pub and Restaurant for some dinner and then back to hotel for the night.
Summary of today
Another busy one. It is good to be back at Gettysburg. We have enjoyed the first day on the CD Auto Tour and are looking forward to Days 2 & 3.
We hope you have enjoyed our journey so far. Please feel free to Like, Share and Comment.