The guidebooks that state that the Gettysburg Battlefields can be visited in the span of three hours are quite incorrect – they assume you drive at the posted 25 mph signs, without stopping to get out and view the vast vista and memorials large and small that line the park like a vast, disorganized cemetery. Considering the number of men who fought here – 165,000 or more between Union and Confederate armies – and died here – nearly 8,000 I believe it is – and the vast areas that still require excavation and archeological exploration – it probably is. You can feel the sorrow of the spirits on this lush landscape.
After a late start, we resumed the tour of the battlefield at Gettysburg, crossing first the remainder of the Confederate lines, which went for six miles along Seminary Ridge, where memorials and monuments dot the roadway. Cannon, green bronze Napoleons, and black painted rifled Parrott guns looked out across the empty fields filled with grain or wildflowers at the opposing side. Given the distance, each of the Confederate memorials stood alone, as separate and independent as the fractured states of the Confederacy.
Most of the Confederate Memorials are smaller in stature, given the lack of funds available to erect them in the years following the Civil War.
The most imposing of these monuments is that of General Lee, atop his horse looking out across the haunted battlefields, amidst weathered fences and forgotten cannons aimed at a long-vanished foe.