Since I live in Gettysburg, driving through the battlefield is pretty much an every day experience. After all, the three-day battle in 1863 pretty much surrounds — and includes — the entire town.
I attended an event just north and west of town recently, so I took some pictures of the battlefield that encompasses some of the first day of fighting. The top photo is looking south from the Peace Light Memorial on Oak Hill.
Speaking of the Peace Light Memorial, it is the largest monument on the first-day battlefield at Gettysburg. Of the nearly 1,400 monuments and markers at Gettysburg, the Peace Light Memorial is the only monument with the word “Peace” in its name.
Made of Maine granite and Alabama limestone — and funded by contributions from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Indiana, Tennessee, and Virginia, the Peace Light Memorial came about as an idea born in the wake of the 1913 veterans reunion at Gettysburg. Some 250,000 people attended the dedication ceremony in 1938; 1,800 of those participants were Civil War veterans.
Oak Hill is the third highest point on the battlefield at a little over 640 feet above sea level. It is to the northwest of Gettysburg and dominates the fields to the west and north of town that were the scene of most of the fighting on the first day of the battle.
Confederate possession of Oak Hill by reinforcements turned the tide of the battle and led to the collapse of the Union line and their retreat through Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill.
I think a lot of people go to the Visitor Center, south of Gettysburg, or stumble across the area of Pickett’s Charge and the Round Tops, and never make it to the west and north side to town where the first day of fighting took place.
There is so much to see in Gettysburg.