If you don’t have much time to spend on the Battlefield and you need a quick list of the must see Gettysburg monuments, I have you covered.
As a lifelong Gettysburg resident, it was hard for me to cut this list down to just 10, so I’ll have to do future posts on my Top 10 in different categories, like important figures, historical importance, and just plain works of art.
This list of must see Gettysburg monuments is based partly on the historical significance of the memorial, and partly on the beauty or artistic value (so yes, it’s completely my opinion).
Without further ado, let’s go!
In a hurry? The Top 3 Monuments in Gettysburg that you should not miss (in my honest opinion) are the Pennsylvania Monument, the Virginia Monument and the 44th New York, also known as the “Castle on Little Round Top.”
Must See Gettysburg Monuments
No matter where you’re from or why you are visiting Gettysburg, a drive through the battlefield is a must. The 6,000-acre National Military Park is a vast outdoor museum, dotted with monuments that honor the pivotal moments of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Everyone has their own favorite monuments, and depending on what state you are from, you will certainly want to visit the memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield that relates to the brave soldiers from your state.
As I said, this list is purely my opinion, but I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed. Most of these you can see from the road, but they are so much more spectacular if you get out of your car and get a close look.
Note: Four of the must see monuments on this list are located on West Confederate Avenue, so make sure you put this road on your itinerary. To drive the length of West Confederate Avenue you must enter from the Fairfield Road/Route 116. It turns into one-way heading South.
My Top 10 Favorite Monuments In Gettysburg (In No Particular Order)
1. The Pennsylvania Monument
Of course I have to start with the Pennsylvania Monument, not just because it’s the state I’m from, but because it’s the largest monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
The 110-foot State of Pennsylvania monument honors the 34,530 Pennsylvanians who fought at Gettysburg: 1,182 were killed, 3,177 wounded and 860 recorded as missing.
When you include the statue of Winged Victory at the top, it makes it the tallest monument on the battlefield.
Pro Tip: Yes, this one easy to see and take pictures of from the road, but I recommend getting out and climbing to the upper level right below the dome. It’s a great view!
Location: Along Hancock Avenue near Humphreys Avenue and Pleasonton Avenue. GPS: 39.807806, -77.235111
Many visitors book a two-hour bus tour to get a good overview of the battlefield and then drive around on their own to visit places they want to explore further. You can also purchase a self-guided audio tour.
2. Eternal Peace Light Memorial
The Eternal Peace Light Memorial is another very large monument in Gettysburg. It’s known for an eternal flame that sits on top, symbolizing peace and unity after the Civil War.
Dedicated on July 3, 1938, it commemorated the 1913 Gettysburg reunion that honored the 50th anniversary of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. A one-ton bronze urn holds the natural gas flame that sits on top of a slender tower.
You can get a drive-by photo here, but the views from the pedestrian terrace spans many miles. The flame is said to be visible from 20 miles away.
Location: Mummasburg Road, just north of Gettysburg.
GPS: 39.84845°N 77.24345°W
3. The High Water Mark/Copse Of Trees
I picked the “Copse of Trees” on the Gettysburg Battlefield for my must see list due to its historical significance and the view.
This area was the focal point of Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd, 1863, the last day of the battle, and gives you a view of the vast field that Confederate soldiers walked across under heavy fire.
This is where Confederate troops temporarily broke through the Union lines and crossed the wall, which has come to be regarded as the high point of Confederate military achievement in the war.
The grove today is probably much smaller than the original wooded area was in 1863.
Location: Hancock Avenue (One way northbound).
GPS: 39°48’44.9″N 77°14’09.2″W
Pro Tip: If you get out of your car here, there are dozens of interesting monuments to see, including a stone marking the place where General Armistead fell, and a memorial to Medal of Honor recipient Alonzo Cushing.
4. North Carolina Monument
There are three monuments honoring North Carolinians, but this one on West Confederate Avenue was dedicated on July 3, 1929.
The state of North Carolina provided 14,147 men to fight at Gettysburg, the second largest state contingent after Virginia. It suffered more than 6,000 casualties, which was more than 40 percent of the men engaged.
The monument depicts a wounded officer pointing the way forward to the enemy while a veteran and younger comrade lead a color bearer in the charge.
Note: You can see the back of this monument from the road, but you have to walk up to it to see the detail and artistry.
Location: West Confederate Avenue, about .8 miles from the Fairfield Road/Route 116.
GPS: 39°49’06.1″N 77°14’50.0″W
5. Virginia Monument
The Virginia Monument is probably one of the most visited and most notable monuments in Gettysburg.
It depicts General Robert E. Lee on Traveler in bronze on top, which is a grand sight, but make sure at least drive around the circle because the front of the monument is an amazing work of art.
The monument stands 41 feet high, with the statue of Lee and Traveler standing 14 feet high.
Virginia contributed more than 19,000 men to the fight at Gettysburg, the largest contingent from the 12 Confederate states. Almost 1 out of 4 became casualties, the second highest state total.
The group on the front of the Virginia Monument represents various types who left civil occupations to join the Confederate Army. From left, they are a professional man, a mechanic, an artist, a boy, a business man, a farmer, and a youth.
It is stunning!
Location: West Confederate Avenue (You can’t miss it)
GPS: 39°48’51.0″N 77°15’01.2″W
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6. Louisiana monument
The State of Louisiana monument was dedicated on June 11, 1971, and is also located on West Confederate Avenue.
Entitled “Spirit Triumphant,” the piece of art was created by Donald DeLue, who was also the sculptor of the State of Mississippi monument (another must see Gettysburg monument).
The sculpture represents a wounded gunner of the New Orleans Washington Artillery clutching a Confederate battle flag to his heart. Above him the Spirit of the Confederacy sounds a trumpet and raises a flaming cannonball.
Again, you can see this monument from the road, but not the detail. It is next to the Mississippi Monument, so you can walk to see them both at one stop.
Location: West Confederate Avenue
GPS 39°48’10.7″N 77°15’21.0″W
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7. Mississippi Monument
Mississippi sent more than 4,900 men to Gettysburg, with almost 1,500 becoming casualties.
The monument is located where General Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade began their charge into the Peach Orchard on July 2, 1863. It represents the desperate hand-to-hand fighting of that day.
The color-bearer has fallen mortally wounded and his comrade steps over his body, using his clubbed musket to defend the fallen flag.
The detail of the hands, faces and equipment is truly something to see.
Location: West Confederate Avenue beside the Louisiana Monument.
GPS: 39°48’08.7″N 77°15’21.1″W
8. Friend To Friend Masonic Monument
This monument is one of my favorites, but because of its location it is often missed by visitors who don’t know about it.
It’s on my list of must see Gettysburg monuments partly because of its artistic beauty and partly because of the story behind the monument.
Most Civil War enthusiasts know that Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead were personal friends and members of the Masonic Fraternity.
Although they had served and fought side by side in the United States army prior to the Civil War, Armistead refused to raise his sword against his fellow Southerners and joined the Confederate Army in 1861.
During Pickett’s Charge, Armistead was mortally wounded, and Hancock was also wounded. Depicted in this sculpture is Union Captain Henry Bingham, a Mason and staff assistant to General Hancock, providing aid to the fallen Confederate General.
Location: 724 South Washington Street (across from Tommy’s Pizza) in the National Cemetery Annex off Taneytown Road at the intersection with Steinwehr Avenue.
9. First Shot Gettysburg Monument
Even if you’re a veteran visitor to Gettysburg, you may not have ever been to the First Shot monument west of Gettysburg. It used to be fairly inaccessible because there was no parking and no pull off along busy Route 30.
The NPS recently renovated the property of Ephraim Wisler who lived in the house during the Civil War, and created a convenient a parking lot.
Location: Intersection of Route 30 and Knoxlyn Road, west of Gettysburg. Parking lot beside the brick farmhouse.
10. 12th and 44th New York
This is another iconic monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield that is a favorite for young and old alike because of its castle-like appearance.
Sitting on the crest of Little Round Top, it is the largest monument on the Gettysburg battlefield dedicated to a regiment.
The 44 foot high tower is the oldest on the battlefield (1893) and has a spiral staircase to the second floor observation deck with parapets.
The memorial is crowned with a Maltese cross and has numerous interior and exterior bronze tablets. The west side provides clear viewing of Devil’s Den, the Slaughter Pen, and the Valley of Death with Plum Run.
The 44th New York brought 460 men to the field, losing 26 killed, 82 wounded and 3 missing. The 12th New York brought 117 men to the field, and suffered no casualties.
Location: Little Round Top
GPS: 39°47’28.4″N 77°14’13.3″W
FAQs About Gettysburg Monuments
How many monuments are on the Gettysburg Battlefield?
There are 1,328 monuments, memorials and markers on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
What is the oldest monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield?
The oldest permanent regimental monument is the 2nd Massachusetts near Spangler’s Spring, placed in 1879. The Virginia Monument was the first Southern state monument, placed on the Gettysburg battlefield in 1917.
Were any monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield removed by activists?
The monuments in the Gettysburg National Military Park are on federal property. Despite calls for their desecration and destruction, no monuments have been removed or toppled.
Books About The Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg covered a lot of ground and lasted three days, so you might want to do some reading before your visit. (The Gettysburg National Military Park covers 6,000 acres)
Here are a few books on the Battle of Gettysburg:
- Gettysburg: The Story of the Battle With Maps
- Our Fathers At Gettysburg: A Step by Step Description
- The Battle of Gettysburg For Kids
And of course, you should watch the movie Gettysburg, which was filmed on site.
Wrap-Up Of Must See Gettysburg Monuments
Each of these Gettysburg monuments on my list contributes to the rich tapestry of Gettysburg’s history and offer visitors a range of perspectives on the battle.
From the imposing Pennsylvania Monument to the solemnity of the High Water Mark, these sites are more than just tributes to the past. They are the keepers of stories, silent witnesses to the courage and turmoil of those three days in July 1863.
Whether you’re a history buff, a casual visitor, or someone seeking a deeper connection to the past, don’t miss exploring the Gettysburg battlefield to see these historical works of art.
If you’re thinking about visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield, there are a number of airports within a 90 minute drive. If you need help finding low airfare or booking a hotel, make sure you check out my travel resources page or the page about Gettysburg.
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