While the battle had come to a conclusion, the aftermath and the cost were beyond comprehenion.
Tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July, and we stop again to salute the brave men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas even today. And we mourn deeply the lost of every one of them, some 4,100 over the last four years of the conflict.
It is interesting to look at this one battle of the civil war, with its total of 35,000 of America’s finest, both from the North and South, whose lives were forever lost, in the short span of three days.
Anyone within easy driving distance of Gettysburg would do well to visit this historic park, to listen to the tour given by one of the guides, particularly to walk the field of Pickett’s Charge, and to visualize what the fighting was like on those three hot days of death and destruction. There were no winners in this war, only thousands of lives lost. And it was far from “civil.”
A P.S. Unless you like crowds, I would not suggest a visit to Gettysburg during this anniversary weekend. They usually add an extra 10,000 people at least for that weekend, and the crowds can be pretty bad.
[I am indebted to several authors for assistance in this three day compilation: “Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory” by Carol Reardon; “Nothing But Glory” by Harrison and Busey; Frassanito’s book of photographs, “Gettysburg”; “Gettysburg;” A Survey of Union and Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg,” the Battlle of Gettysburg Resource Center, contributed by Philip Andrade; and lastly “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Civil War” by Alan Axelrod.]