To visit the town Gettysburg
today and the surrounding battlefield is a memorable experience even for those who don't have a strong interest in history.
To walk on such ground, where such significant events took place, is a unique and impressive experience. The land is so well
preserved and well marked with monuments and markers that it is almost as though the battle is still being fought. However
there is a paradox present on the fields of Gettysburg. It is a place where a terrible battle was fought, where many men suffered
and died, a place where countless sacrifices were made, and where men had experiences that remained as the core events in
their life. However there is now a peace there that can be felt on the battlefield. A powerful silence that encourages one
to contemplation of the incredible and valient deeds that were done there. One can at once notice that there is something
different about about the fields, hills, and woods at Gettysburg, something that sets them apart from other areas.
Perhaps Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain explained this experience best in a speech at Gettysburg on October 3, 1889 when
the 20th Maine monument was dedicated,
"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits
linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know
us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come
to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the
power of the vision pass into their souls. This is the great reward of service. To live, far out and on, in the life of others;
this is the mystery of the Christ,-to give life's best for such high stake that it shall be found again unto life eternal."
(above) Patrick and Isaac Taylor of the 1st Minnesota
Regiment. On July 2, 1863, the 1st Minnesota was ordered to charge alone, in a stalling action, against an entire Confederate
Brigade whose advance was threatening the vulnerable Union line on Cemetery Ridge. Unfortunately Isaac Taylor (right) was
mortally wounded and his brother Patrick buried his brother on the field at Gettysburg. This photo belongs to the Gettysburg
National Park Service.
A Summary of the Battle of Gettysburg
Day 1 July 1st, 1863
Day 2, July 2nd, 1863
Day 3 July 3rd, 1863