Gettysburg: History and Horses
I just returned from a fabulous trip to Gettysburg. I’m a history geek so this was a real treat.
It was wonderful to see that they have maintained the dignity and essence of this important place in American history. It has not become some tacky, commercialized amusement park. The battlefield remains mostly as it was July 1st-3rd, 1863. It is extremely powerful to stand on those fields and remember what happened there.
They have recently opened a new museum and visitor’s center that is fabulous. It’s not a boring, old fashioned museum, but rather incredibly engaging with multimedia presentations that put you there during those bloody three days.
I especially enjoyed the section on the cavalry. There were great displays of the calvary equipment including the famous McClellan saddle. The McClellan saddle was adopted by the US War Department in 1859 as standard issue. George McClellan (who would later lead the Union Army for a period in the Civil War) designed the saddle and gave it its name.
This saddle was lean and mean and designed to be light, inexpensive, and sturdy. The design was so effective, that the saddle, with some modifications, continued to be used for the U.S. Cavalry into the 20th century.
The two photos below showing the McClellan saddle were shot in the Gettysburg visitor center museum. I apologize for the fuzzy quality but I was shooting through reflective glass and I am a very amateur photographer.
Probably the biggest thrill of the trip was riding horses on the battlefield. These were rental horses and we were in a controlled group, so the riding wasn’t the best …. but to be horseback on those fields sent chills up my spine.
We rode the roads they rode. We rode the fields where the famous Pickett’s Charge took place. We stopped at the Trostle Farm and saw the hole in the barn made by a cannonball. It was as close to living history as I’ve ever experienced.
I really recommend putting Gettysburg on your list of “must see” places. It is so fabulously preserved and presented and such a powerful piece of American history.