Gettysburg, PA   Leave a comment

Day 27-29

July 1, 2, and 3, 1863 were days of gruesome battles at Gettysburg. Maj. Gen. Rodes commanded the largest division of the Confederate army, 8,000 men. 2,000 of these were lost on the fields on the first day of battle.

The final day of battle consisted of 270 cannons blasting and the infamous “Pickett’s Charge” when 12,000 Confederates advanced across open fields. The attack failed and cost Lee over 5,000 soldiers in one hour. The battle of Gettysburg was over.

On November 19, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to take part in the dedication ceremonies for the new Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

He started to write the Gettysburg Address in Washington, D.C. and revised it while staying at the David Willis House.

Below is the saddle cover he used in the processional.

There are five copies of the Gettysburg Address in Abraham Lincoln’s hand-writing. A draft was given to John Hay, John Nicolay, his secretaries. He later wrote out three additional copies to be auctioned and sold to benefit the war effort. One is at his Presidential Library in Illinois, one is at Cornell University, and the other is in the Lincoln Room at the White House.

In 1938, 75 years after the battle, Veterans of the Union and Confederate armies met in Gettysburg for their last great reunion. All Civil War veterans were invited with expenses paid. Nearly 2,000 attended, the majority was in their 90s and many were over 100. They dedicated the monument pictured below which is built from Alabama limestone and Maine granite, topped by a natural gas torch to be lit eternally to symbolize the unity of the United States.

Within the park, you will find the bronze statue of the last of the Civil War veteran. He died at age 109.

Plan on spending a minimum of one hour at The Gettysburg Civil War Museum. There are several films and a lot of articles from our soldiers that were found in the fields. The Bible belonging to Pvt. William Ventress, Alabama Infantry, below was found with a note that read “If I should get killed in battle or sicken and die, my friends will please send this Bible and my remains home to my wife, to Mrs. W.E. Ventress, Clayton, Barbour County, Alabama.” “Hancock’s National Flag” below was the headquarters flag of Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and was a welcomed sight to Union soldiers because it meant that one of the army’s most ablest commanders was on the field. General Meade sent Hancock to take charge of the Union forces at Gettysburg on July 1.

The highlight of the day was our great lunch at the Dobbin House Tavern, built in 1776.

Great food and service. Make sure you have enough time to see the Underground Railroad next door.

When President Eisenhower left the White House in 1961, he and Mamie headed north to Gettysburg, to the farm they purchased in 1950. When they started the remodeling, they were surprised to find a decaying 200 year old log cabin beneath the brick veneer. The house could not be saved, but Mamie advised construction workers to salvage what materials they could while dismantling the original structure. The middle section of the house with the 4 small windows (left of the stone portion) is the only part of the original house they could save. The brickwork was painted white since they could not match the new brick to the old brick.

The formal parlor, which was used very little, displays all the gifts they were given. The marble fireplace mantle was removed from the White House in 1873 by President Grant and was an anniversary present from the Eisenhower White House staff.

The glass enclosed porch was their favorite part of the house, overlooking the rolling hills, where they enjoyed breakfast, visiting with friends, playing cards, etc.

Secret Service Office was in use beginning in 1955, ceased in 1961, and resumed after President Kennedy was assassinated.

We finished our tour of the Gettysburg area with a tour of the Utz Potato Chip factory. You can’t leave this area without touring one of the many potato chip factories. Below are photos of the potatoes being cleaned, peeled, sliced, rinsed, cooked, seasoned and packaged.

The scraps are recycled and sent to Perdue Chicken which they mix in with their chicken feed.

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