GETTYSBURG
AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF  THERESA KACHMAR
 
 I have always had an interest in history, therefore, it was inevitable that some day I would take a trip to Gettysburg - site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  Although I have seen many movies and read books about Gettysburg, I was not prepared for the enormity of the battlefield.  I was awestruck as I gazed over the main battlefield, trying to imagine what would drive men to march out to certain death.

 

 Looking at Gettysburg today it is hard to fathom that a major battle took place there.  Nature has reclaimed its territory -- the fields that once were littered with the bodies of the dead now are covered with grass and wildflowers, the fences that provided vital protection to the soldiers now hold back cows.

Pictures cannot portray the true sentiment invoked while walking along the battlefield. Although you may have heard it a million times, that you have to see it to believe it, that is just the case here. No matter how many pictures you see, how many books you read, or how many movies you watch, you simply cannot experience Gettysburg without actually visiting there.

The magnitude of the battle is evidenced by the numerous monuments scattered over miles of terrain. Most monuments were erected in the exact position as the regiments they honor were stationed. By looking at these pictures, you can get a sense of how many men might have taken part in the battle.

 
 
   
 Everywhere you go there are statues to the brave men who fought with such conviction, not only soldiers, but common citizens who took up arms to help defend their beliefs. Below is a monument which was dedicated in memory of John Burns, a man, who over seventy years of age, armed himself with a musket and joined the battle, fighting on the frontline.

Some of the monuments are more elaborate than others, but they all honor the valiant men on both sides of the conflict who fought and died in defense of their respective causes. Whether you are from the North or the South, it is not possible to visit Gettysburg without feeling a great sense of sorrow.

 
 
 (Above is the Pennsylvania Monument, inscribed with the names of 34,350 Pennsylvanian soldiers who participated in the three days of fighting at Gettysburg.)
   

(These are the monuments dedicated to the soldiers from Maryland (left) and North Carolina (right).) 

 

 

Name: Theresa Kachmar

Electronic Mail: kachmar@bc.edu