Playing ‘I Spy” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a town of less than 10,000 people, is the site of the largest Civil War battle ever fought, lasting three days in early July 1863. Over 51,000 soldiers were captured, wounded, or killed. The Battle is considered the turning point of the American Civil War, as the Union won the battle over Robert E. Lee and the Confederate army.

Each year, over three million people visit Gettysburg to learn about American history; to explore the museums, shops, and restaurants; and to enjoy the outdoors- there are over 31 miles of hiking trails. Many locations around town honor the people who fought in the battle and the civilians who supported them during and after the battle. The town also has strong ties to former Presidents Lincoln and Eisenhower.

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Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, PA

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was Supreme Allied Commander, war general, president of Columbia University and ultimately 34th president of the United States, lived in over 40 different homes before finally retiring in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1961. Eisenhower studied the Civil War and had spent time training soldiers at Camp Colt in Gettysburg during World War I. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, purchased the 187 acre complex in 1950 and used the home as a “weekend White House” and for an extended time when Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in 1955. The Eisenhower National Historic Site, now part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, has been open to visitors since 1980 and almost every artifact in the home is authentic to the Eisenhower family. The home reflects the everyday living of the Eisenhower family in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Gettysburg National Military Park

It was the deadliest three days of the Civil War: July 1st, 2nd,and 3rd of 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg resulted in 51,000 casualties and the freeing of six million slaves. At the time of the battle, only 2400 people lived in the small town. By July 1st, 1863, Gettysburg was taken over by over 160,000 soldiers. Gettysburg was chosen because ten major roads intersected at the town and both the Confederate and Union armies believes they could more readily attack the other side.

The military park, the world’s largest outdoor museum and sculpture garden, covers 6,000 acres. Visitors will need to drive to many of the locations throughout the park. A well organized and marked auto tour is available. Each year over one million people explore Gettysburg Military Park. We always look for National Parks locations whenever we travel (read why here) and enjoyed spending a full day exploring parts of the park.

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