Wabash Men Tour Civil War Battlefields

Nathan Whisman ’14 & Drew Schmutte ’15 –  After an early breakfast, we set out to visit the battlefield of Gettysburg.  As we arrived, we viewed their exhibits, while watching a special presentation of the famous cyclorama of Pickett’s Charge.  This large circular painting is the largest work in North America, and it gives you a full view of the battle as if you are standing in a frozen moment of American history.

Leaving the exhibits, we began to tour the battlefield.  We were able to see sights such as Little Round Top, Devils Den, and The Angle.  Seeing and walking these places gives you a sense of walking across ground that was, for a brief moment, a center of death and violence.  Moments of the Civil War are romanticized by movies and authors, but when you walk the hallowed grounds of this war, you realize the gravity and magnitude of the casualties both armies sustained.

Andrew Schmutte at New York 51st infantry monument at Gettysburg

Andrew Schmutte at New York 51st infantry monument at Gettysburg

As I walked on the hill of Little Round Top, I imagined the confederate troops storming up the rocky slope of the hill.  As I walked up the slope of the hill I imagined what those men faced as they had to battle up the terrain of the hill while facing murderous fire from the union troops above.

At The Angle, I was taken away by the size of the space where the troops of Pickett’s Charge attacked and the distance that they had to cover while being under constant fire.  You have to admit their dedication and the bravery of the soldiers to endure what happened at Gettysburg.

In the evening, we are taken on a ghost tour of Gettysburg.  The tour guides gave us the viewpoint of the citizens of Gettysburg during the battle.  Hearing the stories of the fighting in the streets and the churches being converted into hospitals for unending waves of wounded soldiers gives the town a spooky vibe.  At one house that was considered “active” with ghosts, I was able to go down into the old basement.  While stooped over and looking at the basement with a flashlight, I was slightly spooked out by the basement’s past history (it served as a hospital for 5 wounded Union soldiers). After squeezing through a narrow gap into a smaller part of the basement, I noticed a very old metal spring bed frame in the dirt. It was amazing to learn about all the paranormal activity and ghost encounters in the area.