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The Road to Gettysburg: Defending the Commonwealth
The American Civil War tore apart families and torched cities. It was filled with fire and blood, tears and tumult. But it also brought about a new era in the history of our young nation, one where freedom could truly reign and all men were recognized as being created equal.
The Road to Gettysburg begins to tell the story of the cost and sacrifice of our Commonwealth, for the common good. During the three days the battle wore on, the town of Gettysburg was filled with blood and bodies, the screams of the dying and wounded sending shudders down the spines of town folk, an unending ambience to the death and destruction all around. It was also during these three days that ordinary people ended up doing the extraordinary for their fellow man.
Sallie Myers, a local woman of the time, said, “The noise above our heads, the rattling of musketry, the screeching of shells, and the unearthly yells, added to the cries of the children, were enough to shake the stoutest heart.” They weren’t, however, enough to shake hers. When the call went out for women to help care for the wounded, she went right to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. She brought wounded men to her home. Soon all the rooms in her house were kept full with the infirmed and while they recovered, she slept on the floor in the upstairs hall.
And Gettysburg is full of stories from people like Sallie Myers, full of places that you won’t see in any movie. People like Basil Biggs, an African American who was hired to inter bodies and later helped to create Lincoln Cemetery, a resting ground for African American Civil War veterans. Places like the Rupp House where a family hid in their cellar as their house was filled with gunfire and rifle smoke, soldiers shooting at each other from porch to porch. And places like the Shriver House and Jennie Wade House, and all the corners of every battlefield.
This year is the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Stop to look around and learn more about these stories and others or you’ll be missing the real experience of the American Civil War.
Plan your Gettysburg experience by staying at a nearby Bed & Breakfast.