I get it; you know the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, you’ve seen the paintings of bayonet charges and horse-riding generals in textbooks and on the History Channel, and you’re wondering if there’s even a point to seeing the battlefield in person. The answer is a definite yes, Gettysburg is worth visiting. Let me explain why.
Let’s start with the obvious: screens and books simply can’t do it justice. The Gettysburg Battlefield is, after all, deeply hallowed ground. You wouldn’t look at an internet image of the Notre Dame Cathedral and expect to get the full experience, right? The same is 100% true for this historic battleground. Here are a few of the many reasons why:
You can stand in the shoes of Generals George Meade and Robert E. Lee
One of the main functions of the National Park Service in regards to Gettysburg has been maintaining the integrity of the battlefield. Rangers work year-round to make sure the landscape looks as similar as possible to the way it appeared back in July of 1863. That includes preserving historic buildings that have stood since that fateful day!
This means a visit to the battlefield is also a trip back in time. As you drive and walk around this incredible site, you’ll be seeing almost the exact same fields and hills that Union General Meade and Confederate General Lee surveyed while planning their attacks and fortifications! There’s no better way to experience the Civil War than standing atop Cemetery Hill, the core of the Union defenses, and envisioning Lee’s men charging in from all directions.
Plus, if you bring along a self-guided tour of Gettysburg like this one, the narrated guide will bring that scene to life for you!
This hallowed site deserves respect
During the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg, nearly 50,000 men were killed or seriously wounded. The battleground doubles not only as a monument to a tremendous military accomplishment, but also as a memorial to the men who gave their lives for their country here. Learning about the battle from afar is simply no substitute for walking through these hallowed grounds yourself. When you’re on the ground, you can really feel the weight of the events which transpired here over 150 years ago. Plus, this top-rated self-guided tour of Gettysburg can fill you in on the many monuments and memorials scattered throughout the battlefield.
You can make it a road trip and visit Antietam too!
Although Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, it was by no means the only important battle to unfold. Visiting Gettysburg in person gives you the opportunity to expand your battlefield experience by heading to the nearby Antietam Battlefield as well, since it’s only an hour’s drive away! After all, why settle for one battlefield when you can see two in a single trip?
As with the popular Gettysburg tour, make sure to grab a similar tour of Antietam to get the most out of your double-battlefield experience!
These are just some of the many things which make Gettysburg worth visiting, so what are you waiting for? Pick up a self-guided tour of Gettysburg and rediscover this historic battlefield!