Gettysburg Day 2 started early: leaving campus at 5 AM! Our kids were the model of doing justice by being on time and having a great attitude as they loaded up to head to Baltimore.
After a pleasant cruise on a flight with plenty of space, we landed in Baltimore and got to meet our super-pleasant coach bus driver, Jim, who was himself a 20-year veteran in the Army.
After a fun stop for lunch at a local gas station/Subway (with lots of flavor!), we arrived at the Gettysburg Visitor Center about 1 PM. Our tour of the museum showed us some amazing artifacts and stories: for example, one of the soldier’s Bibles with his handwritten instructions on the inside front cover that, in the event of his death, the Bible be sent back to his wife.
We then got to experience the Gettysburg Cyclorama, a depiction of Pickett’s charge based on Paul Philippoteaux’s 42′ by 377′ painting (the largest oil painting in North America, by the way). As we saw the story unfold, we heard terrific quotes from the soldiers who experienced the battle, several of which bear repeating:
“The man who does not dread to die or to be mutilated is a lunatic. The man who, dreading these things, still faces for the sake of duty and honor is a hero.” -Captain John William DeForest, Union
“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate the ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that know not of [like NCCS Gettysburg spring term!] are heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them.” -Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
From there, we went to see where and by whom great things were suffered for us: we went on a two-hour tour of the events of the first day of the battle. Our guide told us of great events, like when a Union artillery group shot their shell directly into the barrel of the opposing Confederate battery, or the story of Confederate General John Gordon, who, on finding Union General Francis Barlowe injured on the field, sent a messenger through his own lines to find Barlowe’s wife.
Our dinner was a great buffet provided by The Pike Restaurant (terrific pie!), after which we got to check into our hotel. We had a terrific debriefing time talking how how we saw examples of men doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God in the battle of Gettysburg and giving thoughts on how we could imitate them. Some of the students then got to close out the evening enjoying the hotel pool and hot tub.
God has been good to us! Looking forward to Day 3, with more historic guides, a visit to Gettysburg College, and more fun with the Lord and his people!