Sunday, January 3, 2010

But history does "long remember."

So last week on the drive back from a Christmas stay with my Sis in Washington, DC we immediately got lost but my navigator wife said as long as we were heading north we would be fine. About an hour later on a road I thought to be fairly countryish I pull off at an exit announcing food and bathrooms, but when I get to the end of the ramp another sign says "3 miles."

About half way there I spot the first large granite memorial--the kind you see in many quaint New England town centers. Then another, and another. And suddenly a sign saying "Welcome to Gettysburg."

Like the epic battle itself, we stumbled upon it by accident. The historic national park, as "hallowed ground," is maintained much as it was on those fateful three days in July, 1863--including cannons and wooden barricades used to slow down an advancing army long enough for withering fire to decimate their ranks.

And decimation is perhaps too kind a word. The Battle of Gettysburg--considered the turning point of the Civil War--was the costliest engagement in a conflict that pitted American against American, brother against brother.

Arguably the greatest speech of all time.

The wrong end of a cannon

Rookie Commander of the Grand Army of the Potomac, General George Meade, is said to have bested the legendary Southern commander General Robert E. Lee (outnumbered as usual) in that confrontation, but Lee managed to escape back to Virginia. A main reason the dreadful conflict carried on for another two years.

And if General Lee had not been stopped at Gettysburg, he too could have ended up in New York City.


Ed said...

I thought that Antedium (which I know I have misspelled) was the bloodiest day in the war....

LarryK4 said...

Bloodiest day indeed.

But the battle of Gettysburg spanned three days.

lightcarver said...

So, is the moral of this story...always let your wife navigate back during a holiday trip? :)

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, to heck with those newfangled GPS thingys

lightcarver said...

So, what's the memorial for the Battle of Gettysburg? A very large pile of bronzed soldier boots?

This is a serious question...that battle was fought over soldier-foot accouterments, no?

LarryK4 said...

That would be an awful lot of boots considering how many were killed over those three days.

Another blogger who spent more time there says over 1,000 monuments exist throughout the Park.

Mary E.Carey said...

Larry -- I highly recommend getting a GPS. We used it coming back from Washington D.C. and it helped us navigate through TWO major traffic jams in Connecticut. We also had a lot of fun talking about it (the GPS) much of the way. You can tape your kids' voices, so that they're the ones giving you directions!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that's what my Sis said as well.

Although we're now going to do a get together this summer and spend more time taking the official tour.