Next stop, Gettysburg!
Our tour guide today is L! She is a Gettysburg native, transplanted to California. Her usual blogging venue is bokunokimono.blogspot.com where she discusses all things kimono (and is participating in A to Z this month).
As a former ghost tour guide, it is very hard for her to not make this all about the ghosts, even though they ARE a very good way to connect to the history.
If you look to the north as the train pulls into the station, you will spy Gettysburg College, whose historic edifices have seen a great deal of excitement in their storied past, and are said to harbor ghosts… but then again, that can be said of many buildings in this historic town. Rather than touring the grounds, we are going to head south. I’ve a place in mind for lunch, but we’ll want to get there early before the tavern fills up.
If you look closely at the southern face of the house, you’re sure to see numerous marks and dings, reminders of a battle that took place over 150 years ago. These marks show all of the unsuccessful attempts made to take out a Confederate sniper who had stationed himself in the garret window.
From here, we’re going to head up Baltimore street, towards the Jenny Wade House (she was the only civilian casualty killed during the three days of fighting) but rather than stop there (though I highly recommend the tour), we’re going to jaunt across the street to the ‘Old Gettysburg Village Shops,’ where this errant young man has been startling folk for as long as I can remember. He’s just one of the quirks you might find in a town specializing in tourism.
I, for one, have had quite enough of the town, at least for the moment. There are so many places I’d love to show you, from Steven’s Hall at the College to the Wills House where Lincoln stayed, but where we’re headed next is my favorite place by far. It’s a bit of a hike, though, so I hope you’re wearing good shoes.
I know it was a bit of a walk, but we’re not done yet. These boulders were made for climbing and there are some things you just have to see, since you’ve already made it this far.
This is the site of one of the most infamous photographs taken in the aftermath of the battle. A young Confederate soldier was pulled from where he had fallen to be artistically arranged for the benefit of the photographer. As a consequence, it is said that cameras often malfunction when in this area. I like to stop here to pay my respects, and so far, my photos have been fine. Let’s head a little further up the hill; we can see one of the ‘witness trees’ before we head across the valley of Bloody Run and up Little Round Top.
We’re looking across the valley at Little Round Top, where Chamberlain made a heroic effort to defend the position and helped to turn the tide of battle. In this quiet spring evening, it can be easy to forget what happened here so many years ago, which is why I thought it was important to bring you all this way. We’re going to head up that hill next. It’s not too much of a hike and I promise that the view is worth it.
See? I told you the view was worth it! Those are the Blue Ridge Mountains ahead of us, and if you look waaaaay to your right, beyond the statue, you can see the Pennsylvania Monument. We can stop there on our way back, if you like. It’s a long walk though and we should be getting a move-on. The last thing we need to do is miss the train. One day really isn’t enough to see, let alone absorb all of what happened here. I’m not even sure that a lifetime is enough, but I always hope that it is enough to try.