Gettysburg visitors walk in the footsteps of history

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Jul 4, 2013 4:00 AM

Photo by witf/Matt Paul

Crowds await the Pickett's Charge commemorative march from the Union position.

(Gettysburg) -- Never before has the National Park Service held such a large-scale commemoration of Pickett's Charge - the failed Confederate attack that ended the Battle of Gettysburg.

Thousands of visitors arrived hours early, to fill out the lines of both sides and walk in the footsteps of history.

The grass is tall in the fields of Pickett's Charge for this commemorative march. But few seem to mind. Everyone wants to be a part of history, and to experience what Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army did 150-years ago.

It's an especially poignant walk for Jamie George of Virginia. “My ancestor John George was in the 8th Virginia and fought under Garnett’s brigade and made this charge,” he explains.

It's a common theme among the southerners visiting Gettysburg.

Alan Inglefield of Virginia also came to walk in his forefathers’ footsteps. “I know that my ancestors didn’t make it to the wall,” he says. “They were wounded and they had to turn back. But their courage and their heroism should never be forgotten.”

These men are all walking with the brigade of Confederate General Richard Garnett, who was killed by a wound to the head at the end of Pickett's charge and buried with his men in these Gettysburg fields.

Jerry Fitzgerald of Texas chose to walk with the Garnett Brigade because he too has family who filled these Confederate lines 150-years ago. He points out the rangers must have done a good job recreating the march, because he wound up in the exact spot where his ancestor is believed to have been wounded and captured. Fitzgerald removed his cap as the sound of taps echoed off the ridge. He says he wouldn't have missed this for the world.

Published in Adams County, News

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