Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site

We explored the Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site over the course of two days.

Dwight Eisenhower had a long relationship with the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area and when good friends of them purchased a farm in the area they looked for their first house of their own (instead of the military housing they lived in). Dwight and Mamie purchased an old run down farm on the outskirts of Gettysburg. The Eisenhower’s renovated the farm and used it as a retreat while he served his terms as President of the United States. After leaving office the Eisenhower’s were finally able to retire to a home of their own. We toured the house and some of the grounds and listened to a couple of Ranger talks. It was interesting to see differences between Eisenhower’s home and that of LBJ which we visited late last year.

The marble fireplace in the picture below was removed from the White House in 1873 by President Grant and was given to the Eisenhower’s as an anniversary gift from the White House staff.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower National Historic Site

If you plan on visiting the Eisenhower site you should be aware that they charge a fee which is not covered by the various National Park passes. You will need to purchase the tickets at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and ride the shuttle bus to the site.

If you plan to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park make sure you allot plenty of time. Of course there is the large battle field to tour, however there is also a film, cyclorama and excellent museum.

I don’t know where to start. As everyone knows the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War and is also the battle that resulted in the most casualties of the war. The battle lasted for 3 days spread out over the countryside around Gettysburg. Taking the driving tour of the Battlefield is kind of awe inspiring to think of the number of men that fought and died there. There are monuments to troops all over the place. During our drive we stopped at the Pennsylvania Memorial and found the name of Leslie’s great-great grandfather listed as a participant of the battle. He was a member of the Pennsylvania 72nd and although he did get wounded, lived to see the end of the war and went on to have children.

The top two pictures in the collage bellow show the Pennsylvania Memorial. The one on the bottom left is the Eternal Light Piece Memorial. The inscription says “Peace Eternal in a Nation United”. The final picture is at the site of ‘Pickett’s Charge’ as the sun sets over the Battlefield.

Gettysburg Battlefield

Gettysburg Battlefield

We also toured the Museum which covers the events that led up to the war in addition to lots of information about each day of the three day war and effect of the war on the local area. After the war the dead and wounded in the area vastly outnumbered the residents of the Gettysburg area. Soldiers lay wounded on battlefield for a few days after the end of battle before they could be attended to in some cases.

While at the Visitors Center we watched the movie and viewed the cyclorama. The cyclorama is a 360 degree cylindrical painting that is 22 feet tall and 279 feet in circumference that depicts ‘Pickett’s Charge’ which is the failed Confederate assault of the third day of the battle. The painting was amazing in its detail and showed the massive scale of the battles that were fought there.

Gettysburg Cyclorama

Gettysburg Cyclorama

A few months ago we visited the site of the start of the Civil War, Fort Sumter. Today we visited the turning point of the war. Enough war – tomorrow we see how violins are made.

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