I spent the weekend in Gettysburg in order to give myself enough time to see everything. I left Williamsport very early at 5:30 a.m. and arrived in Gettysburg around 8:30 a.m. I used the Taneytown exit to avoid driving through the town since my first goal was to explore the battlefield. Fortunately it was a beautiful sunny morning, perfect for taking photos. First I found my way back to Hancock Avenue where I saw the Pennsylvania State Memorial and The Angle, the target of Pickett’s Charge. Once again I saw the Armistead marker placed where Armistead was mortally wounded. At this point my camera battery was depleted which surprised me because I had only taken a few photos. I’m pretty sure I charged both of my camera batteries before I left. Fortunately I had another camera battery in my charger but I did forget to bring my third spare battery. My second camera battery lasted for the rest of the day even though I was taking hundreds of photos, but I was worried that it would be depleted before I checked into the hotel. I resumed taking photos after changing my battery. The equestrian statue along Hancock Avenue on Cemetery Ridge was of Major General George Meade, the commander of the Union Army.
The next photo I took was of the Alabama State Monument on South Confederate Avenue. My goal was to locate Little Round Top but I encountered this monument first because it was Evander M. Law’s Alabama Brigade which attacked Little Round Top. I also saw the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Major William Wells Statue along South Confederate Avenue. Eventually I found my way to Little Round Top where I spent a lot of time enjoying the view. Although I had been there before on the Battlefield Tour we were not given much time there and it was raining a little. Now I had plenty of time to go exploring so I climbed up the castle monument to its observation deck. Technically this is the monument to the 12th and 44th New York Volunteers.
My next goal was to visit Devil’s Den which I could see from Little Round Top. However I had a devil of a time getting there and had to drive down South Confederate Avenue two or three times before I figured out how to get onto Crawford Avenue which leads you to Devil’s Den. Before I got there I came across yet another equestrian statue which I believe was Major General John Sedgwick on Sedgwick Avenue. So I had gone north from Little Round Top and had difficulty heading west to Devil’s Den. Based on the evidence of my photos I even wound up back on Hancock Avenue before finally making it to Devil’s Den. I definitely wanted to see Devil’s Den because it is one of the major landmarks of the Gettysburg National Military Park. So I persisted until I found my way to Devil’s Den. From Devil’s Den you get an excellent view of Little Round Top and its monuments up in the hills. The boulders of Devil’s Den are quite similar to the boulders I see hiking on the mountain trails of Pennsylvania. I walked up a hill behind Devil’s Den where I found a hiking trail that went down the hill’s meadow. I followed this trail because the countryside was beautiful in that direction. The trail led me into the woods where I was surprised to find many more roads and monuments. By the way, you should definitely circle around Devil’s Den in order to find the Confederate sharpshooter’s position which is not within the crevices of the main boulders as I expected.
After that I followed Sickles Avenue to the Wheatfield which was not on my list of places to visit. But there are several impressive monuments in the Wheatfield and I had plenty of time to explore the battlefield at my leisure. In my imagination I pictured General Robert E. Lee issuing me orders to bravely soldier on in this expedition to visit all the major sites of the Gettysburg Battlefield. Continuing along Sickles Avenue I must have found The Loop on Ayres Avenue. There are many monuments along The Loop but the most striking one was a Celtic cross with an Irish wolfhound lying at its base. This was the Irish Brigade Monument on Sickles Avenue just inside the Rose Woods. It was definitely one of the finest monuments I saw and I’m glad I stumbled upon it because I did not know to look for it. The Irish Brigade Monument must be very popular because I saw photos of it for sale in the Gettysburg gift shops later in the day.
Once I reached Wheatfield Road I must have headed west back to Emmitsburg Road which I followed north to Baltimore Street. Once I reached Middle Street I turned left to get onto West Confederate Street which I followed south to reach my next target, the Virginia Monument of Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveler. Although I had seen it before on the Battlefield Tour, that was a cloudy day. I was able to take much better photos of this monument in the bright sunshine. I walked out into the field in front of the Virginia Monument to see some Civil War Cannons. This is the depression through which the Emmitsburg road passes. The objective of Pickett’s Charge was to go through this area to attack Cemetery Ridge. I could clearly see that this was a ridiculously long way for an army to charge a defensive position. It would be a long walk through open country to get from the Virginia Monument to Cemetery Ridge. Continuing along West Confederate Avenue I saw the State of Louisiana Monument (aka Spirit Triumphant) and then the Monument to the State of Mississippi. Then I came upon the Confederate Avenue Observation Tower which required a long climb up multiple sets of stairs for a view of the countryside.
My final goal was to see Culp’s Hill. As I recall, to reach Culp’s Hill you need to go south on the Baltimore Pike and turn left onto Colgrove Avenue which has signs for Culp’s Hill. But before you reach Culp’s Hill you might encounter Spangler’s Spring, a natural spring that was used by Union and Confederate soldiers for drinking water during the battle for Culp’s Hill. This spring is now surrounded by a stone arch, a half circle handrail, and some steps down to a trickle of water along a stone floor. There were a few Civil War re-enactors camped in the area and I had to wait for some other tourists to move away. They had a dog with them which may have drunk from the spring. Further along Slocum Avenue I saw many other monuments so I parked my car and took several photos of the larger and more interesting monuments. I must have seen hundreds of Civil War monuments that day and certainly had my fill of them! Eventually I came to Culp’s Hill which has its own observation tower and a parking area. It was easier to climb this observation tower but there wasn’t much to see except for the woods. I took some photos of the George Sears Greene Monument and found a trail down the hill through the woods which led to other small monuments. The very last monument I saw was the General Slocum Equestrian Statue on Slocum Avenue which I encountered on the road back to Baltimore Pike.
Once back on Baltimore Pike which becomes Baltimore Street it was easy to drive north to my hotel, the 1863 Inn Of Gettysburg. I arrived there around 2:00 p.m. but check in was at 3:00 p.m. So after parking behind the hotel I went to the Jennie Wade House which is right next to the hotel. I discovered that to take the tour you need to enter the gift shop. You don’t try the front door or the side door to the kitchen. This may explain why I failed to find the place open on my previous trip. I was able to take the 2:15 p.m. tour but I had to spend 15 minutes in the gift shop. I didn’t see anything I particularly wanted to buy. The tour through the Jennie Wade House was led by a young woman in period costume. There were only two rooms downstairs including the kitchen and four bedrooms upstairs. The rooms upstairs all had low ceilings due to the pitched roof. I think there were two other rooms downstairs but they were on the other side of the house as it was a duplex. The tour ended in the basement where Georgia Anna Wade McClellan hid during the fighting. Apparently Jennie Wade’s corpse was kept there too for awhile.
After the Jennie Wade House tour it was 3:00 p.m. so I was able to check into my hotel. I was given two key cards for Room 250 which was on the second floor facing the back of the hotel. This was perfect considering where I parked. I was also given a parking pass to place on my dashboard so my car would not be towed away. There was a swimming pool at the back of the hotel which I had to pass on my way to my car. The first thing I did was lug my baggage into my room, one at a time since it wasn’t far. Then I used the bathroom and plugged in my camera battery charger to start charging my spare battery. But I didn’t stop to rest because I had a list of things to do in town.
First I went to the Sunset Ice Cream Parlor on Steinwehr Avenue because I was feeling a little hungry but did not want a full meal. I ordered three scoops of Rum Raisin ice cream which wasn’t wise since ice cream has a tendency to cause me gastric distress after a short while. After eating all that ice cream I went to The Crystal Wand, a New Age gift shop which I had neglected to visit on previous trips. New Age gift shops seem to be a thing in tourist towns like Jim Thorpe, New Hope, and Gettysburg but you don’t find them in other Pennsyltucky towns. I bought the book By Oak, Ash, and Thorn: Modern Celtic Shamanism by D.J. Conway because I’m very interested in shamanism. Celtic shamanism is probably entirely imaginary since I’m not sure that much is known about the Druids.
Since The Crystal Wand was almost right across the street from the 1863 Inn Of Gettysburg, it was easy to return to my hotel room to drop off the book. My next bit of shopping was even closer since the Irish Brigade Gift Shop is right next to the hotel. I bought the book Kelley’s Heroes: The Irish Brigade at Gettysburg by T.L. Murphy and a DVD, The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns. This is the gift shop were I saw photos of the Irish Brigade Monument for sale.
After leaving those purchases at the hotel I went out again and visited the Rupp House History Center which has free admission. There wasn’t much to see in this historic house except for two or three rooms which had a few exhibits. What was being shown was so slight that they probably can’t justify charging admission. I stuffed a dollar in the donation box anyway. I then walked all the way along Baltimore Street to Lincoln Square and then turned left onto Chambersburg Street to enter the Garryowen Irish Pub. I ordered a Magners Irish Cider which was $5.00 with a $1.00 tip. This is the same drink I had at O’Lunney’s Times Square Pub in New York City. It is not bad since it does not taste as bitter as beer. I just showed the bartender a photo of Magners Irish Cider on my smartphone to avoid having to pronounce “Magners”. I drank that as fast as possible and went to Gallery 30 on York Street where I bought the book Cain at Gettysburg by Ralph Peters. This is a novel to rival The Killer Angels. I’ve been reading The Killer Angels for the past few weeks while I researched my trip. Before going to Gallery 30 I checked out Nerd Herd Gifts and Games, also on York Street. I was a bit tempted by some of the Do It Yourself robot kits but they were expensive and I figured I would be kept busy experimenting with the Movidius Neural Compute Stick I had just received.
When I finally got back to my hotel room I did take a break and rested before the final activity of that busy day. At 7:15 p.m. I had a reservation at the Dobbin House Tavern for dinner in one of their dining rooms. I arrived there a little early at 7:00 p.m. so I went to the Soldier’s National Cemetery for a little while. I did take some excellent photos of the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial which was lit in the strong light of the dying rays of the setting sun. At the Dobbin House Tavern I was led upstairs to dine by candlelight. All of the wait staff were dressed in period costumes. I ordered the Imperial Crab with baked potato which was very tasty and not too much to eat. Before that came I enjoyed some bread and a small salad. It was a slightly expensive meal and cost me over $40.00. That concluded the first day of my weekend trip. I think I accomplished quite a lot. I had run all over the battlefield to see countless monuments and I had entered various additional establishments in town.