Dad and I watched a wonderful program on PBS the other night called "The Story of Gettysburg." It was narration and some fabulous photography that took you through the battle step by step. It reminded me at how significant a turning point in the Civil War it was and how easily it could have gone the other way. In that little peaceful town in Pennsylvania, the war that has shaped this country ever since it happened probably had it's most significant battle.
The number killed during the battle is mind boggling especially those killed during Pickett's Charge. I think they said that 13,000 made the charge and less than half returned. There are characters from history like Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln who are certainly memorable but there were other men who are memorable to me. Col Joshua Chamberlain up on Little Round Top preventing the Confederates from taking the flank with bayonet charge or General Longstreet knowing that he was sending his army to their deaths on Pickett's Charge. He was following the orders of his commander but he knew what was about to happen...or the friendship of General Winfield Scott Hancock and General Louis Armistead on different sides and one laying wounded several feet away while the other lay dying. Neither one knew they were that close to each other.
I was very young when we visited Gettysburg and there are a lot things that I don't remember well. I can remember driving through the park but not really knowing what the statues signified. I understood about the Gettysburg Address because I just memorized it that school year so when we came across the monument about the recitation of the address by Abraham Lincoln - that meant something to me.
Today is the 150th Anniversary of the dedication of the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln made his famous address. I can honestly say that I have stood on that spot and have recited the Gettysburg Address myself...click below to read the the story:
A Trip to Gettysburg