Gettysburg National Military Park
In the summer of 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee began an invasion north of the Mason–Dixon line. As part of this plan, he was intent on destroying a major railroad bridge at Harrisburg, PA, thus interrupting northern supply routes. At Gettysburg, a chance encounter with George Meade’s Union forces led to a three-day battle that saturated the surrounding farmland with blood. It’s estimated that 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or reported captured or missing (with the number of losses about equal on both sides), making this the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. The South never fully recovered from the losses, both physical and psychological. The Union victory here also came one day before another in Vicksburg, MS; the outcomes of these two battles marked a turning point in the war.
Today, portions of the Gettysburg battlefield are preserved much as they were that fateful July. You’ll also find more than 1,300 monuments along 26 miles of scenic roadways. Self-guided driving tours are popular, or you can hire a licensed battlefield guide to accompany you or join a commercial bus tour with an on-board guide. The National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center has a huge collection of Civil War relics; interactive exhibits; A New Birth of Freedom, a 22-minute film; and the massive Gettysburg Cyclorama. There’s a bookstore, and the café serves Civil War–era and family-friendly cuisine. There are also several miles of hiking and bridle trails. The adjoining Gettysburg National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 6,000 soldiers from many American wars, including 3,512 Civil War burials.
1195 Baltimore Pike
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325
- 39.81243300, -77.22171300
- Apr.--Oct.: daily 6 am--10 pm. Nov.--Mar.: daily 6 am--7 pm.
- Visit Website
- (717) 334-1124