Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Gettysburg Battlefield in Winter (part 2)

Where I continue the photographs from a winter photo shoot on the Gettysburg Battlefield...

Many of the photos were taken along "Cemetery Ridge".  I may not have my historical facts exact here so if you are a history buff and I screw this up, please let me know (kindly) in the comments.  

The culmination of the Battle of Gettysburg is known as "Picket's Last Charge".  The two sides faced each other across huge fields.  The lines of infantrymen and cannons ran parallel to each other.  (The whole thing reminds me of some terrible version of Red-Rover on a grand and sadistic scale.)  The Union Army was along a ridge to the east (now "Cemetery Ridge" and littered with monuments and memorials) while the Rebel Forces were in a line to the west with the woods as cover.  Picket and his men charged across the fields between the two armies.  We're talking a sea of bodies coming up out of the woods and across the wide expanse of fields like a human wave.  

Because the Union Army controlled the higher ground they had the tactical advantage.  They mowed the Southern Forces down with cannon shot and gun shot.  And yet, they just kept coming until there were no more to charge.  This battlefield was literally a blood soaked, body strewn mess when the smoke cleared.  I don't know the total number of casualties for that battle only to say that it was in the tens of thousands.  I can't wrap my brain or my soul around carnage on a small scale, never mind something like this. 

I hope these photographs convey even a small part of the feelings this place gives me.  Thanks for looking.

I think 17 years was too long to go between visits to this sad, beautiful place.  I think I'll make plans to come back in the spring.

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