Things I learned today:
1. The Emancipation Proclamation is what stopped England from joining the South in the war. England did not want to support slavery.
2. Mistakes in commands from General Robert E. Lee lead to the South not winning at Gettysburg. If General Lee's orders had been followed as intended on July 1st they might have won this battle.
3. The Devil's Den is named after a snake. The soldiers found a snake pit and needed to use it as a bunker. They got out all the snakes, but one. They couldn't catch it, so it got nicknamed Devil.
4. That civilians clean up the battlefields when a battle is over. The people of Gettysburg cleaned up the battlefield and buried the dead from July through November. It took that long to dig the graves and find all the soldiers. I cannot imagine having that responsibility thrust upon me. The battle wiped out most of their crops and due to all the deaths their drinking water was contaminated. Gettysburg had to depend on the charity of neighboring town for a season because the soldiers ate up all their supplies and ruined all their crops.
5. Jenny Wade was the only civilian to be killed during the battle. A bullet went through two doors and struck her in the chest. Other civilians died during the clean up with accidental misfires of loaded guns and live cannon balls being removed later.
cyclorama. This painting is 42 feet high and circles a giant room. It took the artist a little less than a year to paint it. It is the view point of Cemetery Hill and a little video effects lets you know what it would feel like being in the middle of a war. (Scary!)
It takes 6 horses to move a cannon and it's equipment. Each cannon requires a ammunition wagon and a caisson, which they hitch together. This brought meaning to...and the caissons keep rolling along.
Things I never realized as a high school student...
The size of a battlefield. Both Antietam and Gettysburg showed me the space it needs to contain 100,000 of fighting men. How far a cannon ball can actually go. When you see it vs. imagine it it is amazing. To understand that Civil War cannon ball explode in the air and not on impact and rely on shrapnel to do the work.
My father-in-law put it best when he says history should be taught to us when we are older and not teenagers. I wish I could retake that class now that I understand a little better about what my teacher was talking about. Instead of being distracted with the cute boy sitting in the room. :)
Tomorrow: Harper's Ferry.