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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gettysburg, Part 2

After the first trip to Devil's Den on Saturday we went to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. We weren't sure we would have enough time to see the film, the cyclorama and the displays before the re-dedication but the lady assured us 2 hours was plenty. Yeah right?!

Cyclorama - rocks, grass and wheel tracks in the front are not part of the painting

Your ticket covers a 30 minute film entitled "A New Birth to Freedom" narrated by Morgan Freeman and 15 minutes in the cyclorama. I liked the film but the cyclorama was more interesting because it was an oil on canvas painting. A painting that was 15 feet tall and 300-some feet long!!! It's in a round room at the top of the museum and there are actual cannons and fences and such in front of it. It's so lifelike as you walk around that it's hard to tell the difference between painting and the real artifacts. I only bought 1 book on Gettysburg and I was happy to see it included a large section on the painting.

Cyclorma - wheel tracks and cannon are not part of the painting

Next we went into the museum where there are 12 galleries covering before, during and after the Battle of Gettysburg. There was so much to read and artifacts to look at that about half way thru we realized we were never gonna finish in time and just started looking instead of reading. I hope to get back there sometime to read the rest of the exhibits...

Reunion pose at monument dedication
Next it was back to the NY 136th monument for a re-dedication ceremony. The monument is now 125 years old!  Several people had brought photographs - some taken at the monument when it was originally dedicated and some of a reunion where the men posed at Devil's Den. This collage shows the progression of cornfields, fences and "progress" around the monument.

Center bottom photo shows buildings behind the monument instead of the cornfield showing in the top left.
The monument no longer has a fence and is surrounded by hotels and such.
Several descendants spoke at the ceremony or read family letters.

The framed flag was the regimental flag and it says '136th NY Vol Inft, Smith's Brigade.'
Beyond the stone fence in the background is the National Cemetery.
Mom and I read poems that my g-g-grandfather had sent home during the war.

This is Sue who has been researching civil war vets from her town of Rush, NY.
She is also a quilter and liked the hexie projects I worked on during some meetings. LOL.

Descendants of the 136th.
Mom & I are on the left
Everyone that attended the ceremonies

After the ceremony we walked across to the National Cemetery to place flags on the 15 or so graves of NY 136th who died in the battle. I thought the way the cemetery was laid out was fascinating.

Same map from yesterday's post...
#17 are burials from NY and #18 are PA
Each state is grouped together in a semicircle and the stones are flush with the sod. Looking up Cemetery Hill, you can't see the stones, only from above do they become visible. NY had the largest space in the cemetery , second would be Pennsylvania. If a state could be determined for an un-named soldier they were buried with their state. The third largest section of the cemetery (#22) is for un-named soldiers from unknown states.

Descendants looking for graves for the 136th.
A penny was laid on this stone, Lincoln side up...

After the playing of taps, the entire group traveled back to Devil's Den to replicate another one of the photos taken at a reunion shortly after the Battle. As a side note, I was impressed that other people in the cemetery paused and reflected during taps.

Early reunion gathered at Devil's Den - supposedly at monument dedication in 1888.
Hard to tell, but I am holding the photo shown above that we descendants are trying to replicate

Ok - I think that's enough pictures today. I should be able to finish up tomorrow...


Janet O. said...

Very cool stuff, Sarah. The cyclorama looks fascinating!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you and your family were able to take part in this event.

wella said...

wow that is so cool. I've never traced our family there. I know they were there tho

Maria said...

My husband and I spent a day here in 2011 on our driving holiday of the US...amazing place. We Aussies don't really know that much about Gettysburg.