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the Virginia Memorial on Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg National Military Park
Closest available address
1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Park is open 6-10 April to October & 6-7 November to March.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Gettysburg is the most important battlefield in North America. Visiting offers a chance to connect with history that few places can match. Both the town and the park offer a window on the most pivotal battle in the US Civil War and one which shaped the course of American history. If you only visit one Civil War battlefield, this is the place.
The battle of Gettysburg resulted from Robert E. Lee’s second invasion and major gamble to take the war to the North. It was the South’s last best hope for victory. However, due to strong Union defenses and poor coordination in attacks, the Southern efforts ended in defeat and retreat. The climax of the 3 day battle took place on July 3, 1863, with an ill-fated massive Confederate assault against the center of Union lines, which later came to be known as Pickett’s Charge. The repulse of this charge is referred to as the high water mark of the Confederacy.
The visitor center is a good place to start. It has an excellent museum, movie and an 1800’s era Cyclorama painting of the battlefield. The highlight of a visit is the self-guided auto tour which traces the battle’s main points of interest. There are 16 stops on the tour of this 6,000 acre park, but the 3 most interesting were stop 5 – the Virginia Memorial where Pickett’s charge commenced, stop 8 at Little Round Top – a pivotal high ground that was a key part of the second day’s fighting and stop 15 - the High Water Mark on Cemetery Ridge where Pickett’s Charge ended. The park is full of memorials and statutes but you can still get a good sense of the battle. Buying an audio CD tour at the bookstore is worth the money. Bordering the battlefield is the national cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The town also has attractions. A picture to the right is of a statue of Lincoln helping a tourist. You can visit the house where Lincoln stayed and other historic structures via a walking tour.
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Gar the Bold
5/17/2013 11:05:17 AM
I have visited many of the civil war battlefields, and this one is the best. The park gives you an incredible insight into the strategy and the tragedy of the battle.
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