My Return to Gettysburg
154 years ago, our country's future was decided on the fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From July 1-3, 1863, 160,000 men fought against each other in perhaps the most important battle in American history. By its end, the Union and Confederacy suffered 51,000 combined casualties. Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War.
John Bachelder arrived in Gettysburg a few days after the armies left. He was fascinated by the engagement and stayed in Gettysburg for 30 years, devoting his life to understanding the battle. Since that time, so many others have been drawn to this area with a similar yearning to learn about what happened here. It’s easy to understand why. There are few places on this earth like Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
An Information card about John Bachelor at the Saving the Battlefield exhibit in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center.
I was eight years old the first time I visited Gettysburg. 15 years later, I finally returned to the place that shaped the way I think about the world. Every inch of this hallowed ground is defined by stories of sacrifice. With nearly 1,400 statues, sculptures, markers, and tablets on Gettysburg National Military Park, history lives on forever here.
There is so much that I have to share from my trip to Gettysburg, but I figured a good place to start would be with one of my favorite spots on the battlefield. Pictured above is the monument to General Gouverneur K. Warren on Little Round Top. Warren was the Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg. His bronze statue stands atop the boulder that he is said to have stood on during the battle.
When General Warren arrived on Little Round Top on July 2, 1863, the position was largely unoccupied by Union troops. Warren recognized the importance of this area and ordered Union soldiers to be rushed there to defend it. He was wounded during the ensuing fighting, but remained on the field. Despite being nicked in the throat, Warren attended a council of war with other commanders later that night.
Warren’s contributions to the Battle of Gettysburg are immeasurable. Without his observation and quick thinking, it’s hard to imagine that the Union line could have held on the second day of the battle.
It brings me great joy to be able to write about my recent experience in Gettysburg. There are so many stories here that need to be told and remembered forever. I’m eager to share everything that I possibly can from one of the most extraordinary locations in the entire world.