Monday, July 25, 2011

The battlefield at Gettysburg

We spent the weekend in Gettysburg, PA, at a friend's wedding.  We arrived late on Friday night and left Sunday afternoon, so we didn't have time to spend a full day at the museum and battlefield.  So we opted to drive around the site and see as many landmarks as we could before driving back to Brooklyn on Sunday evening.

The battlefield is a national park surrounding the town of Gettysburg.  (I highly recommend looking at that link for details on the places in my photos.)  You can't walk five feet without stumbling into a memorial or monument or plaque that commemorates a regiment or a civilian hero of the battle.  But many of the key events of the battle took place on the hills and fields outside the town itself, and most of the open spaces are preserved much as they were in July 1863 when the battle occurred.  For example, when you stand on Little Round Top and look across the field at Devil's Den and the tree lines, it's not impossible to imagine what the scene must have looked like on those three days.

I want to return to the battlefield after virtual reality technology has advanced to the point where I could see an overlay of the scene in 1863 on the current landscape.  No matter how much I read about the Civil War, I'll never know what it would have felt like to be present on the field that day.  I suspect I don't really want to know.

1 comment:

Matthew Hunt said...

Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land:

Few battles in history have been more scrutinized than Gettysburg’s three blood-soaked days in July 1863, the turning point in the Civil War. Still, there were questions that all the diaries, official reports and correspondence couldn’t answer precisely. What, for example, could Gen. Robert E. Lee actually see when he issued a series of fateful orders that turned the tide against the Confederate Army nearly 150 years ago?