Thursday 10/4: Gettysburg Nat'l Military Park "Visitor Center"
With my camera battery again fully charged, I was able to upload the pics I took at the Gettysburg National Military Park "Visitor Center" yesterday. Unfortunately the time elapsed has caused the memories to fade slightly (as you get older you'll understand...) but I'll do the best I can at commenting.
When I awoke in Hagerstown, MD it was pretty gloomy outside...however it wasn't actually raining
at the time.
On the way up to Chambersburg, PA I crossed the MD/PA state line, and stopped at the PA "Welcome Center." Decided to park about 200 yds beyond it and walk back. Guess I like to do things the hard way...
I asked about Gettysburg and was given the "Official Gettysburg Visitor's Guide" by the bored young lady working the desk. I thanked her profusely and sat down to take a look. What a disappointment! Nothin' but ads for one tourist trap after another. I waited till I got outside to throw it away...wouldn't have fit in my "map pocket" anyway.
The "Shoe" Confrontation
So I finally made my over to Gettysburg, went thru their quaint little "traffic circle" and found my way to the Visitor Center. The sign advised me to park a ways uphill, cuz the downhill lots were already full. Man, what must the parking be like around July 4?
I decided to park way over by myself; that way I'd "highlight" Milledue, making it an even more attractive target for anyone who wanted to check thru my gear.
After removing my riding gear (I wear walking shorts underneath so I'm decent) I thought "y'know, I don't really wanna dig down in my topcase to get my moccasins out." I'll just go barefoot. I go barefoot all summer long...drives Mrs. Greg crazy. So off to the Visitor Center I march (probably an apt term here...)
Well, upon getting inside (was gonna take a pic) I was overwhelmed...by the ticket prices, I mean! Everything was expensive!
Then a guy came up and said "hey, buddy, you're gonna hafta get some shoes on." OK, he didn't quite say it like THAT
, but that's what it sounded like. We had a little discussion with his supervisor, and the good Dr. walked back to Milledue...
While walking back down to the Visitor Center I decided that an "attitude adjustment" was in order...this was my VACATION
and I shouldn't let them spoil it. So I strolled into the Visitor Center, got out my credit card, and bought my ticket for the movie, Cyclorama painting, and museum.
The Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center
The film---narrated by Morgan Freeman---was good, but somehow it didn't really "grab" me. That's OK. That's my problem, not the film.
But the Cyclorama (they gotta get a better name) WAS
pretty cool! It's a 360-degree painting with way too many scenes to mention:
The "lighting" changes during their presentation (that's why this "violet" hue); I included this scene for all you ARTILLERY
enthusiasts out there...
Here's a little info on the artis:
Next are a bunch of random pics of various posters, etc.
Somehow they don't make political cartoons like this anymore...
This description of a Civil War "canteen" used terminology that seemed surprisingly "high-tech" to me; anyway it tickled my funnybone...
Nobody can ever accuse General Lee of not having affection for his troops:
The redoubtable JEB Stuart kind of "blew it" at Gettysburg. *Perhaps he was too smug after all of his previous "circling the enemy" gyrations...
BTW, my "favorite" cavalryman is the dreaded Nathan Bedford Forrest. Although his political (and human rights) beliefs might be questionable.
And to think that I complain because I used to get up for work at 0450...(that's true, BTW)
Ah, yes, the dreaded HARDTACK
"cracker", or whatever it was...infamous, that's for sure.
Seems like camping gear has made progress from then till now...
Seven Slides Depicting the Campaign:
I snapped this sequence of text slides...they sort of tell the story of what was happening, I guess.
Even I've heard of "Pickett's Charge"
Another shot for you ARTILLERY
This says it all...
Well, folks, this is where my camera battery went DEAD
. But enough is enough...
I think the thing that affected me most deeply was an "audio" exhibit that discussed the AFTERMATH
of the battle. It simply OVERWHELMED
the little town of Gettysburg. The wounded and dead were stacked in heaps; the wounded moaning beneath the dead.
One woman was quoted as saying "any wound that could be made to the human body by iron or lead was in evidence..." It rained heavily on July 4, thereby hastening the putrefaction of the dead bodies. Hastily-dug graves resulted in the bodies coming back to the surface quickly after burial.
The town of Gettysburg dealt with the aftermath of this battle for seemingly endless months.
My spirit could barely perceive (well, really it couldn't) this degree of death and destruction. Although I think some other battles may have been even worse.
Sigh. Why can't we all just get along.
I'll end this by saying that, again, I'm coming round to the idea that future Civil War re-enactions should be done with live ammunition. And this is coming from someone who grew up with guns, who could go shooting off his back porch. I just don't know...
My Wonderful Hosts at Gettysburg
I stayed with SoPaRider and SoPaGuider at Chambersburg (nearby to G'burg); here are Jeff and Karen at our dinner table (note Dr. Greg has a beer at the ready!). This is a lousy picture of Jeff and Karen, but they were exceptional. Thanks!!
The Gettysburg "Auto Tour" Route
So today I'm gonna ride back over to the Military Park and try to ride the "Auto Tour" route on Milledue. Not sure how that's gonna work out, but I'll see. The weather is gorgeous today, but it's gonna degenerate again tomorrow and Sunday. With any luck I'll start moving SOUTH on Saturday morning and maybe stay ahead of it. Probably not, though...