"Historical but Commercialized" Top 5 Page for this destination Gettysburg by AlbuqRay

Gettysburg Travel Guide: 418 reviews and 935 photos

Crowds at the Most Famous Site

The decisive 3-day battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 1-3 July 1893 between Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War left over 51,000 soldiers dead or wounded. Today most of the battlefield is contained in the 6000-acre Gettysburg National Military Park. The park has a new Museum and Visitors' Center where many of the more than 2 million visitors each year start their tours. There are 30 miles of roads, and 1400 monuments and markers in the park.

Soldiers National Monument is located in the national cemetery created soon after the battle as a burial ground for the Union dead. It is where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address on 19 Nov 1863. Originally, 3512 Union soldiers were buried in the cemetery in a semi-circle around the monument. The names of 979 of those soldiers were unknown. Typically, the monument has many tour groups around it and walking among the nearby graves. See my General Tip on how to tour on your own, either by walking or the self-guided auto tour. The video at the Soldiers' National Monument was taken early in the morning before the crowds arrived. It was quiet, the birds were singing, and the sense of history was conspicuous.

Modern Structures Surround Historical Sites

The city's blue water tank now sits on East Cemetery Hill near one of the more famous battle sites and can be seen behind the New York State Monument when looking from the Soldiers' National Monument. In 2006, a proposal to build a casino near Gettysburg was defeated by people wanting to preserve as much of the remaining Civil War history as possible.

Still Have Some Quiet Places

The good news is that there are still quiet places away from the crowds out in the Gettysburg National Military Park. One may find them on the self-guided auto tour (see my General Tip for a link to the map or get one at the new Museum and Visitors' Center). This was one such place on Ayres Avenue near The Wheatfield. One can see Little Round Top in the background.

My first visit to Gettysburg was in early May 2008. It was definitely crowded. However, I happened to return in mid-September 2009 and things were very different. Evidently there is a lull at that time. School has started but, although the temperature has cooled down some, the leaves have not changed to their Fall colors yet. There were no crowds at all!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Famous historical sites and memorials to those who should be remembered
  • Cons:Crowded and encroachment of sites near downtown
  • In a nutshell:Definitely worth a visit but must deal with crowds of tourists
  • Last visit to Gettysburg: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (44)

Comments (1)

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    A fine page on a major American historical event. When we were in Washington DC in 2007 we visited Arlington Cemetery, something special!


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