In Gettysburg, things to do mostly revolve around the famous battle fought between July 1 and 3, 1863. The battle of Gettysburg remains the bloodiest ever fought on American soil. Whether you're a history buff trying to get a feel for what really happened or a casual visitor interested in the sights, there are several must-see Gettysburg battlefields that played important roles in changing the outcome of the Civil War, including Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge and Devil's Den among others. You'll return to your peaceful Gettysburg Bed and Breakfast with a better understanding of what happened in this small town so many years ago.
Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center
1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Before you being your tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park and its battlefields, BBonline recommends stopping in at the Visitor Center to pick up an official map to guide you through the sights. If you're less of a do-it-yourself-er, you can hire a professional guide to join you on a two-hour tour in the comfort of your own vehicle. Guides' fees are based on group numbers, with a charge of $55 for 1 to 6 people, $70 for 7 to 15 people and $125 for 16 or more people. If you choose to go it on your own, be sure to take a closer look at the following battlefields.
1. Seminary Ridge
Seminary Ridge was the Confederate's key position throughout the entire battle, and was essentially General Lee's headquarters during his time in Gettysburg. Seminary Ridge offered the Confederates high ground from which to view the area around them, and the foliage provided coverage that shielded their movements from prying Union eyes. Today it contains the Virginia Memorial, a likeness of General Robert E. Lee on horseback.
2. Devil's Den and the Valley of Death
The Devil's Den and the Valley of Death were the location of a large part of the fighting on July 2, between General Longstreet and General Hood's divisions. The giant boulders of Devil's Den allowed a Confederate sharpshooter to wreak havoc on the Union troops occupying the area until his location was pinpointed and he was killed.
3. Little Round Top
This hill is one of the more famous battlefields from the Civil War. It was here that Lieutenant Chamberlain's battered troops from the 20th Maine arrived just in time to defend the hill from Confederate soldiers bent on obtaining the high ground. Reinforcements soon arrived and the hill stayed in Union hands and became a large part of the Union victory at Gettysburg.
4. The Peach Orchard
The Peach Orchard was an idyllic location that seemed far too peaceful for a fight. It was originally held by the Union, but fell to the Confederates after a great battle on July 2, 1863.
5. Cemetery Ridge
Cemetery Ridge acted as the center of the Union army throughout the 3 day battle. On July 3, the Confederates mounted a desperate assault, famously known as Pickett's Charge. Here Pickett marched his men through open fields to try to take Cemetery Hill, only to be beaten back by the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry, to whom a memorial now stands on the spot.
Once you've seen the great battlefields of the battle of Gettysburg, BBonline suggests taking a turn of the Soldiers' National Cemetery, which was dedicated by Abraham Lincoln when he gave his Gettysburg Address on this sight on November 19, 1863. Then you can return to your Gettysburg Inn filled with inspiration and hope as well as respect for the men who gave their lives here.