Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Touring Gettysburg National Cemetery

A visitor left this flower on the grave of Pvt. R. Newton Gilson.

My internship has finally come to an end. It was the summer of a lifetime. I will be sharing more thoughts on that in the coming weeks. However, I still have a tone of photos and video to share from my summer at the park. So, I will continue this blog until I run out of material to share with you!

Today's post will be discussing some history behind the Gettysburg Soldiers' National Cemetery with Ranger Eric Campbell.

In our first video, Eric describes the removal of the Gettysburg dead following the battle. A contractor was paid $1.59 per body removed from the field and relocated to the National Cemetery. Local citizen Samuel Weaver oversaw all of these reburials. His brother, Michael, supervised the removal of Gettysburg's Confederate dead ten years later.

A descendant of Pvt. Phineas L. Dunham left a photo of his ancestor on the soldier's grave.

The cemetery was designed by famed landscape architect William Saunders. Lincoln very much liked this design because all soldiers there were represented equally in a semi-circle design.

William Saunders' design was chosen at the Interstate Commission meeting in Altoona, PA (my hometown). At this meeting, several northern state delegates met to discuss the design and creation of the Soldiers' Cemetery.

The Design.

The Soldiers' National Monument was dedicated on July 1, 1869, costing some $50,000. The four sitting figures at the base represent War, History, Progress, and Plenty- a full circle. Gen. George Meade attended this dedication. Many visitors believe this to be the spot where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address...but is it? Ranger Campbell tells us in our next video.

Here, somebody asked Eric the location at which the Gettysburg Address was given. We once again find out that historical events are not always what they seem.


  1. I am so glad that you enjoyed your summer. I just wish I had been able to get up to Gettysburg to meet you. My husband and I will be there the second week of Oct. I really enjoyed reading all your post and learned a lot of things I didn't know. Thank you for taking time to do this blog and I will look forward to following it as long as you continue to post.

  2. Thank you Patty! Have no fears though, I will be retrofitting the blog and be renaming it when I'm done with all my intern posts. I'll still be around. ;)