Bike Week was winding down and Mr. Aitch and I decided to go to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center just a short ride from our hotel.
We watched a short movie about the Civil War then went up some stairs to view a cyclorama painted in the 1880′s by the French painter Paul Philippoteaux depicting the third and final day of the battle known as Pickett’s Charge.
This painting is 377 feet around and 42 feet high and is displayed with a 3-D diorama in the foreground full of artifacts from the battle.
At times it was hard to see where the painting ended and the “real” began.
If interested, you can learn more about the painting and restoration here.
I was very impressed with this cyclorama although some reviewers were not. Two other cycloramas still exist and are free to the public. This one was not free and we couldn’t really linger to examine or take it all in. Perhaps Mr. Aitch and I need to take another road trip and see the other two paintings.
Since it was already a hot, muggy day, we decided the bus tour would be best for us as we don’t have a CD player on our Harley for the self-guided tour and preferred to be in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus with a real guide who would entertain questions along the way.
This house was a finishing school for young women that was quickly turned into a hospital once the battle began. There is still an artillery shell stuck in the bricks in the upper part of the house.
And one confederate sharpshooter shown in the lower right photograph on this marker.
We have many prints in our office by the artist, James C. Groves, who currently resides in Western Maryland. One of the prints is called “The Desecration of the Shrine“. Mr. Groves wrote an interesting article about the sharpshooters and Devil’s Den.
Mr. Aitch and I toured the museum after the bus tour and spent more than six hours at the facility. The museum spanned the entire Civil War not just the battle of Gettysburg. It was a long day and we did not see everything.
As a child I did not appreciate(?) the horrors of the Civil War or understand the magnitude of it all. As an adult I cannot imagine the loud, smoky, fearfully terrible chaos for the townspeople for this three-day battle and aftermath during the five-year course of this war.
A very sobering day for me.