Gettysburg Battlefield, Aerial View

The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a pivotal battle in the U.S. Civil War. It marks the last serious attempt by the Confederacy to invade the Union. The three day battle was the last attempt by any army, South or North, to use European-style frontal assaults; this was due to the ill-fated Pickett’s Charge.  

Aerial View of South End of the Battlefield

Looking at the area of the Gettysburg Military Park (above), to the south of the small town of Gettysburg, it is hard to see that a major Civil Was battle was fought here. Using modern visual technology, the Smithsonian Magazine goes back in time back in time using an interactive, illustrated map of the three day battle in A Cutting Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg. There are many other websites that give overviews, or detailed specifics, of the Battle of Gettysburg. This listing is just a small selection of the material available on the web. If you don’t have the time to browse, here is a short summary from Battle Of Gettysburg | HistoryNet:

Battle Summary: The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (July 1–July 3, 1863), was the largest battle of the American Civil War as well as the largest battle ever fought in North America, involving around 85,000 men in the Union’s Army of the Potomac under Major General George Gordon Meade and approximately 75,000 in the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert Edward Lee. Casualties at Gettysburg totaled 23,049 for the Union (3,155 dead, 14,529 wounded, 5,365 missing). Confederate casualties were 28,063 (3,903 dead, 18,735 injured, and 5,425 missing), more than a third of Lee’s army.

First Shot-front-4c-DSC04022

These largely irreplaceable losses to the South’s largest army, combined with the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, marked what is widely regarded as a turning point—perhaps the turning point—in the Civil War, although the conflict would continue for nearly two more years and witness several more major battles, including Chickamauga, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Monocacy, Nashville, etc.

First Shot fired at the Battle of Gettysburg Monument

Since this stone monument is in the backyard of a private residence, most visitors to the Gettysburg area will not easily view this Civil War memorial. Here, you get a little ‘peek’ at this stone monument along with, below, some of the story that accompanied it.

Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcellus Jones’ Company E of the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment was picketing the Chambersburg Pike at this location on the morning of July 1 when he saw a strong force of Confederate infantry begin to cross Marsh Creek about a half mile to the west. Jones borrowed a carbine from Sergeant Levi S. Shafer and fired a single shot at a mounted officer, who might have been Colonel Birkett Fry of the 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment. Jones apparently missed. 

As always there is more to this story. For more info go to the Stone Sentinels website.

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