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Travel Destination....Gettysburg National Battlefield   by Bill Thomas


Fall is a great time for weekend getaways, and one of my favorite spots to spend a day at is Gettysburg National Battlefield. Nestled among the rolling hills of the Southern Pennsylvania countryside, you can easily spend a weekend exploring the battlefields, or the spot where Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address, visiting the Wax museum, or the stores and small town flavor of Gettysburg.

When you step on the battlefield at Gettysburg National Park, you can sense the significance of it. Nearly 145 years ago, a series of battles occurred here over a three day period that most Civil War historians view as the defining battle of the Civil War. The Confederates were looking for a significant victory that would force President Lincoln and the Union forces to accept a truce with the Confederate nation. Although neither side won a decisive victory here, the failure of the Southern forces to win that decisive victory laid the groundwork for their eventual defeat.

When you visit the battlefields you can do it several ways. First, you can do the guided tour where you visit the battlefields by van or small bus with a group of people, stopping for brief periods at places of historical significance. Another way is to purchase an Auto-Tour cassette, which guides you through the battlefield as you drive in your own car. Lastly, one of my favorite ways is to do it by bike. Riding the roads by bike gives you a perspective that you can't get any other way. You can rent bicycles in town at a nominal charge.

There are so many places to visit at the battlefield that it would be impossible to list them all, but there are several that worth mentioning;

'Pickett's Charge' was a march by the Confederate troops across a mile of open field toward the Union forces stationed on top of a small hill on the other side. The Southern troops were decimated as they marched across the field and afterwards fled back across the Potomac River into Virginia. To get a proper perspective on this charge, you should visit Confederate Avenue where the Southern troops began their march, and then visit the Union side looking back across the field at the Tower. It will give you an idea of just how far the Confederates had to go to reach the Union forces. While on Confederate Avenue be sure to visit the tower and if able, climb the many steps to the top to get a panoramic view of the battlefield and surrounding countryside. The view is worth the climb.

Another place of significance is 'Devil's Den.' At this location is a series of rock formations where opposing forces fought hand to hand combat. Many people like to climb up on the rocks and climb inside. I've done it several times myself, and although physically challenging, it's a really neat place to visit and explore. If you decide to try your luck and walk around on the rocks, be very careful and keep an eye on any kids you might have with you.

Another spot that most people like to visit is called 'Big Roundtop'. This is a place where Union Troops were stationed that allowed them to have the 'highground' and therefore an important strategic position in the battle. When walking to the top and looking down at the position and view that the Union forces had of the valley below, it's easy to understand how important this ground was and why both sides desperately fought to gain this advantage.

One last thing that I think would add to your visit to Gettysburg is to grab a copy of a movie called appropriately 'Gettysburg' and give it a viewing before going there. Although long, it gives you a nice overview of the battle and some of the characters in it.

Someone once said "to understand the history of our country, you have to understand the Civil War" and Gettysburg is a major part of that conflict. Visiting Gettysburg is not only an educational experience but a great way to spend a weekend in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside.

Bill Thomas lives in Seattle, Wa. He is actively engaged in E-Commerce and Internet Marketing. His current website is--Create Lifetime Income on $10 a Month

About the Author

Bill Thomas lives in Seattle, Wa. He is actively engaged in E-Commerce and Internet Marketing. His current website is--Create Lifetime Income from Home on $10 a Month

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