I don’t have anything special to say about Gettysburg or the battle there, which began today in 1863. I have visited twice and enjoyed both times, though the large crowds do not suit my natural inclinations. Nor did some of the many monuments, but I don’t generally count those as any of my business. Especially with war memorials, the conflict between sincere desire to remember and commemorate, the natural sense of competition between different groups, and differing aesthetic sensibilities must be a tough needle to thread. The park presentation is very good and I found one could get out of the car almost anywhere and find a monument, plaque, or something to explain what happened at that spot. But I try to keep this blog on a fairly organic path where each post leads to the next and Gettysburg is consequently pretty far off my research and writing radar at the moment.
The sesquicentennial gives as good an excuse as any to read about the biggest land battle in the continent’s history, though. Andy Hall has a great post up at Dead Confederates about how the Army of Northern Virginia took up raiding for slaves, by which they meant anybody with dark skin that they came across, when Lee turned it north.
This quarter’s Civil War Monitor has some good pieces about Gettysburg, including a fascinating one about becoming a licensed battlefield guide. I have only this issue and the previous one to go by, but I heartily recommend the magazine. Both issues delivered articles about subjects which, I confess, I did not expect to find very compelling. In the spring issue, I looked forward to Kevin Levin’s piece about Confederate camp slaves and a lengthy feature on the Lincoln movie. Along the way I got a riveting account of the battle between the CSS Alabama and USS Hatteras outside Galveston by Andy Hall and Edward T. Cotham, Jr, complete with Andy’s illustrations of the ships. The Monitor’s Summer issue, naturally, is all about Gettysburg. Those pages include a fascinating piece on what it takes to become a licensed battlefield guide at the park, the pleasant surprise of the issue, and good pieces on the Gettysburg Address and Daniel Sickles.