A day at a battlefield

Gettysburg Travel Blog

 › entry 29 of 40 › view all entries
A trip to Gettysburg was not part of our plans originally.  But one of our dearest friends insisted we go.  And since it was not too far off the - wait, there are no plans, right?  So we can go where we want to go.  I still do not have to be back at work for 6 weeks or so, so we have the time.  So Gettysburg is "in" and nothing is "out".

On the way to this historic place, an interesting thing happened.  As we were driving to the famous battlefield, Eva noticed her camera was not working.  Her precious camera.  Her Canon 40D.  Holy crap!!  So I pulled over and took a look.  The lens was broken.  While Eva was sure she could continue with the trip using some setting on the camera to correct for the light washout and her 100-300mm lens, I was not entirely sure it was the lens, and in any event I felt we needed a gooding lens for the rest of the trip.  A quick trip to a Best Buy showed that the body was fine, but the lens was leaking light and the auto focus was not working.  We had to go to a different store to buy a replacement lens - and a sturdier bag for the camera - and a couple of light filters.  The new lens focuses much quicker than the old one.  And has a zoom range of 18-200mm.  Eva wished I had dropped the camera earlier in the trip.  As an aside, when you walk into Ritz Camera and say "I am on vacation, I am going to Gettysburg.  My lens is broken and I need a new one", you do not get and discounts. At all.  Of well.

So how do I describe Gettysburg, esp to non-Americans.  It is a very well done tribute to a very bloody, deadly three day battle in 1863.  It was the largest battle of the civil war, in terms of troops and deaths.  The battle itself was spread of some 6000 acres of some very scenic countryside.  The battle itself was described in enough detail so one could follow the advances and retreats, which was very cool.  There is a strong military history in my family and the tactical description of the battle was very compelling to me.  To stand in the places where troops had fought ande died was very compelling.  The strategic importance of the battle was discussed as well as the subsequent history.

There are very cool monuments the soldiers, both union and confederate.  There were many cannons still on the field and they were pointing in the direction they were in the actual battle.  Many of the states that sent soldiers have erected monuments to those that served and those that died.  Interestingly, there was little distinction made between the good guys and the bad guys.  Soldiers and commanders from both sides of the conflict were discussed with equal respect.

Finally, interestingly, we saw absolutely no black people anywhere.  Neither visitors nor employee.  Given the nature of the battle, I found this somewhat surprising. 

Overall, the visit was very interesting.  Most definitely worth the stop.  It was a pleasant surprise in terms of its enjoyment, solemnness (if those two terms are not entirely contradictory) and overall learning experience.  My only complaint is that the actual battle field is very large and it took a long time to go through it all.  We spent almost six hours there and by the end I was ready go leave.  But that is a minor point.  The generals (Lee and Meade) probably did not consider the tourist 140 years in the future when picking the place to faceoff with each other.

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photo by: spocklogic