Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Day 6

Awoke in Gettysburg this morning with a lot on our agenda to do today. So we quickly got ready, grabbed a quick fast food breakfast and off we went.

We decided to check out the train station where Abraham Lincoln arrived in November 1863, the night before he delivered the Gettysburg Address.


and now.

Then we headed out to Gettysburg National Military Park. First thing we did was go to the ticket counter and request a personal guide for the two hour tour. The guide drives you around the battlefield (and basically, the town) in your car for a personal tour. A friend of mine visited here a few months ago and told me that was the way to go so Mom and I had planned on this from the beginning. We were fortunate that they were not booked up, and we got one for 10 am - a mere 10 minute wait.

Bob was our tour guide - a senior citizen with a wealth of knowledge about the battle, the units that fought here, and the battlefield itself. By the end of the tour, my head was spinning from all the information he shared with us. However, I was also very excited because Bob was able to take us right to a monument and an informational plaque that were very personal to us.

My great-great-grandfather (and my mother's great-grandfather), Comfort Ranney, was in the 61st Ohio Infantry Unit during the Civil War. His unit fought at Gettysburg, and Bob took us right to their monument.

This monument is located on the Barlow Knoll Loop. It is even inscribed with a description of what the unit did while engaged in battle at Gettysburg:

Then toward the end of the tour, Bob was able to show us a plaque describing the movements of the 48th Georgia Infantry. My great-grandfather, James (Jim) Tapley, was in that unit! It doesn't appear that Comfort and Jim fought directly against each other, but they were both at Gettysburg at the same time.

This plaque is located on Seminary Ridge, almost directly across the street from the Virginia Memorial (the large one with General Robert E. Lee on top).

These finds were very exciting for me, and I could have left the tour and battlefield right then a happy woman. However, Bob did show us some other very interesting sites along the way.

This Civil War-era home, located on Seminary Ridge (across
from the current day Lutheran Seminary) has a cannon "ball"
still lodged in it! See the cylinder-shaped object sticking
out of the house to the left of the upper window?!

Georgia's monument (my home state)

North Carolina's monuments (my new, adopted state)

along with many other sights we just didn't get pictures of and many stories.

After the tour, we grabbed some lunch in the cafe at the visitor's center and then watched a film and viewed the Cyclorama. For those of you who are not familiar with what a Cyclorama is:

"The Battle of Gettysburg, also known as the Gettysburg Cyclorama, is a cyclorama painting by the French artist Paul Philippoteaux depicting "Pickett's Charge", the climactic Confederate attack on the Union forces during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863." Gettysburg Cyclorama. (2011, August 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:14, September 26, 2011, from

There is also a Cyclorama in Atlanta of the Battle of Atlanta. I had visited it a couple of times while I lived there, so I was very excited to see this one at Gettysburg, especially since this one had undergone a several million dollar restoration a few years ago.

This painting is 27 feet high and 359 feet in circumference. It is amazing. The only thing that would have made it better is if it had the revolving seating that Atlanta has that allows visitors to sit in one place and see the entire painting. Here at Gettysburg, you have to walk around to view the entire painting, and of course, other visitors go to the railings and will not move along to allow others a chance to look more closely.

After exiting the Cyclorama, Mom and I continued on to the museum. This museum is quite large and is chock full of information. As a matter of fact, it was information overload for me. I did not make it all the way through. I had to give up at the end of the war. I do not even know how much further the museum went on. There is only so much information I can absorb before I am completely overwhelmed. I will have to visit several more times to get the most out of the experience.

Mom and I left the park about 3 p.m. and went to the local scrapbook store. This was the only scrapbook store I could find along our entire route. If you want to find embellishments for the local attractions, you must visit the local scrapbook store. Here, I loaded up on Gettysburg embellishments, along with a couple of Abraham Lincoln items that I can also use for our recent trip to Springfield, Illinois. Hopefully, in the next 2-3 months, I can get the scrapbook room unpacked and set up and use some of these items I purchased today!

Thus ended our full day in Gettysburg. We did not even scratch the surface. Tomorrow we turn back toward the South. We will take the day off from history lessons and visit a zoo in Maryland to just have some vacation fun.

Hanging out with Abe at the Gettsyburg Visitor's Center.


  1. I'm enjoying reading about your trip, Liz. All very familiar places to me. It's fun to see them from a first-timer's perspective.

  2. Sounds like you had an amazing day! Neat that you got to see the monuments for the units your ancestors served in. Have fun with those scrapbook supplies down the road!