“High-Watermark of Picket’s Charge” Gettysburg National Park, Pennsylvania
This post continues my series on some of our National Parks. Gettysburg National Park has always been one of my favorite places to visit. My first visit was over 50 years ago, back in 1966 when our family took a cross-country vacation in the “Blue Blimp”, a blue and white Dodge motor home. I was fascinated with the battlefield back then. When we lived in the Washington, DC area, we made several trips with our visitors, learning more each time. During our 16 years in the Philadelphia area, we must have made 9-10 visits. My last trip to the park was 2 years ago, when we visited the Washington, DC area. Each time I visit the battlefield, I learn something new and gain a greater understanding of what what this turning point in the Civil War meant to the Country and our people.
This particular site is a solemn point. It was the farthest point that the Confederates made against the Union forces during Pickets charge. The Confederates sent 15,000 troops across this field and suffered fifty-percent casualties. Gettysburg along with the concurrent Confederate surrender at Vicksburg marked the turning point of the Civil War.
Surrounded by dogwood trees (the North Carolina state tree), the monument features figures of North Carolinainfantrymen advancing during Pickett’s Charge, where fifteen infantry regiments from North Carolina participated and suffered heavy casualties. One man kneels injured on the ground, pointing towards the enemy with his proper left hand while two men wield guns and look forward. A fourth man holds a flag in both hands as he glances forward.
The North Carolina Monument is my favorite in Gettysburg. To me it best depicts the feeling of the Southern soldiers as they faced the onslaught of the Union guns during Pickett’s Charge. It sends shivers through my body every time I visit.
This battle fought 152 years ago just prior to Independence Day, marked the turn of the war that kept our Country united.
I have not posted an entry during the whole month of June. I will try to do a little better this month. On a trip to Gettysburg National Battlefield last month I was able to get images of a few memorials and battlefield scenes. I processed them using Nik Silver Efex Pro sepia toning to fit the character of the past.
Donald De Lue named his memorial sculpture “Peace and Memory”. He explained, “It flies over the battlefield blowing the long, shrill clarion call on the trumpet over the long forgotten shallow graves of the Confederate dead. It is taps for the heroic dead at Gettysburg.” De Lue explained the female figure is “Spirit Triumphant”, symbolizing the survival of the spirit and the ideas of these men that they did not die in vain. The eternal flame held in the other hand symbolizes the memory of these gallant men. It is the embodiment of the spirit that went into the Battle of Gettysburg with them.”
Louisiana had approximately 3031 soldiers engaged at the Battle of Gettysburg. 724 of them were casualties for a loss of 23.9%. This percentage placed Louisiana 22nd in rank of all the states that had soldiers at Gettysburg.