Things I Think I Learned At Gettysburg, PA

So we took a bus tour of the Battlefield in Gettysburg, as neither Shawn or I knew squat about it other than there was a Civil War Battle in Gettysburg, PA.  Hear are the things I think I heard, from notes I took for this blog.  Yes folks, I had to take notes on my nifty little iphone because there was so much information at the first stop I knew I'd never remember it all.

Things I Think I Learned At Gettysburg, Pa -

Of the entire town of Gettysburg, only one civilian fought in battle.  He suffered three injuries while fighting along side the Iron Brigade.  

Of the over 7 millions shots fired, only one civilian was killed.  In her sister's kitchen while cooking, I believe I heard the shot went through two doors before killing Jennie Wade.  The house is rumored to be haunted.

The Iron brigade, which hailed from the now midwest, lost around 220 men during the first day and another 140 before the end of the battle.  Was the last number during Picket's Charge... I can't remember.

Although, according to our guide, that though historians would have you believe the battle started over clothing and shoes, it was really the road system that led to location of battle.  Both Union and Confederate Generals needed a town to bring their armies back together again and Gettysburg was the place.

When visiting the battlefield if you see a statue of a horse with all four hooves on the ground it means that the rider was uninjured, one hoof means he was injured and two hooves mean he died.

Lee lost citizenship for actions during the Civil Wars.

There are over fifty miles of fence at the battlefield.

Union Soldiers were pushed back into town during the first day.

You can see the bullet holes in town bricks.

The Seminary was turned into a field hospital.

Over 9000 Union soldiers killed, wounded or captured in the first day.

Over 6000 Confederate Soldiers killed, wounded, or captured in first day.

Gettysburg has a log cabin built in the 1790's.

Cattle mow the battlefield today from The Eisenhower's Ranch Stock.

Lee buries his dead but leaves the Union dead to rot in sun.  

5000 dead horses

It is said, in the weeks that followed, you could smell Gettysburg 10 miles away due to the dead.

July 2nd -

The Union Battle Line was three miles long and shaped like a fish hook.  The ends of the hook were anchored by hills which Lee attacks on July 2nd.

The Union (New Yorkers?) kept Little Round Top Hill by using Bayonet Charges against some Texans.
The Wheat field changed hands six times.
The names I can remember are:
Valley of Death
Bloody Run
Devils Den

At Culp's Hill a call came in about 5pm for help at Little Round Top.   8,500 men were sent but instead of heading towards Little Round Top the ended up heading towards Baltimore.  Lee now had a 4-1 advantage at Culp's Hill but Sixty Three Year old George Green from New York had his men build log fortifications.  This foresight saved him from losing Culp's Hill.  No Confederate got closer than 60 yards to the top.

Pickets charge

Pickets Charge was ordered by Lee himself.  Apparently, some of his officers did not like the idea.  It took place on Cemetery Ridge.  The Confederates had a mile of open ground to cover with 152 canons firing on them.  Combined the the Confederates Cannons, you could hear them at the White House.  13,000 Confederates walk out of the trees.  They have to climb two five foot fences to get into the battle.  Union Officers had the soldiers hold their fire until the Confederates had reached the fences.  In 50 minutes 5800 confederates were dead and 2500 Union for a total of 8300 dead.  4200 Virginians died in Pickets Charge.  

The casualty numbers in the battle were incredibly close.  There were 9,000 prisoners taken.

There are a large amount of monuments placed on the battlefield today.  Of them-
The Pennsylvania State Memorial is the Second Largest Civil War Memorial
There 11 State Confederate Memorials but only 6 Monuments.  Our guide said it was really hard to get a Confederate Monument placed on the battlefield.

The July 4th following the defeat in Vicksburg, MS and Gettysburg was known to the North as the Glorious 4th of July.

Weird Knowledge
A union officer, Sickles, had his leg pickled and sent the Smithsonian after a cannon ball blew off the lower part of his leg.  It spent some time at Walter Reed as well.

Thus wraps up the notes I took on a two hour bus tour.  Ok Civil War buffs......  I'm ready.  For the sake of my imaginary children's edjumication please inform me of the places I failed to hear the guide correctly.  Just remember the numbers are approximate......


Just South of you is Sharpsburg. It is know as Antietem by most. In one day 23,000 men were killed and 30,000 beasts of burden. It is very sobering. Go check it out next.

I have wanted to visit that spot for some time now. It is on our visit list. Just a few weeks away. I hope.

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