Today, July 1st, Marks the 150th Anniversary of the First Day of Fighting at Gettysburg

And it started about 7:30 in the morning, as our friends over at the blog of the Gettysburg National Military Park tell us:

It is described in the 2004 Gettysburg National Military Park National Register of Historic Places listing this way: “The building’s location on the crest of a ridge overlooking the Chambersburg Pike and Marsh Creek west of Gettysburg made it an excellent point of observation for Union pickets in the early morning hours of July 1, 1863. It was from the yard of the house that some of the opening shots of the battle were fired against advancing artillery and infantry of Heth’s Confederate Division. In 1886, Lieutenant Marcellus Jones and two other members of the 8th Illinois Cavalry came back to Gettysburg and placed the first shot marker in the front yard of the old Wisler house.”

via Off the Beaten Track – Gettysburg’s “First Shot” House | From the Fields of Gettysburg.

I will be in Gettysburg this July 4th weekend and will bringing you lots of pictures and event information from the Battlefield.  But to mark this special occasion, while we remember the fallen brave,  I would like to pose this statement from noted journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates:

It should always be remembered that America did not “go to war” in 1860. America was attacked in 1860 by a formidable rebel faction seeking to protect the expansion of slavery. That faction did not simply want slavery to continue in America; they dreamed of a tropical empire of slavery encompassing Cuba, Nicaragua, and perhaps the whole of South America. This faction was not only explicitly pro-slavery but explicitly anti-democratic. The newly declared Confederacy attacked America not because it was being persecuted, but because it was unable to win a democratic election.

And with that in mind, these are some of the pictures I took when I went down to Gettysburg in 2011.

In addition, here are some event details for the coming week.

Video highlighting the Re-Enactment anchored by the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee.  Some 12,000 Re-Enactors are expected.  You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with getting around the battlefield and other events–with upwards of 200,000 visitors to the park this week (expected), getting around will be tougher than normal.

Hope to see some of you there and I hope you can take something away with you when you leave.  Gettysburg has always been a place I call a home away from home, and I always leave with a little more knowledge than when I arrived.

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3 responses to “Today, July 1st, Marks the 150th Anniversary of the First Day of Fighting at Gettysburg

  1. I watched CSPAN3 all day yesterday and thought for the most part the program and speakers were pretty good. Doris Kearns Goodwin was really off the mark. I thought her speech was good, but not for the venue she was in.
    As for what Mr. Coates said, “The newly declared Confederacy attacked America not because it was being persecuted, but because it was unable to win a democratic election.” This is something that should be addressed today with the Teabaggers and the morons out there that think they have to arm themselves to the teeth while crying about losing rights. They’re not losing any rights at all. They just don’t like the fact that their political ideology has been rejected by the majority of Americans. They can’t win a national election and they’re losing more state elections than they win. So they need to address the fact that some of them are prepared to become traitors in order to force their ideology on the nation as a result of their rejection at the polls.

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