Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 189 - Gettysburg...The Importance of Five Minutes..Part 1

After visiting my grandparents' graves I visited one more cemetery...The Battleground of Gettysburg.  It was sooooo large and preserved just like 1863.  I had lived in Pennsylvania all my life and never went.  It was on my bucket list of things to do and since I was at my mom's who lives only one hour from Gettysburg, I decided to go.  I knew about this great battle in which Lincoln delivered the infamous Gettysburg address but I had no idea what it really all was.  I'm not a war buff and I knew being from the North, we had already won.

I was not disappointed.  The place is just awesome!  You first get to the Welcome Center where a bronze statue of Lincoln is outside sitting on a bench.  The photo ops with Lincoln are endless.  Inside the Welcome center there is a book/gift store, a museum, a cafeteria, and a movie.  You can also buy tickets to take a bus tour and if you would like a personal tour, they will hook you up with one of the many volunteers that come daily that work off tips alone who will ride along in your car and explain the history of the sacred ground you are looking at.

I paid for my documentary ticket and bus tour ticket together to get the five dollar discount for the bundle package.  I went into the theatre and learned how big the Gettysburg battle was.  It was a three day battle July 1,2,3, 1863.  The lines were drawn in an upside down fish hook formation with the South led by General Robert E. Lee, he had surrounded the hilltop of the city of Gettysburg.  He had been pushing the Northern lines back every day so he thought he was winning.  We walked the infamous Seminary Ridge that showed how the South would advance up the hill and couldn't see the north and their horses behind the three bunkers.  They would come up over the ridge to be surprised that there were horses and men there who had been hidden by this perfect ground.  They called it that because it hid the Northern horses from the view, once they retreated a bit to the second bunker, the South realized that there were more men there than they thought.

They circled around to the edge of the flank of men and came in from the side and that regiment who had been stationed from that side had more casualties than the other regiments.  The South had surrounded eight of the nine roads leading into Gettysburg.  On the third day Picketts Charge was lead from Little Round Top, a place called Perfect Ground.  Sickle had lost that ground once but seeing that it was empty and the 20th Regiment from Maine had stayed put on the Big Round Top, Sickle went down and gathered two regiments from the bottom of the hill and brought them up. Colonel Perry's men from Erie, PA and another group.  This is where Picketts Charge occurred on the third day as the reinforcements came in from that ninth road and defeated the south.

After you view the documentary and get the foundation of what the battle of Gettysburg really was, we headed upstairs to a round platform situation in the middle of a Cyclorama.  A painting done in 1884 by a French Artist who sat and talked with the veterans of the Civil War and went out on to the battlefield with them to get their stories.  IT IS THE SAME PAINTING WITH A LITTLE RESTORATION THAT MEN AND WOMEN HAVE VIEWED FOR YEARS. And it is still in perfect condition.  Gettysburg is a hill and sitting in this raised platform, you get the sense of looking out the entire ridge and seeing the battle unfold in real time.

We then went out to the bus and our tour guide Ed Guy got on the bus.  He told us as we rode around in the bus about the end, the middle and the hook part of the fish hook.  He taught us how to tell the difference between a union cannon and a confederate cannon.  We learned about the monuments that are on Gettysburg for each state commemorating the veterans living and dead from each state.  There were 148 years where monuments and cement markers were allowed to be added to the site which totaled into 1300 total.  Now, no more are permitted to be added.  It is so beautiful the way they have preserved the ground and have over 130 cannons over all of the battlefield. The original cannons, which have been restored.

The right thing to do is to learn about this battle.  For it was on this Picketts Charge of the last day of the battle that our history could have been written a little differently.  The South had come back to reclaim Little Round Top and the North was already there.  Had the North waited five minutes, all the roads leading into Gettysburg would have been blocked by the South and the North would have lost that battle.  We could have been a Northern States of America and a Southern SA, divided forever, never to become a United States of America

I learned quite a bit that day, but as at the other cemeteries I had visited, I drove over to the Pennsylvania Memorial and looked over the 34,000 names that were engraved on the monument.  One in particular stood out to me as he had the same surname as my paternal grandparents...Hauck. John A Hauck.  I took a pencil and a piece of paper and drew over the letters.  He was in the 150th Regiment and had been a Corporal during the war.  A leader of men.  I felt a connection, not only in surname but in leadership.  This Regiment was the one that fought on Seminary Ridge just in front of McPherson's Barn.  The flank markers are still on the battlefield for EVERY SINGLE Regiment.  There is no other battle ground in the world that still has all the flank markers.

I had to go see where he fought, the sun was going down and my camera ran out of battery power, so I vowed to return again later on in the week.....(to be continued)

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors. The record does not show that Adam and Eve were ever married. ~Howe, Edgar Watson

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