Tears Not Cheers

IMG_1356I guess I had better wrap up this report on our trip to Gettysburg. Once I returned, I received some really bad news from a family member. Between that and the other devastating news that we had before the trip….I wasn’t quite ready to finish this up. I suppose that, in hind site, I should have gotten back to this as a way to have a creative escape. It really made the subject of this post more meaningful. When we talk about Gettysburg, or the Civil War in general, we tend to glorify it. I want people to remember that this was a very sad time in our history. People living in North America were slaughtering each other, there really isn’t any other way to put it. Our men from Minnesota marched off to war to the sound of cheers and marching bands….I don’t think most of them knew what they were marching into. Just like when I walk a local cemetery, walking these patches of sacred ground at Gettysburg was a special experience. On the final day, as we made our way from battle field to battle field on foot, we had to dodge huge trucks from t.v. stations that were setting up to get the shot for the re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge, that would be taking place hours later.  People were filing in to the area to claim their viewing spot for the event. What was this going to be like? A huge re-enactment and people getting set up several hours in advance, t.v. Vans. After learning about Minnesota’s role at this spot from our great guide, John Cox, we made our way to the National Cemetery to pay respects for those Minnesotan’s that didn’t make it back.  There is a Minnesota section in the cemetery and a memorial urn that was re-dedicated by our group. Commemorative flags were placed at each of the Minnesota graves,and there were words spoken over them. I’m sure there were tears shed at this nice tribute.  Once this was finished, we had some free time so rather than going shopping – we visited the grounds of the Community Cemetery called Evergreen Cemetery.  It turns out that there are two Minnesotan’s buried there and we wanted find them and get pictures.  The reason that they are there and not at the national Cemetery – is that when these men died – those around them didn’t want to leave the area without seeing that their comrades were buried properly.  The National Cemetery was not established at that time, so they ended up in Evergreen.

IMG_1366William R Allen  Co.D 1 MINN INF.

It also contains the estimated actual location where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address:IMG_1378

We walked up and down the rows and could hear canons being fired in the distance and there was even someone playing taps nearby – it was a really rewarding experience.   One thing that didn’t have to do with the Civil War, but I found very interesting, was that we found a Revolutionary War grave!  IMG_1385

At some point, we had to make our way back to the battlefield for the re-enactment of Picket’s Charge.  But before we did that we thought we better check out some nearby monuments.IMG_1433

Here is what the re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge looked like:IMG_1447

It was pretty amazing to see all the people, that supposedly duplicated the number of confederates coming at the union which would have been positioned on the left side of this picture (off the picture a bit).  We had a certain time that we were supposed to be back to the bus as we were pulling out at a specific time heading West for home.

I want to thank my good friend Doug for making this trip available to me. What a great experience!  Let’s always remember what these Civil War guys did.  For photos from this trip: http://jgrammondphotography.smugmug.comIMG_1417

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