On to Gettysburg
Trip Start Oct 09, 2013
10Trip End Oct 23, 2013
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What I did
Leaving Phillip we passed the birthplace of Anna Jarvis, the woman whose work inspired Mother's Day. Our last overnight in WV would be in the Bridgeport/Clarkston area, where we found an awful lot of traffic (more than could be explained by the nearby WVU football game in Morgantown) for a population around 30,000. West of Clarkston we explored some more backroads and found one more covered bridge, near the tiny town of Wolf Summit.
Before leaving WV behind, we made one more stop at Coopers Rock State Forest, where a rocky overlook provides a fabulous view down the Cheat River towards Cheat Lake. From there we headed into Pennsylvania for a look at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Gettysburg was of course one of the crucial battles of the Civil War, and I knew very little about it. It's always been difficult for me to follow descriptions of battle logistics and tactics, but Gettysburg does a wonderful job of making you feel like you're there. It starts with the Cyclorama, a 360 degree painting of the battle scene that has been around since the 1880s. The Cyclorama was painted by Paul Phillipoteaux, a French painter who specialized in Cyclorama painting. With added sound and lighting and the viewer platform in the center, it gives you the feeling of being present at events that happened 150 years ago.
After a brief visit to the museum, we headed out to Culp's Hill for a walk with one of the NPS rangers. He explained the importance of this part of the battle, which has been overlooked in most histories of Gettysburg in favor of Cemetery Ridge and Pickett's charge.
After the ranger walk we drove around on the self-guided auto tour to see where the various skirmishes had taken place. I am not that much of a military history buff but the National Park Service certainly does a great job, as do the states of Virginia and W. Virginia.