May 23, 2009

And While Caledon Was Dancing (1863)

My typist and her children took today to travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as part of their Memorial Day Holiday remembrances. Initially she thought that doing so on the holiday might be ill advised due to the expected numbers of tourists visiting, but despite greater numbers of people there than she generally has experienced at the National Battlefield, she and the kids learned and grew, and enjoyed the day together.

Some of the monuments seen today:

You might recall another article posted here about her travels to Gettysburg just before Veteran's Day in 2007.

(OOC voice)

Gettysburg now has a new Visitor's Center and Museum, and I highly recommend started any tour you do here. The new film which precedes viewing of the Cyclorama is quite moving as Morgan Freeman narrates the brief history of the battle. Tears welled up in my eyes as he described the 2 and a half hours of cannon fire on the third day of the battle. During the description, cannon were heard all around us in the surround sound of the theatre, the music swelled, and then portraits and photographs of some of the men who died were displayed across the screen as the reenactment of the battle displayed beneath them. It was very moving.

At the end of the movie, my oldest told me that she had been "nearly crying".

"What made you feel that way?" I asked.

"When Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was read - it was just so beautiful."

Now THAT makes a mother proud.

from the Cyclorama
The Third Day of the battle and what was left of the 12,000 men in Pickett's Brigade
attempt to take the high ground being held so well by some 7,000 Union soldiers

Union Reenactors at Meade's Headquarters along the High Water Mark trail

Putting the men through their paces



Pickett's lines being nearer, the impact was heaviest upon them. Most of the field officers were killed or wounded. Colonel Whittle, of Armistead's brigade, who had been shot through the right leg at Williamsburg and lost his left arm at Malvern Hill, was shot through the right arm, then brought down by a shot through his left leg.

General Armistead, of the second line, spread his steps to supply the paces of fallen comrades. His colors cut down, with a volley against the bristling line of bayonets, he put his cap on his sword to guide the storm. The enemy's massing, enveloping numbers held the struggle until the noble Armistead fell beside the wheels of the enemy's battery. Pettigrew was wounded but held his command.

General Pickett, finding the battle broken while the enemy was still reinforcing, called the troops off. There was no indication of panic. The broken files marched back in steady step. The effort was nobly made and failed from the blows that could not be fended."

Lt. General James Longstreet, Discussing the end of Pickett's Charge, Originally from "From Manassas to Appomattox" As quoted in "The Civil War Archive", Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, p429

The Copse of Trees in the midst of Codori Farm. The furthest north that the Confederate army would ever be. This was the climax of the Battle.
Lee's forces began retreat on the following day (July 4, 1863)

A very good day all-in-all. And I look forward to my next visit to this historical place - this sacred ground.


Rhianon Jameson said...

Both the battlefield and the Journal entry were quite moving. Thank you for sharing that with us.

And that Mr. Lincoln...he certainly has a way with words, doesn't he?