DescriptionGettysburg National Military Park virtually surrounds the town of Gettysburg; the main entrance is at the Museum and Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike. The park comprises the Gettysburg battlefield, where one of the most important and hotly contested battles of the Civil War was fought July 1-3, 1863. It also was the bloodiest battle of the war, resulting in 51,000 wounded, captured or killed.
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After his victory at Chancellorsville, Va., Lee invaded Pennsylvania, hoping to draw the Union Army away from Richmond. On the morning of July 1 two Confederate brigades attacked Gen. John Buford's cavalry division. Fierce fighting followed, and the Union forces were driven back to the heights south of town, known as Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill. That night the armies moved into battle position. Confederate assaults on both Union flanks gained some ground late the next day in some of the heaviest fighting of the battle.
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On Nov. 19, 1863, President Lincoln dedicated Soldiers' National Cemetery on the battlefield, delivering his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address.
There are now more than 1,300 monuments and memorials, three observation towers and 31 miles of marked avenues.
On Cemetery Ridge, Meade, commander of the Union forces, is depicted on his horse. His headquarters on Taneytown Road is preserved. In the spring, summer and fall there are interpretive walks to the National Cemetery as well as to other battlefield sites.
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The park roads are open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Apr.-Oct.; 6 a.m.-7 p.m., rest of year. Phone (717) 334-1124, or (877) 874-2478 for advance ticket purchases.
Things to SeeDavid Wills House
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Horseback RidingConfederate Trails of Gettysburg
GEM DescriptionBetween July 1 and July 3, 1863, some 168,000 men fought here to determine the course of American history.