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Thursday, October 15

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Band)

On our first trip to Gettysburg was short and sweet.  We didn't realize just how large this National Park was...but we came prepared this time!  Daddy wanted to come along, so we scheduled an extra travel day just for visiting Gettysburg.
Boys will be boys!  The first thing that caught their eye was the large display of weaponry from the battle.  We spent a lot of time looking at the various guns and swords, and the boys were able to find some of the answers for their Junior Ranger Scavenger Hunt here.
One of my boys especially loves costumes!!  (He's the one that wrote Recycled History.)  He pulled out his sketchbook to make drawings of the General's uniforms from both the Union and Confederate armies.  I'm sure we'll be seeing those re-created as the cold months creep in.
As we studied the impetus for the Civil War, and the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg itself, we also saw various instruments of war.  These included actual cannon and General's swords, plated in gold leaf.
Our musical & mathematical boy was more fascinated by the code-breaking circle, drummer boy's drum, and the canteen and bag (which are much like the ones he uses today for scouts).  We stopped off at the town square for a bite to eat.  This is a tourist town, so the food was pricey, but very good!  And healthy...which is always a plus.  
We visited the Wills House, on the town square, where Abraham Lincoln stayed before giving his Gettysburg Address.  As we perused the shops, we were amazed at the fact that no one was selling Confederate flag memorabilia.  I understand the recent media hoopla over the flag, but if there's one place that it belongs, it's at Gettysburg.  Let's not go overboard...the icon is still a part of our heritage, and this is one of the places it would be appropriate to find it.
After lunch, we took the driving tour of the battlefields.  We stopped to walk around at the Gettysburg National Memorial.  They have a wall here that's similar to the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC.  It lists the soldiers that died in battle here, both Union and Confederate.
This is a huge monument, dedicated to both armies.  It's so big that it has a spiral staircase leading up several stories!   And you can climb it!
At the top of the staircase, you'll find markers like this one that point to the locations of several famous battles.
Here's your panoramic view from the top of the monument...
As we drove around, we came upon several other smaller monuments.  This driving tour could potentially take an entire weekend, so come prepared!  There are bathrooms spotted along the way, but you'll want to bring your own picnic.

Battle of Gettysburg Unit Study