The Gettysburg National Military park is an expansive park built on the site of the vicious three-day Battle of Gettysburg. This piece of Civil War history is packed full of history and intrigue and has a little something for everyone.
There are pedestrian trails weaving through the woods and fields, a museum, an informational film, visitors center and more. A visit to Gettysburg would be incomplete without a driving tour to take with you as you cruise down the thirty miles of roads around the park. You can stop for a picnic outdoors, or get more acquainted with history at the museum. The Museum at the Gettysburg National Military park has a plethora of civil war era artifacts including uniforms, weaponry and paintings. The Cyclorama is a massive, immersive painting commemorating the battle of Gettysburg. This epic painting is circular, surrounding viewers in a donut-shaped auditorium complete with an earthen foreground. Cycloramas were all the rage in the 1800s as visual art became more and more immersive with the advent of photography and motion pictures.
Man made interests aside, Gettysburg is worth a visit any time of year for its breathtaking and tragic beauty. The lush green fields of Gettysburg National Military Park are studded with granite boulders and fringed with verdant hardwood forests. In spring and summer, you’ll hear birds singing, the sounds of crickets, and the wind rustling through tall grass and leaves. In the peace of the woods and the pastures it’s hard to believe that one hundred and sixty years ago America’s most vicious battle was being waged here.
Who was Jennie Wade?
If you visit Gettysburg National Military Park, you will, no doubt, hear the name Jennie Wade mentioned at least once. Jennie was just twenty years old when she became the first and only civilian casualty of Gettysburg. Jennie was simply kneading bread dough, perhaps trying to calm her nerves as the battle raged on outside her door when she was struck by an errant bullet in her family home. The house would later be struck by over 150 bullets by the time the battle was over. Jennie’s home is now a historical building called the Jennie Wade house and a visit to Gettysburg would be remiss without a visit to this young woman’s home. Jennies’ story is an important reminder that not all of the lives lost in wars are those of soldiers.