Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

This week's featured memorial on the Gettysburg Battlefield--the Eternal Light Peace Memorial--holds special interest to me for two reasons: 1) I live directly up the road from it, and 2) my current home has as its source one (perhaps two) of the 18 Peace Light Inn Cabins, which accommodated guests of the Peace Light Inn, built in 1941. The Inn and cabins were constructed for tourists visiting the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, dedicated in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The dedication of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial is itself a significant historical event, dedicated on July 3, 1938 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Over 250,000 people attended the ceremony (of which there is an actual video . . . search online).  For  more background on the monument and its dedication, see the link below, which will take you to the web site Stone Sentinels:


And if you're interested in learning more about the Inn,  which "was destroyed by a fire on March 16th, 1979," and the cabins, you'll find an immensely interesting link below to the Gettysburg Daily (a blog currently on hiatus)  This blog provides numerous photos, both historic and current, of the area where the Inn and cabins stood.


As I understand my own tie to these cabins, one (perhaps two) was relocated, sometime in the 1950's, to my current property.  The prior owners expanded and built over these structures to create the home I now enjoy.  But I'm not alone in living this history. Two of my adjacent neighbors' homes were also constructed over these cabins.  In fact, while you cannot see the "cabin" in my home or my immediate neighbor, the home two doors down maintains the form of the Peace Light cabins, where two cabins have been joined.  Quite an interesting architecture, to my mind!

Until next Tuesday . . .

Georgia Anne

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sachs Covered Bridge

In this week's tour of Gettysburg, let's visit Pennsylvania's "most historic covered bridge in the state"--Sachs Covered Bridge.*  Built in 1852, "using a lattice system of support trusses," the Sachs Bridge spans 100 feet over Marsh Creek, where Cumberland and Freedom Townships meet. 

I first learned of this bridge while visiting my sister's shop, The Crystal Wand, a favorite of folks who enjoy the metaphysical in life, including ghost hunters.  On this particular day, a group of ghost hunters were just back from Sachs Bridge, eager to report on their encounter.  As someone new to the history of the Battle of Gettysburg, I was interested in the landmark for historic reasons and made a mental note to seek it out.

However, my mental note taking did me little good because I completely forgot about the bridge until pleasure driving one day when I happened upon it by accident.  What a treat! A more picturesque scene I couldn't have imagined--a beautiful barn red bridge crossing a wide creek.  The pictures I share now are recent, taken just a few days ago and specifically for this posting.

Beyond its beauty (and now rarity), the Sachs Covered Bridge claims its place in history because both the Union and Confederate armies crossed the bridge. As described on an onsite a plaque:

"Part of the Army of Northern Virginia began its retreat to Virginia by crossing the bridge after the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863."

Likewise, from Wikipedia I learned this:

"On July 1, 1863, the bridge was crossed by the two brigades of the I Corps of the Union Army heading towards Gettysburg. The III Corps also crossed the bridge heading to the Black Horse Tavern."

Here's Bridget, my black lab mix and constant companion, enjoying the view.  Here's hoping you get to enjoy it for yourself one day soon.

Till next time . . .

Georgia Anne

*Quotes taken from onsite plaque.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

State of Louisiana Monument

Like the pages in a history book, the monuments of the Gettysburg Battlefield tell the story of the three-day battle that would shape the outcome of the Civil War.  Foremost, however, they commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those engaged in that epic struggle, which would claim more casualties (approx 51,000) than any other in the Civil War.  But beyond what they tell us and what they stand for, as works of sculpture, these monuments are often beautiful and moving.

In my exploratory trips driving or walking through the battlefield, I've happened upon many striking sculptures, as this one, dedicated (June 11, 1971) to the men of Louisiana.

Learn more about this sculpture at the page link below:


The web site Stone Sentinels (Gettysburg) is a wonderful resource, providing a catalog of all the monuments, their photos, and stories. (For example, here is where I learned that the heraldic sculpture represents the Spirit of the Confederacy, and that he holds a flaming cannonball.)  But I  go to Stone Sentinels only  after discovering for myself these splendid sculptures on the battlefield--part of the delight of exploration.

Here's hoping you check back next Tuesday, for another discovery from Gettysburg or the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Georgia Anne

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Copse of Trees

Before reading the The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara and then watching the movie Gettsyburg (1993) based on this book (directed by Ronald F. Maxwell), I knew little about the Battle of Gettysburg.  In fact, I only began my "media" education after moving in 2011 to Gettysburg, for no self-respecting resident could remain ignorant of its history.  Now I am reading William A. Frassanito's Gettysburg: A Journey in Time, described on the back cover as "a unique example of photographic detective work in which the famous battle is re-created almost as if it were a contemporary news event." And I'll add--a must-read book for the enthusiast . . . but back to The Copse of Trees.

From these sources I learned of General Lee's catastrophic decision, one concisely stated by Frassanito in his Gettysburg: "Having been thwarted in his attacks against both Union flanks, Lee gambled on a massive frontal assault against the Union center along Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of the third" (54).  Lee's ill-fated decision was opposed by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet (Lee's second-in-command), but his prediction of wholesale slaughter of the Confederate troops fell on deaf ears. You see, in their effort to "take" the Union enemy, these troops would have to cross a mile of open fields under cannon fire and then, when within range, rifle fire (muzzle loaders).  But general Lee was insistent--to break the Union force they need only attack its weakest point, the center of the line, a target made more visible in the otherwise open field by a copse of trees.

Again, as concisely stated by Frassanito, "This action, known as Pickett's charge, ended in a Confederate disaster" (54). 

Learning of the Copse of Trees, I had to locate it and did so when a couple of friends came to visit. (Part of being a Gettysburg resident is that you must acquire the skills of a battlefield tour guide.) Here, then, are photos (taken more recently) of these trees and a memorial, erected in 1892, by the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association to honor "The High Water Mark of the Rebellion." Read more about them both in the  links below.



Till next week . . .

Georgia Anne

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Getting with Gettysburg

In the fall of 2011, I moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and am now happy to call this beautiful town my home. Its surrounding battlefields create a tranquil mood, one far removed from the raging battle fought here the first three days of July 1863.

To walk the Gettysburg Battlefield, to read its monuments, to learn its history has become my quest.  How could it not? For here the landscape carries its past to the present. Here I can climb to Big Round Top, leap the deep crevices of Devil's Den, walk Confederate Avenue behind the cannon array once aimed upon the "Copse of Trees," the central location of the Union line.  (Photo of me at the Copse of Trees taken in spring of 2012.)

I am a new comer to this compelling history and as yet know little to share, but if you'd like to learn with me, check back weekly for my latest discovery. I'll not only post on Battlefield locations, monuments, and history but also on all things Gettysburg, including museums, historic houses, restaurants and taverns, walking and horse riding trails, ghost tours--anything that would interest the Gettysburg enthusiast.

Next time . . .  Learn  the significance of the  "Copse of Trees" in the Battle of Gettysburg.  More photos, too.

Georgia Anne