Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 20: Gettysburg, Day 2

August 15, 2011 -  Our second day of Gettysburg brought Bruce and I a more deeper understanding of the battle as we progressed into the Devil's Den and ended up at the High Water Mark.  We woke up early that morning, expecting to complete our tour of Gettysburg.  However, we had gotten a late start that morning due to having to use the laundry facilities.  Undeterred and wearing clean clothes, we headed out to where we had left off the night before, Big Round Top which overlooks much of the battlefield.

Luckily, the weather was cooperating with us today.

The Bloody Wheat Field, scene of the bloodiest battle of the second day.

Big Round Top

Yesterday the weather deterred us from spending much time on Big Round Top. However, with the sun shining and the weather warm, Bruce and I decided to revisit this site and explore some more.  This was the site of the Union army's left flank of their fishhook defense during various times of the conflict.

On this site sits a very impressive unit monument that, quite frankly, looks out of place in this area.  The monument is dedicated to the 12th and 44th New York Infantry regiments.  This monument is the largest regimental edifice and is also a popular observation spot.

It's basically a castle that you can climb up to an observation deck.

The third level, the upper tower, is closed to the public, but you can take the spiral staircase to the second level observation deck.  From here we got a better vantage point of the surrounding area.

View of the Devil's Den, our next stop.

The remains of original breastworks on Big Round Top.

The Devil's Den

We drove down the hill and entered the Devil's Den area.  This site is photographed extensively, even dating from the early 1900's.  This is the site that Confederate sharpshooters fired from to the Union artillery troops on Big Round Top.

Devil's Den, a collection of worn rocks

A giant snake was rumored to have lived here from 1855-1881, earning the area its name.

The most famous part of Devil's Den is the barricade.  This is the spot that a Confederate sharpshooter's body was staged by photographers in the days after the battle.  The picture is the most recognized and considered the most published image of the Battle of Gettysburg.

This site is often referred to as The Devil's Den Barricade.

More State Memorials

On our drive back to Big Round Top, Bruce and I took the opportunity to photograph more state memorials. Either my camera wasn't doing too good or we were in a hurry trying to finish the Gettysburg Tour in one day, for some reason I didn't take pictures of some of the state memorials on the first day.

So I fixed that problem.

Arkansas state memorial.

Alabama state memorial.

We also had the opportunity to see other state memorials as well; ones that we didn't see the first day. Many of them were very impressive, while some were quite simple in design.

Pennsylvania state memorial.

New York state memorial, under repair.

More Unit Markers

As I mentioned before, Gettysburg is littered with a lot of unit markers.  While there was a lot of them around, I found a couple to be visually interesting.

A common scene with unit monuments and cannons.

Obelisks are far more rare at Gettysburg than some of the other battlefields.

The 42nd New York Infantry; the monument features a Native American.

Additionally, there was Spangler's Spring, a natural spring that was often fought over between the two armies.  The spring has since dried up, but a "monument" still remains showing the location of this piece of history.

The spring has since run dry long ago.

The Scenery

Gettysburg Battlefield is very pretty.  The trees, the fields, and the hills exude a sense of peace even though this place was the scene of a bloody battle.  I only offer a few pictures of the actual scenery to help give an idea of the beauty of this place.

The building in the background was a farmhouse converted into hospital.

One of the many stone walls found throughout the battlefield.

The woods behind Big Round Top.

The High Water Mark

The end of the day's tour of Gettysburg was the High Water Mark; effectively the place where the last Confederate push, known as Pickett's Charge, was eventually repulsed by Union troops and signaled the end of the Battle of Gettysburg.

It was starting to get dark by the time we reached the end of the actual site, so we weren't able to get a lot of pictures.  However, Bruce and I did take a moment to reflect on this part of the battle by observing the monuments and reading some of the history placards.

We watched the sun sink into the horizon, here at the High Water Mark, as we prepared to leave Gettysburg for the day.

The fading light barely shows the multitudes of unit markers.

A large statue of General Meade at the High Water Mark.

The End of Day Two

After the setting sun, Bruce and I made our way to the museum only to find out that it closed early.  Not wanting to miss this opportunity, we meandered around until they told us we had to  leave.  We made plans to come back in the morning and headed out to a favorite eating establishment; McDonalds.  After that, we drove back to the campground and rested from a very busy day.


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