The motivation for this trip was to watch the reenactment of several battles at Gettysburg ranging from the first day when the troops from both sides poured into the battlefield, to the climatic Pickett’s Charge at The High Water Mark. During the four-day span from July 4th – 7th, eight key battles of Gettysburg were reenacted. Our excitement to see these battles was keen, but logistics and the heat and humidity sometimes interfered. In the end, we saw three battles and ended up feeling satisfied with our new understanding of these four days in July, 150 years ago.
The battles are all about the spectacular vision of soldiers, horses, muskets, wagons and cannons as they clash on the field. Trying to recount the action of each battle is beyond my capabilities -- so I will just show you a large selection of pictures.
That is a lot of the story -- except for the sounds of gun shot and cannons! Truth to be told, it was unbearably hot for us watching, and I only wonder how the soldiers were able to survive in their 100% wool uniforms. (One battle was delayed almost an hour while ice and water was delivered to them on the field!)
We did leave the battle with two nagging questions: how powerful were the beliefs 150 years ago that made those men cascade forward into battle without thought to their own life -- and, how would I have conducted myself if I were on the battlefield that day?
Relief from the heat came with a visit to the visitor's center where there was a museum, a documentary film, and the famed cyclorama painting of the battlefield. In the late 1880s, French artist Paul Philippoteaux took brush to canvas and created the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painting. He spent months on the battlefield researching the battle with veterans, a battlefield guide, and a photographer. It took Philippoteaux and a team of assistants more than a year to complete. The result is a breathtaking oil painting that measures 377 feet in circumference and 42 feet high. Longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure, the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. The last time we visited the painting was being reconditioned and a new facility was being built to house it. We were so glad to be able to view it on this visit!
After the documentary film depicting an overview of the battle and our viewing of the cyclorama, we headed out for the auto tour of the battlefield. We have done this tour several times, but it is always an experience that is humbling.
Tom has always wanted to hike across the field of Pickett's charge, and we left him off at the North Carolina Memorial where he had a straight view out of the woods where the Rebel Army was located, across the open field to the "copse of trees" where the Union Army was gathered. It was only a mile and a quarter for him to walk while we continued our drive. We picked him up on the other side. Tom has frequently talked about doing that walk -- Tom, please mark that off your bucket list!
That is the essence of our trip -- all centering around this historic event. We're home for three days and repacking to head out for twelve days of Washington DC and Philadelphia! Check back!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown