Friday, January 26, 2007

Hallowed Ground

The landscape here is intentionally meant to look as it did over 140 years ago, in 1863. The Civil War and military buffs out there can probably guess by now that I am at Gettysburg National Battlefield. The Park Service,after combing contemporary photographs and written accounts, has replanted acres of historical orchards, removed trees from many areas, replaced them in others, and installed miles of historically accurate fencing. Their purpose is to present a landscape as close to that of July 1863 as possible. Then the public can see physical obstacles that soldiers faced (distance, streams, fencelines, woodlands) and why certain points on the ground took on strategic importance (like Little Round Top vs. Big Round Top).

I've been to Gettysburg several times before. The difference this time is that, at least on one day, I saw it on foot. Justin and I followed a route that took us four hours and allowed us to cover nearly nine miles. We walked to almost all of the well-known portions of the battlefield south of the town. The pace meant that numerous details that would be missed in a car, like the weathered shutters on the Trostle House, made themselves obvious on foot.

The Park Services's current attempt to restore the historical landscape does not reach to the many monuments on the field. Most are historical objects themselves, erected in the first few decades after the battle. At no time in Gettysburg can you forget that you are walking on hallowed ground.


Salty Dawg said...

Interesting! I'll have to get back there sometime now that the park service is making so positive changes. I love the top pic of the road & rail fence.

Corker2 said...

I've been to Gettsyburg 4 times in the past, and never get tired of being there. So much History there that it's hard to imagine what once was. This Park is truly Hallowed Ground. A number of years ago, some developers wanted to place a Shopping Mall right in the middle of the Park! It was stopped and never heard from again!