Gettysburg National Military Park (by Madison)

Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Gettysburg Campground
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Gettysburg National Military Park
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Day 1

(by Madison)

Today we visited Gettysburg National Military Park.  This place is important because this is where the largest battle in the Civil War took place.  The Civil War was, and still is today, the deadliest war in U.S. history.  I wouldn't have wanted to be part of that war because 620,000 people died.  That is like saying 1,000 Pocopson Schools died!  The two main reasons that the Civil Was was fought was to maintain the Union and to bring slavery to an end.  I agree with the north, and President Lincoln, that slavery should end and the Union should stay together.

In the Civil War, the Confederate was the South, and the Union was the North.  The battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the war because before this the Confederates were winning winning all of the battles and were gaining a lot of land.  General Lee, the Confederate leader wanted to win a big battle on the Unions own land.  The Union knew that this would happen, so they started forming a defense line.  The Confederates kept pushing north.  In Gettysburg, they were getting close to defeating the Union by sneaking around Little Round Hill and attacking the Union, but 1 engineer spotted the attack and allowed the Union to bring in more troops.  The Battle of Gettysburg lasted 3 days, and the Confederates finally lost the battle.  The Civil War went on for 2 more years, but the Confederates were never able to get back on the Union land.  Gettysburg was the deadliest battle in the Civil War, and 6,820 people died.  I would not have liked to be one of those men, and I feel sorry for them!  We had an exciting day at Gettysburg learning about the Civil War!

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Day 2

(by Madison)

Today we went back to Gettysburg National Military Park.  We went to 3 Ranger led programs.  The first one was my favorite, and we went to the National Cemetery.  One interesting fact that I learned was that if you stood on the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on the final day of the battle of Gettysburg, you could hear the cannon balls being fired.  I wouldn't have wanted to live in Philadelphia at that time!  This cemetery is the place that was selected to bury all of the dead from the war.  A man named Edward Everett was selected to give the speech to dedicate the cemetery, and Abe Lincoln only accepted an invitation to attend after this.  Everett gave a 2 hour speech, and then Lincoln stepped up and talked for 2 minutes.  This is the famous Gettysburg Address, which was very controversial at that time.

After the Cemetery walk, we went to a Ranger program called the 'Soldiers of Gettysburg' where we learned a lot of interesting facts about the soldiers at that time.  I learned that their favorite thing to do was drink coffee!  They drank 3-6 quarts of coffee a day, which averages to be more than a gallon!  I learned that they had very bad food.  Each day they were given 10 pieced of hard bread, 1 piece of smoked meet that was actually 3/4 fat, and vegetables that were ground up and dried into a block.  The bread was sometimes 12 years old, from the Mexican War.  Sometimes the soldiers got it and it had mold on it or bugs in it.  Because there was not much food, they would have to clean it off and still eat it.  That is just plain old nasty!  I also learned how they loaded a rifle.  It took 9 steps, and was very hard for some of the soldiers to remember.  I learned that at the end of the war they found 1 rifle with 32 loads in it, which means that the soldier kept loading it and it would never fire.

The last Ranger program that we did was the 'Care for the Union' program.  I learned that an amputation took an average of 20 minutes, and they had to do 500 each day!  When a soldier was shot, they would be brought into a room where they would determine if they were likely to survive.  If they were not, then they would not get immediate attention and you might have to wait 2 or 3 days before you were cared for.  I wouldn't want to have a doctor back then!  Another interesting fact we learned was that if you were a General and had your arm or leg amputated, they would bury it.  However, if you were not a General then they would just throw it into a pile with other arms and legs.  That sounded very strange to me!

We learned a lot about Gettysburg and the Civil War today.
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