USA Radio
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg National Military Park

Honour the fallen at the Civil War’s most famous battlefield

If there is a home for the soul of America, it is almost certainly on the battlefields of Gettysburg. Here, in July 1863, the Union and Confederate armies clashed in the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. In three days of fighting, more than 51,000 men were killed, wounded, captured or went missing (nearly a third of all those who fought here); when all was said and done, the once unstoppable Confederate army was forced to retreat. Though the Civil War dragged on for nearly two more years, Gettysburg was the turning point. Never again would the South mount a major offensive into the North.

Four months after the battle, Abraham Lincoln read the brief words of his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the battlefield’s National Cemetery, where 3,555 soldiers were interred. Today, the battlefield’s 6,000-acre grounds are protected as a national park, with more than 1,400 statues, monuments and cannons marking 26 miles of avenues that wend past the battlefield’s most legendary sites, including Robert E. Lee’s temporary headquarters, Cemetery Hill, and the field on which General George Pickett and 12,000 Southern infantrymen made their doomed charge against the Union lines, sustaining more than 5,000 casualties in 50 minutes.

Gettysburg Civil War Heritage Days take place during the week surrounding July Fourth. There are concerts, lectures and tours given by park rangers and prominent Civil War scholars, living history encampments, even a Civil War-period wedding, but skirmishes re-enacted near the park by volunteers dressed in Confederate grey and Union blue are the highlight. Take some quiet time to recall these words of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, whose 20th Maine volunteers held the Union’s left flank at Little Round Top, helping to turn the tide of the battle and the war. In 1889, at the dedication of the monument to his troops, he said: “In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls ... Generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream.”

This trip idea can be found in:

1,000 Places to See in the United States & Canada Before You Die®

Trip idea text ©Patricia Schultz. For contact information about the places mentioned and many more USA trip ideas, see Patricia Schultz's blockbuster book.

Welcome to Discover America!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies