Over the past month, we have told you how to follow the 150th anniversary commemorations of Gettysburg (July 1-3). Yet, nothing does the experience justice like experiencing it in person.
The National Park Service had volunteers and rangers from all over the country to help with the events. These included guided tours all over the battlefield, speeches, and living history demonstrations.
However, the most memorable of all the events would be the culmination of the battle and the 150th commemoration–Pickett’s Charge. At 3:00 PM July 3, 2013, visitors were welcomed to set up on the opposing ridges of the battlefield–Seminary and Cemetery–just as the Confederate and Union armies did. The folks on Seminary ridge divided into 13 separate groups (brigades), each led by two rangers. The Park Service did their best to arrange the groups in the same brigades as 150 years ago.
The estimates have grown, but the current one is that there were roughly 15,000 people on each ridge. This exceeded everyone’s expectations, as some people were hoping they could get enough to match the original 12,500 Confederate troops that participated in the charge.
This experience was amazing to say the least. I have taken visitors to Gettysburg over a dozen times and attempted to describe Pickett’s Charge. The experience has given me more material for the next tour, as now I can describe with confidence what it looks like to see thousands of people march across that field.
There are more 150th commemorations of Civil War battles approaching. You should make an effort to experience at least one of them.
By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor