Packed up and headed north to Gettysburg. We got a later start than we wanted and hit tons of I95 traffic. 

In preparation for our trip we took the car seats out of our vehicle and cleaned everything out really well. The car seats were left outside over night to soak up the inches of rain dropped from the sky in a classic southern thunderstorm. The car seats went on forgotten about as we packed. 

Before we could hit the road we had to adjust and reinstall the back up car seat and then go buy another one. Hence the late start.

The kids were champs and we made it to Gettysburg about 5:30pm. It’s about a 6 hour drive, and if the traffic hadn’t been so nuts we could’ve made it with only one stop.

We checked out the visitors center and found our map of the battlefield. Sadly, the restaurant with in the visitors center was closed with the museum quickly following at 5:45pm. We used the restrooms and filled up our water bottle. It was still about 90F outside but after a day in the car we were ready to stretch and walk. 

If you’re coming to do the museum, movie, and touring you’ll want a full day at least. It’d be easy to spend an entire weekend wondering about the historical landscape. We hustled, making the most of our time and explored until dark. 

The battle was the turning point of the war, crushing Lee’s Confederate momentum. It remains the most costly battle in history with nearly 51,000 casualties falling between July 1-3, 1863. I have been struggling to recreate the scenes in my mind. 51,000 dead in a few days…

It all started a bit by chance when the Union and Confederates accidentally encountered one another. Soon after the fighting broke out on McPhearson Farm. The Civil War was fought on farms. We made it just before dark, the old barn still erect. 

The Union and Federal forces barely held on to Cemetary and Culps Hill in the following hours. 

Pickett’ Charge was the fatal last attempt by Lee. The Confederate soldiers, undoubtedly brave, charged through The Brian Farm and Peach Orchard. After 2 hours and mass casualties, Lee began his retreat back to Virginia. 

More pictures from The Brian Farm area:

The National Cemetary is where President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address. We explored under the shade of the giant trees. 

This is the Soldier’s National Monument in the center of the Cemetary.

The kids had a blast climbing around Devil’s Den. These giant boulders provided cover during the fighting. From the top you can see Little Round Top. 

On their way up. 

Little Round Top in the background.

By the time we wrapped up exploring Devil’s Den the sun was setting. One of our last stops was the Pennsylvania Monument. You can climb about 50 steps of a narrow spiral staircase to the top. It’s worth the view! 

Next time we visit I’ll take advantage of the tour guides. It’s hard to read everything chasing little ones around. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sun sink behind the distant hills.