Gettysburg's Unknown Battlefield
Long known by local citizens, this battlefield is now becoming discovered by visitors.

 

 

More and more visitors to our area are venturing from the fields of the Gettysburg battle to the streets where the battle also took place - in downtown Gettysburg. Here they find a most pleasant surprise - Gettysburg has had some ambitious historic preservation ongoing for ten years now and the results are beautiful. The ongoing projects have transformed the center of town into a well-preserved historic district worthy of its designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

Many visitors don't realize the integral part the town played in the 1863 Battle. The small village of 2,400 was overtaken by the Confederates on July 1st and was held for the next two days.  Frightened citizens hid in their basements listening to the sounds of marching and gunfire in the streets. And when the fighting stopped in the evening, townspeople were still afraid to venture out with so many of the enemy all around, not to mention that it was difficult to get anywhere with the barricades that were set up in the streets. Still, there are numerous stories of bravery and honor as citizens risk their lives to help the Union Army. Several citizens were wounded and one young girl was killed.

If you talked to a Gettysburg citizen about their recollections of the battle, they would tell you that the three days of fighting were horrifying but that that was not the worst part of the ordeal. After the battle was over, the destruction to the buildings, loss of food and crops and thousands of  bloody injured crying for help busied the townspeople for months. The experience was something they never forgot.

Today, the citizens of Gettysburg, understanding the importance of our town's role as a symbol for the struggle for a united nation, have resolved to preserve the town's historic integrity. The result is the combined commitment of local, state and federal government, businesses and townspeople to promote economic growth through historic preservation, "building tomorrow by rebuilding the past today".

Easy parking and a walking tour have been developed for visitors to experience what our ancestors went through during and after the 1863 fighting here. Along the tour are historic museums, lodging, dining and a large variety in shopping for us (and our visitors) to enjoy.

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July 1, Weikert Farm, Gettysburg: "That evening Beckie Weikert and I went out to the barn to see what was transpiring there.  Nothing before in my experience had every paralleled the sight we then and there behold.  There were the groaning and crying, the struggling and dying, crowded side by side, while attendants sought to aid and relieve them as best they could.  We were so overcome by the sad and awful spectacle that we hastened back to the house weeping bitterly."
Tillie Pierce, Gettysburg Resident, age 15

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