Pennsylvania is a lovely state, and the Gettysburg is no exception. The combination of rolling hills, political events, and a tangle of cross roads made this place an ideal location for a decisive battle. Imagine yourself as a Union officer searching countryside very much like what is pictured above, and spotting a huge army marching towards your postion.
Both sides had something to prove; the North under newly promoted General Gordon Meade needed to blunt the South’s push into Union territory and badly needed a win to boost morale. The South on the other hand knew that support for the war in the North was wavering and that a threat to Northern communities and the Capital itself could be enough to bring the larger and better equipped Northern armies to the armistice table.
The American civil war divided families, and pitted brother against brother. There were several instances of older brothers commanding younger ones and family meeting on the battlefield; sometimes wearing the same uniform, and sometimes not.
Pictured at the left is Eternal Light Peace Memorial, dedicated on July 3, 1938 as part of the cerimonies marking the 75th anniversary of the battle. Franklin D. Roosevelt eulogized the Americans of both sides who found and died here even as America and the world edged closer to all-out warfare across the globe.
It is estimated the 250,000 people attended the dedication of this memorial and it is believed an additional 100,000 were stuck on the roads leading to Gettysburg. The 75th anniversary was one of the last great reunions of Civil war soldiers of both sides who fought at Gettysburg, with 1800 veterans attending the four day commemoration.
The spot the memorial sits on was used during the battle as a position for confederate cannon and was contested multiple times by elements of both armies. The view from on top of Oak hill made it very clear why it was an important location to stage artillery fire.
For us it was notable for less momentous events – it was here that we finally got back on track with our CD audio guide of the battlefield!