Great Places in History: Gettysburg Battlefield

Gettysburg Battlefield

A Historical place to visit during your next vacation to Pennsylvania is the Gettysburg Battlefield.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War. This was the Union victory in the summer of 1863 that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North.

From the Confederate defeat here, many scholars believe the ultimate defeat of the southern cause was inevitable. But for both North and South, the price was exorbitant. This was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and with 51,000 recorded casualties, the most heartbreaking.

This venerated battlefield is also the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s most famous address to the nation. Eloquent, simple and stirring, it inspires as much now as it did more than 140 years ago.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Gettysburg Battlefield

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg BattlefieldA visit to Gettysburg National Military Park begins at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center—a 22,000 square-foot museum gallery that takes visitors through the Civil War with relics from one of the largest museum collections in America, interactive programs and multi-media presentations. The life of a simple soldier becomes real to the visitor who can see the tent, the uniform and the weapons that comprised the day-to-day life on the battlefield.

To tour the battlefield itself, a visitor can choose a bus tour or to hire a licensed guide. You may also follow the brochure you’ll receive at the gate, or visit the Park’s bookstore for a copy of a self-driving, narrated tour. For a truly unique tour, visitors can travel on horseback. Bring your own horse, or hire a horse from a nearby stable.

While you’re in the area, you might wish to follow up on the sad story of Ginnie or Jennie Wade. The 20-year old seamstress was visiting her sister to help after the birth of her sister’s daughter. While kneading bread in the kitchen, Ginnie was killed by a stray bullet that came through the back door. Although more than 130 bullets hit her sister’s house during three days of intense fighting, poor Ginnie was the only civilian killed in the battle. Visitors can tour the site of Ginnie’s demise. Some claim the house to be haunted.

Whether you like horseback riding, ghost hunting or visiting significant historical sites, few places will stir your soul quite like Gettysburg National Military Park, close to Hershey, PA—home of The Suites at Hershey resort.